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Gigabyte Matchbook Drives From IBM 152

A number of people wrote in about the New York Times article regarding IBM's new storage breakthrough. They've been working on their microdrives for some time now, and it appears to be paying off. 1 gig in something the size of a pack of matches. Cool.Update: 06/20 04:58 by H :Check out the press release from IBM, thanks to Asbestosrush.
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Gigabyte Matchbook Drives from IBM

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    A=dv/dt. So if your dv is high enough, and dt is small enough, then 1500g, even for a 3ft drop, is reachable. What is the G load on a flea when it jumps? It's kind of staggering, especially when compared to the 4-5g or so limit to keep the crew sort of comfortable on the Space Shuttle during its launches, or to keep you going back to your favorite roller coaster.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Has anyone noticed who wrote this article. None other than the infamous John Markoff. By reading this article and the NY Times you support him and all the disinformation he helped the government spread about Kevin Mitnick. I propose a boycott of the NY Times until they terminate their relationship with Markoff.
  • when can I actually buy one off the shelf?

    Depends on which shelf you're shopping at. ;-)


  • Oh, c'mon, just cuz you still like floppies.....


  • by Indomitus ( 578 )
    Why go through the hassle of doing this rather than just sign up with fake info once and let their cookies log you in each time?

    Or just use the various cypherpunk/cypherpunk or slashdot/slashdot names that are appearing all over?
  • I have the text files for all five books in the HitchHiker's "trilogy". Total size: 1.13 megs.

    So I expect I could get a lot more than 200,000 pages of text onto a 1 gig HD.
  • Digital cameras. With a Microdrive like this, you can finally get real use out of the TIFF modes.. JPEG must die! ;)
  • Round numbers help, but 2m/sec is not far off. It is easy to take two steps, aka 1 full stride, which for me is about 6 feet in one second. Try taking ten strides, or twenty steps at a normal walking pace while watching a clock.

    BTW, what does this have to do with teaching kids and reality?

    Other than that, I know for sure it does not take anywhere near half a minute to make it to the bathroom from here and it is more than 60 feet away. So, some pedestrian designers must assume Grandma and a walker or the equivalent. BTW, when was the last time that you saw someone moving at a 2ft/sec.(crawl) bang their shin?
  • Is that funny?

    no. it's dilbert. dilbert is ment to be trendy, not funny.
  • Instead wouldn't you like a storage device that could outlast the batteries in your Digicam?
  • Come on, it's much easier to do s/www/www10/ instead:

    http://www 10.nytimes.com/library/tech/00/06/biztech/articles /20blue.html [nytimes.com]

    The hacking level on slashdot is amazingly low these days.

    Touché. But then wouldn't it be even easier to do s/www/www1/ ?

    http://www1 .nytimes.com/library/tech/00/06/biztech/articles/2 0blue.html [nytimes.com]

    Gosh has the hacking level declined here. People don't even check for ways to shorten their code anymore!

  • www1 will fetch your cookie, which is beside the point.

    well shit on me. i didn't even realize that i had a nytimes cookie set when i tried that one. next time, more rigorous testing methods are in order.

    my apologies.

  • Yeah, I remember the Microdrives... blech!

    I wonder if the name is still Trademarked??

    Even if it is, ol' Clive would probably be too ashamed to say so ;)

  • There are 80-minute CDs available now. (Can't be read on some drives, though...)
  • you left out 'assasination' .. that's always a good one..
  • I like the shock resistance of hardware memory too much. It's going to take a long time and a lot of field evidence to convince me that the shock resistance of that drive is good enough while it's on. (Note that the 1500G rating is only for when it's off.) Until then, I'm happy with 32M and 64M smart media cards for my digital camera, and solid state memory for my Palm Pilot and cell phone.

    On the other hand, this bodes well for laptop drives. I'm willing to be very careful with my laptop while it's on. :-)

  • i totally agree. but the question then arises: what does one do with 1GB on a device that usually deals in the kilobyte range?

    although having a compact flash springboard would be very cool for other reasons... you can probably get a significantly better deal on CF than the ~$10/MB you get with the 8MB springboard.

    the real question is: can the OS/CPU handle such large amounts of data?

