Flash In The News

microSDXC-trioOne of the announcements coming from MWC2015 today was the release of a frightfully capacious flash memory card from SanDisk. Their new Ultra Premium Edition microSDXC card holds a whopping 200 GB of data! With class 10 performance it’s able to record 1080 video.

The company positions the product as targeting those who want to collect and carry massive amounts of media in their handheld devices. You can expect to put 20 hours of VC1 encoded 1080p video on the tiny card.

At first glance, I am at a loss to know why I would truly need such vast storage in a tiny flash card. However, Alan Buckingham provides some enlightenment via Beta News. He notes that there are a coming wave of security cameras that require substantial local media storage. This also came up in conversation with Grandstream during VUC529. Some of their surveillance cameras & encoders sport USB or SD-based local storage capability.

At $399 the monster SanDisk card is not exactly cheap, but it’s still only $2/GB. That’s a bargain compared to Sony’s SR-64HXA audiophile microSDXC card. Announced at CES2015, the 64 GB Class 10 card has an asking price of $155. That’s $2.42/GB. It’s marketed in Japan as “for Premium Sound,” presumably targeting those who would also shell out $1200 for their latest ZX2 uber-walkman

In contrast, Amazon has SanDisk Extreme 64GB UHS-I/U3 Micro SDXC Memory Card for just $45, which is just $0.70/GB. For my money, that’s where I’d put my bits, be they music or other.

Sony has clearly lost it’s way. Although, there is a long and storied history of depriving the rubes of their currency. This holds especially true in the realm of audiophiliacs. Witness Audioquest, who offers a $10k audiophile Ethernet cable. P.T. Barnum would be proud.

Learning About SSDs

HP-Pavilion-HPE-H8-Desktop-PC-300px.pngSolid state disks (SSD) are coming down in price and going up in capacity. The attractions are many; lower power consumption, low heat output, mechanically robust, decent write performance and dramatically faster read performance. There’s plainly a lot to like about SSDs.

Last winter I put a cheap 120 GB San Disk Ultra SSD into my aging netbook and gave it another year’s lease on life. Over the summer I saw a deal on some nicely spec’d HP Pavilion HPE desktops I bought a couple for myself and the Mrs. It seemed a sensible way to move us away from Windows XP.

This is a little story about the solid state disk residing in my desktop PC. The device in question is a 128 GB Crucial M4 model that I added to a new HP desktop purchased from Woot.com last summer. The tale is worth telling because the SSD seemed to fail after just a few months.

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Newsflash: SSD Pricing Is Getting Enticing

Back in January I rather impulsively purchased a 120 GB Sandisk Ultra SSD. At $120 it was just too tempting to pass up. Until recently that disk lived in my HP Mini 5102 netbook.

In truth, 120 GB was on the borderline of being large enough for what I need. I have a 50 GB paid Dropbox account. That dictates that s very small disk will present certain inconveniences.

The SSD in the netbook achieved what I had hoped. The little PC booted faster, ran faster and had longer battery life than with the stock WD Scopio drive.

The events of past week or two have resulted in my having a spare 750 GB Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive. I’ve swapped that into the netbook for now. That leaves the SSD without a home, a situation that I will surely remedy shortly.

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Another Hard Drive Bytes The Dust, But Is It A Momentus Moment?

HP dc5750 desktopIf I may take a moment to anthropomorphize…hard drives are not immortal. I was reminded of this very fact when overnight on April 11th a drive in my primary desktop failed.

Given that I was just one day away from my making annual forced trek to Las Vegas for the NAB Convention, and the fact that our income tax return was on that media, it certainly could have been a a problem. However, it wasn’t a catastrophe. Not at all.

The two computers that Stella and I use as our primary desktops sport internal RAID 1 disk arrays. Both desktops came that way. In fact, that was part of their appeal. I was concerned that Stella would have a drive fail one day when I was travelling. Such a failure at an inopportune moment would surely heap calamity upon my very existence.

These desktops are now getting older. Last fall Stella’s system did lose a disk. She told me about the event, advising that she received a desktop prompt noting that “Logical Drive 1 had become critical.” I said not to worry, if it was still running it wasn’t being critical of anything she had done. All would be well until I resolved the trouble.

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Mini-Me And The SSD

SanDisk-SSD & HP-5103A couple of weeks ago one of the daily deals emails from New Egg made an offer that I found I could not resist. I am weak, it’s true. The offer in question was a 120 GB SanDisk Ultra solid state disk (SSD) drive for a mere $120Most SSDs of that size are $180+.

The appeal of SSDs is rooted in the same kind of sensibility that had me building Asterisk appliances that boot from flash media. Flash offers an attractive combination of performance and reliability.

The trade-off presented by SSDs is very high cost-per-gigabyte of storage. This offer, which was basically $1/GB, seemed like a nice chance to try an SSD for the first time. I wasn’t really certain how I’d use it, but I ordered one anyway.

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Blabbelon In SILKy Wideband Audio

blabbelonVUC regular Tim Panton has been very busy lately. He was at Astricon where he gave a splendid presentation on the current state of Skype-For-Asterisk, including a live demo of it integrated with Google Wave. He later gave a similar presentation at eComm in Amsterdam, including a demo to the Google Wave team! Of course, we’ve been using his G.722 capable Java plug-in for web browser access to the ZIPDX wideband conference bridge for several months. That has been a genuinely useful bit of software, allowing anyone with a headset & decent broadband to experience HDVoice first hand.

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