Things continueto get interesting in the battle for memory as phase-change technology is taking over the spotlight. With the recent explosion of flash memory and support for flash memory devices, we already have a new worthy competitor and potential successor. This one might take awhile to become readily available to consumers, but that time could come sooner than we think.
As Moore’s Law continues to be tested, the brilliant minds of computer engineers and physicists all around are making great strides with memory technology. Phase-change–while by no means is a new idea as it was invented in the 1960s–works by acting on the physical properties of the material being written to. Currently, with most memory, there are two states–on and off. This is how a computer works, it is all based on the function of on/off switches with electricity thrown into the mix. However, phase-change technology uses temperature as its writing method.
Phase-change memory will last longer, hold more data, and write faster than flash memory. It is also a solid-state medium, which means no movable parts. Flash memory might be replaced by this technology before it ever hits its prime. It will be an interesting struggle in the next five or so years.
How It Works
Phase-change works exactly as it sounds. It makes use of a specific kind of glass called chalcogenide. The chalcogenide glass previously works the same way an electronically activated memory cell would work, but with phase-change memory, the physical property is altered by means of temperature regulation. The glass’ crystalline or amorphous state determines the data held there.
Recent developments have determined that the chalcogenide glass has four different possible states. Each new state offers a new potential way to store information. Instead of on or off, we now have what can be explained–for simplicity’s sake–as very on, somewhat on, somewhat off, or very off states. That means we have two more additional possibilities or switches for data. It is an impressive advancement.
Where Is It At?
So what is keeping phase-change memory from taking off? The answer is the inability to have complete control of temperatures in your computer case. The different phases are activated by way of temperature regulation, and while we have fans that keep computers cool, how do you secure a device so that there is no interference from other components’ heat dissipation? It is very difficult to do. It will require computer hardware to be changed in many ways as to not interfere with the phase-change memory chips. As the size of devices continually shrink, this task becomes further problematic.
It is possible for phase-change memory to make an appearance within the next year or two, but it will take some time for the industry to adopt such changes. Some brilliant person will figure it out. The cost will likely be expensive in the beginning, as usual, but with time the prices will drop.
Eventually, we will have materials that can take hundreds of various states and will change computing forever. Quantum and DNA computing are great examples of this. There is still a long way to go, but we will get there. In some sense, we already are there, but we just need to wait for these advanced technologies to mature.
My little brother is traveling to Oklahoma for a week to join a team of storm chasers as part of his graduate program. Today he asked me to upgrade the ram for him in this netbook as he can’t use his mac as some of the meteorological programs he will need.
In order to upgrade the ram, we had to remove the battery, touchpad, keyboard, hard drive, and a portion of the frame.
It is now clear to me why apple is worth half of a trillion dollars.
1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
2. Hold dumbbell in each hand at chest level (palms face body).
1. Quickly drive dumbbells overhead; at same time, drive legs into staggered-stance position - Back leg straight, front leg bent slightly.
2. Return to start position.
Photojojo founder, Amit, has found a 10/10 bone marrow donor match! (10/10 is really good!)
Thank you to everyone who has run a bone marrow drive or sent a note of support. You guys rock.
Here’s a note from Amit below.
Many of you have asked, so here’s what’s going on with me.
WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE
- 8/1979: Born. Grew up in CT, built a killer eraser collection, fell in love with computers.
- Left college to start a company. Fell hard. Fled to India for 3 months.
- Started 2nd company. Learned to be an adult. Fell in love with NYC.
- Moved to SF, discovered burritos & some of my fave people on Earth.
- 9/2011: Got diagnosed with Leukemia!
- Cried. Went through 3 cycles of chemo. Hurt. Thought hard about what I want out of life. Grew up a second time.
… After over 100 drives organized by friends, family, and strangers, celebrity call-outs, a bazillion reblogs (7000+!), tweets, and Facebook posts, press, fundraising and international drives organized by tireless friends, and a couple painful false starts, I’ve got a 10/10 matched donor!
You all literally helped save my life. (And the lives of many others.)
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Tomorrow, I’ll be admitted to Dana Farber in Boston for 4-5 weeks.
First I’ll get a second Hickman line to allow direct access to my heart (for meds and for nutrients if I’m not able to eat). Over the next week, the docs blast my body with a stiff chemo cocktail to try and eradicate all traces of cancer cells. In the process, the immune system I was born with, and my body’s ability to make blood, are destroyed.
Next Friday, I get my donor’s stem cells by IV. I start on immunosuppressants to prevent my body from rejecting them (I’ll be on them for 12-18 months). For these weeks I’ve no immune system, so I’m severely vulnerable to viruses and bacteria. My hospital room and hallway become my world.
