As we all know, Windows Vista has been around for a full six months now. This means that - like every version of Windows before it - it's probably labouring under the strain and slowing down on a daily basis.

If that's the case for you, then it's fortunate that the OS is able to lean on the ReadyBoost disk-caching technology for a performance boost. This is where products like Sony's new Pocket Bit Mini flash memory devices come in.

Little boxes

The latest Japanese versions (they'll be available elsewhere shortly) cost ¥4,000 (£17) for 1GB or ¥6,200 (£26) for 2GB. They're of the slim USB variety that uses just a pared-down connector to keep the device's thickness down to just 2.7mm and the weight to 1.5g.

Should you not need the ReadyBoost aspect of the new luxurious gold-trimmed Pocket Bit Minis, never fear - they'll work as simple USB storage devices with any OS. Best of all, the entire body swivels on a hinge to create a cover for the otherwise-exposed connectors.