Wednesday, March 19, 2008

BBC NEWS | UK | Writer Arthur C Clarke dies at 90

Friday, March 07, 2008

FLASH! Ah-aah Another thing I didn't know

QUESTION:
In your latest WXPNews you wrote: "What's more, if you defrag a flash drive, you'll shorten its life because flash memory can only do a certain number of writes before it wears out." I didn't know that! I haven't had one die yet. How long might they last? Any difference between brands? Cheers - Jeremy

ANSWER:
I was surprised at the number of readers who wrote to say this was news to them. Typical flash chips last for anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 "flashes" (writes to the disk) to a particular location in memory, but some older/cheaper flash drives may start wearing out at 10,000 flashes. Reading the memory doesn't wear it out. You can read more details about how this works here:
http://www.wxpnews.com/CRAC5G/080304-Thumbdrive-Memory

This is a concern of many regarding the new trend to substitute flash memory for hard disks in laptop computers. However, the newest flash chips can support up to a million writes per block (with 8000 blocks per chip). With typical use, they'll last for many years. These are the type of flash chips that are being used as solid state memory in computers, and it's unlikely they will wear out before the system becomes obsolete. Read more about that here:
http://www.wxpnews.com/CRAC5G/080304-Solidstate-Storage

With low cost flash cards (as with any media), it's always a good idea to regularly back your data up to another location just in case.

More Gary Gygax

My other favourite webcomic, XKCD, has now done a Gary Gygax Tribute comic.

It's not as eloquent as the one I posted yesterday but it made me laugh out loud.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

R.I.P. Gary Gygax

I know this is already old news ( a couple of days ) but I don't read newspapers and only found out by catching up on my favourite web comic: Order of the Stick that has made a tribute comic as part of its ongoing storyline that says what I would like to have said only far more eloquently than I could have. The UK's Telegraph Newspaper also has a decent obituary.

And finally, a couple of comments from The Register

"Not only can I recall spending hours during my youth playing D&D and AD&D, I can also remember some of my early coding attempts such as different sided dice, character generators, random encounter generators etc." by Antony Pearce

"some people get a country mourning for them .. a few get the whole world .. this guy has the flags lowered in worlds without number" by Kurt Lundqvist