  • Digital VCRs (TiVO, RePlay, AOLTV) record 1GB = 1 hr TV.
    Would lap-top/clip board TVs be useful?
  • a new kind of media is needed to take control of the industry now that we are in a new age of technology, cd-roms are infeasable due to aesthetics, it's large and clunky size, and in storage space. I think floppy disks have a much better design, and the standard amount of gigabytes would fit perfect into something the size of a floppy, using a one-gig-per-matchbook area as a measurement. true, small media is harder to identify than cdroms(well, floppies arent), but perhaps that can be solved with catalogings and a hand held bar code reader tells what information is on the disk by just scanning a sticker on it.
  • wait until I get my paws on one of those 2000x1600 cameras

    2048x1536 (1024*2x768*2)

  • That's not true at all. At Earth's surface, the acceleration due to gravity for all objects (excluding air resistance and other such factors) is 1 g = 9.8 m/s^2 = 32 ft/s^2. It's called free fall because you're falling... freely. All objects that are falling freely at the same place will be accelerating at the same rate, and thus not be accelerating relative to one another.

    If the acceleration on the trip down were 0 g, then a falling object would not speed up. If this were true, then the object would never fall. At the beginning, it's not falling, and if it doesn't speed up, it'll just stay there.

    Also known as an off-by-one error. Some things to ponder:

    A microdrive sitting on Earth would be undergoing 1 g of structural stress, yet would not be accelerating.

    Astronauts orbiting Earth are accelerating at(undergoing a change in velocity {velocity is speed and direction} at the rate of) 1 g yet are said to be in a 0 g environment and are undergoing no structural stress.

    A microdrive sitting on Earth while the mad Dr. Horticulture continuously turned up Earth's gravitational field to 10,000 gees would spontaneously fail at some point above it's acceleration limit of 1,500 gees -- yet would be sitting perfectly motionless (minus parts inside breaking) and not accelerating the whole time.

    A microdrive in space, accelerating toward a massive object at 10,000 gees -- far beyond its design limit for structural integrity -- would be able to operate flawlessly and would be undergoing no structural stress (as long as the source of gravity was far enough away that we could ignore tidal forces).

    A microdrive dropped from sufficient height toward a concrete section of a 1 g Earth to undergo 1,500 gees of structural stress would actually be accelerating at (undergoing a change in velocity at the rate of) 1,499 gees.
  • Glamatron:
    Fifteen hundred gee. That sounds like a lot.. but what does that mean in real terms.

    1,000 gees is "equivalent to an eight-foot drop to concrete [ict-international.com]."

  • blueg3:
    The acceleration on the trip down is 1 g.

    The acceleration on the trip down is 0 (zero) g. That's why it's called free-fall, kidz.
  • go here [plexoft.com].
  • I'm in a programming course right now... well.. will be in about 6 hours... umm.. yeah...

    Anyway, our instructor seems to favour Visual Basic over C++ and seems to know Java (accedently used typeof instead of typedef when writing an example program on the presentation screen). My problem is that I know this stuff so I either sleep through or not show up at class. It was the same last year too.. they get to the really interesting stuff near the END of the term, and just as it's getting good... its over... ;(.

    All programming students listen up. Take your text and flip to the chapters near the back -- the ones your instructor may not take you to. After the term is over, try some of the more difficult stuff for the heck of it - you'll be better off for it, especially if you have programming classes in subsequent terms. (I know it may not count for much, but since I started in this course I've written a huffman based compresser, wrote a simple programming language/interpreter, make a simple web-browser, all from scratch... from reading ahead)..

    IMO, Java is no substitute for well written, portable, C++. Too bad my school is dropping C++ courses in favour of Java courses... sigh... time to choose another college I guess.

  • How about a picture of the damn things. Show us what it looks like!
  • > Someday I'll fire up my old QL and see how well the Microdrives keep over the years.

