A little tool I’d like to use at GA

OK, this won’t mean much to many, but it is a product that I’d like to see more use of because it would be a light-weight way to share info at settings like GA. And without paper.

Did you see the story of the New Orleans health fair story on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer tonight? Did you notice the credit card sized discs the clients were given to contain their health info? Those were are so-called hockey rink CDs, or business card disks. They hold about 50 megabytes, the same as about thirty old floppies, but only a fourteenth of a full CD. Some tiny Linux distributions come on business card disks. They are little, can fit into a pocket, and some can be label-printed with ink-jet printers. Vendors often sell them in bulk, bundled with vinyl envelopes.

Consider the GA exhibitor who can “set up shop” quite nicely with a printed table drape (to the rear of the booth) and — leaving the paper at home — have representatives hand out these discs to passers-by. The printed label identifies the group, gives contact info and a web address. Fifty megs of data might be the outreach, depending on the group. The whole kit could be put in a suitcase — perhaps even a carry-on — and I have to think the discs are more likely to be used and not discarded than the bulk of what is picked up at conventions.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. The credit card disks can be a real disaster in some slot loading drives. They work fine on the tray load on my desktops but I’d be afraid to put them in my laptop with its slot load combo drive. I’ve definitely gotten some cool catalogs at trade shows that way though.

  2. Agreed. My kids occasionally get those little odd shaped disks as cartoon gimmiks and they rarely play correctly in my tray loading drive. The mini disks are usually fine, but we’ve even gotten full sized promo cds and dvds that were troublesome. It’s really bad PR when your free hand out fails to work properly! We got one from the boy scouts that was so crappy that I almost couldn’t get it to play at all. My kids are already in the scouts so it wasn’t life altering for me, but I can say for sure that if that was my first intro to scouting, I wouldn’t be waiting in a line to sign up. If I had paid for that disk, I would have been really upset! So, I guess the lesson there is to make sure you have a quality product before you go handing them out! I think it’s a great idea though, novel enough to get people to really look at it, and large enough that it can hold more than the typical “grab their attention” type flyer that probably ends up in a huge pile of other ignored flyers at a big assembly like that!

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