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About jtr1962

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    Flushing, New York
  1. jtr1962

    Greater than 512 byte sectors?

    I'm guessing that the ECC for 1024 byte sectors would be at least double that needed for 512 byte sectors, so that would eat up all the potential savings. Even if it isn't, I think ECC only takes up about 10 to 15% of the available bits. Getting rid of half the ECC bits means a mere 5% to 7.5% increase in capacity. Given all the other problems you mentioned, it's just not worth doing for such a small gain. I remember some years ago playing around with different floppy formats, some of which involved sectors of 1024, 2048, and even larger sizes. By doing so, and using up to 86 tracks (if the drive allowed it), you could fit up to 2 MB on a floppy. A special driver got around the problem of non-standard sector sizes. I imagine if you made hard drives with 1024 or 2048 byte sectors you wouldn't need a driver since you could have the hard drive appear to the OS as if it's made of 512 byte sectors.
  2. jtr1962

    I hate these temps

    Same here except winter is my favorite, and I'd be a happy camper if summer didn't exist at all (too hot and humid in this part of the country). I also like changing weather (rain/snow/sleet). I'd hate to live someplace where it was sunny most of the time, and especially the same temperatures most of the time.
  3. jtr1962

    Any news on 600GB harddiscs?

    I never said flash was what would replace magnetic disks. Right now there are a couple of other more promising candidates for that such as magneto-resistive RAM. As for capacity limits, while it's true that sooner or later electronic memory will reach a physical limit of sorts, there's nothing preventing you from stacking wafers. Let's assume solid-state memory reaches a similar density as today's platters. You might have 100 GB for each layer, but since the wafers might only be 0.01 mm thick you could stack 2500 of them to the inch and fit them within a standard 3.5" form factor hard drive case. There's your 250 TB drive. As for being more expensive, for now yes, but the cost on anything solid state goes down exponentially, ultimately reaching only slightly more than the costs of the packaging, which is where commodity ICs have been for years. The costs of hard drives on the other hand has only gone down mostly due to increases in platter densities. If you want a great example here, look at LEDs. Last year a Luxeon emitter gave out about 30 lumens and cost $8. This year it gives out 45 lumens and costs $3.45. That's a factor of 3.5 decrease in the cost per lumen in one year. If we assume that whatever type of NVRAM which will replace today's disks starts out at prices similar to today's flash (~$40/GB) then in 5 years you have it down to 7.5 cents per GB. As for hard disks, let's say capacity doubles in 5 years so 2 platter commodity disks (historically the cheapest per GB) selling for $70 have capacities of 600 GB. That comes to 11.7 cents per GB. Like I said, SSD won't replace mechanical disks this year or next, but I'd really be surprised if magnetic storage was still around in any form in 2016. If you think about it, solid-state drives have all but replaced the role which used to be filled by floppies and then Zip/LS-120 disks, so obviously SSDs have decreased in price fast enough to make them competitive in that market. Also, the driving force here towards SSDs will not necessarily be replacing mechanical disks in desktop computers, but rather greater capacity for more digital pictures and especially video in digicams. Later on, you'll start to see laptops with SSDs since this is one application where they make a lot of sense, and users will pay a premium. Eventually, mass production will drive the cost per GB low enough so they replace magnetic disks altogether, and probably every other type of spinning disk storage as well.
  4. jtr1962

    Any news on 600GB harddiscs?

    That was true for a long, long time. However, we didn't come up against hard physical limits as we are today. Also, any improvements in mechanical storage density in a few years may ultimately make it cost more than solid-state disks. Solid-state memory is getting cheaper per GB more rapidly than mechanical disks are at this point. It's only a matter of time before the two curves cross, and SSDs become the better value. It won't happen this year, or next, but I'd say by 2010 it's possible, and by 2015 it's almost certain.
  5. jtr1962

    Any news on 600GB harddiscs?