    Let me give you the sad news - they're much worse than disks at keeping data; I've tried getting my QL to work again last year:

    * The keyboard contacts had corroded - about half the keys didn't work any longer
    * of all my microdrives (12) only two could still be completely read; the others were corrupted in varying degree.

    Luckily I had also invested in a floppy adapter + 3.5" 720K floppys - these still worked, the pc keyboard (old cherry, using real microswitches) I rewired to match the QL keyboard matrix also worked :-)

    Still, I ended up transfering all the files+ tape images to my PC; the QL emulator works GREAT there. Can you imagine the nostalgia trip of playing your favorite textadventure again after MANY years? (Lost kingdom of ZKUL - loved it).

    Anyone got nice programs for QL ?

  • The babes dig a man with a big, hard...drive.
    Compaq dropping MAILWorks?
  • I think this deserves a little postive moderation

    "Postive"? For being a grammar nazi, you sure do spell horribly. :)
  • 1500 Gs is 15,000 m/sec^2 (*.98)

    "the ability to withstand a 1500-G shock. That is equivalent to a drop from a normal office desk onto a medium-thickness carpet"

    What planet is IBM labs on, that this kind of acceleration happens in 3 feet? Would the surface of the sun even provide this much G force?

  • Maybe you need to read this [dansdata.com]
  • Every few weeks or so, IBM's storate division announces a new breakthrough in storage technology. The vast majority of these, while extraordinary, have not and will not ever make it to market. Why is this division so prolific, yet product-free?
  • a) digital camera, as has been said a bazillion times, would be a *great* use! My camera takes up to 16MB smart media cards (or maybe 32, but I won none of those), which means I can hold not all that many photos ... lots at low-res, a fair amount at large-resolution and higher compression, not many at highest setting of both.

    b) But it could also be a good size for the primary storage in Web-pad / largish palmtop, though I wonder about the durability ... same thing for digicams, though, which are likely to get even rougher treatment ...

    c) Yeah, sure, portable audio as you say ... I would like to be able to put more books on tape, timeshift more old radio programs, listen into the depths of my CD collection, etc. Higher bit-rate would be nice, and the advantage of totally modular storage like this is that it doesn't tie you to aparticular playback mechanism ... maybe V'aghUrbitz will become the dominant audio format! :)

  • Now that we are starting to see micro-gigabyte drives, will we also see a new bus-line so that we can string 70+ of these tiny drives together in a raid style array? Are they fast enough for such an idea? If so, once the price comes down on them, I can see app-servers that take up 4U rack spaces suddenly only using 1U and holding 5 times the ammount of data. Sounds like some good stuff comming from Big Blue, I just hope the price isn't so high that it turns back into vaporware.

  • Oh we're *well* past the theoretical limits :)
  • Living inside that 40 megs has been tough...
  • Because they track every click you make, as well as what your HTTP-referrer was.
    If you don't want them to build up a profile on you, don't accept their cookie.

  • Can't wait til this comes out for laptops. Reminds me several years ago I knew a circle of friends all with type 3 PCMICA drives. They only held 40 megs/disk, but they loved it, exchanging warez and so forth realizing that they would quickly be phased out.

  • You can buy IBM microdrives up to 1/2 gig right now, and the IBM deskstar 75 gig drives have been available for about a month.

    If you want a 1 gig microdrive, wait a month.

    This isn't vapor. IBM ships.

  • I remember how you could format the tape a couple of times, and each time you'd get a different capacity. So if you didn't like the capacity you got, you'd just try another format.

    I've never seen the technology (an infinite loop of tape) again. I wonder: did that design have so much problems, or is it just because floppy disks became cheap enough?

    (The good old days of the 8-bit computers... Does this mean I'm getting old? :-)

  • Both in size (matchbook) and in capacity (1 gig).
  • About 153391689 7 digit numbers (no need for the dash). No need for names (that just wastes space).
  • God dammit! I'm at work!
  • It has applications in vertical markets, such as the military, where weight is paramount.

    At one point in time, we had to create a box that weighed 8 pounds, counting the batteries for 72hr operation, AND could take a 3 foot drop operating and 5 foot drop nonoperating. That 175g operating spec that someone mentioned sounds REAL nice!

