Submitted by Eric Daniel
In 1991 when I deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of Desert Storm, I was completely analog; my camera was a Canon AE-1 35mm SLR and all my letters were written on paper (or MRE box lids if I was feeling particularly "Sahara-ish".) What I didn't pack was a walkman, or any sort of radio for that matter, books or literature, cassette tapes, CDs (DVDs hadn't been invented yet) or anything else of the sort since all that stuff not only took up space, but it wasn't very durable and it was expensive.
In 2004 I took a digital camera (I shipped my laptop over once I got established) and a 50Mb "stick" to store stuff on temporarily. My line of thought here was I'd use the stick to move files around or to store pictures on.
Well, the reality is, that stick wasn't quite big enough for all the pictures I was taking and so I had to start burning data to CDs, which was a rather scary proposition as I was hoping that my disks would survive the transport and storage process, not to mention exposure to the ever present and all invasive dust and sand of the desert.
Next time I go, though I'm taking the Library of Alexandria - a 250Gb Iomega eGo portable drive.
This sucker literally holds everything. Music, movies, games, photos, and even the odd operations order you have to crank out. I've downloaded and run movies off of it (In this case I was using the Netflix "view instantly" feature. In addition to needing the software loaded onto the hard drive, you'll also need a high speed internet connection and a computer with a decent graphics card, but you can use the drive to