Samsung/Lexar Close to Releasing Their 512gb MicroSD Cards

A few days ago, Samsung’s Germany website published images of its new line of EVO Plus MicroSD cards which included a 512gb card. Today, AnandTech reported that Lexar announced its 512gb MicroSD card, which also meets the A2 Application Performance Class standard.

Retail price for these cards is likely to be in the $300-$330 range. Personally, I’m looking forward to throwing one of these into my Galaxy Note 9 so I can up my total phone storage up to 1TB (also, my 400gb Samsung MicroSD card only has about 14gb free).

Here’s hoping that these hit Amazon before the end of 2018.

WinDirStat for Windows and DiskUsage for Android

WinDirStat is a “disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool for various versions of Microsoft Windows.” Its main advantage is that it produces nice looking visualizations of exactly what is taking up all that space on hard drives.

WinDirStat Screenshot
WinDirStat Screenshot

There is a very similar app for Android called DiskUsage that will do the same thing for phone/microSD card storage.

Western Digital Announces Plans to Build Future Hard Drives with Microwave-Assisted Magnetic Recording (MAMR)

AnandTech.com has an interesting look at Western Digital’s recent announcement that it will be moving forward with production of mechanical hard drives using microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR).

Essentially what MAMR does is add a device to the write head of the hard drive to generate microwaves. The microwaves make it easier to write to smaller areas of the hard drive, allowing for capacity increases on the platter.

In its press release hype over the technology, Western Digital claims that MAMR will allow it to increase hard drive sizes to eventually reach a 40TB 3.5″ hard drive by 2025.

VeraCrypt

With the demise of TrueCrypt and the abandonment of DiskCryptor, VeraCrypt is the best remaining free, open source disk encryption solution. It is a fork of TrueCrypt project that made a number of changes designed to address limitations of TrueCrypt.

I’ve been gradually migrating all of my encrypted hard drives over to VeraCrypt and have been very pleased with its performance and ease-of-use.

Storing Data in DNA

Interesting article in Science looking at the current state of using DNA to for large-scale data storage. The articles notes that DNA storage would be,

Capable of storing 215 petabytes (215 million gigabytes) in a single gram of DNA, the system could, in principle, store every bit of datum ever recorded by humans in a container about the size and weight of a couple of pickup trucks.

The article goes on to profile Yaniv Erlich and Dina Zielinski who have worked to increase the density at which data can be stored in DNA. After converting a couple data files into binary and then splitting that into digital DNA strands,

They sent these as text files to Twist Bioscience, a San Francisco, California–based startup, which then synthesized the DNA strands. Two weeks later, Erlich and Zielinski received in the mail a vial with a speck of DNA encoding their files. To decode them, the pair used modern DNA sequencing technology. The sequences were fed into a computer, which translated the genetic code back into binary and used the tags to reassemble the six original files. The approach worked so well that the new files contained no errors, they report today in Science. They were also able to make a virtually unlimited number of error-free copies of their files through polymerase chain reaction, a standard DNA copying technique. What’s more, Erlich says, they were able to encode 1.6 bits of data per nucleotide, 60% better than any group had done before and 85% the theoretical limit.

The cost, however, is still prohibitive. According to Science, “it cost $7000 to synthesize the 2 megabytes of data in the files, and another $2000 to read it.”