Atomos approves DIGISTOR SSDs for video recording use

The video recording industry has changed dramatically over the years. Film has given way to digital formats, placing greater importance on the need for high-quality acquisition media. As such, many high-performance cameras require users to install a quality solid state drive to ensure that video is captured correctly and that no footage is lost during the process.

Camera manufacturers often hold high standards when it comes to approving SSD brands for use with their hardware – after all, certifying an inferior product would reflect poorly on their market standing. That’s why it’s always a big deal in the video recording world when a manufacturer places its seal of approval on a new storage device.

Australia-based camera manufacturer Atomos recently added DIGISTOR SSD drives to its stable of highly recommended storage devices, recognizing the products’ performance and functionality. Atomos is devoted to the development of high-tech solutions that benefit their customers, so any approved drive needs to adhere to those same principles.

DIGISTOR drives meet industry needs
DIGISTOR Professional Video Series SSDs have been specifically designed for video capture, making them ideal solutions for filmmakers and other users who are absolutely serious about their acquisition media needs. Many SSDs on the market have been created with other uses in mind, such as supporting Netbook PCs. Because these products have been designed for broader applications, they are often unsuitable video recording purposes.

DIGISTOR SSD drives are engineered to adhere to industry standards, sculpted to meet form factor specifications and configured to match widely used video formats. This enables DIGISTOR to offer video professionals what is essentially a plug ‘n’ play solution, eliminating potential headaches and streamlining the installation process.

Atomos has recognized that dedication to quality and ease-of-use, listing DIGISTOR Professional Video Series SSDs as “highly recommended drives” for use with the manufacturer’s products. Only a small handful of SSDs have been given this distinction, making DIGISTOR a member of an elite group of acquisition media vendors.

This latest distinction follows DIGISTOR’s long-standing position as a trusted provider of SSD drives compatible with Blackmagic Design hardware. By focusing efforts on specifically tailoring storage devices to the specific requirements of video capture applications, DIGISTOR has created the most effective and reliable SSD on the market for professional-level recording. Filmmakers, videographers and other production crew members who leverage only the best cameras available shouldn’t settle for inferior storage drives. DIGISTOR has the track record of success and distinction to demonstrate that it provides the most consistent and durable SSDs for video use on the market.

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Keep a sharp eye on SSD bill of materials

There are many figures and benchmarks that businesses should pay attention to when considering purchasing a sold state drive. The price tag, data transfer speeds and type of NAND flash memory used should all be taken into account when assessing the value of an SSD drive. However, there is one item that consumers and business users alike consistently overlook during this process: the bill of materials. It's understandable why an individual would not give this checklist more than a passing glance. After all, manufacturers should only be using the best materials and components when creating their products. Furthermore, any large operation should place a premium on consistency and ensure that all devices share the same individual pieces. However, this is not always the case, and it's often the end user who suffers as a result.

At its most basic level, the bill of materials is nothing more than a list of the components that make up a larger product. Users may not feel that they need to concern themselves with this kind of minutiae, but issues with a product's BoM can directly affect its performance. TechTarget explained that BoM problems are usually defined by three criteria: completeness, consistency or correctness. Prospective SSD purchasers should take note of consistency in particular when deciding on a solution. Some manufacturers have shown an inability to use the same components with all of their products.

The drawbacks of flexible BoMs
TweakTown's Chris Ramseyer recently highlighted some of the most egregious examples of companies playing it fast and loose with their BoMs. OCZ Technology, for instance, once made an alteration to the BoM on one of its products, swapping out the NAND flash used. Because of the change, some prospective consumers were unable to use that SSD drive. Kingston pulled a similar stunt, replacing the 25nm synchronous NAND flash originally included with its V300 product with an inferior component approximately one year later.

It appears that manufacturer PNY Technologies has committed the same sin, releasing SSDs with varying BoMs. A TweakTown reader contacted Ramseyer and described how the SSD that the individual purchased did not feature a BoM that matched up with one previously reviewed on the website. According to Ramseyer, that reader bought the PNY product because of his glowing assessment of its performance. Because of the shifting BoM, however, that individual's SSD did not hit the same benchmarks.

