Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

Wearing my keychain drive

I’ve been carrying around a keychain drive for a while, and keep leaving it at home, at the office, in my other pants, or somewhere other than where I need it. So I found a chain, hooked it on, and have been wearing it.

It’s an interesting feeling: I’ve got everything I’ve published in the last several years on it; everything I’m currently working on that’s not Institute-related; copies of the blog; and some pictures of Daniel and Elizabeth; all around my neck. There’s some inexplicable difference between carrying it and wearing it. It’s no more accessible, but somehow if feels closer.

A large part of my digital life, encased in transluscent purple plastic. It’s not quite the personal server; still, pervasive computing draws a tiny bit closer.

Presumably some anthropologist has written something about the psychological or symbolic differences between carrying and wearing objects.


  1. I have had a pet project since I was in graduate school: a Brief History of Wearable Devices. I’m keeping (mostly mental) notes on what to include. There have recently been some books that touch on this, but not exactly in the way I was hoping to.

    A few graduate students in the department have taken to wearing their jump drives. I’ve asked them if it containes their memoirs. It seems like it should: a cross between your written work and dog tags. If one graduate student falls, they just pull the jump drive and keep working…

  2. This could be a great project. Wearables will be part of the future, in one form or another– maybe personal servers, maybe bodynets, probably some other configurations that we haven’t thought up yet. Keep it up!

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