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How Flash Memory Works

This is a great video that explains how flash memory works. Granted, the video is very technical but does work through the concept of reading and writing data to flash. So if you have the 17 minutes to use, I suggest giving this a watch. The video does cover SLC, MLC and TLC memory and how each of these technologies read and write with the different layers of a floating gate device like NAND. Source: YouTube. Continue Reading

Video: USB Inkjet Printer for USB Swivel Drives by Nexcopy

Video: Nexcopy USB7P inkjet printer for USB swivel drives.

Nexcopy introduces the USB Clip Printer – a full color, inkjet printer that brings vibrant custom logos and graphics to any standard USB swivel drive – and it’s all available from your desktop.

The USB7P was engineered to address full color printing to USB flash drives at an affordable price. The idea is simple. Using the body of the standards swivel drive you swap the metal clip from your supplier for the inkjet printable clip from Nexcopy. Now, with an inkjet printable clip you can print full color images, on both sides of the clip, from any jpeg image. The results are fantastic. The print is durable and the print is highly

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5 Realistic Looking USB Airplane Flash Drives

Promotional items have been around for years. Coffee mugs, pens, etc are still the default item for marketing manager without an imagination. Back in 2000 the flash drive was the new kid on the block for swag. Flash forward five years and the USB stick was a bit like the coffee mug, old and boring. At about this same time manufacturing processes started improving for using silicon as a moldable material. This is where the custom flash drive started gaining popularity. As time move along, the process and technology got even better. Today we are seeing some fantastic promotional items in the shape of logo’s, parts, products and even airplanes. Today we list five realistic looking USB airplane designs that would get any marketing manager excited about a promotional flash drive. Let’s take a look large cabin cruiser airplane usb, flash drive Here is the Pilatus airplane flash drive airplane, pilatus Here is a Hawker airplane usb airplane, hawker Here is the F16 and F35 planes designed by Lockheed Martin usb jet, F16   usb jet, F35 These are all very impressive designs and certainly a piece of swag any trade show junkie, or even executive, would love to have. Times have certainly changed. The source for these designs is through a company named www.USBCOPIER.com and these products or any customized design can be created, just contact them. Continue Reading

Corsair Brings USB and microUSB Stick to CES 2014

Corsair continues their reputation for high speed, high quality USB products.  This year at the CES 2014 show Corsair is showing off their new Voyager Go USB drive. Two improvements with this device: 1)  The USB includes a standard USB connector and a microUSB connector.  This addition makes it easier to store files from a portable device directly to the flash memory. 2)  The USB cap and USB body include a loop so when connected with a lanyard you no longer have the option to lose the cap.  This is the first that I’ve seen with a cap/body configuration like this…and it should have happened years ago. Corsair USB The Corsair Voyager Go USB is available as a 3.0 device in 16, 32 and 64GB capacity.  USB 3.0 can boost transfer speeds in excess of 135MB/s however we must realize this spec is not real-world environment. Corsair microUSB Source:  Corsair, CES. Continue Reading

Longevity of USB Flash and Wear Leveling

I think we have all heard a USB can only be used so many times.  Some say the number is 1,000 writes – some say the number is 100,000 writes.  One thing I do know for sure, it’s impossible to tell on any one specific device.  The life cycle of a USB is directly related to the flash memory…and from model to model or style to style, who knows what quality of flash is used.  With that said, we can still explain the theory behind making USB drives last longer.  For the most part it boils down to several elements  A)  the memory type and quality and B) the wear leveling technique. As a quick summary the NAND flash in USB can be either SLC, MLC or TLC (single cell, multi-layer cell or triple-layer cell memory).  Typically you will find MLC and now mostly TLC in USB sticks.  SLC can be found but typically on the very high end devices. Wear leveling is a technique to prolong the life of the erasable flash memory.  To summarize, flash memory has individual, erasable segments that can be set as zero’s or ones (set as either positive or negative charge).  However, after a certain number of erase and write cycles the segment (cell) becomes too unstable for reliable use. Wear leveling is the algorithm used by the controller on the device which attempts to arrange the erase and writes evenly across the flash medium.  Typically flash can have a cycle between 3,000 and 5,000 erase/writes.  In addition to the usable area, the flash also has some cells with specific blocks for extended live which can handle up to 100,000 writes.  This is the area where the controller makes not of the segments previously used and maps out the next best cells to use during an erase/write cycle. There are three types of wear leveling. No wear leveling – A Flash memory storage system with no wear leveling will not last very long if it is writing data to the flash. Without wear leveling, the Flash controller must permanently assign the logical addresses from the host computer to the physical addresses of the Flash memory. This means that every write to a previously written block must first be read, erased, modified, and re-written to the same location. This is very time consuming and highly written locations will wear out quickly with other locations even being completely unused. Once a few blocks reach their end of life the drive is no longer operable. Dynamic wear leveling – The first developed type of leveling is called dynamic wear leveling and it uses a map to linklogicl block addresses from the host to the physical Flash memory. Each time the host writes replacement data, the map is updated so the original physical block is marked as invalid data, and a new block is linked to that map entry. Each time a block of data is re-written to the Flash memory it is written to a new location. Static wear leveling – The other type of wear leveling is called static wear leveling which also uses a map to link the block addresses to physical memory addresses. Static wear leveling works the same as dynamic wear leveling except the static blocks that do not change are periodically moved so that these low usage cells are able to be used by other data. This rotational effect of block addressing enables an SSD to operate until most of the blocks are near their end of life. The above are three types of wear leveling and there are three types of techniques used to extend the life of a USB drive. Error correction – Code which is kept and logs bad blocks so they cannot be used again in future writes. Pool reserve – Where if a write fails to a block it can be re-routed to the pool of reserved blocks and written there. Track usage  – Blocks on the media can be tracked in a least recently used queue of some sort. The data structures for the queue itself must be wear leveled as well as this queue information is constantly changing. Source:  Wikipedia and Nexcopy Inc. duplicator manufacturer. Continue Reading

Rip and Tear Gigabytes To Go

Burning CDs is slow and impractical when at a clients site.  In addition, who wants to leave behind their 16GB flash drive with a mix of personal and professional information?  With that said, we designed a small pack of drives we could tear and use when needed.  Since we travel and present files to clients this gives us an easy, inexpensive and creative way to leave files with the client. The design lends itself to the old-school flyers you’d see around town for a local band playing at a pub or someone looking to offer odd-job services.  The physical form factor says it all…quick, easy, here-ya-go. Each pack of four is recycled paper used as it’s chassis/case and COB memory and USB connector (Chip On Board) for the memory.  Each tab is perforated for easy tear and use functionality. The designer Kurt Rampton of Bolt Group offers the drives in a couple different Continue Reading

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