Everyone remembers their first. Their first kiss, their first time in a new country, their first time listening to their favorite song. For me, I remember by first USB stick. Mind you, it wasn’t anything special. It held just 128 MB of data and was made by Kingston. But boy, it sure wasn’t cheap.

It cost me $150 back in the late 90s or early 00s, I honestly can’t remember. The only reason I bring it up is to let everyone appreciate the fact that today you can buy a 64 GB microSD card for less than $100, and that microSD card is so incredibly small that a tiny sneeze could send it flying off your table. These days I carry a 16 GB USB key made by Walletex. It’s ugly, but you know what? It fits in my wallet, so it’s easy to carry. But enough about that, let’s talk about phones. Back when I switched to Android from Symbian in early 2010, the OS supported storage mounting. Put another way, if I plugged my phone into my computer, it would show up as a USB stick. That feature was taken out with Android 4.0 for reasons I don’t understand, and I only learned about this after switching from iOS to Android earlier this year. So how exactly am I supposed to put files on my Android phone? There’s this new fangled MTP protocol that Google wants you to use, but it’s buggy. That and there’s a 4 GB file size limit, which makes it useless for watching 720p movies on my 720p screen. There’s also AirDroid, but it’s slow, and it requires both my phone and my computer to be on the same WiFi network. That’s not always easy to do if you’re traveling a lot. For the longest time I’ve been using FTP. Thanks to an app called “FTP Server Ultimate“, I’d turn my Galaxy Note II into an FTP server that I’d then connect to my computer using USB tethering; files moved at a decent speed of 6 megabytes per second.

Recently, however, I purchased a USB on-the-go cable. It’s a fancy way of saying a microUSB to full-size USB cable. It cost me less than $2, and it took over a month to come to Finland since I ordered it straight from China, but since then I’ve been using it at least once a day. It works exactly as you’re probably imaging in your head right now. I put files on my USB stick, unplug the stick, then use this cable to connect the stick to the phone. As soon as that happens, a file transfer dialog appears, I do what I need to do, and then that’s it. Done. You might think this is silly, too complicated, and a burden, but to me, I’ve now officially found the easiest and most convenient way to move files between the devices I use most often.