# memories

## Antique IBM memory box + math = mind-blowing

This piece of computer history launched 1,500 tweets.

The man in the photo (my husband, Tim) is holding an IBM Type 706 Williams-Kilburn Tube Electrostatic Memory drawer that we found in my grandfather's pole barn. (What's a pole barn? Basically, a really big shed.)

Before I tweeted this photo, Tim and I did some rough, back-of-the-envelope calculations to guess how much memory this circa-1954 hunk of valve and metal contained.

4K of IBM memory found in my grandpa's pole barn, captured in a 692K photo. #mindblown twitter.com/lturrentine/st...

— Lindsey Turrentine (@lturrentine) January 22, 2012

We estimated, based on what my grandfather could remember from his days as an IBM salesman, that the memory drawer stored 4 kilobytes of data.

Meanwhile, the tweet went nuts, going and going, and even making its way to the front page of Gizmodo. I'm not sure whether that counts as viral, but it's as close as I've gotten on Twitter.

So we decided to look for more information on the IBM 706, which IBM built in the mid-'50s to serve as a modular memory component for the IBM 701 computer, otherwise known as "The Defense Calculator" (a creepily Cold War name for a computer intended for scientific calculations).

The IBM 706 contains two so-called Williams Tubes, each handling 1,024 bits of memory adding up to 2,048 bits--roughly one quarter of the 1,024 bytes it takes to add up to a single kilobyte. (There are 8 bits in each byte of memory, bringing the 706 to a mere 256 bytes.) In other words, we were optimistic about the 706's capacity. The crazy machine in the picture held only one-quarter of a kilobyte of memory.… Read more

SanDisk on new XQD memory card format: 'Meh'

In a decision inauspicious for XQD, SanDisk is skipping over the new memory card format for high-end cameras.

"At this time, SanDisk has chosen not to productize the XQD format," SanDisk spokeswoman Wendy Vlieks told CNET News late yesterday.

The ringing non-endorsement is particularly notable since SanDisk helped create the format in the first place.

The comment also means that XQD--developed by the CompactFlash Association (CFA) as a successor to CF cards--currently lacks support from the two top-tier flash card makers. The other, Lexar, was noncommittal about XQD last week: "As a leading CFA member, Lexar has … Read more

The future of data storage (infographic)

Data storage has long been a function of Moore's Law. But researchers at IBM say it's time to throw that equation out the window and start from the atomic level rather than waiting for the limits of physics to be halted at the same place.

This infographic, created by IBM, demonstrates the future of information storage.

IBM creates data storage at the atomic level

SAN JOSE, Calif.--With a discovery that could some day fundamentally alter the scale of mass data storage, nanotechnology researchers at IBM say they have found a way to store a bit of information in as little as 12 magnetic atoms.

That's a radical improvement over today's storage devices which, IBM argues, require about a million atoms to hold a bit of information. For those keeping score at home, IBM's discovery could mean storage could one day be possible at 1/83,000th the scale of today's disk drives.

And while the IBM researchers behind the … Read more

Need room for 4,000 photos? Try SanDisk's 128GB SD card

It's flash card season at CES (especially given the shutterbug boost by the conjoined Photo Marketing Association show), and SanDisk has a contribution with high-capacity mid-range SDXC cards.

The two SanDisk Extreme models, 64GB and 128GB, can transfer data at 45MBps. That's less than half the speed of the company's top-end Extreme Pro line of SD cards at 95MBps, but it should be good enough for many photographers and videographers.

The high capacity comes with a price premium--prices for the cards are \$200 and \$400--but could be useful for those shooting lots of video or traveling away … Read more

Apple confirms Anobit acquisition

Apple today confirmed earlier reports it has acquired Israel-based flash memory startup Anobit.

Apple's acquisition of the company, which makes flash memory technology found in the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air, was first reported in December by Israel's Calcalist business news site. The deal was reported to be worth \$400 million to \$500 million.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling confirmed the acquisition to Bloomberg but declined to discuss the purchase price or the company's plans for the startup.

If the deal happened in the price range previously reported, it would rank as one of Apple's largest to … Read more

Lexar deals out a 600X hand of SDXC memory cards

Lexar announced a gaggle of new SD memory cards at CES today, with 400X and 600X data-transfer speeds to keep up with professionals' needs higher resolution videos and photos.

The SDHC and SDXC cards use the UHS-I interface for faster transfer speeds (SDXC is a newer version of the SD standard that extends to higher memory capacities.) Most of them will arrive in February, but Lexar is particularly chuffed about a 400X 128GB SDXC card due in April that the company boasts will be the first at that capacity using UHS-I.

For those who prefer absolutes, 400X translates to 60MBps … Read more

Sony launches first XQD cards. Step aside, CompactFlash

Just in time for the flagship Nikon D4 SLR, Sony has announced an XQD flash memory card--the first example of a new format developed with better speed and capacity than its CompactFlash predecessor.

Most devices these days use smaller SD Card technology, but high-end SLR cameras from Canon, Nikon, and Sony still keep CompactFlash alive for performance and capacity reasons. The new XQD format follows in the same direction, trying to keep ahead of SD by borrowing the PCI Express (PCIe) high-speed serial communications link interface from computers.

Sony announced two models of the card, the 16GB QD-H16 card for \$… Read more

Toshiba to debut 64GB USB 3.0 Flash drive at CES

Toshiba will introduce new USB 3.0 flash drives next week at the Consumer Electronics Show next week in Las Vegas, as products using the faster USB interface begin to trickle out.

"SuperSpeed" USB 3.0 is about 10 times faster than current USB technology and will become standard in virtually all laptops when Intel's Ivy Bridge silicon begins shipping this spring.

Toshiba says its TransMemory-EX flash drive will deliver speeds up to 22 times faster than previous models. That's read and write speeds of 220 megabytes per second (MB/s) and 94 MB/s, respectively. … Read more

Lexar pushes CompactFlash speeds with 1000X cards

Lexar announced a 1000X-rated CompactFlash memory card line today that the company guarantees can keep pace with professional-quality video recording.

The 1X speed from days of yore meant 150KBps, and the new line of 1000X cards reaches sustained read speeds of 150MB per second. Write speeds are a smidgen slower--966X, or 145MBps--but still enough to keep up with the Video Performance Guarantee (VPG-20) "to enable professional-quality video capture at high frame rates with no dropped frames," the company said.

The cards are priced for professionals, too, with retail prices of \$169.99 for 16GB, \$299.99 for 32GB, \$… Read more