Once an exclusively geek accessory, it seems everyone and their mother has a USB thumb drives these days. It's really amazing how quickly portable flash storage has become ubiquitous, but then I suppose we shouldn't be all that surprising. Thumb drive prices have plummeted over the last couple of years, making them practically cheap enough to include in a box of Cracker Jacks. Growing capacities have made thumb drives significantly more useful, too, extending their appeal far beyond mere floppy replacement.
You really couldn't fit much on the first few generations of flash drives, but things have changed dramatically. Multi-gigabyte models are common now, and they're perfect for lugging your life-or at least the part of it defined by 1s and 0s-around with you.
Unfortunately, because of their small size, flash drives are also easy to lose. With identity theft on the rise, you certainly don't want your personal information falling into unscrupulous or even nosey hands. To foil prying eyes, you could manually password-protect or otherwise encrypt files stored on your thumb drive. Drives are even available with fancy combination locks to keep outsiders at bay. Or you could opt for something a little more exotic: fingerprint authentication.