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How To: Turn Nook into Android Tablet – For Non-tech Peeps too!

If you have a Nook color or Nook tablet and have dreamed about hacking it into a full-on blown Android tablet, it’s actually possible! Take things into your own hands with the latest release from the fellows over at Nook 2 Android. It’s a lesser known fact among its general user base that the devices run Android at their core. Even less apparent to the B&N crowd is that you can make those tablets boot and run a stock Android experience. Previously limited to the Android 2.3 Gingerbread experience, Nook 2 Android (N2A) microSD cards now allow the aforementioned devices to boot directly to the same Android 4.1 Jelly Bean experience that comes with phones and tablets.  Specifically, this is a Cyanogenmod port of Android, or the preferred stock UI and features that many modders prefer to employ. In a nutshell, these cards turn the e-readers/tablets into Android tablets, complete with widgets and access to Google Play. If you own one of these two devices and wish to get in on the standard Android love, there are a number of options at your disposal. On one hand you can buy a microSD card already loaded with the bootable OS, with capacities ranging from 8GB ($29.99) up to 64GB ($69.99). On the other hand, you can opt for the $19.99 method which lets you download and install the image on your existing microSD cards. Note that not all cards and capacities may be supported. Whichever route you go, the process of booting to Android 4.1 is not far off! Continue Reading

SanDisk With 90MB/sec microSD Card

SanDisk is launching two new microSD memory cards today. They are officially called the “SanDisk Extreme Pro microSDHC UHS-I cards.” What makes them special? They let you capture photos and videos at up to 90 megabytes per second which is incredible fast for any application. And as for the read speeds, they’re slightly faster at 95 megabytes per second, which isn’t going to max out a USB 3.0 connection (625 megabytes per second) anytime soon, but it’s still incredibly impressive. The 8 GB card will cost $60, while the 16 GB card will go for $100. Both should be in stores quite soon, and if you can’t wait you can buy them straight from SanDisk’s website today. Continue Reading

Read PSN From SD Media

GetUSB.info just posted a nice article on how to read the PSN from an SD card, or product serial number.  Some also call this reading the CID number from an SD card.  The CID number is a unique identifier number or serial number created on the SD or microSD media at the time of manufacturing.  This is a number which cannot be changed or manipulated by the host computer.
 
The CID number is most often used for vendors or manufacturers to lock in software to a specific device.  Since the CID number cannot be changed or modified, it’s a great way to prevent unauthorized distribution or content or software.
 
Some manufacturers require to read the CID number from SD media before the software is published and this is what GetUSB.info talks about.  For a full description of the article, make the jump:  How to read CID number from SD media.
 
Here is a snap shot of the CID reading tool for 20 SD devices:
 
 
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microSD Problems – Good Chance It’s the Media

Bunnie’s Blog had a great post about the different quality of microSD media.  I think he’s gone into more detail then any other I’ve seen on the internet.  What is worth noting in his article is the brand names that he investigated and the results that he found.  I don’t want to repeat what has already been said, but if you’ve ever been in doubt about a microSD card you’ve purchased, this article will shed some light. Take a read… . Continue Reading

microSD Now Interfaces With Any Microcontroller

This is a simple MicroSD adapter card. It allows you to interface with any micro-controllers. It is perfect for mass storage, WAV/MP3 player and data logging. The adapter breaks out the MicroSD socket to a standard 0.1″ 8-pin header. It can be plug directly into breadboards. This adapter features innovations that set it apart from other SD card adapter. Innovations feature like on-board card detect LED, Push-Push socket, and 3.3V regulator. Which mean either 3.3V or 5.0V micro-controller can be connected directly with the board. You can even use this 3.3V to power external circuits up to 250mA. MicroSD cards offer an inexpensive, flexible and reliable way to bring data logging and data storage solutions to your electronic design projects. Pinout:
  • VIN: Input power to the SD card (3.3V to 6.0V)
  • GND: Common (Connects to the housing of the SD socket)
  • 3V3: Output voltage from the on-board 3.3V regulator (250mA) 
  • CS: Chip select 
  • DI: Serial input data 
  • SCK: Serial clock 
  • DO: Serial output data 
  • CD: Card detect (active low)
Features:
  • On-board 3.3V regulator
  • Connect directly to 3.3V or 5.0V microcontroller
  • Card detect LED
  • Include 8-pin male header
  • Board dimension: 1.4”x0.8”
Source:  Gravitech. Continue Reading

microSD Card Integrated with NFC Technology From Netcom

Netcom is a Chinese company which is trying to carve out a niche market for themself by developing a NFC [Near Field Communication] chipset inside a microSD card. The technology gives the microSD card the ability to communicate via NFC as well as provide memory storage for the user.  The NFC chip sits inside the microSD slot of the host. The idea is bringing NFC technology for payment terminals to older phones which don’t have the NFC chipset or technology currently in them. The Netcom solution does require a bit of attention to make it all work.  First, the microSD slot of the host must be made of plastic.  Most are, but it’s worth noting to look before you buy. Next, the NFC chipset does require a small app loaded on the host so that communication can take place between the NFC chip itself and the host it’s sitting in.  Which makes sense, as typically that app is embedded on the phone RAM when spec’d out during production for a “certified NFC” device. Last, is the antenna coil required to sit inside the microSD card might be a bit small/short for communication of a distance more than 20mm from the terminal receiver.  Again, not a big deal as we are talking about NEAR field communication, but worth noting before buying. Source [image as well] Engadget.com. Continue Reading

