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Mark McCrosky

Kicking around in technology since 2002. I like to write about technology products and ideas, but at the consumer level understanding. Some tech, but not too techie.

Why Does TLC Memory Write Slower Than MLC Memory

TLC memory writes slower than MLC memory because it stores three bits of data per cell, rather than the one bit stored by SLC and the two bits stored by MLC. Writing three bits of data to a single cell requires more complex programming than writing a single or two bits of data, resulting in slower write speeds and shorter endurance levels. Additionally, the number of program and erase cycles that TLC memory can endure is significantly lower than SLC and MLC memory, further reducing its overall write performance.

More complex programming is required because eash cell can hold three bits of data (with TLC memory) and because of this trait, when new data is added to the cell, the original data must be erased, remembered, and then re-written back to the same cell, in addition to the new bit of data being added to the three layer cell. The speed at which a memory block gets erased depends on the type of memory being used. Generally, Single Level Cell (SLC) memory gets erased the quickest, while Multi Level Cell (MLC) and Triple Level Cell (TLC) memory take longer due to their increased layers. As a side note, the size of the memory block, as well as the type of controller being used, can also affect the speed of erase operations.

The five steps when writing to memory space in TLC memory are as follows:

  • Erase – The existing data in the memory cell must be erased before new data can be written.
  • Program – The new data is programmed into the memory cell.
  • Verify – The new data is verified to ensure it was written correctly.
  • Refresh – The memory cell is refreshed to prevent data corruption due to charge leakage.
  • Read – The data is read from the memory cell to ensure it was written correctly.

If additional data is to be written to another bit of the same cell in a TLC memory, the existing bit must be erased first and then added back in. The overhead in processing slows down the overall speed of the device and directly affects the performance.

Why Does TLC Memory Write Slower Than MLC Memory

To get a bit more information about SLC memory, please visit our original post about this back from 2006.

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Press Release: Orange County IT Services and Cyber Security Consulting by Forza Tek

orange county cyber security computer consulting

Orange County, CA – December 2022Forza Tek offers a range of computer services including Cyber security solutions, software consulting and software development services.

Forza Tek provides a broad variety of IT services and advice, including the creation and deployment of business applications as well as the setting up and upkeep of business infrastructure, so management can concentrate on expanding the company.

Cyber Security

Computer security, cyber security, or information technology security (IT security) is the protection of computer systems and networks from malicious actors who may cause unauthorized information disclosure, theft or damage to hardware, software, or data, as well as disruption or misdirection of the services they provide.

Because of the increased reliance on computer systems, the Internet, and wireless network standards such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, as well as the proliferation of smart devices such as smartphones, televisions, and the various devices that comprise the Internet of things, the field has grown in importance (IoT). Due to the complexity of information systems and the societies they support, cyber security is one of the most significant challenges of the modern world.

Software Development

The process of conceiving, specifying, designing, programming, documenting, testing, and bug fixing that goes into creating and maintaining applications, frameworks, or other software components is known as software development. Software development entails writing and maintaining source code, but it also encompasses all processes from the conception of the desired software to its final manifestation, typically in a planned and structured process. [1] Research, new development, prototyping, modification, reuse, re-engineering, maintenance, and any other activities that result in software products are also included in software development.

Technology Services

Technology services are delivered in the IT industry in accordance with business or enterprise requirements. Services range from basic Internet access to enterprise application software (EA). Internet service providers (ISP), application service providers (ASP), cloud providers, and developers are examples of technology service providers.

  • Software development, integration, and maintenance are examples of technology services.
  • Hardware Integration, management, and upkeep of networks
  • Information safety (IS)
  • Management consultants in information technology
  • Services for mobile phones
  • Web-based applications

Software Consulting

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USB Speeds Shown in MBs – Picture Graph

Most USB specification speeds are shown in Mbps or Megabits per second, but nearly all users reference data storage in MB (Megabytes) or GB (Gigabytes) so this post converts the Mbps rate to MB/second and presents them in a picture graph. Scroll down to see the image.

In the year 1995 seven companies came together to develop USB or Universal Serial Bus. The overall goal was making a uniform way storage devices would connect to computers. (Seven companies are: Compaq, DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, and Nortel)

  • USB 1.0 was introduced in 1996.
  • USB2.0 was introduced in 2000.
  • USB 3.0 was introduced in 2008 with the next generation of USB 3.0 called 3.1 introduced in 2013.
  • USB 3.2 was released in 2017.
  • USB 4.0 specification was released in 2019.

