What to put on a USB Drive

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What to put on a USB Drive

Post by SwampMonster » Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:53 pm

ok guys and gals, long time lurker, first time poster.

I have a few 4gig flash drives that i would like to load up with akk the info that one might need. Can you help me out and what you have on yours?

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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by JibbaJabba » Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:22 pm

I try to avoid putting anything personally identifiable on a thumb drive, so it's usually limited to mp3s and movies and applications.. but were I to put a thumb drive in my Bug Out Bag, for example, it'd have the following on it:

*Scanned pictures of both sides of all my identification (driver's license, military ID, social security card, etc).

*Scanned documents vital enough to take with me in the event of a home-destroying event, such as marriage licenses, birth/death certificates, basically anything that most folks would put in a safe deposit box.

*A scanned copy of the last few bank (or rent) statements to prove my residence in that area to anyone who may require it later on.

*A word document with the names, addresses, cellphone numbers and email addresses/any other pertinent contact info for all my friends and family (I already maintain one of these as an attachment to a drafted email on my Gmail account, that way I can access it anywhere).

*An Icon hyperlinked to my bank of choice's website, with some kind of clue to remind me of my password, because lord knows if I ever have to use this USB drive I'm going to be panicking way too hard to remember anything. ;)

*Music, of course - might need some if I find myself on a long bus trip away from a disaster area.

*Pictures of loved ones. The odds of finding a place to plug the USB drive in DURING the initial bug-out are pretty poor, obviously, since you'll be on the move, but once you get somewhere to rest a computer of some type probably isn't too far away, and having pictures of the people you love will really help keep up your motivation and help focus you.


Other stuff I can't immediately think of. Basically, if you think you might need it, and you can scan/upload it to a thumb drive, throw it on there.

Just be sure to organize it so that you can find what you're looking for even on the worst day of your life.

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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by andygates » Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:34 pm

The hurricane threads remind me that an inventory of your stuff, for the purpose of insurance claims after an event, might be a smart move. Or just photos or video of your place.

As regards confidentiality, I use TrueCrypt (free) to secure it. That way I don't worry about losing the thing.
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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by Lucretius » Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:46 pm

1. Text takes very little place - I keep a BIG load of manuals, engineering books, etc., without worrying about any text being a little far fetched: you never know what would actually prove to be valuable knowledge in the ZPAW.
2. Your favorite tunes would be good for morale, and maybe you even want some beloved music to make it into the coming world after TSHTF.
3. Audio books. Good night-stories might be the difference between mild sleep deprivation and death.
If you've trustworthy companion and a stable guard/sleep schedule....
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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by Ufdyixcaff » Sun Sep 07, 2008 2:46 pm

In addition to much of what JibbaJabba listed, I also have a small linux operating system installed on my USB Drive (1st gen iPod shuffle)

The files are set up to be accessible from any computer like any other USB drive. Carrying my own OS however lets me access things in a "familiar" environment or in the off chance I come across a computer that has no OS on it already (it happened to me once on a trip out of the country. Nice computer, but no OS. I was able to install the OS to the hard drive and made the owner very happy by giving him a working computer as well as getting me access to much needed paperwork before getting to the border)

The use of the old iPod shuffle is that I can listen to music that is stored on there without having to be next to a computer.

I have a very similar set up on my iPod nano, but thats for school stuff. Nothing on it more critical than old papers and notes.

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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by donjulio » Sun Sep 07, 2008 2:59 pm

You mean flash drives aren't just for porn?
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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by Lucretius » Sun Sep 07, 2008 3:34 pm

donjulio wrote:You mean flash drives aren't just for porn?
...The difference between a mere survivor, and a Prince/Feudal War Lord, in the ZPAW... :mrgreen:
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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by TC » Sun Sep 07, 2008 4:57 pm

I was considering this too recently.

Personally I have a bunch of maps, including the route to my BOL if I had to walk along the train tracks. I have contact details and a list of routes to get to my BOL from various train stations in London in case i can't get to my usual one.

If you are going to put photos of family members on the USB, you could also use them if you need to give missing person information to the authorities.
andygates wrote: As regards confidentiality, I use TrueCrypt (free) to secure it. That way I don't worry about losing the thing.
I tried to use TrueCrypt on my USB drive, but I couldn't get it to run on a computer that didn't have it installed already, because the OS X version of TrueCrypt doesn't include the version that you can install on the drive itself. For the moment I have an encrypted DMG file instead.

If anyone knows how to fix this problem, I'd be grateful.
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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by Pondo_Sinatra » Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:19 pm

TC wrote:I was considering this too recently.

Personally I have a bunch of maps, including the route to my BOL if I had to walk along the train tracks. I have contact details and a list of routes to get to my BOL from various train stations in London in case i can't get to my usual one.