    Fast, good, cheap. Pick any 2.
  • 1000 Gig/5 MB-Average-MP3-file-size = 200 mp3 files (mf).
    *Bold added for emphasis

    <sarcasm>1000 Gig microdrive?? where, where? I want a terabyte (yeah, yeah, I know its only 0.9765625 TB) that the size of a matchbook!</sarcasm>

    Oh wait, you just made a typo. Darn, that would be really cool if it existed. Just wait another few years...

    And yes, I know I've made some very similar posts to this one everytime someone makes a typo.

    Mark Duell
  • Except my fool younger brother keeps striking his matches on it and overwriting all my data!
    nuclear cia fbi spy password code encrypt president bomb
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It looks like nytimes has shut down the 'partners.nytimes.com' back door. Oh well, you can try 'slashdot2000' without the quotes as username and password.
  • by Yarn ( 75 )
    I read that this has been possible for a fair length of time, but was not released for marketing reasons. This was in the June issue of PC World (The UK one, not the Ziff-Davis one)
  • Sure, there are lots of them, think professional recording gear and a pair of Sennheisers.
  • Linus H. Torvalds on rollerblades! You know, there are uses for compactflashes other than stuffing Britney Spears on them! Goto dpreview.com [dpreview.com] or Steve's digicams [steves-digicams.com] and other and see why we need larger storage media. I have 48MB CF in my camera and I can fit 140 images on it. Maybe good for one day, but hardly for 2 week vacation. (Unless I get more flashes/portable storage/nearby cybercafé) And I have old 1280x760 camera, wait until I get my paws on one of those 2000x1600 cameras.. Btw, I want that Canon D30!
  • It was the basis for the movie Bladerunner.

    There seem to be two versions of it out there. When I first got it, there were a few points where it had "***" to indicate missing pages of manuscript--the author's suicide prevented completion. When I bought a used copy a couple of years ago, that had apparently been cleaned up.

    [Hmm. I *think* that was this book. Or was it _The Unteleported Man_?]

    _Gladiator at Law_ (Pohl Anderson?) is another one that's been changed. I read it maybe 20 years ago, and bought a copy (after years of looking). In the process of updating it (after 20 years?), it lost a lot of its bite . . .
  • Think back 20 years. $500 was the price of a 100K floppy . . . controller not included; add another $100 for that.

    Disks to feed that drive were $5@, though small discounts were available.

    A couple of years later, a 5mb drive became available for micros. I think it started at about $5k, tumbling to $1500 after a couple of years. They were awkward under CPM, which had no directories (although user numbers let you do a tiny bit of organization). The apple II divided it into something like 35 deparate 143k drives.

    Oh, and it was about $50 to align those floppy drives. If you moved thi machine a lot, this was a regular occurrenc e . . .
  • Quest marketed a "stringy floppy" which sounds like the same thing for hte version of the Elf. It wasn't all that much less than the floppies of the time, though, iirc.

    I want to say that there were a couple of similar things, but I can't think of them offhand.
  • These things are amazing; a guy at work showed me a 350Meg model in a compactflash adapter, which is great for digital cameras, except I wonder what the battery drain would be like.

    Anyone know?
  • Try banging your shin against a coffee table.

    Lessee...assume walking speed of about 2 meters per second...assume table is fixed and does not flex...assume leg/foot speed is 2x walking speed as it is coming forward in your stride...assume skin on shin is 2mm thick and will deform completely upon impact.

    Accelleration = change in velocity / change in time.

    A = (4m/sec - 0m/sec) / (2m/1000 / 4m/sec)
    A = 4m/sec / 0.0005sec
    A = 8000m/sec/sec
    1G = 9.8 m/sec


    Ag = 8000m/sec/sec / 9.8 m/sec/sec = 816G on your shin. No wonder it hurts!

    OK, so you have to run into the table to get up to 1500G, BFD.

  • Heh. I'm startled to discover that there are others who measure technology advances by the opportunity to ingest them.