A representative from PNY admitted that the company had shipped out SSDs with disparate BoMs, qualifying the move by noting that all of its products fall within "minimum advertised performance levels." When manufacturers neglect to lock down the components within their BoMs, consumers and business users may wind up with a product that doesn't meet their expectations. Ramseyer lamented that companies would choose to take such liberties and fail to adhere to full transparency with their BoMs.

"Sadly, we no longer have faith in PNY or Kingston SSDs as both companies have acted with poor judgment and misled SSD product reviewers, our readers and the buying public," Ramseyer wrote. "Even though both product changes should meet the advertised specifications, they are not in line with the products we and others tested. Hopefully other companies will not follow their lead."

Ramseyer's reaction to this turn of events – particularly his evident sense of betrayal – highlights why it is so important that SSD manufacturers value consistency in the creation of their BoMs. DIGISTOR SSD drives have long featured locked BoMs, including firmware, giving users the peace of mind knowing that any given item will offer the same performance and compatibility regardless of when it is purchased. No one should have to deal with the headaches of buying a product only to find out the features he or she thought would be present have been discarded in favor of utilizing more affordable components. With DIGISTOR SSDs, end users can be confident that they receive exactly what they pay for.

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DIGISTOR Cinema SSD stands out from the crowd with exFAT

Given the many factors and expenses that production crews must consider, it’s understandable that some components are prioritized over others. However, filmmakers and other video professionals should never overlook the importance of quality acquisition media. The solid state drive used in tandem with a high-end camera can make all the difference between a successful production and one marred by reshoots and other delays. Off-the-shelf products are unlikely to provide the full range of features needed to ensure reliable video transfer. As such, it’s crucial that crew members choose an SSD designed with professional-grade video cameras in mind. Among the many factors that DIGISTOR technicians have taken into account when creating the Professional Video Series SSD Drive is the importance of format.

Video professionals who want to shoot with and get the best performance out of Blackmagic Design cameras will need an SSD that is compatible with the exFAT format. The camera and recording equipment manufacturer uses exFAT for all of its hardware, so any supplemental storage device will need to be able to run on it. This format offers a lot of advantages to those with video-editing needs, particularly if they are going to be using software on various computers. As Lifehacker’s Whitson Gordon noted, an external storage drive that is formatted to exFAT can be used on both Windows and Mac operating systems. This cross-platform functionality enables filmmakers do conduct their editing workload on numerous computers whenever needed.

DIGISTOR solves formatting issues
Because Blackmagic Design has selected exFAT as its preferred format, potential users will need SSD drives that share that compatibility. DIGISTOR Professional Video Series SSD Drives  are specifically designed with exFAT in mind, ensuring that users are able to begin shooting high-quality content on their Blackmagic hardware without delay. This way, filmmakers do not need to license and launch additional software to write directly to their camera’s storage drive, dramatically streamlining the recording and editing process.

2step-digistor-ssd

When dealing with high-pressure and high-stakes video productions, crew members do not want to waste a minute on ineffective and inefficient equipment. Because DIGISTOR SSDs are certified and specifically designed for Blackmagic use, video professionals can be certain that their recording and editing hardware works as expected the first time. The functionality and reliability provided by DIGISTOR products ensure that productions are not slowed down by issues related to acquisition media. With DIGISTOR’s Professional Video Series SSD Drives, a film crew’s storage drive will always be a solution and never a problem.

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Gamers choose optical discs over digital media

Optical discs have been under fire since the outset of this current video gamer generation. Digital media has continually infiltrated the gaming sphere, with more companies distributing content through Internet-based channels. Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have all created dedicated online storefronts for customers to download select games. When Microsoft first announced the successor to its Xbox 360 console, the tech giant stated that games could only be played if the system was connected to a user's online profile. Although there were some advantages to this proposed process, many gamers cried foul over the need to have a constant Internet connection in order to run games stored on physical media. In response to the ensuing backlash, Microsoft changed its position on the matter, reverting to the tried-and-true formula of enabling games to be played offline.

The gaming population has continued to show their preference for physical over connected or digital media. This is understandable as actually holding a physical disc or cart offers a much stronger sense of ownership then simply being given the right to access a gaming company's digital content. The NPD Group recently released a study on the habits of the "core gaming" customer subset, GameSpot reported. In this instance, a core gamer is defined as someone who plays at least five hours each week on a dedicated gaming console, PC or Mac. Researchers found that nearly three-fourths of core gamers prefer owning physical copies of video games over digital media, assuming that each was offered at the same price.