If you are going to put photos of family members on the USB, you could also use them if you need to give missing person information to the authorities.
andygates wrote: As regards confidentiality, I use TrueCrypt (free) to secure it. That way I don't worry about losing the thing.
I tried to use TrueCrypt on my USB drive, but I couldn't get it to run on a computer that didn't have it installed already, because the OS X version of TrueCrypt doesn't include the version that you can install on the drive itself. For the moment I have an encrypted DMG file instead.

If anyone knows how to fix this problem, I'd be grateful.
I don't have a fix, but I will give TrueCrypt a shameless plug. I use it on my USB drives. I actually started using it for work - I use the encrypted volumes to store customer information. Might be a good way to store sensitive personal information, in case you lost the drive.

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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by Space Jockey » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:18 am

If were talking ZPAW I would suggest printing off hard copies of everything you think could be relevant. Generators run on gas so you would have electricity, but gas runs out and can go bad after awhile. Personally I'll want to use my gas for driving. Also make for damn sure you have enough ink cartridges because I doubt you're going to want to hand write it all. Also I wouldn't want to run down to Office Depot to find printer cartridge HP-92 after the store was probably looted by people thinking this would just "go away" and they'd get some free stuff.
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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by AmirMortal » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:35 am

These are all great ideas, think I'm gonna hafta do it! I've got a plain thumb drive, no usable tune storage, might have to upgrade. Do the pods with video have the capability of viewing text docs? Hard copies would be good, but I can't see myself trudging through the swamp, running for my life with a paper library strapped to my back in lieu of BOB. Besides redundancy is king.

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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by Ufdyixcaff » Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:52 am

Im not sure any of the iPods will display .doc files. They will display "notes" in the form of .txt's. You can also display pictures on them - scan or screen capture the really important stuff and save as a .jpg. You wont get the best look at what you have, but for some things it might work and you will know what is saved just by looking, even if you cant read the fine print. Contacts lists from your email can be uploaded to the iPod and displayed as well - make some "dummy contacts" and hide important info in their entry. SSNs formatted to look like phone numbers (123-45-6789 becomes (123) 456-7890), real addresses formatted to look like email addresses (12345@pine.rd Or 54321applect@chico.ca), etc etc etc - you get the idea.

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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by Politenessman » Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:58 am

I have an iPod video, 60GB.
I keep a complete back up of all my computer data on it, my entire music library, and a couple of Truecrypt volumes on there with all my medical and financial information. I have all my tax documents, scans of various certificates, IDs, insurance documents, and of course, a contact data base. I have a library folder with medical and survival documents, another with family photographs, and another with a list of serial numbers for electronics, and photographs of every room in the house and their contents. I also have the installers for a number of pieces of software, like truecrypt, and eWallet. I also have an eWallet data base with all my passwords and site URLs. (Encrypted of course)

And after all that, I have a small 120GB USB drive, that I sync to it every 3 months or so, and that lives in a safe deposit box, at the bank.

I also have a bare bones information set up, on XDrive, and some data stored in my GMail account.

Honestly, this stuff isn't much for an end of the world scenario, but for a localized event which may require me to evacuate, (like Katrina), this stuff is an essential. I had a friend of a friend earlier this year loose her house in a fire and trying to prove what she owned to the insurance company was at times difficult, because she lacked proof. (It all went up in smoke)
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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by maetsack » Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:41 am

I'm of two minds on this topic - not a bad idea for a localized disaster, but a terrible idea of a large scale problem or PAW

I like the idea of personal information, bank info, photos, medical references, etc. There are several encryption packages that allow you to create self-contained executables, including Winzip so you can protect personal information.

Now in a PAW, forget it. Eventually the equipment will fail and hard copy will be king. not a bad idea to burn this shit to CD so it can be recovered in the event you find a way, but otherwise start printing/purchasing some stuff.

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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by TC » Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:36 pm

maetsack wrote:I'm of two minds on this topic - not a bad idea for a localized disaster, but a terrible idea of a large scale problem or PAW

I like the idea of personal information, bank info, photos, medical references, etc. There are several encryption packages that allow you to create self-contained executables, including Winzip so you can protect personal information.

