ISOstick: Is It An Optical Drive Or A USB Stick?

Brad Chacos

"I remember when a TV was a TV," my grandmother told me the other day, "And a radio was a radio. Now you can get radio stations on your TV! And TV stations on your computer!" Her look of amazement confirmed that, in fact, (grand)parents just don't understand, but before you smirk at the story, remember that we may be in my incredulous grandmother's shoes one day. Consider the currently-in-development ISOstick: it's a flash drive and an optical drive in one!

The ISOstick is a flash drive that tricks computers into thinking that the ISOs stored on it come from physical optical drives, ExtremeTech reports . If that sounds like it's made for running OSes on the fly, you're exactly right; there's even a built-in bootloader called "isosel" that helps you select which OS to launch if you've got oodles of Linux distros on the stick. "Some BIOSes only see the first drive a device presents, so isostick's optical drive comes first so you don't have to worry about not being able to boot from it!" the creator boasts on the Kickstarter page for the device. Plus, a read-only switch on the ISOstick protects against possible badware infections.

The downside? Um, it doesn't actually exist yet. In fact, the creator of the ISOstick is currently raising funding on Kickstarter in order to keep the project going. If – or as we hope, when – it does hit the streets, it won't be cheap: expect to pay $100 for an 8GB ISOstick, $175 for a 16GB version, or $225 for 32GBs of faux-optical fun.

Check out the ISOstick website and its Kickstarter page , which both go into extensive details about the guts of the device. If ISOstick sounds like something you're interested in, go ahead and toss the guy some pocket change – every little bit helps. At the time of publication, 129 backers had already donated $17,538 towards the $25,000 goal, with 25 days left til the donation deadline.

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