SmartMedia vs


#1

OK. So I have not decided what to do about memory even though the moderator of this forum thinks that I have and deleted my string
Toshiba identifies Secure Digital memory as
“A safe storage media suitable for commercial content that requires robust copyright protection.”
This tells me nothing. I assume it means “for record and software companies which want to protect intellectual property”, but am not sure. I seem to have read somewhere that this also requires passwords to protect the data and is intended for executives and government officials with classified info. Am I right here?
Now, the SmartMedia is described as “Removable and reusable flash memory card that can be used in several different types of digital devices including digital cameras, digital music players and digital voice recorders.”
So does this mean that SmartMedia is less stable and can be destroyed a little easier than SD?
Boy, I am getting close to buying that Clie PDA which can play MP3s on Sony Memory Sticks.


#2
quote:
Toshiba identifies Secure Digital memory as "A safe storage media suitable for commercial content that requires robust copyright protection." This tells me nothing.
That's normal and probably wanted. The phrase could be translated as "another product that will help us (Toshiba EMI for instance) and others to make more money because you can't do anything with the data on that card we don't want you to do." There are a few consumer rights in a number of countries that are secretly targeted by the "content providing industry". Those rights should be rendered meaningless due to new laws protecting copyrights in digital contents. This protection sounds nice and reasonable at first, but is actually in contradiction to existing laws. The US has its DMCA and Europe is working on an even "better" own version...

quote[quote]So does this mean that SmartMedia is less stable and can be destroyed a little easier than SD?
[/quote]
No. Technically, they all employ the same flash memory chips inside. Differences are in their interface to the outside world, their inner structure etc. The cheapest (and imho best) solution is CompactFlash, the only disadvantage being the size. Unfortunately, you will often not have the choice, because the digital camera or MP3 player you bought will only accept one format.

quote[quote]Boy, I am getting close to buying that Clie PDA which can play MP3s on Sony Memory Sticks.
[/quote]
That is not a very good idea. (I mean the Memory Stick, the Clie series is not bad.) The Sony MS comes with the smallest physical volume, but while the other formats are internationally standardised “Memory Stick” is a product and trademark of Sony. Only recently they started to issue licenses to third party manufacturers, so the MS should become a bit cheaper too, but still only Sony incorporates them into their designs. Just compare the prices…


#3
quote:
Originally posted by Olaf: That is not a very good idea. (I mean the Memory Stick, the Clie series is not bad.) The Sony MS comes with the smallest physical volume, but while the other formats are internationally standardised "Memory Stick" is a product and trademark of Sony. Only recently they started to issue licenses to third party manufacturers, so the MS should become a bit cheaper too, but still only Sony incorporates them into their designs. Just compare the prices...

Personally, I like SONY products have have quite a few of those products. It’s convenient for me to use memory stick since I have a sony digital camera. I can just take the memory stick out and pop it into a Clie to view the pictures. Also I have a sony mouse that takes the memory stick. Sony memory stick works in most Sony products, from their Aibo to Vaios. It all depends on the products you like to buy. I like the the design(style and function) of Sony products so it’s not a problem for me. There is a digital encryption memory stick (similiar to SD cards) out there called Magic Gate. The new ACER PDAs also use sony’s memory stick. They are a bit bulky compared to a palm but they also include mp3 player. They also have 16 megs of RAM which is more than any of the PDAs out there on the market. A color version of the Acer PDA is coming out soon if you don’t like monochrome. LEXAR makes a version of the memory stick also. They are usually 10-20 USD cheaper than Sony memory sticks and function just as well. Sony just dropped their memory stick prices about a month ago so the prices between memory stick, compact flash, and multimedia cards vary by about 20-30 USD.

Mark


#4

Yes, its all very convenient. But as you mentioned: Even with Sony, the (normal) Memory Stick only works in MOST of their products, some will ask for a Magic Gate. And although Sony licensed the MS to other manufacturers too, it is still a standard completely controlled by one company. So if they want to change the rules of the game one day, you have to play along.
Remember the Mini Disk? When Sony introduced it in Europe a few years ago, their slogan was “every copy an original”. Now they have the copy protection bit to prevent just such a copy…
If you go with a product that only one company controls, you will have the advantage of convenience, but also the disadvantage to be at their mercy. This is something everyone has to decide for himself, but he/she should be aware of the consequences.
And by the way: If you go with a slightly more standardised memory card, you can even plug it into devices of different brands - with one exception: Sony…:slight_smile:
And I think I should mention that Acer is not the only (and probably not the first) company to market a 16MB Palm based PDA…
Convenience is nice, but I would like to have the freedom to do with my data what I like and what I am legally allowed to do. And as much as I like the Clie series, due to the MS I will probably not buy one…


#5

Great feedback. I really thank you for taking the time to clarify these things to me. I will look at that Acer PDA, since the Clie I like is NT$18000. Does the m505 play MP3s from SD cards?Can you tell me how good that MP3 player on the Acer is?