USB speeds shown in MB per second is shown below as a picture graph. The graph below shows the MB/second in relationship to the USB version. In addition, the USB connector type is highlighted for the versions which are available.

USB Speeds Shown in MBs - Picture Graph

The adoption rate of USB specifications to enter the market typically has a 2 year delay from the time of specification release to products becoming available. The duration for those technologies to become fully saturated in the market takes even longer. For example, the USB 4.0 specification may take another four years before the majority of products available will support those transfer speeds.

The data transfer speeds of USB 4.2 will be welcome as moving 10,000 MB/s will easily satisfy the human expectation of “is it done yet!”

Two things to consider however when it comes to our expectations and reality.

  1. The transfer speeds from these specifications (or any specification like PCI or SCSI) are always the theoretical speeds. Actual, real life speeds will be less.
  2. Although USB 4.2 sounds incredible fast, the possibility of files increasing in size is about as exponential as Moore’s Law anyway. Meaning our MP4 video file of today that is 100MB in size… will be higher resolution and better sound a year or two down the road and will balloon in size to 500MB or more.

The device market for all USB technologies in the year 2021 was valued at an estimated $35.3 Billion US Dollars.

The growing use of consumer electronics such as smartphones and laptop computers in developed and developing countries is primarily due to rising disposable income, population growth, and increased Internet penetration. Significant technological advancements have resulted in an increase in the penetration of these devices across several economies. According to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), smartphone sales in the United States will total 152 million units in 2020.

USB devices have emerged as a dominant interface for meeting the growing demand for fast data transfer between end devices such as laptops, smartphones, PCs, and digital cameras. As a result of the increasing demand for consumer electronics and data transmission products, global USB device market players are focusing on launching new products in order to achieve sustainable growth and differentiate themselves from competitors, thereby contributing to market growth.

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Digital Storage Capacity in 1956, Now in 2022 and Future 2087

Digital Storage Capacity in 1956, Now in 2022 and Future 2087

IBM introduced the world’s first commercial storage system, the 305 RAMAC. in 1956. A magnetic disk was used to store data and was intended for a secondary storage system. RAMAC stands for Random Access Method of Accounting and Control and was designed for real-world needs of accounting in business. The first customers was the US Navy.

This physical size of the 305 was 6′ wide by 5′ deep (feet). Total storage capacity was 4.4MBs (megabytes). The weight for this storage system was just over one ton (source).

Today, (2022) we can see a 1TB (terabyte) of storage in a microSD card (TF Card) at the small size of 15mm x 11mm and the weight is under one gram.

The big selling point from IBM in 1956 was the ability for the 305 to store the equivalent of 64,000 punch cards on its magnetic disks. Punch cars are stiff pieces of paper which contain digital data represented by the presence [or absence] of holes in predefined positions on the card.

The IBM 350 disk system could store 5 million alphanumeric characters as six data bits, one parity bit, and one space bit, for a total of eight bits per character. It had fifty disks with a diameter of 24 inches. Under servo control, two independent access arms moved up and down to select a disk and in and out to select a recording track.

In comparison, today’s 1TB microSD card will hold about 6.5 million documents and said another way, 6.5 million documents bit in about 1,300 filing cabinets. The seek time to find a single file is about

In 1957, IBM would lease the RAMAC 305 for about $3,200 per month (roughly $33,000 in 2022 dollars). Over one thousand 305 systems were manufactured before production ceased in 1961.

Digital Storage in the Future

If we consider Moore’s Law which is storage capacity and technology in general will double every 18 months, we can calculate 43 cycles of Moore’s Law between today and 65 years into the future. Doing some advanced math, we figure the storage capacity of a microSD card, if still available, in 2087 will be 18,446,744,073,709,600,000,000,000 TBs of data.

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TeamViewer Alternative – And it’s Free – Quick Assist from Microsoft

TeamViewer is one of the most popular applications to share computer screens with other people. However TeamViewer is very expensive. Is there a TeamViewer alternative? Yes there is… and it’s 100% free.

We found a TeamViewer alternative one day because, as a business, we had to provide technical support to a remote Windows computer. TeamViewer is very clear about their software being used in a business should have a business license.