    I was thrilled when the first matchbox hard drives came out. "My god, I could swallow it!" And then those super-small modems: "My god, I can swallow the Internet!" And cameras: "My god, I could do a helluva webcam!"

    I'll be estatic when I can choke down a high-resolution projection monitor...

  • I love the ghost stories like this one [slashdot.org] that are so short-lived... Someone should make an index of these. Sometimes the blurb is more informative than the story that gets left on the homepage. What is the criteria for this? Does taco get a posting point even though the story gets remarked?

    Anyway, visit the link above to see the OTHER story about the IBM drive. It's like driving through a ghost town!

  • This ALMOST makes MP3 obsolete for portable players ... there is one more factor.

    One of the reasons that hard drive based portable MP3 players work well is that when you are playing MP3s, the disk drive only has to wake up occasionally to read a burst of data. I believe that for one of the current products, the drive spins every 10 minutes or so to fill a 15 MB buffer. This helps keep the power consumption on the player down.

    Playing uncompressed audio requires that data be read at the rate of:

    4 bytes/stereo sample x 44100 samples/second x 60 seconds/minute ~= 10 megabytes/minute.

    so playing uncompressed audio using a 15M buffer would require the disk to spin every 90 seconds instead of every 15 minutes. Alternately, a much larger memory buffer could be used. However, large memory chips are expensive and consume more power.

    Either way, power consumption is going to go up.

    So MP3 may hold onto the niche, for power consumption reasons!
  • Seriously. Many digicam and PDA owners report low battery life after switching from flash to the microdrive. 1.2GB type II PC card flash memory is available [buy.com]. Now you know.

  • If your carrying around a 1 gig match book harddrive, then it is safe to say that won't be getting any babe's phone numbers.

  • Nope - I know enough about batteries to be using good quality NiMH batteries, thank you very much :)

    I think my problem is that I'm using an old Kodak DC210. They have a vicious reputation for devouring any and all batteries fed to them.

  • Hmmm... I wonder what will happen when there are common handheld batteries that could easily electrocute you...

    We'll have plenty more candidates for the Darwin awards :)

  • I can't imagine that it's going to be good! My digital camera will already chew up 4 AA batteries and spit out the pieces every time use it. Battery technology is lagging behind all others these days - we're going to have to wait for this [slashdot.org] type of technology before all this funky new portable technology becomes really useful.

  • Think how many babe phone numbers I can store on a 1 GB matchbook cover...
    Compaq dropping MAILWorks?
  • 1000 Gig/5 MB-Average-MP3-file-size = 200 mp3 files (mf).
  • Actually, this is incorrect, and the space it falls in has nothing to do with the space it falls through (except for wind resistance). The large shock is created by the velocity coming to a stop or even reversing itself in a near-negligible time.

    The "very small space" I referred to is the amount of space available for acceleration (which depends on the amount the colliding objects flex under the impact -- that's why the surface hardness matters), not the total falling distance. The collision time is, of course, a function of this distance for a given collision velocity (a direct linear function, if we assume constant acceleration).

  • "the ability to withstand a 1500-G shock. That is equivalent to a drop from a normal office desk onto a medium-thickness carpet"

    What planet is IBM labs on, that this kind of acceleration happens in 3 feet? Would the surface of the sun even provide this much G force?

    The shock is when it lands with a delta vee equal to its falling velocity (or more, if it bounces) in a very small space.

  • I agree that MP3s aren't as good as advertised, but I don't think you're going to be able to tell the difference when it's playing over Palm Pilot speakers.

