In the first setback of the campaign, I have discovered the secret of why the (recommended platform for Strawberry) 4GB Sony Micro Vault Tiny flash drive I'm using is so small.
Apparently, they got it that small by emdedding all the control circuitry INSIDE the usb connector, underneath where the contacts are.
Unfortunately this means that if you were to, say, drop your laptop off the lounge and have it land on the side, bending the flash drive at the end of the USB connector, this results in folding the circuit board right at the point where a number of contacts connect to the controller chip, severing them.
Which is BAD.
Fortunately, I managed to keep it temporarily working by wedging the usb drive back into the socket and then pressing very firmly upwards, which seemed to keep the severed wires touching each other and the flash drive running long enough to evacuate the most important stuff off the drive.
Fortunately, this cloud does have a silver lining.
Sony has gone one better on the version I have, and in the last few weeks their website has been updated to reveal a new 8 gig version of the Tiny series. I was finding the 4 gig just a bit too small to hold my ideal setup, a full set of PortableApps.com programs, a strawberry install, and a minicpan mirror. I was down to my last 400 meg on the 4 gig drive.
So this extra space should hit the sweet spot for me size wise.
Far more importantly though, the new 8 gig drive comes in a rather fetching "Strawberry Red" colour!
Of course, Sony's supply chain seems to still be playing catch up, and it's hard to find somewhere you can actually buy one (or at least it was a few weeks back, the new batches should be in the reseller channel now).
Still, in the mean time I shall survive on an ordinary 8 gig I bought for miscellaneous file shuttling, until I can find a Sony Tiny to buy in a way that fits with travel plans.