One of the biggest advances in terms of computer storage and transfer of data is flash memory. Today we use flash memory in a number of different ways, from portable USB drives to storage facilities used by digital cameras. Flash memory has become so powerful, so fast and so large as far as volume is concerned that it has even been used in some digital video cameras, and as external portable hard drives.
There are several good reasons why flash memory represents an important and advantageous step forward for data storage, retrieval and transfer. To begin with, flash memory does not rely on any moving parts. Unlike hard disks, CDs, floppy disks, zip disks and tapes or cartridges, flash memory does not rely on any moving or mechanical means by which data can be stored and retrieved.
This is important because whenever any system relies upon moving parts in some way, there is the danger of failure. Moving parts break down, damage, fail and become worn out and in need of replacement. If this happens at an important time it can spell disaster, losing data completely or at least causing severe delays and inconvenience. There is no moving part of mechanism in the world that is not inevitably subject to deterioration and damage.
With data transfer and mobile technology increasingly popular and important in today’s digitize culture, this becomes even more important. Carrying about disks, moving drives and other methods of data storage that require mechanical or physical parts, there is always the danger of damage.
Even inside your computer at home there is a danger. The head that reads the data encoded on a hard disk sits just a tiny fraction of a millimetre above the disk itself. The disk is spinning at thousands of revolutions a minute, with this head so close that a single particle of dust could not fit between the head and the disk. Yet, if this head were to come into contact with the disk, both would be trashed in seconds. Now think about how many times your computer is shoved about and moved whilst the disk is running. Perhaps you need to move the computer to access a port or socket at the back.
When it comes to laptops, the danger becomes even greater, with the same hard disk technology at work inside, but a far greater risk of the laptop being moved, knocked or even dropped.
Because flash memory has no moving parts, you can shake it, drop it and generally abuse it without any significant danger of the data being wiped or corrupted in any way., The only danger facing the data on flash memory storage is magnetic. A strong magnetic field could corrupt the data, but since it is unlikely that you will be coming into contact with such a strong field, you can easily go about your daily life with data stored on a USB stick in your pocket quite safely.
With the cost of flash memory coming down, and storage volumes continually increasing, it is no surprise that more and more people are looking to flash memory to store, transport, carry or access data quickly and reliably, whether on the move, in the office or at home.