Also… how close are record companies and computer makers to makeing a deal to keep us from copying music? Any ideas?


#6
quote:
Originally posted by Quirky: Also... how close are record companies and computer makers to makeing a deal to keep us from copying music?

Close. And it is not only about music. In many countries, consumers are allowed to make copies of music, movies, books, software… for their own use. People are allowed to do so because in most cases, the mayor part of the money payed is for the content rather than the carrier of that content. So you basically purchased the right to listen to a song, not only to own the cd the song is on. That’s why you are allowed to copy it on tape to have the same song in your car or to transform the song into an MP3 file to enjoy it on your portable player while jogging. Also, the carrier may be damaged, so you might want to secure your right to listen to that song by making a backup of the cd. These rights are kept out of discussion completely by the content providing industry. When they are lobbying among politicians, they draw dark pictures of a world where people (it seems they don’t like to refer to the term “customer” in those discussions) make multiple lossless copies of songs, movies,… sharing them on the internet and thus hurting the poor artists who suffer from decreasing sales numbers.
I don’t know about the US or other countries, but in Germany an artist will only receive a very small portion of the money a consumer pays for a cd.
And: The content providing industry is only talking of (alleged) piracy, but never of consumer rights.
A german computer magazine made tests once with a number of appropriately named and sized files in Gnutella and other networks to see what kind of (music/movie) files is really swapped on the internet. The result: Mostly content that is not (any more) available in shops, but none of the “smash hits”.
MP3 was successful because it could compress audio files to an acceptable size at acceptable quality. That is also why it is often used to trade “illegal” audio contents on the internet. The implication now is that MP3 is a format only useful for piracy, so any MP3 file must be illegal. How can it be kept legal? Change the specs, implement some “digital rights management” and let new (hardware) players only play content following the new specs. To encode to MP3 according to new specs you will of course need proper software - which will refuse to compress just any cd you like. Microsoft is lobbying hard to get MP3 replaced with their WMA, quite a number of hardware players is supporting that format today. WMA of course incorporates DRM mechanisms…
Basically, it will end in the content providing industry controlling every single replay of their content and charging you accordingly.
Of course, for every protection measure there is a counter measure. But for how long do you want to be jailed for writing such a software or only publishing weaknesses of copy protection mechanisms? The american DMCA is a really “fuzzy” law, as it leaves room for a lot of interpretations and speculations. No matter how weak a mechanism is, you may basically not even loudly speak about that weakness. Princeton Professor Felton wrote a scientific work about a copy protection scheme and its weaknesses, but he does not publish it in fear of the DMCA. The russian(!) programmer Dmitri Sklyarow is the first person to be dragged to (an american) court based on the DMCA (which is an american law, not a russian…). Elmsoft, the company he’s working at, is selling a program to remove the ebook copy protection so you can make private copies.
If you follow the argumentation of the content providers, every tool that CAN be used for illegal purpose should be forbidden. Applied to the daily life, there would be few things left for you to use, because cars are used to get away after robberies, motor bikes and bicycles too, tools are used to break into a place, cell phones to coordinate activities during a crime…
There is a US senator (sorry, forgot his name) who wants to introduce a law that would force manufacturers of “all electronic products capable of processing digital information to implement copy protection measures”. The above phrase is not exactly the same he used - his was much “better”. But as you see, following his “definition”, even computers would be involved - and their operating systems. Unix would have to be stripped of the command “cp”…
Recently, there are audio CDs with copy protection. The theory says that you can play them on a usual CD player, but not on a computer drive. They achieved that by purposely implementing data errors: The error correction in audio CD players is supposed to prevent you from hearing mayor dropouts. But that’s only the theory. There are a number of audio players that can not play such a CD. And: The error correction can only work successfully up to a certain amount of errors. If the CD is scratched only a little bit (which will happen after a while) or otherwise dirty - game over. Fortunately, Philips has contacted companies producing such disks and informed them that they are violating a Philips trademark (“CompactDisk” and its label), because they are not following the standards originally set by Philips.

DVD would be another topic to get upset about, but I think its enough for today…


#7

From what I remember of the m505, it doesn’t have a earphone plug. So even if it has a mp3 player, there is no way of listening to it. The acer model I saw has earphone jacks and small speakers. It sounded ok. but then it’s mp3, it’s limited quality music.

any copy protection the music or movie industry try to make will be broken eventually. Looked at what happened to the protection of DVD in terms of CSS. People got over the legal hassle of that by printing the code on T-shirts. It became harder to limit the knowledge since it was printed on t-shirts.

Mark