JLC Archive on USB Flash Drive

Bet you never thought of a USB flash drive as a construction tool. Or better yet, as a knowledgeable journeyman. I never would’ve either, until my copy of the JLC Archive on USB Flash Drive arrived a few days ago. This easily searchable archive contains all 324 past issues of the Journal of Light Construction, from January 1986 to December 2012, on a 2GB, JLC-branded USB flash drive:

JLC Archive USB flash drive and lanyard.

My initial impression was how sturdily made the flash drive is. It’s housed in a thick plastic sleeve, with a heavy-duty metal cover to protect the USB connector when not in use. A detachable lanyard is also included. It’s the epitome of rugged elegance!

JLC Archive USB flash drive in my notebook USB port.

The JLC Archive is comprised of PDF renderings of all those aforementioned JLC past issues, plus a master PDX index to speed keyword searches up. From an initial PDF entry-point document, you can browse the archive by issue or topic-subtopic, or search for any articles containing specific keywords.

Below is a screen shot of my own indexed keyword search for “ductless heat pump”. The Adobe Search panel on the left reveals two articles, with a total of 21 occurrences of “ductless heat pump” between them. Clicking on any cited occurrence takes you to the specific page containing that occurrence, with the keywords highlighted, while clicking on the title retrieves the entire article, positioned at the first page:

JLC Archive keyword search results.

You can also perform non-indexed keyword searches that scan the entire archive from beginning to end, but I wouldn’t recommend doing so unless an indexed search failed to produce a result you’re otherwise confident must exist in the archive. I’ve found the indexed searches to be very fast, taking just a few seconds to complete, while full scans for the same keywords took about 20-25 minutes. On the other hand, browsing by issue is probably best when you’ve already got a citation in hand, while browsing by topic-subtopic is most likely preferable for exploratory poking about.

But the bottom line is that the JLC Archive on USB Flash Drive is a really great knowledge tool. As a committed fan of the JLC, I wouldn’t be without one. And as I said, it’s tough! It’d probably survive a long jaunt in a tool carrier, but might be better off living in a project planner. It’d also make a great companion to a ruggedized tablet, no doubt.

Non-Coincidental Incidentals

If you’re so inclined, do a Google search on the string “usb flash drive images” to see some of the latest wacky stuff people are making to house their USB flash drives. Some of it’s pretty amazing.

Far more importantly, and especially if you’re a JLC fan, check out both Notes from Providence :: Welcome to JLC Live — The Sawdust Show, and Notes from Providence :: Press for Products from JLC Live, both by my great friend jb bartkowiak, creator and editor of Building Moxie. jb spent several days in Providence, Rhode Island, at JLC Live last month, and his journalistic account and personal perspectives of the show are definitely worth giving a good read.


I wrote this product review at no one’s request, and received no compensation for it.

About John Poole

My interests include historic homes, architectural preservation and restoration, improving the energy performance of old houses, and traditional timber frames.
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