    That's a likely scenario, but I feel once we get to ~1 TB per 3.5" platter we'll have reached the limits of magnetic mechanical storage. Of course by then solid-state disks will be well on the way to approaching mechanical storage in terms of cost per GB and overall capacity so it may be moot. Like everything else we've seen in the semiconductor industry, solid-state memory is ready to make an exponential growth in the next few years. I've also heard that home video is what will probably trigger the next increase in demand for capacity. However, I feel mechanical disks will ultimately not be able to meet this coming demand for single disks in the tens of TB range. SSDs on the other hand can once we've settled on a suitable non-volatile memory architecture (current flash RAM probably won't cut it for various reasons).
  6. jtr1962

    Lifes lessons and the rules!

    You misunderstood me. I meant not to treat young people like a bunch of no-nothings the way lots of older people do. I certainly don't mean that we shouldn't punish them if they fail to respect others, or respect them if they don't respect us.
  7. jtr1962

    Lifes lessons and the rules!

    I certainly follow one, two, and five. As for 3 and 5, I don't really date which by extension means I don't sleep with people, period. Given all the crap you can catch these days it isn't worth it for a few minutes of pleasure. And frankly there isn't a whole lot out there worth dating. Other rules I follow: 1. Don't spend money you don't have. 2. Try to learn something new each day. 3. Don't get caught up in one way of doing things. 4. You only have one body. Take good care of it. 5. Treat your elders with respect. They've been where you're going. 6. Treat those younger than you with respect. They're the future. 7. Trust your intuition since often it's all you have to go on. If something just feels wrong, it probably is. Probably a lot more, but that's all I can think of for now.
  8. Sorry about the nitpicking. Fact is neither a flash nor a tungsten lamp will expose the EPROM to enough UV to matter here. I'm just surmising here that if 10 minutes in an EPROM eraser blanks a chip then it might get a similar total dose of UV being under an incandescent lamp for a few weeks, and that might erase it also. I could be right or I could be wrong. I know for a fact that a friend of mine used to erase EPROMs by putting them outside for a few hours on a sunny day when his EPROM eraser broke.
  9. They most certainly do. Tungsten halogen desk lamps even have a glass UV shield. Any blackbody such as the sun or a lamp emits some of its radiation in the UV spectrum. The higher the temperature, the greater the percentage of energy which is emitted as UV. That being said, the amount of UV emitted by an incandescent lamp or a strobe for a fraction of a second while the picture is being taken is negligible in this case. You are not going to erase the EPROM. You need a strong UVA source for at least several minutes to erase an EPROM. Not much UVA makes it to the Earth's surface. It is still possible to erase an EPROM by having it sit in the sun for a few hours though, or under an incandescent lamp for a few days or more likely weeks.
  10. I'm not sure I can read much into that. I think Seagate ships a greater percentage of its drives to OEMs who are more like to follow proper handling procedures when integrating the drive into the system. Maxtor seems to be what's available at stores like CompUSA where the average person will install the drive. I've bought Maxtor drives exclusively ever since I was into PCs (since 1999) and haven't had one fail on me yet. Granted, this is a sample set of less than ten drives, but I tend to think poor handling accounts for a lot of those warranty returns. I've heard of people just slap drives down on the table after they take them from the box. I handle mine as if they're eggs, avoiding even light taps. It wouldn't be a bad idea to install some sort of acceleration sensor in drives. Something that turns red if the drive exceeds manufacturer's specs is the idea I have. It would allow manufacturers to separate handling-induced failures from other types, and deny warranty claims on them. That being aid, shock resistance is one reason I'm looking forwards to solid-state drives.
  11. jtr1962

    Check this out

    OK, that sounds much better. I was thinking regular window glass and I said no way could that survive in a drive environment. Ceramic should lend a layer of dimensional stability as well. Any drive maker ever consider carbon fiber platters? Just a thought since we're talking about alternate platter materials.
  12. jtr1962