From the screen shot below, you can see a single license is $34.90 per month. What TeamViewer doesn’t tell you… until half way through the purchase process… is a yearly subscription is your only option. Ugh. This now puts your TeamViewer cost at $418.80 for a single year. More licenses require a bigger financial commitment.

teamviewer is expensive, free alternative

We immediately went into TeamViewer alternative mode.

As an alternative, we found Quick Assist from Microsoft.

Quick Assist is 100% free and offered by Microsoft which allows users to share their computer screen and give free and total control to the other. There is no time limit for a sharing session and there is no limit to the number of times you can use the tool, or no limit for whom you use the tool with.

You need to download the free utility from the Microsoft App store, and that process is extremely easy. Type “quick assist” into the search bar and Windows will provide a link to download.

Quick Assist is TeamViewer alternative, download screenshot

After download the Quick Assist app is ready for use.

By launching the app you can either input a code from an Assistant who is helping you remotely, or you can select the option to assist someone else. See the image below.

To assist another person you will need a Microsoft account and if you don’t have one, Quick Assist will put you through the process in a couple steps.

If you are receiving help from someone, a Microsoft account is not required.

Below are a couple screen shots for getting connected between an “assistant” and the one receiving the help.

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Make USB Flash Drive Bootable in Anything

USB flash drive, bootable, in anything

Doing some research for why some HP computers do not boot from a USB flash drive, I came across Ventoy.

Ventoy is a software tool to create a USB flash drive bootable in anything and supports the most common image files.

We tried Ventoy to make a USB flash drive bootable, and it works like a champ. In fact, the software is so easy to use, it is worth commenting about a previous post we did. A while back we talked about how to check if your USB flash drive is bootable, and to be honest, rather than putting in the time and work to read the article and do the steps, your time is better used flashing your drive with Ventoy. The result is a bootable USB flash drive for any device.

Ventoy is an open source tool for creating bootable flash drives when using image files like ISO, IMG, WIM, VHD and EFI files. The project team tested over 900 image files which tested successfully on over 90% of the distro packages.

What we like about this solution is no need to flash the drive with boot code using the source CD-ROM like so many tutorials out there (for Windows at least) because the Ventoy tool creates a second partition which all the boot code and the Ventoy utility flashes that partition with the boot code needed. You can see from the Disk Management screen shot below there are now two partitions on the tested flash drive.

usb flash drive, bootable, disk management, ventoy

You can tell there have been plenty of Ventoy updates and what is (also) very nice about their software tool is the display of Ventoy version on your device. Nice feature to cross reference if your device is current or needs an update. The update process is just as quick as the original creation of the bootable device.

usb bootable in anything, ventoy software screen

Considering the above, it goes without saying it is easier than ever to make a USB flash drive bootable in anything without having to re-do the work. This software eliminates the need to re-create a bootable image to USB and flash it over and over. Simply update the image file content, not the boot strap code.

The only thing even slightly annoying, which is easy enough to correct is the Volume name for the primary partition defaults to “Ventoy” Would be nice if an edit feature was in the software to customize this without the additional step of renaming the volume after-the-fact.

USB volume name, ventoy, for bootable flash drive

Here are a list of feature copied from the website. The project is open source and we suggest making a donation if you do in-fact use the code. It’s only fair, right!

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Kingston – To Pay $7.5 mil In Compensatory Damages

Kingston USB flash drive, stock photo

Friday, June 3, 2022 Kingston Technology Company LLC was held accountable for willfully infringing on US Patent No 6,926,544 held by Pavo Solutions LLC.

The patent abstract:

A flash memory apparatus with a single body type rotary cover, where the cover is not completely separated from the main body to prevent cover loss. The flash memory apparatus consists of the following components: a flash memory main body with a rectangular shaped case in which a memory element is mounted. A USB terminal piece is electrically connected to the memory element and installed at a front end of the case to protrude therefrom, as well as a hinge protuberance formed on at least one side of the case. A cover is provided that is defined by a pair of parallel plate members facing each other with an interval corresponding to the thickness of the case. The cover has an open front and a closed back. The cover’s lateral ends are both open. The parallel plate members are joined to the hinge protuberance by a pair of hinge holes, allowing the cover to rotate with respect to the flash memory main body, allowing the USB terminal piece to be received in an inner space of the cover or rotated for exposure to the outside of the cover.

We are not a legal website so for more detail on the proceedings, please visit IP Watch Dog.

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How To: Create a Website Shortcut on a USB Drive

This article will show you how to create a website shortcut that works from a flash drive. The article includes the instructions, a video on the instructions and a template file one can download and tweak for their own use.

The reason for this topic of creating a website shortcut on a flash drive is because dragging and dropping your desktop shortcut to a flash drive doesn’t work.

The shortcut on a desktop is a relative path of the computer to the website. Which means the shortcut doesn’t transfer well to a flash drive for others to use. Rather than a working shortcut, the shortcut either errors off or takes you to a generic page within the browser.

Creating a shortcut that works on a USB flash drive is very easy. Like, crazy easy.

  • Open Notepad (type notepad in search and click Enter)
  • Type: [InternetShortcut]
  • Type website landing page: URL=https://www.getusb.info
  • Now Save As the file to your USB flash drive with .URL extension.

You have now successfully made a website shortcut on your USB flash drive.

This link can be used on any flash drive or hard drive or desktop location. The shortcut is truly a universal file that will work from any location.

Here is the text file which you can use as a template if the above instructions are too complicated or you simply don’t want to perform the steps.

Here is the video: How To: Create a Website Shortcut on a USB Drive

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Power Apple TV Box Without Outlet

power Apple TV box without outlet

From Mission a company which makes your favorite accessories a little better introduces a power solution to power your Apple TV box without needing an AC outlet.

By offering this solution, one less power outlet plug is required to run your Apple TV box.

Perfect for wall mounted TVs with only one outlet behind/near the TV. Declutter the cables around your TV with the Mission accessory.

How does it work?

Between the connection to your Apple TV box and a USB port on your TV sits a small electrical box. This box has a lithium ion battery and a custom PCB which stores extra power from the USB socket from your TV and buffers that power in the lithium battery. Then a bit stronger current is sent to your Apple TV box to properly power it.

How it works, power Apple TV box without outlet

This Mission product is compatible with all versions of the Apple TV box.

  • Powerful Battery // 7.2V / 2000mAh Battery
  • High Output Power Capability // Works with 4K HDR Video
  • Product Dimensions // 4ft/121cm total cable length, 7.9 oz
  • Compatibility // Compatible with all generations of Apple TV

F.A.Q.

Q. Does the internal battery ever fully discharge and disrupt the USB cable performance?

A. No, the cable is designed to always have sufficient power, even after many hours of continuous use.

Q. Is a mount for Apple TV included in the box?

A. No, for the easiest setup we recommend the purchase of an Apple TV mount. This will allow the Apple TV and Mission USB Power cable to be easily installed on the back of the TV, minimizing clutter around the TV.

Q. What is the output voltage of the cable?

A. 120V

Q. What is the total length of the cable?

A. 4 feet or 121 centimeters.

Mission also provides this same type of solution for the Chromecast product and Amazon Fire Stick.

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Official (nearly) – Apple Dropping Thunderbolt for USB-C

Apple switching Thunderbolt to USB-C

We love to hear the big and small wins for USB technology. After 10 years, USB-C will win the battle as the connection socket of choice for iPhone products.

Why?

It is estimated the value of charging cables to be sold in 2022 is $2.6 billion dollars. If you estimate cable to be $10 USD, that is 260 million physical cables made. Yes, this is an estimated number, but that is a lot of potential waste given most already have charging cables.

The fundamental problem are the different cables needed for different devices. This is why USB is such a lovely technology. It is designed to be universal. Really, all electronic devices which can charge or communicate should connect via one physical method. We vote USB-C!

Who started it?

The EU started the push to codify the use of a single connector type for all electronic devices starting in 2018. The EU started this process in order to eliminate waste associated with one cable being shipped with every electronic device. Their goal is to reduce the number of charging cables manufactured to get the world closer to a carbon neutral position. EU wants all devices to use the same connection type by 2030.

Who tipped us off?

Today we learn from a well know parts analyst who covers the Apple products. Ming-Chi Kuo is an analyst who surveys different parts suppliers related to the supply-chain of product manufactured for Apple. Through the forecasting survey and questions, Kuo is able to accurately predict many upcoming trends and changes related to Apple products.

When will this start?

Based on parts forecasting and the ramp up of USB-C components, Kuo believes the change will happen in 2023.

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Why do I have to Eject my USB Flash Drive?