Blu-ray continues to hold sway with gamers
Video game manufacturers along with virtually any other organization that deals with both physical and digital content should take note of the report's results. Gamers – and likely consumers in general – still hold a strong preference for physical media, despite the assertions of some industry observers that digital is the way of the future. Digital media remains a relatively new concept for many individuals, and they are unlikely to simply ditch physical products altogether in favor of an unknown quantity. Ignoring the demand for concrete gaming discs could drive away potential platform adopters and ultimately cut into a company's bottom line.

"Core gamers are an important part of the games industry and understanding their behavior is critical to anyone invested in the games space – especially considering the launch of the new consoles and the continued evolution of digital gaming," said NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan.

Blu-ray offers durability, reliability
Consumers of various types of media, including video games, movies and music, have repeatedly raised concerns about their ability to access digital content down the road. The proliferation of digital rights management technology has been a major driver of these fears, with many people wondering if there's anything stopping a company from cutting off an individual's access to something he or she legitimately purchased years earlier. With physical drives, these concerns simply do not exist. There's nothing stopping people from pulling out their old ColecoVision systems and firing up a game of Donkey Kong.

Furthermore, optical media such as Blu-ray discs are much more durable than consumers might realize, ensuring that they continue to work properly for years. They are incredibly resilient against environmental factors that could otherwise warp or erode other digital components. In addition, platforms like an industrial optical drive often support cross-format usage, meaning various types of discs can run on the same hardware. This reduces not only the amount of equipment that a consumer or business user must purchase and store, but the headaches that one might encounter by accounting for every format used on a regular basis.

That level of performance of reliability has emboldened Panasonic and Sony to continue throwing their support behind Blu-ray and optical media in general. The companies announced in July 2013 that they had formed a partnership to further develop this technology and create more advanced discs capable of storing more data.

"Optical discs have excellent properties to protect them against the environment, such as dust-resistance and water-resistance, and can also withstand changes in temperature and humidity when stored," the companies stated. "They also allow inter-generational compatibility between different formats, ensuring that data can continue to be read even as formats evolve. This makes them a robust medium for long-term storage of content."

Looking to the future of Blu-ray
Blu-ray discs have recently emerged as ideal data archiving solutions, with companies such as Facebook and Amazon.com developing massive storage systems based on the format. Optical discs offer an inexpensive, scalable and reliable method of saving important records for the long haul. Blu-ray, in particular, is likely to see its use for data archiving applications increase further as organizations across every industry see their amount of incoming information rise dramatically over the coming years. That data needs to stored somewhere for later use, and Blu-ray discs offer the most efficient and cost-effective way to do so.

Despite the increasing use of digital media, Blu-ray isn't going anywhere. For consumers and business users alike, the format still has a great deal to offer in terms of reliability and performance. Gamers continue to demand that their consoles run on affordable physical media, meaning that for the foreseeable future, Blu-ray will reign as the standard format for these machines. With major tech companies increasingly turning to optical discs to build data archiving solutions, Blu-ray will not only be a major enterprise component in the short term, but will likely be a relevant form of media for years to come. The future is very bright indeed for Blu-ray.

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Securely store Bitcoin currency with offline Blu-ray media

Bitcoin has quickly transformed from an online curiosity to a major form of digital currency. The idea of a form of currency that lacked the backing of a government treasury would seem implausible just a few years ago. But, today, Bitcoin has become a viable method of paying for online goods and services. Currently, a single bitcoin is worth approximately $450.

Since its introduction, there have been countless offshoots of the original platform, with numerous alternatives sprouting up in recent months and years. Despite the increasing competition, Bitcoin has retained its place atop the digital currency heap, partially due to brand recognition, but also by distinguishing itself from other digital payment systems by focusing on encrypting payments.

Security concerns persist
That dedication to security has benefited Bitcoin users, but it has not fully addressed prevailing concerns in this regard. There are still many avenues for criminals to steal these funds from individuals. For the most part, bitcoins are stored through online mediums, entrusting security to a third party. The entire basis of Bitcoin and its ilk depends on users remaining confident that their currency will remain safe and available at all times. After all, a bank that keeps getting robbed will run out of customers pretty quickly. Some of these online storage facilities have not been able to hold up their end of the bargain, suffering significant breaches that have cost users a great deal of money.