    Devil Ducky
  • First of all, the term "theoretical limit" is a bit vague, but the limit which seems most directly relevent is what they call the superparamagnetic limit. This is the point at which the thermal energy which tends to randomize magnetic moment are stronger than (or just as strong as) the amount of magnetic energy stored in an individual bit. This effectively means that you may be able to store the bit, but it won't stay stored very long. Anyway, most scientists "estimate" this limit to be about 100 Gb/sq. in. (IIRC) I say "estimate" because magnetic field calculations is still more of an art than a science, and the calculations make some pretty strong assumptions about geometry. I believe the above mentioned limit assumes all of the magnetic moments are alligned in plane, for instance, which is very poor arrangement from a Gb/sq.in. perspective, but currently is the only practical way to arrange a drive. There are also other assumptions about the media being uniform, the substrate being flat, etc., etc. When we no longer assume many of these assumptions, we have more opportunities for greater density, at the expense of greater technical challenge, so the question really should be, "What is the theoretical limit assuming the same fundamental drive design", and as I said before that is about 100 Gb/sq.in. By the way, the read head design alone has changed fundamentally at least two times in the past 10 years (inductive heads, magnetoresistive heads, and GMR heads), so the assumption of drives remaining fundamentally the same until we reach this limit is a pretty weak assumption.
  • Given:
    • These microdrives, at 1GByte per.
    • The advances in the StrongArm port of Linux
    • The increasing support of Linux by vendors
    • The watch that is featured on the cover of the July Linux Journal, which contains a 640x480 X display

    And you get a very wearable, very useful computer.

    I WANT. NOW!
  • I want to know if there's going to be any way to hook it up to a handspring visor, because that would REALLY kick ass. Someone should make a compactflash springboard adapter, that would be REALLY useful.
  • Note to self:
    Figure out an interface for this and a lego mindstorm so that an AI program in LISP maybe created for my Lego creation. A little duct tape to secure the drive to the mindstorm. And I can take over the world!!! (Providing that I do it in the 10 min before the batteries go dead)
  • New and old photos of the IBM Microdrive can be viewed here: http://www.wirephoto.net -- Mike
  • 1 if you are lucky.
  • sure. on the site it states they will be available in the fall for consumers.
  • What planet is IBM labs on, that this kind of acceleration happens in 3 feet?

    It's not the fall, it's the sudden stop.

  • (Reuters) -- International Pyrotechnical Devices, based in Poughkeepsie NY, today announced the debut of the PFA or Personal Flame Accessory. It is a paper matchbook which holds one billion matches. "Our goal is one smoker - one matchbook," said company founder, Fred E. Tunalu. The PFA, which is about the size of an IBM System 360 [net.org], will contain copious cover art which is precisely targetted at the consumer. "By formatting each matchbook at one specific person, we hope to deliver the ultimate in marketing to a narrowly defined demographic," he said. (continued on page 42)
  • HP had matchbook-sized drives about 6 years ago, and HP reps gave out little plastic mockups of them to any designer who'd listen, as they tried to find a market for the things. Not enough capacity for a laptop, and palmtops were still at the Newton level. The first major application, of all things, was heart monitors [spacelabs.com]. Those have now switched to flash memory. So these things have been around for a while, looking for an application. The Palm XVIII, maybe?
  • You're close, but a little off the mark. Not primarily MP3's but for use in Tivo style devices and DVD replacements or portables. Having magnetic storage this small reduces heat,meaning power and with less power devices become portable. I was involved with some of this back with SATCOM a few years ago. Nothing quite this evolved but one project, the 19NP-Orb series had some potential but were simply too large and the general consencus was to not mess with a good thing until technology caught up with science. In the end, devices like the 19NP-Orbs are entertaining to watch as they develop, but in reality not many of us will ever get a fully public opportunity to touch and manipulate the product. Only a select few for the perverse reasons of wanting a press release or some other such valueless reason. Too bad devices like this available to the public could do great things for exposing new technology.
  • I can't remember ever seeing a portable audiophile-quality device, except maybe if someone came up with headphones with a digital pulse-width modulation amplifier that would take optical in, and you played from one of the high-end sony discman players that has digital optical out.

    Or, well, the old radio shack one with the same thing.

    Portable devices don't need top quality. That's really just not the idea. You can't get that kind of quality on the road typically in any case, because of the ambient noise. And antisound is not a solution - It makes everything sound hollow, which is not what you're looking for.

  • the problem comes when someone hax0rz you and plays an audio message at you all day. "YOU ARE OWNED YOU ARE OWNED YOU ARE OWNED..."

