I'm thinking of bringing couple for storage purposes... digital photos, some back-up personal info, and a few portable softwares (Firefox, OpenOffice Suite). All data will be encrypted. For those who've done RTW trips, do you find USB flashdrive convenient to use at internet cafes?
I didn't have a USB key, but I had a similar type of device which is really handy. It was a photo storage bank (portable hard drive which can backup camera memory cards with the press of a button on the casing of the device even when it isn't attached to a computer). The device can also be used for putting computer programs etc on but a lot of computers had trouble recognising the device without taking the CD to install the driver. It is possible to get portable hard drives reasonably cheaply now, and if you had something like an 80gb HDD well no mater how long you were away for, it is very unlikely you'll run out of space. I know from the 5 or so different USB keys that I have that a couple of them require you to install the drivers on the computer before they'll be recognised. Some computers that are in internet cafes, are set up so as not to allow software to be installed or even to let you open my computer to be able to located the portable storage device. Sometimes you'd have luck in using such things at an internet cafe, but other times they will have set the computer up to not allow you to do such things (usually from the big more expensive places with good computers). Some hostel computers particularly YHA hostels or the hostel computers which you insert coins in to a side box or have to buy a code to type in to access the internet won't allow you to open a USB key. It'd still be handy to take one but better still if you had a portable hard drive.
When doing your photos, be sure to not just back them up to a USB key, but to doubly back them up by taking the memory card to a camera shop and getting it put on to CD. Then send the CD home to someone who isn't a complete dummy when it comes to computers. Then when they get it they can check it on the computer, confirm everything is fine with the CD and then they email you letting you know and then your mind can be put at ease. That'll at least give you some peace of mind knowing if the USB key is stolen, accidentally left behind or gets some bad sectors on the drive or something else that will lose the photos, that you have got them back home and haven't completely lost them.
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 8, 2007, at 4:18 AM by aharrold45 ]
Thanks for your input. So it seems only some internet cafes will allow you to access the USB port.
I'd be using my USB Flashdrive primarily (if permitted by the internet cafes) to access my email accounts and travel websites (i.e. TP) via Firefox installed on my Flashdrive, where passwords are already encoded. If I'm correct, not having to key in passwords help limit security problems with key-loggers. That plus all my bookmarks are there for me.