In one of the more extreme instances, thieves cracked the defenses of Mt. Gox, a widely used Bitcoin exchange, and, over time, stole 850,000 units. With today's exchange rates, the stolen amount represents approximately $495 million. According to ZDNet contributor Charlie Osborne, 750,000 of the lost bitcoins belonged to Mt. Gox customers. In the aftermath of the prolonged theft, Mt. Gox has since declared for bankruptcy in both Japan and the United States, while questions persist regarding the circumstances surrounding the lost currency. Some observers have suggested that the story of a breach has been used as a smokescreen to cover up fraudulent activity. As of now, only 200,000 bitcoins have been recovered following the incident, leaving many customers out in the cold.

Keep bitcoins safe with offline storage
Such worrisome breaches have driven concerns about the integrity of digital currency that is stored through online channels. Forbes contributor John Villasenor recently consulted with three Bitcoin professionals to discuss this matter as well as identify opportunities for improvement. Blockchain.info CEO Nicholas Cary explained that the different means of storage offer certain advantages but may have significant issues as well. For instance, a mobile storage app will allow users to access their bitcoins from their smartphone, tablet or other device and conveniently spend them whenever needed. However, if a cybercriminal or other unauthorized user gets his or her hands on that device, those funds could be as good as gone.

Individuals who value security over any other factor should consider an offline storage method. Cary explained that by placing bitcoins on a physical drive, users can limit the number of potential access points. With assets as valuable as digital currency, people should avoid using an unreliable device that may be prone to malfunction or damage. Traditional, disk-based hard drives are notorious for experiencing significant problems because of the frailty of their internal components. If a read/write head is damaged, the bitcoins stored on the device could be lost forever.

A far better alternative is to store bitcoins on Blu-ray media. These discs are functional, sturdy and cost-effective, making them an ideal format for data storage and archiving. Unlike online channels, Blu-ray discs cannot be accessed through a network connection, eliminating the possibility that a cybercriminal will steal a user's funds. Furthermore, despite their elegant design, Blu-ray discs are extremely durable, being able to withstand many elements that could diminish the functionality of other storage devices. This allows individuals to safely and confidently store their highly valuable digital assets for years without needing to transfer them to another platform. That level of security and dependability is absolutely critical when storing such important items.

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How to use an external hard drive with PS3

Today’s video game systems are leaps and bounds ahead of their progenitors, offering an array of high-tech features that would have been unthinkable just a decade ago. In addition to high-definition graphics and incredible AI, recent platforms such as the PlayStation 3 leverage the ubiquity of Internet networks to connect gamers and allow them to purchase and download new games, music, movies and episodes of their favorite television shows from the convenience of their home. These capabilities have transformed consoles from strictly video game-playing hardware to all-in-one media centers.

While being able to download, store and play videos, music and games on the PS3 enhances its value and usefulness, it also places a significant strain on the machine’s internal hard drive. Exacerbating this issue is the need to temporarily copy data from a game disc to the console’s hard drive in order to lower load times and increase responsiveness. While previous systems simply read data straight from the disc, the PS3 requires gamers to store that information on the hard drive in certain instances. This can take up multiple gigabytes of storage space for a single game. When accounting for the various downloaded games, music, movies and other video media, it becomes clear that PS3 owners will need an alternative method of data storage to alleviate the strain placed on their internal hard drives.

The best way to supplement PS3 data storage is by attaching an external hard drive to offload video and audio files. This way, gamers can clear space off of their hard drive and make more room for their sizeable game downloads. When choosing a particular solution, it’s important that PS3 owners go with a product that has been specifically designed to interact with the console’s operating system and software. Some third-party options will not be optimized to interface with the PS3 platform. DIGISTOR’s line of portable PlayStation 3 external hard drives is 100 percent compatible with the PS3 OS, making it a reliable solution to gamers’ storage concerns. Furthermore, that compatibility extends to every generation of the PlayStation 3, including the original, “Slim” and “Super Slim” models. This coverage ensures that the Portable HDD works with every PS3 system on the market.