  • Put this puppy in a digital camera and you would have something you could really travel with. Most photographers would have no problem spending $500 on that much storage- High-rez uncompressed photos galore!.. And for the average consumer, you could go crazy with snapshots over a long vacation in that much space. Now we just need the speed to get rid of latency, a simple yet powerful cataloging system and a 30 -year battery.
  • The iPlay MP3 player by maxtech [maxtech.com.hk] take CompactFlash cards, so it should be able to use the 1 gig microdrive when it is released.
  • There has already been a storage system called a Microdrive, and they were hopeless.

    In 1982 Sinclair annouced Microdrives for the ZX Spectrum, although it took a year for them to arrive. The QL and ICL One-Per-Desk (a QL clone with integrated Lan and telephone) also used them.

    They consisted of a loop of tape in a matchbox sized case. Capacity was approx 80-100K (wow!). Reformatting after use would increase the capacity due to tape stretch.

    They were unreliable anf propriatory (only Sinclair made them, and they sold initially at 5 UKP per cartridge IIRC). They were also slow due to seek times in seconds.

    Typical Sinclair - designing their own solution when cheap storage, such a 3.5" floppies, was already emerging.

    I wonder if the name is still Trademarked??

  • This thing will eat batteries for lunch. The eGo [myaudio2go.com] mp3 player can use the IBM 340MB Microdrive (and with a firmware flash, presumably this newer drive). A standard set of 1200mAh rechargeables will only last just over an hour. What's the use in having ten hours of music if I have to carry around ten sets of batteries?


  • There was nothing on IBM's website about power and speed. Does anyone know how these to metrics compare to the flash used in MP3 devices?

    As a side note, it is now possible to choke to death on a multi-gigabyte hard-drive. ;-)


  • Scientific American [sciam.com] had a great article on magnetic storage, its limitations, and what technologies are on the horizon to supplement or replace it.
  • This kind of technology is clearly a boon for portable MP3 players.

    Will Metallica now sue IBM?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @07:22AM (#989539)
    It's often said that only small companies are innovative. The number and range of cool technologies that IBM (about as big as they get) are turning out, from IC to storage technology, seems to contradict this.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @08:14AM (#989540)
    http://partners.nytimes.com/library/tech/00/06/biz tech/articles/20blue.html?Partner=Pre ssDemo&RefId=YY1js4EFnnnn.FnBoj

    Come on, it's much easier to do s/www/www10/ instead:

    http://www 10.nytimes.com/library/tech/00/06/biztech/articles /20blue.html [nytimes.com]

    The hacking level on slashdot is amazingly low these days.

  • by eddiec ( 10335 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @06:57AM (#989542)
    Halo Data Devices [halodata.com] are introducing a 250Mb microdrive in a type I compact flash format. Small enough to fit in loads of devices, not least my trusty Psion 5.
  • by victim ( 30647 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @07:27AM (#989543)
    IBM says...
    • 1000 high resolution photographs - thats 1M/photo, not bad.
    • 1000 200 pages novels - 200 pages is a bit skinny for a novel, but that is 25k/page! 4k/page is probably a better estimate. Maybe they didn't want to appear bookish by saying `625 400 page novels'
    • 18 hours of high quality audio - Thats about 128kbps.

    How about some other uses...
    • 5 minutes of DV - Its fast enough at the platter, 38Mbps, but maybe not at the interface. They only claim 2.6MByte/sec there.
    • A nice Debian install - The seek time will hurt for this type of work, 12ms avg, 8.3ms avg latency.
    • 1 year of my email - YMMV

    But the killer app...
    Build a system with this for storage, one of their nice low power, high integration PPC chips for CPU, and their `toothbrush' eye projector displays, ViaVoice for input (and a keyboard jack), add a wireless interface and linux.
    They seem to have almost all of the pieces together now.
  • by NetCurl ( 54699 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @06:58AM (#989544)
    The last part of the article talks of a Tiqit Matchbox PC priced at $1,495. Imagine a matchbox sized MP3 player with 1 GB storage. The price might not be there, but the idea of 1 Gig of music stored in a space smaller than your wallet is quite attractive. Maybe the future of wearable computers is coming closer...
  • At this size you could make a laptop with a RAID array in it... that's what everyone needs. :)
  • by dmccarty ( 152630 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @07:05AM (#989546)
    What's great about these little things is that they'll fit in my TRGPro [trgpro.com]. Imagine 1GB of data on a Palm device! That's probably enough for an annotated version of Encyclopedia Britannica, if only the diminuitive 16MHz Dragonball processor could keep up.

