Sunday, February 15, 2009

Colin's rant

Colin and his Linux portable computer

Met up with Colin today for dim sum. Among the many technology topics we covered was the memory battle between SD and compact flash. Here are the observations from that discussion. Note: there may be other factors like price to consider if you're looking at buying memory or devices and this should by no means be the only place you stop for information. But it is a good jumping point.

Compact Flash pros
  1. Drivers built into compact flash card. This makes for backwards compatibility with old devices. Derek says "I can plug a 16 gig card into my 1997 Psion and it works." The same can't be said for SD cards which now have a second generation of memory out, SDHC (secure digital high capacity). Because the SD devices themselves carry the driver information for the memory cards it doesn't guarantee that the device will support higher memory configurations even if SD cards are made available.
  2. nice size (according to Derek) for human handling.
  3. various read/write speeds available

Secure Digital pros
  1. nice size (according to Colin) for smaller devices (ie. cell phones, PDAs).
  2. form factor more idiot proof. You can't put the card upside down in the device by accident where as compact flash devices have pins that can be crushed if you place the card in upside down. However Derek thinks that if you're crushing the pins you are a complete knob that should not be using electronics at all. Don't even think of borrowing any of his equipment.
  3. Sandisk makes SD cards that can transform into USB keys, so you don't even need a reader attached to your computer.
For more information on both standards you can go to the Compact Flash Association Homepage and the Secure Digital Association homepage.

As a personal side note I am weary that the big selling feature of secure digital according to their page (as of feb 15 2009) is that it's the de-facto standard and they don't seem to mention anything else.

The web site looks pretty slick in comparison to the CFA website. On the first page of the CFA website, there is talk of the memory speed, the backward compatiblity of the new versions, the tests going through an X-ray as part of carry on and checked in baggage at airports.

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