Now in a PAW, forget it. Eventually the equipment will fail and hard copy will be king. not a bad idea to burn this shit to CD so it can be recovered in the event you find a way, but otherwise start printing/purchasing some stuff.
Agreed. I have a big folder full of various sources of information for when the power goes out. Things like 'Where there are no doctors' are only really useful in hard copies.
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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by NORTHERN RAIDER » Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:57 pm

Agreed. I have a big folder full of various sources of information for when the power goes out. Things like 'Where there are no doctors' are only really useful in hard copies.[/quote]


I prefer to keep paper copies of all my stuff in waterproof containers, reference books etc, you need electricity to access hard drives, flash drives, cdrs etc, there is no guarentee that after TSHTF there will be any power available. A book only needs its pages opening to be able to access its information.
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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by andygates » Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:15 pm

I must confess, I prepare more for a mid-scale disaster than for a full PAW. Even so, hardcopy is good. Can't beat a paper map for reliability.
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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by TC » Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:23 pm

NORTHERN RAIDER wrote:
TC wrote:]Agreed. I have a big folder full of various sources of information for when the power goes out. Things like 'Where there are no doctors' are only really useful in hard copies.


I prefer to keep paper copies of all my stuff in waterproof containers, reference books etc, you need electricity to access hard drives, flash drives, cdrs etc, there is no guarentee that after TSHTF there will be any power available. A book only needs its pages opening to be able to access its information.
Sorry, my wording was ambiguous. When I said folder I meant a paper folder, the lever arch file kind of one. I should have realised that the word 'folder' would make people think I was talking about a computer copy.
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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by NORTHERN RAIDER » Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:56 pm

TC wrote:
NORTHERN RAIDER wrote:
TC wrote:]Agreed. I have a big folder full of various sources of information for when the power goes out. Things like 'Where there are no doctors' are only really useful in hard copies.


I prefer to keep paper copies of all my stuff in waterproof containers, reference books etc, you need electricity to access hard drives, flash drives, cdrs etc, there is no guarentee that after TSHTF there will be any power available. A book only needs its pages opening to be able to access its information.
Sorry, my wording was ambiguous. When I said folder I meant a paper folder, the lever arch file kind of one. I should have realised that the word 'folder' would make people think I was talking about a computer copy.

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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by Ufdyixcaff » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:17 pm

I guess my thoughts on the matter are that if the world goes so dramatically tits up that digital copies are utterly useless (no one is able to access them), then the situation is probably medieval enough that paper copies would be useful only as toilet paper anyway.

In the post apocalyptic world, no one cares if you paid your taxes. No one cares where you were born. No one cares if you have your drivers license. No one cares about your DD214. No one cares about... you. By the time any one gets around to giving a shit, everything will be so out of date or information will be so fractured that you could claim to be Donkey Kong and as long as you have a (cottage industry favorite production) forged ID, who is gonna argue?

Photographs might be nice to have in hard copy form though... I would arrange them into a digital collage that is printable onto waterproof paper.

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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by Daithi » Mon Sep 08, 2008 5:11 pm

I think this is a very useful thread. I want to compile a list of things to keep on a usb drive as well.

I for one, prepare for all sorts of disasters (the small, fire in the house, the medium, hurricane, flood or volcano, to the PAW large). It's not safe to ignore the first two and think you have them covered because you plan solely for the last one.

Looking over the Katrina threads these documents, ones like JibbaJabba mentioned, are very useful in getting back on your feet in a disaster.

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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by Lucretius » Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:49 am

Something to think about:

If you're in the ZPAW, and have access to a electrical generator (diesel, solar, wind, whatever) and a CPU. Wouldn't it be a GREAT morale boost to have some of your favorite mp3s??? That's not trivial - one cannot live on 550 paracord, duct tape and MREs alone...
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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by JibbaJabba » Tue Sep 09, 2008 9:45 am

Just wanted to add that combination USB drive/mp3 players are preferable, since all you need to do to listen to the music is plug in a set of headphones. Downside: You can't recharge them without some sort of device that has a USB port on it.

Also, yeah, my list was more oriented towards a Katrina-level event. All of this becomes pretty obsolete in a PAW - but that goes for everything, really. ;)
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Re: What to put on a USB Drive

Post by Johnsky » Wed Sep 10, 2008 2:38 pm

lol, I too have TD Linux installed on most of my thumb drives.
Point is, hard drives fail... and usually the rest of the computer is just fine. Plus, I hate working in MS operating systems, so I have mine with me wherever I go.

My girlfriend got rather peeved at me when realizing my 10 gig USB drive only has 9.5 gigs of space when empty... I don't see the problem myself. Just use it as a 9.5 gig drive. lol... I even scratched of the "10" and wrote 9.5 on there just to make my point.

... that drive is gone now... lost it a while back... but most of my other drives have linux ready to go on them aswell. You'd be surprised just how often it comes in handy.
Especially when someone's MS based PC is chock full of viruses and completely unusable. So many people just don't know how to take care of their electronics...

On top of that, for survival purposes, you should put your identifying information on there, like others have said. Just so that when push comes to shove, you can prove whats yours is yours, and you are who you say you are.

Unless it's your government your fleeing... hey, dictatorships CAN happen.

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