Gadget Review: The Keepod

Theoretically everything is interconnected. Cloud technology is the latest gimmick relentlessly being sold to us, along with the notion that whatever you do, wherever you are, precious data is being stored as if it’s a kind of invisible filing cabinet. Yet, unless you own the mind of an accountant, you are probably bound to struggle somewhere along the line to find missing files. As a writer who runs his own business I’ve got thousands of files I’ve been making for years. Usually given nothing but generic names, I know I’ve got more than 20 years of information I often have a difficult time tracing because they’re on a number of old computers and storage drives. Atypical is my resumé. I mean the one on this computer. The one I should keep current every day, but, nevertheless, rarely do. Well, an Israeli company called Keepod Ltd just may have the solution and it’s free: Turn your flash drive into your PC!

Having created Keepod, a computer card with its very own operating system (OS), which is capable of storing all your digital information (from credit card data, to your desktop layout), Keepod Ltd now offers the Keepod’s OS on their website temporarily as a free download and then for $7.

Formerly engineers and security operatives Nissan Shahar and Francesco (Franky) Imbesi of Italy have been putting ideas into practice—often in remote parts of Africa—where computers are not ubiquitous. Part of this seemingly impractical notion of giving goodies away for free is that the two innovators have taken note that more than five billion people, 70% of the world’s population, have zero access to personal computing as they showed the BBC. They aim to be instrumental in altering this current status quo. Indeed, Bahar and Imbesi introduced the Keepod into the Mathare slums of Nairobi, Kenya, through a partnership with the organization LiveInSlums, who use refurbished computers that would otherwise clog landfills.

“We specifically designed the concept of Keepod to run from a USB drive knowing that it will be dropped and spilled on, lost or stolen. It needs to be treated for what it is – a piece of plastic. All of the data on it is saved and stored in a highly secure manner. If something happens to it, no worries. Get a new USB drive and within minutes you are ready to go,” Bahar told the tech blog No Camels.

Keepod, which means ‘porcupine’ in Hebrew has a plant in the small town of Bnei Brak in Israeli and its head office in Italy.  By using Keepod OS 12 for download, you transport a sort of ersatz desktop designed to connect between PCs through your USB flash drive. In other words, you have access to the same desktop on any computer. (Yes, even a Mac). Additionally, by virtue of being a closed system, you don’t leave any trace of your activity on a PC after using Keepod OS. I would hasten to add, for those of you getting a divorce or leading a double-life or committing corporate espionage that this makes Keepod extremely extra useful!

Loaded with Google’s Android 4.4 operating system, it plugs into the USB port of even old laptops or desktops to create an up-to-date personal computer. By offering Keepod’s Linux-based OS for free download, Keepod are getting ahead of the game. All you need to do is download Keepod OS 12 and install it on a flash drive of at least 8GB.

Since storage space on a flash drive might be scarce, Keepod OS allows you to store additional data in the Keepod Cloud. The little yellow card will also be useful to carry around: thanks to its incorporated smartcard. Meaning the Keepod can be used as a credit card; a public transportation voucher; as a digital key to open the door to your office; or even to operate the vending machines at work.

Lastly, in a green sense, in the US alone, 85,000 computers are thrown out every single day. We can give a big percentage of them a new life with Keepod in Nairobi or anywhere else. That one computer can serve 25 to 30 people every week.

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