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Saturday 24 September 2011

Auto Synchronised Memory Sticks

I just bought a USB memory stick and had an idea for a future innovation.  Memory sticks that back themselves up. 

The reason for this post is to avoid someone else being able to patent an obvious idea.  I often have random thoughts that to me are obvious ideas but someone else eventually patents with one of those convoluted patents that is just a whole bunch of complicated sentences to hide the fact that what they are patenting is not a clever bit of new intellectual property but just the blatantly obvious that any technician could have come up with as a natural evolution.  It frustrates me that there are companies that try to enforce those patents and make people pay to do something that would be useful for everyone.

There are plenty of things that are very clever and the designers should be compensated for their efforts in getting it to work.  It is only the no effort wasters that I dislike.

Back to my idea.

It could work by each memory stick storing a little bit of power whenever it is plugged in or used.  There are plenty of existing technologies to do this, even a simple capacitor however I suspect it would need a much more efficient and tiny battery to be of practical use.

When a pair of these devices are plugged together or better still just come within the same vicinity they start to synchronise their data so that they both contain the same data.  This could be by directional or one way.  It would probably need a user setting to decide this.

This is ideal for ensuring you always have a backup of those family photos or business critical data.  Most people forget about backups until it is too late.

This copy is likely to take a long time, probably leaving them together overnight.  It would need an indicator to show when they were complete.  I would suggest a zero power consumption indicator such as the sort of technology used on the screens of e-books like the Amazon Kindle.

There would be things to consider such as how you deal with deleted files to avoid them being recreated from the other device but by the time you have enough processing power in the little devices to do the copy adding the extra detail would be trivial.

This could be used for all sorts of memory sticks and cards.  SD cards, USB memory sticks, SSDs and all the variations of them, pretty much all solid state devices.  The technology inside would be applicable to them all.

The connections could either be plug and socket or a special set of contacts or very very low power wireless of some sort.

It could even eventually be used for updating the firmware or settings in equipment from washing machines to computers to motor cars or just reading back the current settings.

JCB 24 September 2011

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