    Check this out

    You're kidding I hope. Wouldn't glass be too fragile to use in a drive (plus the fact that it flows, albeit very slowly)? I always thought they used either crystalline silicon or transparent aluminum or perhaps fused quartz. I'm amazed glass could survive spinning at those kinds of velocities. I would think the centrifugal force would rip the platters to pieces, or the vibrations would cause microscopic cracks which would eventually cause the platters to shatter. Anyway, thanks for the info. No way I'm buying an IBM drive then. It also seems that magnetic particles don't stick particularly well to glass either. I doubt you would see that kind of scrubbing with aluminum platters.
  13. jtr1962

    Check this out

    If I had to guess, I'd say the drive motor wasn't spinning fast enough for the head to float. Therefore, they wiped the platters clean. I'm still suprised that the drive electronics didn't detect something was wrong and just park the heads. Interesting platter design, too. So that's what transparent aluminum platters look like? Or are they crystalline silicon (i.e. the kind the make ICs out of) platters instead? Very interesting either way. I always thought drive platters were aluminum. BTW, I'm pretty sure that powdery magnetic stuff is fairly toxic so I hope the guy was wearing rubber gloves and a mask.
  14. jtr1962

    White LED testing

    Interesting article on the future of LED auto headlamps.
  15. jtr1962

    White LED testing

    No signs of dimished output after about 17,000 hours using my light meter, not my eyes. My cutoff point would probably be 70% of initial lumens since that seems to be about where fluoro tubes are at their end of life. The LED will probably keep shining literally forever, but after a point its light output will no longer be considered useful. Yep, cheap isn't always better. And the problem isn't limited to fluoro ballasts by any means. Some (not all) of the cheap Chinese eBay 5mm white LEDs will dim noticeably after only a few hundred hours. The manufacturers test them, and my own informal test is showing similar results. In fact, I should be seeing at least 10% dimming after 17,000 hours but I'm not seeing any. I'm not necessarily biased towards LEDs so much as biased against other light sources which have serious drawbacks. LEDs aren't perfect, but at this relatively young stage in their evolution they're already better than anything else for small lighting needs, and poised to displace everything else in time. It may ultimately not be semiconductor LEDs, but OLEDs, or quantum dots. Regardless, some sort of solid-state light source, or several of them, will ultimately displace "gas and glass". Look here. 245 lumens, 3.5W, 70 lumen/watt, volume production slated to start this year. Efficiency projected to increase to 90 lm/W by the end of the year. Don't know about cost, but given that Lumileds dropped their 3W prices to $3.45 this year this LED shouldn't be much more in quantity. BTW, we'll never get 1klm/w LEDs. 100% efficient white light with perfect color rendering is about 200 lm/W. Decent white light (CRI in the low 90s) can be around 350 lm/W. My best guess is LEDs will top out at 80% of those figures eventually. They'll become cheap long before 2020. Probably by 2010 you'll be able to pick up drop-in LED halogen replacement auto headlights for the same as current halogens cost. No kidding. LEDs have much less complex driving requirements than HID so that's one thing in their favor. As for the rest, time will tell. Maybe we can make a point source LED as intense as HID, maybe we can't. We'll certainly at least equal, probably surpass, HID efficiency soon. There will certainly be a period of time when LEDs and other light sources coexist. Incandescents are the only light source I expect to more or less disappear completely within a five years. One thing I thought particularly interesting was that Maglight will start making LED flashlights. How long until the ubiquitous home incandescent light disappears completely? I'm particularly looking forwards to LED replacements for those horridly inefficient, sickeningly yellow-orange small-base chandelier-type incandescents, hopefully within about 2 years. Sure, incandescents will still be made for niche markets, in much the same way there is still very limited production of old school tube amplifiers. However, I'd say the days of mass-produced incandescent lamps are drawing to close in the not too distant future. Never mind the jet. I'll leave two weeks before you, take Amtrak cross-country, get the boat on the West Coast, and meet you in Asia. Getting there is half the fun anyway. Once there, we should be able to get around well enough via high-speed rail, especially in Japan. China will eventually probably have an even better HSR and maglev system. OBL just mentioned the possibility of new terrorist attacks. If he hits a few dozen airliners I'd say none of us will be flying any more. It took a few years for the industry to bounce back from 9/11 with just 4 downed planes. A bigger attack would probably kill off passenger air completely.