    And that brings me to my point: it's wonderful that IBM has a microdrive like this, and it speaks volumes for miniaturization and where technology is headed. But what is the expected use for most people today? Not much. At $500, this is way out of range of all but a few consumers. (Heck, it would cost more than the TRGPro itself!) At present perhaps the best feature of the 1GB microdrive is to drive down the price of the 340MB microdrive so people can buy them instead.

  • by David Raine ( 158522 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @07:56AM (#989547)

    "the ability to withstand a 1500-G shock. That is equivalent to a drop from a normal office desk onto a medium-thickness carpet"

    The shock is when it lands with a delta vee equal to its falling velocity (or more, if it bounces) in a very small space.

    Actually, this is incorrect, and the space it falls in has nothing to do with the space it falls through (except for wind resistance). The large shock is created by the velocity coming to a stop or even reversing itself in a near-negligible time.

    Assume for a moment that a disk fell one meter onto the ground and bounced a small distance back into the air. A one meter fall at 9.8 m/s/s would result in a final velocity of 4.427 m/s. Let's also assume that it bounces up into the air at a velocity of 1 m/s, resulting in a net change in velocity of 5.527 m/s. The final assumption is the amount of time the disk contacts the ground, so let's assume a conservative value of .001 seconds.

    Acceleration is equal to velocity divided by time, so we take our 5.527 m/s net change in velocity and divide it by .001, our time. This results in a net change in acceleration of 5527 m/s/s due to the disk bouncing off of the ground. Dividing this by earth's acceleration, 9.8, results in the G-Force of the collision, which is 564 Gs.

    As shown by this conservative estimate, great shock can result from small forces when exerted over a negligible time. A bounce of a hard object may take even less than a thousanth of a second to recoil upwards, which I would guess is where IBM Labs is getting thier figures.

  • by kurowski ( 11243 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @07:37AM (#989548) Homepage
    They haven't closed it down, they've just tried to secure it. However, the silly blokes aren't even filtering by HTTP-Referrer, but rather just checking for some parameters to be passed with the GET request.

    To get around it, find a NYTimes partner. The easiest way is to go to Google and search for "link:partners.nytimes.com". Take the first one off the list, PressDemo. Go to their site and look at their links to partners.nytimes.com. Note that they are all of the form "http://partners.nytimes.com/somepathtosomestory?. html?Partner=PressDemo&RefId=YY1js4EFnnn n.FnBoj"

    To get the story you want (i.e.library/tech/00/06/biztech/articles/20blue.ht ml) just substitute it in there. So, hit the link http://partners.nytimes.com/library/tech/00/06/biz tech/artic les/20blue.html?Partner=PressDemo&RefId=YY1js4EFnn nn.FnBoj [nytimes.com] anv voila.

    Now, I won't defend this as being either convenient or ethical, but it works.

  • by Jelme ( 152480 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @07:01AM (#989549)

    I can see the headlines now: Los Alamos Nuclear Secrets Flushed Down Toilet.

    The Los Alamos Laboratory reported that two matchbook sized disk drives were lost. Investigators suspect an employee accidentally dropped them into a toilet...

  • by Halloween Jack ( 182035 ) on Tuesday June 20, 2000 @07:15AM (#989550) Homepage
    I'll do you one better...

    (AP)--In the latest of a series of embarassing security breaches, officials at Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory reported that two matchbook-sized hard drives were topped with peanut butter and eaten, allegedly by its newest employee, one H. Simpson. Sources quote Simpson as responding, "D'oh!"

"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors