Jump to content

Optical vs. Flash


CraigHB
 Share

Recommended Posts

I was wondering what people think about flash drives replacing optical disks as media for software distribution, mainly future versions of Windows. Prices are are getting pretty low on smaller USB flash drives and I'm thinking they might replace optical media in the near future. Probably wouldn't happen for home theater media, but I think it's a strong possibility for software like games, office applications, and operating systems.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can't see it happening, physical media as a means of distribution is on its way out as it is, if you then take the cost of getting a million DVD's printed and compare it to the cost of a million 4GB flash sticks, no chance. The media would have to be read only (for obvious reasons) and making that happen would increase the cost of the USB sticks. On line distribution is cheaper by far, and the customer is then responsible for selecting the media.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

exactly as Vako said, the future is on-demain conted with online distribution, its plauseable the disks will be phased out, its possible that OS's will be distributed on flash drives or SSD's, but i dont really see that happening.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was wondering if that optical drive in my computer was going to become dead weight soon, guess not. Mainly thinking in terms of Windows installations. But yea, I'm already getting most of my application software through download distribution with the exception of games. Problem with games is they can be be pretty big and I don't really want to download the distribution files or store them on my hard drive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think with Blue Ray going mainstream on new pc's and as a cheaper burenr for alrger storage, they probably won't be going away any time soon. CD's and DVD's are really cheap for a spindle of 100, vs the materials and electronics for something like a flash drive. Hell, they may invent some other device, like a mini disc the size of a coin that holds terabytes of data, so who knows what the future will hold. One thing I see as a means of cheap storage is these new bar codes. Any optical or ocr reader that can scan one can read the data in. One experiment put a few gigs on a sheet of paper that was all funky colored blocks, but the material itself wouldn't last all that long since its a paper medium.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I already think Blu-Ray has been made obsolete. Every device we have is getting more and more connected to every other device that pretty soon portable storage mediums such as disks and even flash media sticks will be obsolete. The only thing in the way of that happening is there is no sufficient network in place to transport ALL that media to where ever we are. The internet in its mobile form and even the internet in our homes is not capable of coping with everyone getting their media over it. As soon as that bottle neck is solved of creating an ultra fast network to absolutely everywhere, that is when we will truly see the death of the portable media.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regardless of connection speeds, Bluray is already outclassed as far as I'm concerned, HDDs and even flash-based media is overtaking it. Sure, it's more expensive for flash media at the moment but it's ever decreasing in cost and readers (for media types which require them) are dirt cheap. With that in mind, I'm going to find it hard to continue looking at Bluray as a future backup medium, it's just too small compared to the kinds of data we store these days.

For manufactured media, perhaps it'll be more useful due to the cost of flash media, but I don't think I've bought anything on physical media for months, years even, you can download music, TV shows movies, games, applications, even operating systems now with relative ease, so why would I bother going to the store for them?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regardless of connection speeds, Bluray is already outclassed as far as I'm concerned, HDDs and even flash-based media is overtaking it. Sure, it's more expensive for flash media at the moment but it's ever decreasing in cost and readers (for media types which require them) are dirt cheap. With that in mind, I'm going to find it hard to continue looking at Bluray as a future backup medium, it's just too small compared to the kinds of data we store these days.

For manufactured media, perhaps it'll be more useful due to the cost of flash media, but I don't think I've bought anything on physical media for months, years even, you can download music, TV shows movies, games, applications, even operating systems now with relative ease, so why would I bother going to the store for them?

I think Flash and HDD's are great backup mediums, but I was talking more about delivery and distribution methods, like buying software at the store and having hard copies to install from. I think Flash is a bit expensive in terms of a distribution channel for people like Microsoft and Apple, but as for storage, blueray can't beat a 500gig portable usb drive, or rewritable flash media that can be used over and over again and for multiple purposes, like cameras, media players and file storage/archiving. They each have their purpose, and neither are going away any time soon. I've yet to make the switch to Blueray because I still use DVD's for my backups and don't own a Blueray player. My dvd player lets me burn data discs of video files and plays them natively, so I have no need to upgrade yet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Flash and HDD's are great backup mediums, but I was talking more about delivery and distribution methods, like buying software at the store and having hard copies to install from. I think Flash is a bit expensive in terms of a distribution channel for people like Microsoft and Apple, but as for storage, blueray can't beat a 500gig portable usb drive, or rewritable flash media that can be used over and over again and for multiple purposes, like cameras, media players and file storage/archiving. They each have their purpose, and neither are going away any time soon. I've yet to make the switch to Blueray because I still use DVD's for my backups and don't own a Blueray player. My dvd player lets me burn data discs of video files and plays them natively, so I have no need to upgrade yet.

Here's a question. Why don't they make digi cams with usb host capability instead of a cf/sd/mmc/sdhc/memory stick/dvd? I mean, come on! You can pick up a 2Gb stick in 7-11's now. It's not like a usb flash drive takes up much more space than a cf card, they are usually cheaper too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unless they make a little compartment for the USB drive, it will stick out a little. Also, USB drives don't have a standarised size, so some stick may not fit said compartment.

Yea, I was just thinking having a notch cut out of the bottom. It wouldn't fit all drives, but the bulk of them are pretty much the same size. About the size of a sandisk cruzer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Barry I think cam makers use CF and such so that they can sell them as addons, and from the uniform and small form factor. I know when I bought my girlfriend a camera, I didn't think twice about buying a 4gb CF card right from the store, if it was USB I would have probably picked one up on newegg instead.

On topic, I can easily see USB keys taking over disk media, if the market wanted to shift before downloading (or hosting via cloud technology) becomes the norm. I think we're in a period right now where the average person does not want to wait an hour or two for a program to download, since they have not had the joys of bit torrent in their lives before.

When I was in a band, there have been a couple times I ordered large amounts of CD's from different pressing companies. The reason why they could do this quickly and cost effectively is because they had BIG machines that automated the process. Lots of moving parts, which I'm sure required a lot of upkeep.

You could make a machine that flashes 100 thumb drives (or more) at a time, and your overheads would be much lower.

Also, whenever I ordered a batch of 1000 cds or so, there was always an additional 60 or so added in for "overrun," basically saying that if any of the CD's got messed up while pressing or shipping, the extra 60 should cover that.

With flash drives, you don't have to worry about scratches, and imagine how much less shipping materials the companies could use including the smaller size devices, and minus the extra infrastructure to stop the cd from getting crushed. Plus companies save on not having to by default ship extras to account for damaged goods.

As for the one time write thing, I'm sure there is something easy that can be done that when you plug the USB key in, it appears as a static drive instead of rewritable... but at that point, why not let people reuse the key? Seems like the eco-friendly thing to do, imagine how many CDr's are sitting in a landfill right now.

How about and exciting future where you carry around your microsoft USB key, and you stop at licensed microsoft kiosks in the mall, plug your key in, and then load it with the latest greatest version of..... well.... microsoft has to come out with something great, but you get the idea. Not that THAT would ever happen (and not that it isn't a ridiculous idea), but I think that using USB keys instead of CD's leads us to a more advanced software distribution system.

So, are USB keys a reasonable way to distribute software, sure, but if the question is will developers start adopting it... can't really say. I'm sure they've made such large investments into their CD farms that it would be pretty painful to scrap them, even though it's a pretty good idea.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the last 5 years, Virgin (an ISP in the UK) up'd the max speed they sold from 3mbit to 50mbit. Most people today use there computers to access stuff on the web, in fact my girlfriend has been happily using my Mini 9, which aside from W7 only has Live messenger installed. The PC is dieing as a home user platform, it will be replaced with extendable smartphones for regular users within 10 years. Physical media costs money to produce, where as downloads are cheaper.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, interesting comments in this thread.

For backups, I use a trayless mobile hard drive rack installed in one of my front bays. I was using optical before. It's *way* faster and simpler with a drive. I'm looking forward to when solid state drives become more affordable. Then I can replace the mechanicals with those nice little 2.5" jobs. That would be similar to plugging a thumb drive into a USB port. I prefer SATA over USB. On my machine, SATA is like 3Gb/s and USB is like 500Mb/s. Although, SATA III and USB 3.0 put speeds on equal footing for future machines. In any case, SATA drives are a lot faster than USB drives right now.

Unless something changes, I don't see cell based solutions ever gaining much ground over the status quo for internet access. The problem is everything involving cell phones is totally closed and proprietary. That wouldn't be a problem so much, but providers charge a premium for their services and features. For example, a basic data plan is $15 US per month with my provider (AT&T) which, based on my research, is the cheapest game in town. If you go with something like an iPhone, Blackberry, PDA, or tethered solution, the plan ranges from $30 to $60 per month. This is for a connection that tops out around 1Mb/s and can drop down quite a bit with lower reception. Unless speeds go up and prices come down quite a bit, I just don't see it drawing the masses.

It's a drag that portable consumer electronics makers have gone with a myriad of memory card technologies. It would be so much better if it was all USB. I'm sure it can be done now, but when memory cards were first introduced, USB wasn't even around yet. I think memory cards have become a paradigm for consumer electronics. It sure would be nice if I could use the same thumb drive in my computer, camera, cell phone, and camcorder.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm. Im quite looking forward to when the Android platform, or something similar, reeeaaally takes off. I know it's already out, and on a few phones, but they tend to be only one or two phones per manufacturer. I hope Android, or a similar platform, because a kind of standard in the mobile market. That would make. It should also make it easier for phones, aswell as PMPs, and computers to play nice with each other, unlike the situation just now with some mobile phones and PMPs - "you need this certain software suite to put stuff onto your device. Oh yeah, it only runs on Windows". I really hate that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the last 5 years, Virgin (an ISP in the UK) up'd the max speed they sold from 3mbit to 50mbit. Most people today use there computers to access stuff on the web, in fact my girlfriend has been happily using my Mini 9, which aside from W7 only has Live messenger installed. The PC is dieing as a home user platform, it will be replaced with extendable smartphones for regular users within 10 years. Physical media costs money to produce, where as downloads are cheaper.

Agree 100% about physical media representing an unnecessary overhead for companies in 2009, disagree 100% about the PC dying for home users.

One of my first projects when I move into my new house is to buy a new tv, and then set up a media center PC to pipe HDMI out to my TV for hulu, rev3, video games, etc. If we're to talk about dying tech, the TV (and especially cable TV) will be gone in 10 years. I have not turned my TV on in months and months, because we use our PC's for everything.

Perhaps the iPhone 12G will be able to output HDMI hulu to my TV, but whatever my PC will be doing will crush that! Beaming the images into my brain perhaps :).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another thought...

What if the USB key versions of distributed software were a bit more?

For example, you could buy windows 7 for 200, or you could buy windows 7 on usb key for 220. This would more then pay for the additional costs of the usb key, and the end user would get a 10GB usb key, instead of a disk that they couldn't re-purpose.

Probably something I wouldn't mind paying a bit more for, as I'm not one who has 40 usb keys laying around.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know that some states have FIOS, but if you do some research the government has and STILL IS giving the telecom industries HUGE tax brakes that was initially designed to do two things. First was to give reliable internet to everyone (specifically those in rural areas). Second is build up the fiber infrastructure so that every house in america could have fiber to there door step. Most companies have worked on increasing there core infrastructure but have failed on the two primary goals.

Here is a link that covers some of the thing thats happening. (Little biased but still has good information. And no I don't own a tin foil hat.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...