Meanwhile, the stem cells make their way to my bone marrow and, with some luck, start producing platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells. At this point, my blood type changes to the blood type of my donor. And my blood will now have my donor’s DNA, not my own.
This is science fiction stuff. I can hardly believe it’s even possible, and there’s lots of chances for things to go wrong. It’s frightening.
AFTER THE TRANSPLANT
Recovery to a new state of “normal” takes about a year, but there’s a few storm clouds hovering:
- My immune system is new, like a baby’s. I’m prone to getting sick.
- Just as with any organ transplant, there’s a chance of rejection. Except in this case, it’s my blood that’s the foreign body, and it touches every organ. They call it graft-vs-host-disease and it can cause health issues and organ complications for the rest of my life.
- Successful transplant or not, Leukemia can relapse. Stubborn mofo.
Overall, 75% of AML transplant patients survive year one, 50% make it through year five. My odds are a little better since I’m young.
THE GREAT NEWS
I’ve got a long road ahead. But I’ve got a donor & amazing family & friends. A few months ago I didn’t have many options. Today I have a plan.
I am alive. I start tomorrow. Wish me luck!
On What it Takes to Make an NLM Video
(^click on photos above to view in gallery mode)
A lot of people assume that NLM is a much larger organization than it actually is (some of the emails we get certainly suggest this). We thought we’d share some photos from the production of our most recent video (Understanding SOPA / PIPA) and some insight on why we want to stay independent and lean despite it sometimes being a challenge.
We believe it is important that the capability to produce high quality media not be the exclusive domain of huge media conglomerates. The only stated obligation of these companies is to make as much money as possible, which tilts their coverage toward sensationalism, to attract viewers in a crowded media landscape, and omission, to avoid offending their corporate advertisers. As well, the agendas of their parent companies mean that many issues—like the Comcast-NBCU merger, or SOPA—are scarcely covered, if at all.
While the barriers to producing independent media have fallen dramatically in the digital era, it still takes significant resources to create quality content. In our 2010 fundraiser, we raised enough money to replace the university film equipment we’d been using—the camera alone cost more than $7,000—and to add a few new tools to our arsenal, like a portable “Diva” light (allowing us to do sit-down interviews) and a laptop (to edit on the road, reducing turnaround time on videos).
Making a film requires cameras, yes, but also sound equipment, lighting equipment, tripods and stands, cables and adaptors; to edit: computers, editing and graphics software, monitors, i/o boxes, reference speakers, and hard drives, hard drives, and more hard drives to store terabytes of digital video (in data-redundant setups, in case any one of those drives fail). Then, of course, there is insurance on all of the equipment, to protect against theft or accident.
On top of equipment, there are routine expenses: gasoline, tolls, parking, occasionally plane tickets, though we drive anywhere we can in our aging Corolla (even 16 hours to Maine) and always crash with friends (or sometimes kind strangers). NLM is a full time job, but unfortunately none of us are trust-fund babies or otherwise independently wealthy, so on top of this we all find other work to pay our rent and bills.
It’s true that we could shoot videos on a Flip Cam and edit them in Windows Movie Maker, but the quality of our work would suffer horribly. What I believe separates our videos from others on YouTube is our insistence on quality not just in the content, but in the aesthetics—the shooting, editing, sound mixing, and graphics—as well. I encourage you to review our two most recent videos and compare them to the mainstream media’s coverage of the same issue: #OccupyAmerica and Understanding PIPA / SOPA. Dollar for dollar, we deliver significantly more in quality and substance. Just the amount the cable networks spent chasing the illusory Balloon Boy alone would fund NLM at its present level for a century or more.
Currently, we lose money on every film we make. It might be startling to know that our latest video, which has been viewed by more than 100,000 people, has so far brought us less than $100 in ad-revenue, about the cost of gasoline to and from D.C. In other words, NLM cannot subsist without the continued support of our viewers.
Our films are free to watch, but costly to produce. If you think we’re worth it, please help us by contributing today. Every donation, no matter the amount, helps to keep us online. In return, we promise to work to make each film better than the last, and to continue producing in-depth coverage of the issues that go ignored by corporate media.
Thanks for your time.
Chase, Erick & Liz
Help us make our next video by donating today:
Two things I’ve wanted to do this week are test out the spotify feature on tumblr and talk about T-Pain.
