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"The New Digital Film"? -- long-term flash storage

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Old 02-26-2007, 05:57 PM
CJ Swartz's Avatar
CJ Swartz CJ Swartz is offline
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"The New Digital Film"? -- long-term flash storage

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,2098505,00.asp
Excerpt: "SanDisk, which leads the market in retail flash memory, plans to offer a cheap read-only memory card designed to store photos for 100 years....

Rhine also said that SanDisk will create a new product category in the middle of the year: a read-only memory card that will be designed as a cheap archival product. Rhine did not say what technology the cards would use; flash inherently is both a read and write technology.

Company executives said that the card, which uses "3D memory," is currently being tested in a pilot program with a single retailer. The cards, once full, would not be editable, nor would the data be able to be deleted. The card would store data for 100 years. Rhine called the card "the new digital film".

"It eliminates the computer from the equation," Rhine said. "It doesn't need the computer for usage. You shoot it once, develop it, and then store it. It's permanently stored on the card, and not rewriteable."


From DPreview.com:
Matrix Semiconductor

"Behind closed doors (in the OEM suites) Matrix Semiconductor were showing and talking about their unique write-once Matrix Memory. This entirely new concept in digital photography storage is both interesting and a little unusual (as to whether or not it will take off). The idea is that Matrix Memory can only be written to once, when data is stored it 'blows the bit fuses' inside the memory cell and thus can not be rewritten (a bit like CD-R). The advantages are that it can be made far more cheaply than standard Flash storage (Matrix were talking $10-$15 for a 64 MB card) and can store its contents for a very long time (100 years+) and is robust (can withstand 8000 V charge)."
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Old 02-26-2007, 10:52 PM
videosean videosean is offline
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Re: "The New Digital Film"? -- long-term flash storage

Quote:
"It eliminates the computer from the equation," Rhine said. "It doesn't need the computer for usage. You shoot it once, develop it, and then store it. It's permanently stored on the card, and not rewriteable."
:: spits mt. dew all over monitor :: bwahahahahahahahahahahahaha

No, seriously.
There are 2 types of digital shooters. Those that process/develop their digital images (or film) and those that don't. That's how I see it from the view behind the counter of a photo lab for the past 10 years. I can't see how this 'fill it up and it's done' kind of card would appeal to either but maybe someone can help me out and tell me I'm wrong. The people that don't process their images don't have a computer in their workflow - it's either good enough to print or not and they delete the ones that aren't. I think I'm failing to see how my CF, XD and other current rewritable memory cards need a computer in order to use them. Using a computer in the process of getting prints is more or less optional. Unless... could they possibly mean that there won't even be a need for microprocessors in the cameras and printers?! Do they mean that this new format will somehow bring back the instant gratification-ness of being able to hold your slides up to a light to view them rather than needing a separate piece of technology to view them?

The shooters that do process their images bring the files to us on whatever media's most convenient to them. Sometimes it's the same card format their camera uses and they'll ask us to delete the files once they're printed as the card served only to carry the files to the lab.

I could see this non-rewritable storage having applications in law enforcement and maybe a form of disposable/rental digital cameras (you keep the card and return the camera to the store) but I can't think of much else. I'm not even sure that using this type of thing in a disposable camera would be the best idea. Then again, maybe what we really need is a new set-top box to "play" this new non-rewritable format on our HDTVs. Oh wait... I've been here before I think. In another year or two from now they'll have a rewritable 3d memory format and proclaim "Now you can edit your pictures! Isn't this great?!".

also from the article:
Quote:
Rhine said the card is favored by retailers such as Walgreen's or Wal-Mart, which has lost digital-photo printing business to home printers over the past years.
mmhmm... poor walgreens and wal*mart. They've treated photo-finishing as a loss-leading convenience item to keep more people in the store giving preference to speed and quantity over quality. Home inkjet printers don't produce a better quality print than the silver-halide printing process (and inkjet costs more per print especially at low volumes) but the operators of those home printers care more about what's being printed than the minimum wage earning lab operators who are there mainly to stop children from putting coins into the memory card slots on the DIY kiosks and they can't even manage to do that! They took the photo-finishing process and boiled it down and refined it to the point that they no longer really need to pay anyone to print anything... in fact they've even convinced the consumer that they're better off if they print their images themselves! Is it a wonder that they're printing their stuff themselves at home instead of going to the store then?

