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Flash Memory – Supply and Demand

In recent weeks the cost of flash memory has increased substantially.  The commodity product, is for the most part, a stable consumable with pricing that fluctuations in single digit percentages.  However, lately the prices have increased between 10-30%.  As with any product there are variables which contribute to price and the following information might help explain why flash memory is getting more expensive. The two largest manufacturers of flash memory (NAND memory) are Samsung and Toshiba.  Together they account for about 70% of the world’s flash.  These companies produce a wide variety of flash memory models and the factories have various levels of quality for the output of their product. Typically the high performance memory that gets the best test ratings is sold to large consumers like Apple, Nokia and Sony.  As the ratings for the speed of the memory drop, these variants get pushed into the low-end market segments, such as USB drives and inexpensive MP3 players and other promotional gadgets. In Q3 2012 Toshiba made an announcement they will reduce world wide production by 30%.  Since this time, flash pricing has remained stable and has not decreased in cost. With the on-going patent battles between Apple and Samsung the Cupertino based company made a decision Continue Reading

LaCie Porsche Design SSD USB 3.0 Hard Drive

Slim is in…hasn’t that been the motto of runway models for the past 20 years.  I guess you can say the same for tech gadgets, laptops and of course storage peripherals. LaCie introduces the Porsche Designed ultra slim 120GB SSD hard drive. The $149.99 Slim Drive P9223 by LaCie, powered by none other than USB 3.0, follows the same minimalist design set by Porsche Design. It has a thickness of a mere 11mm; this makes it a great compliment to a 17mm slim MacBook. It’s chassis is made of solid aluminum which doubles as a heat sink for fast dissipation of any heat build up from the NAND chips. The LaCie Porsche SSD can top a transfer speed of 400/MBs.  But it’s not a walk in the park to get that data transfer rate.  You need to have a computer which supports the USB Attached SCSI [UAS] protocol.  This is a protocol which overcomes the aging bulk-only transport method which has been around since USB 1.0. Source:  EverythingUSB. Continue Reading

Apple Sells Lightning to 30pin Adapter

Apple has added Lightning to micro USB port support to its online store. The new Lightning to micro USB adapter is compatible with the newest iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch device. The product can be used to sync as well as charge each type of device. The move shows Apple’s willingness to extend its new adapters capabilities. In the past, a 30-pin dock connector to micro USB adapter was only available for sale in Europe. The new adapter, while listed in the United States, is also shown with EU specifications. Apple had refused a micro USB adapter on its 30-pin connector because it wanted to stick with proprietary options that would protect its devices from third party device adapters. The move in the EU, however, allowed for less waste since old adapters from legacy devices could be adapted Apple also chose to forgo micro USB adapters because they didn’t allow the company to make iOS devices as thin and light as they wanted. Micro USB adapters are not as fast as Apple’s Lightning connectors; however, they are also not a standard type of connection option like 30-pin connectors had become over five years of iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch sales. Apple sells an adapter to convert from Lighting to 30-pin so that most legacy accessories can still function, but some devices have become unavoidably incompatible with the newest iOS devices because of the Lightning connector. In some cases, users have become angered when video capabilities would not operate with the company’s lightning to 30-pin connector adapter. Other adapters already offered by Apple include options for SD card readers, VGA connectors, Lightning to HDMI, Firewire, and eSATA. The new micro USB adapter comes at a cost of $19. Continue Reading

How To: Make Mountain Lion Installer on USB

I read a great article on The Unofficial Apple Weblog [TUAW] about making a Mountain Lion installer on USB. To make an installer version of Mountain Lion on USB you’ll obviously need a copy of the OSX Mountain Lion installer. Next, go to your applications folder and find the actual installer…should be called Mac OS X Mount Lion. Rich click that bad boy and select the Show Package Contents form the pop-up. Navigate to Contents > SharedSupport and then start looking for the InstallESD.dmg.  This is the image file for the installer. Now we need to launch the DiskUtility so open a new folder with Command N. Continue Reading

MacBook Air Adds USB 3.0

Apple released their new MacBook Air product and we are very excited to hear USB 3.0 is now standard. If you have concerns about USB 3.0 being a new technology without much compatibility, you are totally wrong.  The great thing about USB is their backward compatible specification.  What this means, is the USB-IF [the forum which governs the technology] requires that any new USB specification work will all legacy USB protocols. So even using that ultra slow USB drive from 2004 will work in the new MacBook Air products.  Not like you would, but it’s just an example.  Another example is using slower USB products like USB keyboards or USB calculators or USB breast warmers will work from the Apple USB 3.0 socket. The USB 3.0 specification has a maximum transfer speed of gigabits per second.  That’s about 500MBs per second.  You must keep in mind this is the theoretical maximum and you can never expect this type of performance from a USB device, but it’s nice to know the efficiency ratios are dramatically improved with the new USB 3.0 specification. Continue Reading

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