Between the release of Rapper Turnt Sanga in 2005 and his probably career-killing collaboration with “comedy” duo The Lonely Island in 2009, a Floridian in his early twenties called Faheem Rasheed Najm, better known as T-Pain, released or was featured on dozens of singles, a large proportion of which became successful hits. When I was 19, it seemed like every big hit song featured T-Pain. Radio rap, like a lot of pop music, has a tendency to grab onto a certain style and then drive that style into the ground, killing its appeal with oversaturation (sorry Lex Lugar). In 07-08, that sound was T-Pain. We can try to lie to ourselves and say it was autotune, as if anyone beside music nerds on the internet & a young Aubrey Graham ever cared about 808s & Heartbrakes. But those are lies. Jay-Z should have called that song “DOTP” because we all know that’s what he really meant. T-Pain’s like The Clash, the only autotune rapper-turnt-sanga that ever mattered.
The whole reason why I have this mostly useless Spotify app taking up 25.4MB on my hard drive is for projects like the above. Very cool. The Remix BB’s T-Pain playlist is really good. And that was a good piece of writing about T-Pain.
The second half of the 19th century witnessed a broad movement to provide higher education to women; by 1890, 63 percent of the 1,082 colleges in the country admitted women. Meanwhile, opponents warned that higher ed encouraged independence in women and threatened marriage and the family. Professor Virginia G. Drachman explains this fascinating history:
The man most responsible for popularizing this view was Dr. Edward H. Clarke, a professor at Harvard Medical College. In 1873, Clarke published “Sex in Education, or, A Fair Chance for the Girls” to explain to the general reader the dangers of higher education to women’s health. Based on the prevailing theory of conservation of energy, that the sum of all energy in the body is constant, Clarke warned that excessive study diverted women’s finite supply of energy from the female reproductive organs to the brain. The consequence was a breakdown in women’s health, specifically in their reproductive organs, which ultimately threatened the health of future generations.
Clarke warned young women contemplating college to avoid intellectual strain at least one week every month. Young women ignoring his advice by studying “every day of the school year, just as boys do,” risked a panoply of ailments, from painful menstruation and general weakness to hysteria, sterility and even death.
FACT: The New Kids on the Rock want to take you on a 12 minute monetary adventure!
- Runtime: 12 Minutes
(art by Emmy)
I did some art up for my bro and his bros for their awesome webisode thang.
- Ryan wears my sunglasses in this and looks better in them than I ever did. Thanks a LOT Ryan.
- Ming does some back up vocals in the song Money Dollar Bills and it’s probably the greatest song my brother has ever made?
- There are no dolphins in the episode because no one ever listens to me
- My dad plays “the president” in this but he is overdubbed and wearing a wig and can’t actually play the saxophone and is actually just CGI
I love my CGI dad
- This is the first New Kids on the Rock in over two years (not counting the “Bad Luck” episode which, appropriately, was totally lost in a hard drive mixup.)
- We started filming this in the summer of last year and it took forever for various reasons
- You can obtain a free MP3 of Money Dollar Bills
- Kevin stood around for about an hour while we hosed cold water on him in the middle of the night
- Ryan’s throwaway line about Autobots and Decepticons is inspired by his actual rantings about the end monologue of Transformers 3 being meaningless
- The cigars we smoked were really bad and tasted like raisins
- In an early cut, just for fun I put sad music at the end with a text crawl epilogue: The US never recovered and we were imprisoned for our crimes. We attempted to help fellow prisoner Ernest P. Warrell in an escape attempt, and were shot by prison guards. Only Ryan survived his wounds, but remains wheelchair bound. / I decided just regular credits would be better.
We don’t have to remember phone numbers or addresses anymore. Instead, we can just hop on our email or Google to look it up. According to a study by Science Magazine, “the Internet has become a primary form of external or transactive memory, where information is stored collectively outside ourselves,” and our brains have become reliant on the availability of information.
Remember all of the history lessons that required you to remember dates, names, and finite details? Kids don’t do that nearly as much as they used to. With online libraries, “rote memorization is no longer a necessary part of education” according to Read Write Web. Educators are beginning to understand that information is now coming at us through a fire hose, quicker and faster than we can digest it, and memorizing facts wastes valuable brain power that could be used to keep up with more important information that can’t be quickly Googled.
Have you ever updated your Facebook while listening to music and texting a friend? If so, you’ve experienced the phenomenon of continuous partial attention and its impact on your brain. It remains to be seen if partial attention is a distraction as most believe, or an adaptation of the brain to the constant flow of stimuli.
In a study by Science Magazine, students were asked to type in pieces of trivia, and depending on their group were told that their information would either be erased or saved. The group that was told their data would be saved were less likely to remember. This study indicates that people have lower rates of recall when they can expect to be able to access information in the future.
Although we can’t remember it all, we’re getting better at finding the information we need. It seems that the brainpower previously used to retain facts and information is now being used to remember how to look it up. Professor Betsy Sparrow reports, “We remember less through knowing information itself than by knowing where the information can be found.” She indicates that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and may even be “kind of amazing,” as we’re adapting to new technology and becoming highly skilled in remembering where to find things.