Enable microSD Slot in XOOM by Motorola

It’s been said Motorola rushed their shipments of XOOM tablet products to make an early claim in the market for iPad like solutions.  The problem is that some of the OS features and hardware accessories don’t work.  For example, the XOOM from Motorola has a microSD slot for increased capacity, but the damn slot doesn’t work. Motorol assured users the slot will be enabled not to long, but for many – they want access now.  With tablet sizes between 16GB and 32GB I can see the immediate need for increased storage space.  Granted, the space would be required more by a user looking to store large movie video files and not the typical user of tablet games, email clients and browsers, but never the less, it’s important for users to have the option.  The option for more storage. Tiamat came up with a solution.  They have released an updated Linux kernel which enables the microSD slot.  I’m not sure what other snibits of code are included with the kernel [caution] but if you desperately need the Continue Reading

Encrypted microSD Card Enables Visa To Have Mobile CC Payments

Visa started a four week trial period where mobile phones can not make touch-less payment transactions.  This means you can now wave your phone in front of a terminal to make a purchase.
 
For purchases under $100 no PIN or signature is required and the customer has the option of receiving a receipt. The technology is compatible with existing contact-less payment terminals already installed at more than 20,000 retail outlets across Australia, including fast food restaurants, electronic stores, book stores, sporting stadiums, clothing stores and vending machines.
 
Visa is calling this program the payWave technology and will pave the way for new banking methods using mobile devices.  You can manage your account and make transfers, receive real time offers from merchants, fraud notices and you can even deactivate your card number through the mobile device.
 
This technology runs on an encrypted microSD card.  Fifty participants from the Sydney and Melbourne offices of ANZ and Visa will been given a special protective iPhone case with a secure microSD memory card that allows them to turn their phone into a virtual wallet.
 
This solution seems ideal for a pilot program, but I’m sure the final product will incorporate a solution where an additional case is not required. For more information, check out the following Visa YouTube video.
 
 
Continue Reading

Flash Memery – Where Did It Start

So here is a bit of information one could use for a cocktail conversation starter at your next computer club meeting, the start of flash memory. The first piece of flash memory was invented way back in 1984.  Flash was invented by Toshiba and by a guy named Dr. Fujio Masuoka.  According to Toshiba records, the term “flash” was suggested by Dr. Masuoka’s colleague, Mr. Shoji Ariizumi because the erase process of the memory contents reminded him of a flash like in a camera. Toshiba presented the new invention at the IEEE 1984 Integrated Electronics Devices Meeting in San Jose California and Intel saw the immediate value and jumped on board.  By 1988 the first commercial NOR type flash chip was commercially available.

NAND flash Toshiba

NOR based flash has long erase and write times and has a full address/ data interface.  Meaning one can read or write data to any portion of the NOR chip.  The NOR technology is mostly used for low levels of read/write cycles.  So for example, NOR is great for BIOS and firmware of a device.  NOR was the first version of flash, but everyone quickly realized a cheaper, faster solution is also needed. In 1989 the first NAND flash chip was introduced.  It had faster erase and write times, higher density, and lower cost than NOR flash – with ten times the endurance. The draw back with NAND [if you can call it that] is the I/O interface only allowing sequential access to data. Meaning you can only write to the device after the last bit of data has been written.  This makes it suitable for mass-storage devices such as PC cards and various memory cards like USB, SD and microSD, and somewhat less useful for computer memory. Source:  TutorialsWeb. Continue Reading

microSD Might Pave The Way For Contactless Payments

microSD cardToday I read a great article on the future of cell phones, microSD cards and wireless payments. Imagine a purchase where you receive a coupon because you are in a specific store.  You then find the product, and go to pay.  Rather than pulling out your credit card, you simply wave your phone before a terminal and the purchase is done.  The transaction gets emailed to you, so not even a receipt is generated.  Not bad, and it isn’t far away. US Bank, one of the leading US financial institutions, will be test piloting the program with their employees and the iPhone later this year.  If all goes well, you can see banks, phone companies and microSD manufacturers teaming up for one sweet contactless purchasing solution. I am by no means an expert in this field, so I’ll restrain myself from regurgitating the article, but if this topic peaks your interest, jump over to NFC Times and read the entire story.  Very interesting. Continue Reading
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