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Monday, December 12th, 2022

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The history of the USB thumb drive (spectrum.ieee.org)

I remember floppy disks. I remember ZIP disks. I remember burnable CDs, as well as rewritable CD ROM disks. All were means of transferring data between machines. And all were summarily taken behind the barn and shot in 2000 with the arrival of USB thumb drives.

Who invented the thumb drive? Well, it turns out, it came from Singapore. Or, as the article goes on to delve into, did it?

From the intro:

In 2000, at a trade fair in Germany, an obscure Singapore company called Trek 2000 unveiled a solid-state memory chip encased in plastic and attached to a Universal Serial Bus (USB) connector. The gadget, roughly the size of a pack of chewing gum, held 8 megabytes of data and required no external power source, drawing power directly from a computer when connected. It was called the ThumbDrive.

...

Later that year, Trek went public on the Singapore stock exchange, and in four months—from April through July 2000—it manufactured and sold more than 100,000 ThumbDrives under its own label.

But then:

In April 1999, the Israeli company M-Systems filed a patent application titled "Architecture for a Universal Serial Bus-based PC flash disk." This was granted to Amir Ban, Dov Moran, and Oron Ogdan in November 2000. In 2000, IBM began selling M-Systems' 8-MB storage devices in the United States under the less-than-memorable name DiskOnKey. IBM has its own claim to the invention of an aspect of the device, based on a year-2000 confidential internal report written by one of its employees, Shimon Shmueli. Somewhat less credibly, inventors in Malaysia and China have also claimed to be the first to come up with the thumb drive.

I encourage you to read the full article as it is an interesting look into that era of technology and how taking original credit for something can be difficult.

12/12/2022 6:57 am | |
Tags: technology, gadget

Most politically successful movie?

Predator had two actors who went on to become governors, this post on Mastodon got me thinking if there was a movie with more political success.

I believe I have found one which says yes, though it is definitely arguable. I played around on Oracle of Bacon with Reagan. He was in This is The Army with George Murphy. Murphy went on to be a 1-term Senator for California from '65-'71.

12/12/2022 9:39 am | |
Tags: us politics, movies, trivia

Richmond removes final Confederate statue (twitter.com)


12/12/2022 2:19 pm | |
Tags: us history, civil war, virginia

Nano thin layer of gold could prevent fogging on glasses and windshields (engadget.com)

Sign me up. As a glasses wearer, one of the most infuriating things is when my glasses fog up. If it can prevent smudges, there is literally no price I won't pay.

12/12/2022 5:18 pm | |
Tags: technology, science

Both House & Senate have laws with bi-partisan support aimed at closing some of the loopholes around our elections (theconversation.com)

Article is by a law professor who outlines the four key reforms he sees as needed.

Both the Senate and the House have versions of a bill that tries to achieve the same end. But the Senate bill, known as the Electoral Count Reform Act, is narrower, went through extensive public vetting and has broad bipartisan support. It is likely something very close to this version becomes law.

The Electoral Count Reform Act does many small things, but it does a few big things that deserve public attention for their ability to deter mischief in this important process.

12/12/2022 7:15 pm | |
Tags: us politics, january 6th

SOFIA 747 flying telescope retiring to museum in Tucson (smithsonianmag.com)

I love science like this, but undoubtedly JWST makes this unnecessary as a project.

The project, known as the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA for short, was an engineering marvel. Researchers at NASA and the German Space Agency installed a 38,000-pound, 100-inch reflecting telescope inside a Boeing 747SP. Then, they developed a garage door-like device in the aircraft's main section that could open mid-flight to give the telescope a clear view of the cosmos. The team figured out how to stabilize the huge instrument while the plane was hurtling through the air at 38,000 to 45,000 feet, which was akin to "keeping a laser pointer steady on a penny from ten miles away," per NASA.

But after eight years of scientific operations above the clouds that resulted in numerous discoveries, SOFIA's mission came to an end in September due to budget constraints. On Tuesday, the unique observatory will make its final flight and head to the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona.

12/12/2022 7:20 pm | |
Tags: science, astronomy, aviation, nasa

Mastodon Favs for December, 12th 2022

12/12/2022 10:45 pm | |
Tags: mastodon, social media, automated

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