When faced with a difficult question, people rarely consider the encyclopedia or history books, but rather, think about computers. It’s a brand new impulse that exists in our brains. For many, this means we don’t have to trek to the library, or, with the ubiquity of smartphones, even go much farther than our own pockets. It’s no longer a big deal to find an old classmate or remember the name of an actor in a movie — all you have to do is Google it.
In the age of MTV and video games, parents and experts worried that the new and flashy technologies would fry our poor brains into oblivion. But the exact opposite has happened: after MTV, after video games, after Twitter, Facebook, and Google, we’re getting smarter. Are we smarter because of technology, or in spite of it? No one’s answered that question yet, but it’s interesting to think about.
In an article for The Atlantic, Nicholas Carr relates his growing difficulty in deep reading. Like so many others, he finds that “deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.” It’s not hard to figure out why. Our time online is often spent scanning headlines and posts and quickly surfing links, never spending much time on any one thing. So of course, when it comes to reading more than a few minutes, or even moments, of information, your mind will often begin to wander.
With so much information, it’s only natural that some of it is junk. After all, we’re no longer in a world bound by printing presses and editors: just about anyone can put information out there and promote the heck out of it. It’s up to us as readers and consumers of information to determine what’s relevant and reliable, and with so much practice, our brains are getting better at this task every day.
Even after unplugging, many Internet users feel a craving for the stimulation received from gadgets. The culprit is dopamine, which is delivered as a response to the stimulation — without it, you feel bored. The wife of a heavy technology user notes that her husband is “crotchety until he gets his fix.”After spending time online, your brain wants to get back on for more, making it difficult to concentrate on other tasks and “unplug.”
In 2007, UCLA professor Gary Small tested experienced surfers and newbie Internet users, asking them to Google a variety of preselected topics. In his experiment, he monitored brain activity, noting that experienced surfers showed much more activity than novice users, especially in the areas typically devoted to decisions and problem solving. He brought them all back six days later, this time having the newbies spend an hour each day searching online in the period before they came back. In the second test, the novice surfers’ brains looked more like the intermediate Internet users. “Five hours on the Internet and the naive subjects had already rewired their brains,” noted Small, suggesting that over time, Internet use changes neural pathways.
Tests at Stanford indicate that multitaskers, such as heavy Internet users, often tend to overlook older, valuable information, instead choosing to seek out new information. Clifford Nass of Stanford observes, “we’ve got a large and growing group of people who think the slightest hint that something interesting might be going on is like catnip. They can’t ignore it.” Instead of focusing on important tasks, or putting information to good use, we’re distracted by incoming email.
Online browsing has created a new form of “reading,” in which users aren’t really reading online, but rather power browsing through sites. Instead of left to right, up to down reading, we seem to scan through titles, bullet points, and information that stands out. Comprehension and attention are certainly at risk here.
When you’re online, you’re frequently attacked by bursts of information, which is highly stimulating and even overwhelming. Too much, and you can become extremely distracted and unfocused. Even after you log off (if you ever do), your brain remains rewired. A lack of focus and fractured thinking can persist, interrupting work, family, and offline time.
Some experts believe that memorization is critical to creativity. William Klemm, a neuroscience professor at Texas A&M University insists that “Creativity comes from a mind that knows, and remembers, a lot.” Although creativity seems to have grown with the use of technology, it’s certainly being done in new and different ways. And Klemm’s assertion is certainly true for creative thinking and brainstorming born out of memorized knowledge, which so many of us now store online.
We’re really happy to announce that all of the rooms at Ace Hotel New York will, starting today and throughout the summer, have complimentary Google Chromebooks for you to use during your stay. Of course, if you take them home with you we’ll have to charge you a bunch of money and your firstborn child. Chromebooks are compact, lightweight and boot in the blink of an eye, and they store all of your information securely in the browser, so there’s no hard drive storing your passwords or history. You can traverse the mean streets of New York, hole up in your bed, hang out in the lobby or even cram yourself into the photobooth with one — we’ve tucked it safely into a custom slipcover we’re particularly proud of. Even the power cord has it’s own little cozy. There’s another surprise waiting inside the Chromebook, too — we worked with some of our very old friends who run Superfuture to create a special Field Guide so we can share some of our favorite NYC spots with you. You can use it on your Chromebook while you’re here or on any other machine you’re using with a Chrome browser — download it here. And if you’re just stopping by the lobby and want to borrow one while you’re having a drink or a cup of coffee, ask the front desk to sign one out for you.
Virgin America is also running a contest where you can win a trip to NYC, including two nights at Ace New York and a Chromebook for keeps. Enter here and good luck.