The cloud may be reducing our need for local storage, but it hasn't done away with it altogether. Indeed, if you've purchased a Chromebook, MacBook, ultrabook, Windows tablet or other device built around solid-state storage, you may find it lacks sufficient space.
That's the situation with my Samsung Series 9, a laptop I really love, except for its 128GB SSD. I keep bumping into that storage ceiling, but thankfully there's an easy, effective and inexpensive way to add extra space: a "leave-in" flash drive.
Like this one: Newegg has the Silicon Power Jewel J06 32GB USB 3.0 flash drive for $15.99, plus 99 cents for shipping. (Amazon more or less matches it at $16.76 shipped free with Prime.)
What the heck is a "leave-in" drive? Simple: one that's small enough to stay plugged into a USB port full-time, even as your laptop goes in and out of a travel bag. Because it protrudes mere millimeters, there's very little risk of accidentally snagging it or knocking it loose.
As you can see from the photo, the Jewel J06 fits that description to a tee. I won't say it's the smallest USB drive you can get, merely that it solves the aforementioned storage problem on the cheap. I've got something very similar plugged into my Samsung, effectively adding 25 percent more space.
In addition to delivering USB 3.0 speeds, the drive is shockproof, waterproof and dustproof, and it's backed by a lifetime warranty. It even comes with various backup and recovery utilities, though those are optional, of course.
Not that concerned about speed? (USB 2.0 is probably fine if you're merely storing extra media like music or movies.) Amazon also sells the even smaller (!) SanDisk Cruzer Fit 32GB USB 2.0 drive for $15.49, shipped free with Prime.
You can probably find low-profile USB 3.0 drives with similar capacity for just a few dollars more. My point is simply to illustrate this as an option for expanding your available storage. Talk about a cheap plug-and-play fix.
Bonus deal: Game time! Eidos' Tomb Raider reboot was one of the big hits of 2013. For a limited time, Steam is offering that very Tomb Raider (PC/Mac) for just $3.99. That's four bucks extremely well spent. GameSpot called it "an exhilarating action adventure" and awarded it a rating of 8.5 out of 10. Bam: your weekend is set!
Bonus deal No. 2: I'm a big enough fan of "The Walking Dead" TV show that I've been thinking of reading the graphic-novel series that launched it. Now I can on the super-cheap: Google Play has The Walking Dead: Compendium 1 e-book for $4.99. Regular price: $39.99! It includes a whopping 48 issues of the insanely popular story.