Flash Memory… Nothing Less Than World Domination


Flash the Svior

Pathetic earthlings. Hurling your bodies out into the void, without the slightest inkling of who or what is out here. If you had known anything about the true nature of the universe, anything at all, you would’ve hidden from it in terror.”
The Emperor Ming (Flash Gordon, 1936, Universal Studios)
Knowledge and imagination are dangerous things. We define ourselves by both. The more information we have…the more we want.

Information helps us develop new ideas…imagine more…create more…want more.  It was easy for Flash and Dale. They only had to take their wits with them to beat the diabolical Ming. Today we’d have to take along our camcorder, digital camera, iPod, smartphone, PMP and PC.

May not need all the trappings and content unless Zarkov asks you to check the angular vector of the moon but…you never know. So we accumulate personal content from experience, our imagination, friends/family and the web.


Figure 1 — Mine, All Mine – While the RIAA and MPAA have some legitimate claims to “certain” hackers and slackers but normal people not only accumulate legal content but they also collect it from the web and create it themselves with storage stacks of photos, video and other meaningful, precious, useless stuff. The hunting, gathering and stashing staggers the imagination.
Source – Coughlin Associates

We’re gathering so much information our minds can’t sort, file, hold it anymore. We’ve abandon physical filing cabinets for digital storage – hard drive, optical, flash. We’ve become so used to tapping into our content that having all of it buried inside a desktop computer doesn’t satisfy us.

People now want their content with them all the time. Teens, tweens and Gen Xers are the worst (we know we have two). Sitting and thinking to them is a terrible thing.Give ‘em two minutes of silence and they talk like Emperor Ming… “Klytus, I’m BOOOORED.”
They want their content portable so they can have it with them all the time.

That’s why the PC/CE industry keeps rushing new technology, new products to market. They’re struggling to meet the consumer’s demands and anticipate the next killer solution.  Sure some of the stuff is pirated but not as much as the RIAA and MPAA would like you to believe.

People who have real jobs are using the new tools to express themselves and make their content available to the world in the hopes of acceptance, a following.  Tons of music from indies is available on the web from sites like artistserver.com and others. EMI and Universal have realized that the best way to sell their content is to set it free and eliminate DRM (digital rights management) restrictions.

Figure 2 – Fly Free My Sweet – EMI and Universal have finally come to grips with the fact that suing your customers is not a great way to win friends and influence people so they are releasing their content without DRM. Tellywood knows they have to do something as well and sooner rather than later.

Despite the fact that most of the content we create, copy, store and share is personal; Tellywood struggles to justify Zarkov’s and their position, “No, it’s no mistake… IT’S AN ATTACK! I’ve been right all these years!” Ordinary folks who have all of that content agree with Flash… “This Ming is a psycho!”

The new cameras and camcorders enable people to capture great video. Software from Corel, Pinnacle and others make it almost a snap to produce theater quality movies.   MyPlace, YouTube and other sites make it easy for people to display their rich content no matter how stupid it is.  So we grab the content so we can have it just in case we want to listen/watch it. To paraphrase Ming, it is better to have it at your side than scattered into…atoms.


Figure 3 — Driving Creative Demand – Once content became digital and Web users began to shift it around, mobile device manufacturers thought they should become enablers and sell newer, better, more feature rich products. Suddenly just having a song or photo in your mind wasn’t enough. People wanted all of their content with them all of the time. That all required more…storage. Source — Inapac

We’re happy just to have the content on our system’s hard drive or to have a few hundred CDs and DVDs on the shelf.  Not teens, tweens or our kids.  They want it on their smartphones…on their PMPs…on their iPods (let’s face it Steve’s little wonder is the defacto standard).  It’s no wonder the semiconductor storage (generically called flash memory) industry is so hot…mobile content needs to be stored.

For most folks it is simply a chip in their portable device that stores content. Or it’s a 1, 2, 4 or 8GB Store ‘n Go unit they stuff in their pocket.   Not so for Samsung, Toshiba, SanDisk, Intel, Verbatim and others.  To them it is a high volume (and high investment) business that has a vast amount of technology that has its own Moore’s Law of capacity expansion/price reductions.

Look deep into almost any device or product today and you’ll find a variety of memory types being used for custom and general purpose storage.


Figure 4 – Flash’s Family – Consumers may use the generic term flash memory but for the chip manufacturers that’s just the starting point. There is NAND, NOR, SRAM and a growing range of options that improve the price/performance/capacity to capture the space normally occupied by smaller, low capacity HDs. Source — Samsung