Why do I have to Eject my USB Flash Drive

Do I have to eject my USB flash drive?

The short answer: No.

The technical answer: Yes.

If the technical answer is yes, the why do I have to Eject my USB Flash Drive?

The difference boils down to the type of file system being used. If the USB is FAT, FAT32 or exFAT you do NOT need to eject the USB flash drive before pulling it out of a computer.

If the USB drive is NTFS, then yes, eject the flash drive before pulling it out of the computer.

So why eject when the USB flash drive is formatted as NTFS?

The NTFS (New Technology File System) is a journaling file system system.

A journaling file system is one that keeps track of changes which have not yet been committed to the main part of the file system by recording the goal of such changes in a data structure known as a “journal,” which is typically a circular log. In the event of a system crash or power outage, such file systems can be restored more quickly and with a lower risk of corruption.

Depending on how it is implemented, a journaling file system may only keep track of stored metadata, resulting in improved performance at the expense of increased data corruption risk. A journaling file system, on the other hand, may track both stored data and related metadata, with some implementations allowing for user-selectable behavior in this regard.

With an NTFS formatted flash drive it is very possible there are journal entries going on in the background which the user is not away of, so if the drive is unexpectedly pulled out of the computer that physical action could corrupt the data on the drive.

Why do people format flash drives as NTFS?

Two common reasons people (wrongfully) format a flash drive as NTFS include:

  1. The user would like to take advantage of security settings which NTFS does offer
  2. The user has large single files and isn’t aware exFAT solves the same problem

NTFS allows an Administrator to assign privileges’ to files and folders and those security settings will remain for said files on the NTFS formatted flash drive. This is probably the ONLY legitimate reason a flash drive should be formatted as NTFS.

FAT and FAT32 have a single file limit of 4GBs so any single file larger than 4GBs will not be copied to a FAT or FAT32 flash drive. To get around this problem, Users will format the drive as NTFS. They select NTFS because it’s the same file system as their host computer… and since it works there… might as well format the flash drive the same way. However, what the users don’t understand is exFAT solves the same problem while at the same time providing a more stable file system – one that isn’t a journaling file system – so a flash drive can be pulled out without ejecting.

Good News – Free USB Eject Software Tool

GetUSB.info reported on this earlier; Eject USB Flash Drive safely, Free Download. The software is free to download, free to distribute and free to embed into other programs.

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How To: Copy Protect Digital Photo on USB Flash Drive

I want to copy protect a digital photo on a USB flash drive. The answer wasn’t as obvious as I had hoped, but I did find it.

Below is the process I used to get what I needed.

The first thing I want to emphasize is that I want to protect a digital copy of a photo rather than a physical copy of a photo.

So, how to prevent a digital photo from being copied from a USB flash drive is a difficult question to answer. My first thought is about the medium I intend to use to send a digital photo to someone.

  • Do I offer a download link?
  • Do I send them a digital copy on a storage device like a portable hard drive or USB flash drive?
  • Do I provide them a weblink to view the file from a hosted server?

The more I considered a delivery method, the more questions I had.

My first thought was to host the photo on a private webpage. Only users with access to the page could view the photo.

This isn’t going to work. I realized that once the viewer is on the page and viewing the photo, they can save it or screen capture it. After that, they could share the digital photo with whoever they wanted. There isn’t much protection here.

My next thought was to put the digital photo in a password-protected zip file. That is a good idea. The photo can only be viewed by someone who knows the password.

Oh wait, that doesn’t work either. I end up with the same problem as the hosted webpage. Once the file is accessed, the user can do anything they want.

So it occurs to me… I keep returning to an encryption solution rather than a copy protection solution. Encryption is useful because only those with the correct password can access the photo; however, it is not the same as my ultimate goal, which is to copy protect a digital photo and prevent it from being copied.

I guess you can say encryption is a way of keeping the honest people… well, honest.

I need a way to protect my photo regardless of the recipient’s intent. I realized I needed a solution in which everyone can see the photo but no one can do anything with it. Is it even possible to find such a solution?

When I was talking with a neighbor who is an IT guy, he mentioned a concept that I’d heard of before but didn’t apply to my thinking. Rather than a digital method of sending the photo, he proposed a type of physical dongle that held the photo. He explained that without the physical device, viewing the photo is impossible.

The lightbulb went on!

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