IEEE Spectrum: In 2000, at a trade fair in Germany, an obscure Singapore company called Trek 2000 unveiled a solid-state memory chip encased in plastic and attached to a Universal Serial Bus (USB) connector. The gadget, roughly the size of a pack of chewing gum, held 8 megabytes of data and required no external power source, drawing power directly from a computer when connected. It was called the ThumbDrive. That device, now known by a variety of names — including memory stick, USB stick, flash drive, as well as thumb drive — changed the way computer files are stored and transferred. Today it is familiar worldwide. The thumb drive was an instant hit, garnering hundreds of orders for samples within hours. Later that year, Trek went public on the Singapore stock exchange, and in four months — from April through July 2000 — it manufactured and sold more than 100,000

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