October 2, 2011

Flash Drive Works After Being Laundered





I am sorry.  Love, Nicholas*

     The six-year-old child, his older siblings, and his mother (I’ll call Vicki) had visited us for five days during July’s heat wave— temperatures in the nineties and humidity almost as high. We were all uncomfortable, and had it not been for our community’s pool it would have been unbearable.

     While the family was packing to leave, I decided to work on my laptop. I reached for the chain holding three flash drives and noticed one was missing.

     I knew something was amiss. Late the previous evening I had turned the laptop on, started working on a post, and decided I was too tired. I turned off the laptop, and laid the chain—with its three flash drives intact—on the desk just beside the chair. Now it was missing.

     “Perhaps it fell off,” Vicki said. “It happens. It’s happened to me.”

     “Not likely,” I said. “It was clipped on pretty well, and the distance from the laptop to the desk is a matter of six inches. It’s nowhere to be found.”

I was pretty concerned, because this particular flash drive had not only all my blog material, but the blog material for the Beanery Online Literary Magazine, an outgrowth of the Beanery Writers Group which I facilitate in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

    I didn’t pursue the issue further. Eventually the answer would surface. Meanwhile, I dreaded trying to “catch up” with the material written through July that I had not ventured to back it up since the traveling I’d done before Vicki’s visit.

     Vicki went through the children’s luggage and proceeded to strip all the beds and wash the linens in an attempt to locate the tiny flash drive. We both queried the children, especially Nicholas, whom I suspected was the culprit. He is full of questions and into everything, especially everything electronic, to see how it works and to satisfy his curiosity. I had given him a broken phone to tear into, and told him that not all electronics worked like his at home did, even if it appeared they should. He remained unconvinced.

     After Vicki and the three children left I continued to look for the flash drive, which could be anywhere, tucked into any corner or crevice.

     Two days later the phone rang. Vicki told me that Nicholas had something to say to me.

     “I took the flash drive,” he said. “I’m sorry.”

     Vicki told me she that she found the flash drive on the floor in front of her drier. It had been in Nicholas’s shorts pocket, even as we questioned him. Nicholas admitted his theft when Vicki confronted him.

     “I put it in the computer and folders came up,” she said.

     “Do any of them open?”

     “I didn’t try. I wanted to protect your privacy.”

     “Open them.”

     She proceeded to open numerous folders, word documents, and pictures. All opened.

     “This is what you are to do. Back up the material on my flash drive onto your computer, in case the material won’t open when I get it. Then, mail the drive to me in a manner that I have to sign for it. That way we can track it if it gets lost in the mail.”  

     The flash drive** arrived four days later. I immediately plugged it into the computer.

     “Everything is coming up,” I told my husband, Monte.

     I immediately copied the information onto another flash drive (in case the damage wasn’t complete on the found flash drive). Then I set it aside, not willing to continue using it.

     This tiny flash drive that was washed and dried still worked. It was washed in warm water and dried in a gas dryer.***

     Amazingly, no data was lost.


While doing follow-up research I learned the following:

  • most flash drives are waterproof
  • CAUTION if you get a flash drive wet: DO NOT rush to the computer to test it. Cover it with rice (to absorb the water) and let it sit for several days to completely dry out. Any wetness inside the flash drive when it is inserted into the computer can allegedly cause it to SHORT OUT , after which you will lose the data.

Fortunately , Vicki’s  dryer must have completely dried out my flash drive, because  immediately after she discovered it she  took it to her computer to test it out.


     Later someone added a warning.

     “If this happens, a person should be very careful about disposing a flash drive, thinking it is no longer good. If disposed of wrongly, the data could be accessed by anyone coming across the flash drive, regardless of the circumstances leading to its ruin.”

     Good advice.


     The events above occurred in late August. It is now October 1. I pulled out the very clean flash drive and inserted it into the computer. All the material came up. Nothing appeared to be lost. In fact, the information re the disc stated that it was in working order.



*Names changed to protect the innocent and the guilty.

**Information on the flash drive (not being technical, the following numbers excerpted from the flash drive mean nothing to me)

PNY  1007  CE  FC—ST3500418ATA  Device Disc drive

USB20FD—capacity: 3.72 GB; used space3.69 GB—

**Kenmore Elite Energy-Star Saver Washer: Model 110.4778, probably purchased in 2009. Kenmore Elite Gas dryer, Model #110, 39979964(?), purchased 2004



Found: Flash Drive. What should I do?

Blogsite or a Website: What’s the difference?

Blogging: Does it Have Value? Part 1

Blogging: Does it Have Value? Part 2

Blogging: Does it Have Value? Part 3

Evaluating My Blog Quality

Writing Quality Blogs


Are We Computer Addicted? A 1997 Prediction


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