I was shopping at Office Depot, and next to the checkout line they had this bin full of cheap items on sale. And in it, thrown carelessly with less decorum than potatoes get at the grocer’s, were blister-packaged Flash memory cards.

Cheap Flash Memory at Office Depot

They had 2.0 GB units selling for a pittance. That’s two billion bytes, or 16 Billion bits. I remember Thirty years ago, when a solid state memory board of 16K Bytes would come very carefully packaged – rightly so, as it cost thousands of dollars. The unit in the blister pack shown has a Million times as much capacity and costs 10 bucks. Of course we all know how Moore’s law is driving densities up and price per bit down, but this infamy of selling Gigabytes like peanuts brings it home with some poignancy.

And Below is a similar case, this from our neighborhood general store. Here the Flash Disk-on-key packs are hanging from a shelf alongside Energizer batteries, chocolates, candy and chewing gum packages.

You can bet the core memory stack I show here was not sold with chewing gum…

Cheap Flash Memory

3 Responses to “Memories,memories…”

  1. 1 Shlomo Caine

    I guess that’s how we got where we are now… :o)
    By the way, my brother needed to buy a quantity of “small” memory cards, to load data on to a bunch of handhelds, for display purposes. He was looking for some 8meg cards…….impossible to find! I think that 2G is the smallest you can buy nowadays.

  2. 2 Amitai

    I remember reading, as a youth, an article about the rate at which technology is becoming affordable. The author claimed the while “today” (~1982), a likely promotion would be to offer free ice cream to anyone buying a digital watch (a gadget I could not really afford), in the future, people might actually get a free digital watch when buying ice cream. I’m not sure the author actually, truly and fully believed his own prediction, but hey, today you might get a watch with a kid’s meal in Burger King.


  3. 3 Nathan Zeldes

    Shlomo is so right… I see the same with digital cameras: they force on you many more Megapixels than you ever need… thankfully hard disks are also huge, so it balances out 😉

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