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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

Flash Memory Puts Mars Curiosity into Safe Mode

As with any good project, there should always be a back up plan.  The Curiosity for Mars is no different.  The system has a B-Side computer in the event the A-Side computer went down…well guess what, it went down. There is a theory that cosmic rays affected some of the flash memory on Curiosity causing the A-Side computer to shut down and reboot into Safe Mode. JPL is currently backup up the A-Side data to the B-Side computer and should reboot by weeks end.  Configuration and data transfer can take a while, then of course the verification process of everything done right. JPL states:
“The hardware that we fly is radiation tolerant, but there’s a limit to how hardened it can be, you can still get high-energy particles that can cause the memory to be corrupted. It certainly is a possibility and that’s what we’re looking into.”
For updates please visit the NASA website. Continue Reading

Dell USB Project Called Ophelia

If you haven’t heard,DELL is looking to buy back it’s public shares and go private.  Why you ask?  Going private would allow them to make quick and swift changes with in the company to re-invent itself.  Currently the never-ending demands of the stock holders and investors ties their hands in freedom to create as they wish. DELL, so it is said, started a new code project call Ophelia.  The project is turning a USB key into a portable desktop.  The USB would have the ability to access online software tools and operating systems.  The USB solution from Ophelia will still require a hardware setup (someone’s PC) so think of it as a USB stick high-jacking the processor, RAM, motherboard, video controller etc to run it’s own OS. We’ve seen things like this from smaller, start-up companies,  but DELL has the ability to really make this main stream.  The rumor on target price is $50 US Dollars. I for one believe the ability to high-jack another PCs hardware doesn’t warrant it enough to be more then a complimentary tool to one’s main PC.  Now if DELL can high-jack the 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

“Spendy” $1,000+ Flash Drive

If you look up ambiguous in the dictionary [or wiki page] you’ll probably find a picture of a USB flash drive.  After all, aren’t they?  Not with standing, Zana Design has put craft, materials and resource to the limit with their Apophis meteorite flash drive. Of course, just being made with a meteorite seems like enough, but no, it also comes with a high-purity diamond embedded in it. The drive also incorporates African Black Wood, which is considered a rather high quality material. As far as the actual thumb drive is concerned, it’s USB 3.0-compatible, and comes with 64GB of internal memory. It also has a lifetime warranty, so at least you know if anything goes wrong with your ultra-expensive drive, you will be able to get it replaced. The device comes in two different flavors. Both have the diamond and meteorite, but the cheaper version also features silver and will set you back $1,130. The more expensive 18C gold model will set you back $1,990. My buddy made the comment:  Continue Reading

Store Files on USB Flash or USB Hard Drive?

Flash drives are getting cheaper and flashdrives are getting bigger.  You get to a point and ask yourself, should I archive my valuable information on a large flashdrive or a USB hard drive?  For example, lets say you have 10GBs of photos from your phone or camera and you are looking to archive those pictures.  Should you do this to a flash drive or a hard drive? The easiest and most convenient decision would be saving your files to the flash drive.  Most everyone has a 16GB USB flashdrive these days, it fits in  your hand and you can carry it around with out trouble.  But will it last?  Is a USB flashdrive where I should put my photos if my computer crashes and I need to restore my photos?  Lets forget about the possibility you simply misplace the USB flashdrive.  Is the device archive worthy? The other option is the USB hard drive.  Most people don’t have one so you’ll need to buy one.  Although they are cheap, a USB hard drive is not as cheap as a 16GB or 32GB flash drive…and to be honest the 16-32GB sticks probably have enough space that it could hold your photos.  So is it worth the extra time and money to archive to a USB hard drive?  I guess this is the question more and more people are asking themselves.  Well I have the definitive answer: USB hard drive. Flashdrives are great products for quickly moving files from one computer to another.  However, they are not the best choice for archive purposes, and here are some reasons why: The devices are small and will most likely get damaged.  Unless of course you put the USB stick into the back of your desk drawer, a USB flashdrive gets banged around a lot and this abuse lends itself to failed cells in the memory.  Meaning, over time the files will get corrupted because the NAND memory gets damaged. Continue Reading

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