Last edited by videosean; 02-26-2007 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 02-27-2007, 01:22 AM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: "The New Digital Film"? -- long-term flash storage

i can see a lot of archival uses for this. give me about 100 gigs worth. long term digital archival currently, is mostly not long term at all and unreliable. cd's were reported as having no more than 18 months of reliable storage life. dvd's werent rating much better. harddrives go bad and sometimes cant have data recovered and if you can, it tends to be expensive to do so. flash cards are subject to loss within a year or so, if i remember correctly. so, frankly, this alternative sounds pretty good.

archiving in print is ok, but often needs special inks and papers and also subject to damage, fading and other types of deterioration.

i could see backing up entire computer systems on something like this. system goes bad, pull out the card, stick it in your reader, and voila, instant restore.

now, couple this with the new technology of chip drives and you've got an instant winner. chip drives are the new type of harddrive that is actually a number of chips instead of a disk based media. these are the 'instant on' computers some may have heard about. turn your computer on and there's no loading screens or waiting. by the time your monitor is bright, your desktop is already up. now, imagine having a backup like this thing cj has posted about and you've got a pretty handy way of backing everything up and restoring it.

i have thousands of images on my computer. some will never see print, but that doesnt mean others wont see them. many are 'just for the web', like here on RP. i also have others on other servers. backing all these up is a constant hassle and i'm always a bit worried my backup drives will fail or my cd's will degrade or the same with my dvd backups. so, yes, a 100 year backup on a relatively cheap, easy to use, plug in type media is welcome indeed!
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Old 02-27-2007, 11:50 AM
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Re: "The New Digital Film"? -- long-term flash storage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kraellin
...
now, couple this with the new technology of chip drives and you've got an instant winner. chip drives are the new type of harddrive that is actually a number of chips instead of a disk based media. these are the 'instant on' computers some may have heard about. turn your computer on and there's no loading screens or waiting. by the time your monitor is bright, your desktop is already up. now, imagine having a backup like this thing cj has posted about and you've got a pretty handy way of backing everything up and restoring it.
...
After reading about this technology, I started looking around and found the chip drives you mentioned, Craig. NAND and SSD technology seems to be nearing greater usability. Samsung has a laptop (Q30) with a NAND SSD. It will be fun to see what happens next!
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Old 02-27-2007, 12:56 PM
videosean videosean is offline
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Re: "The New Digital Film"? -- long-term flash storage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kraellin
i could see backing up entire computer systems on something like this. system goes bad, pull out the card, stick it in your reader, and voila, instant restore.

now, couple this with the new technology of chip drives and you've got an instant winner. chip drives are the new type of harddrive that is actually a number of chips instead of a disk based media. these are the 'instant on' computers some may have heard about. turn your computer on and there's no loading screens or waiting. by the time your monitor is bright, your desktop is already up. now, imagine having a backup like this thing cj has posted about and you've got a pretty handy way of backing everything up and restoring it.
Skip the backup part for a second and just have the OS running from that read-only matrix flash media to begin with. Imagine it, an OS on a USB stick you don't have to 'install' other than plugging it into a slot. I've played with Knoppix so I know having an OS on read-only media isn't impossible. An OS running from a read-only disk is more secure because the system files can't be changed, no? No more corrupt OS files or viruses. So you get both speed and security... and as long as the promise this stuff being extremely cheap to produce holds it'll also become more practical Keep it out of my camera though... unless by 'just like film' means more than just a gimmicky read-only spec. Digital film would be appealing if it also worked like real film in that you bought the film and could put it into a $150 SLR body from any manufacturer The way digital works the imaging sensor and a good portion of the rest of the electronics would have to be part of this 'digital film' though.

Last edited by videosean; 02-27-2007 at 01:05 PM.
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