This Sony Vaio UX50 came with a 30GB hard drive from the factory. This hacker wanted to do an upgrade and move to solid state, so he started hacking away. He ended up with a total of 64GB of solid state storage crammed into the computer. The hard drive was replaced with a 4GB compact flash drive and the rest is spread through out the device. Apparently any crevice or crack in the Sony UX50 can have memory shoved into it. He managed to somehow get 60GB of storage in there through various USB extensions and adapters. Notice the sticker on the inside of the case. Is this the latest fad? Decorating the inside of the unit where only you know it exists?
November 1st means that registration for ShmooCon 2009 has opened. The DC hacker convention is entering the fifth year. They’re releasing the tickets in blocks; after today’s are gone the next won’t be available till December 1st. Today is also the closing of first round consideration for their call for papers, but you still have another month before the final deadline.
We’ve always enjoyed our time at ShmooCon. In 2008 we saw talks on cracking GSM encryption and recovering data from SSDs.
This is unfortunately another story we missed out on while we were trying to keep things from burning down. We told you that [Jonathan Zdziarski] was going to demonstrate iPhone lock code bypassing in a webcast. The real surprise came when he pointed out that the iPhone takes a screenshot every time you use the home button. It does this so it can do the scaling animation. The image files are presumably deleted immediately, but as we’ve seen before it’s nearly impossible to guarantee deletion on a solid state device. There’s currently no way to disable this behavior. So, even privacy conscious people have no way to prevent their iPhone from filling up storage with screenshots of all their text message, email, and browsing activities. Hopefully Apple will address this problem just like they did with the previous secure erase issue. O’Reilly promises to publish the full webcast soon.
As promised, [tnkgrl] has published part two of Acer Aspire One upgrade. In part one she added Bluetooth and more RAM. This time around she focuses on the storage. The subnotebook comes from the factory with an 8GB SSD. The flash based storage readily unplugs from a small ZIF connector. [tnkgrl] replaced it with a 60GB PATA Samsung drive salvaged from an iPod. It’s a 1.8inch disk and is only 5mm thick, so it can be tucked under the motherboard. Knowing its previous use, it should prove fairly resilient. You can view a video of the swap and more photos on Flickr.
Up next is part three, where she’ll add 3G support.
Tom’s Hardware has been running some tests to challenge the common assumption that SSD hard drives use power more efficiently than magnetic plate drives. Their results were quite definitive: not only are they not as energy efficient, SSDs actually use more power than conventional hard drives.
What they found is that most plate drives are at peak consumption (up to 4W) when accessing files fragmented across the media, which causes the actuator to move back and forth across the media several times. However, this is almost never sustained for extended periods of time; the actuator usually doesn’t move much when reading unfragmented data, and most plate drives are also capable of going idle when they are not in use.
Most SSDs on the other hand, only have two states: on and off. This means that when they are on, they are always at peak energy consumption. Though this number hovers around 2W for most of the SSDs they tested, over prolonged periods this can mean a great deal more power consumption than is immediately apparent, which can have short and long term effects on the battery life of a laptop. See the Tom’s Hardware article for benchmarks of specific products and more in-depth data.
A fundamental problem with flash memory has just gone mainstream. A detective successfully recovered data from a refurbished iPhone purchased from Apple. Flash memory controllers write to blocks randomly so using standard secure erase techniques are no guarantee that all of the storage space will be written.
[Rich Mogull] has posted a method that should wipe out almost all remnants of your personal data. You start by restoring the iPhone in iTunes and turning off all the syncing options. Next you create 3 playlists large enough to consume all of the phone’s storage space. Sync each playlist in turn and your residual personal data should be obliterated. All that’s left to do is sit back and wonder when the first article about the MacBook Air SSD being impossible to securely erase will be published…