In addition to storing additional video, music and image files for PS3 owners who have overtaxed their internal hard drives, the DIGISTOR Playstation 3 external hard drive can also back up the console’s entire system, including game saves. This way, gamers can be absolutely certain that their irreplaceable save states and downloads remain accessible even if their PS3 suffers a critical error or has its storage device wiped.

Working through the connection process
Given the sensitivity of data storage and well-founded concerns regarding data loss among gamers, it’s imperative that users follow the proper steps when connecting an external hard drive to their consoles. The first step is knowing how to move content from a desktop or laptop onto the hard drive for PS3 playback. When the device is connected to a PC or Mac, three media folders titled “MUSIC,” “VIDEO” and “PICTURE” will appear. Users can simply drop the files they want to play through their PS3’s in the corresponding folders. Once the external hard drive has been inserted into the PS3’s USB port, the option “USB Device” should appear under the Picture, Music and Videos tab. When this is done correctly, the PlayStation’s system will be able to easily identify and categorize documents as various types of media, enabling quick and painless navigation. If users choose to use a different file structure when organizing their USB device folders, those changes will be reflected when the hard drive is connected to the PlayStation 3.

Backing up game saves, systems
One of the more useful features offered by the DIGISTOR Portable USB 3.0 PS3 drive is the ability to copy and store game saves. The PlayStation 3’s user interface XMB allows gamers to copy their save states to a USB device, providing a safety net in case those files are corrupted or accidently erased. It should be noted, however, that this feature extends only to the save states and not the games themselves. In addition, XMB does not offer data reading compatibility with USB drives, meaning individuals can store game saves on their external hard drives, but they cannot launch them directly from those devices. To load these saved games, users must transfer them back to the PS3’s internal hard drive.

To copy these files to the DIGISTOR Portable USB 3.0 PS3 drive, gamers must first select the saved game from the console’s memory and then press the triangle button Triangle button icon on their PS3 controller. This will enable a copy function that can be used to back up important files to the PlayStation 3 external hard drive. Another great application for this feature is to share game saves with friends. If PS3 owners want to pick up where they left off in a game when visiting a friend, it can be easily stored on their portable drive and copied onto the friend’s console.

Another important use for the PlayStation 3 external hard is the ability to back up the entire console. Given the sensitivity of spinning disk HDD based consoles, it’s far more common for systems to suffer critical errors that require repair from the manufacturer. In many instances, the machine’s entire system is wiped, erasing important files and documents. By using DIGISTOR’s portable drive, gamer can ensure that this data is not lost for good in the event of a hardware issue. To complete the back up process:

  1. Go to Settings icon(Settings) > System Settings icon(System Settings) and press the X button iconbutton.
    Backup Utility screenshot 1
  2. Go to [Backup Utility] and press the X button iconbutton.
    Backup Utility screenshot 2
  3. You will be given three options:
    Backup Utility screenshot 3

This should launch the back up process and copy the entire PS3 system for later use. This will ensure that gamers have access to everything they need in the event of a critical system shutdown.

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Blu-ray rocks the cold storage industry

The amount of data produced by companies continues to rise at a rapid clip. A 2011 IBM study found that 2.5 quintillion bytes – or 2.5 exabytes – of data are generated every day. For reference, TechTarget has stated that 50,000 years' worth of video would fit onto a single exabyte. That is a lot of information that needs to find a secure location for long-term storage. With the proliferation of data center operations, cloud servers and big data processes, no piece of information can be considered expendable and discarded. Company leaders must have an effective data archiving solution in place in order to store vast volumes of data for a later date.

Businesses may not readily see the value of backing up their information, but failing to take proper archiving measures could lead to disaster. This is true for both organizations that store their data on-site and in the cloud. IT professionals should already be well aware of the need to have some sort of redundancy in regard to data storage, particularly as traditional hard disk drives are notoriously prone to failure. The spinning platters and moveable read/write heads can be easily damaged, resulting in the loss of whatever information was stored on the device.

The cloud is a risky bet
Cloud service customers are just as vulnerable to data loss, however. There will always be some concern that a cloud provider could suffer a disruptive event that will prevent users from access their hosted information. Some instances may be brief outages, but other events could result in a complete wipe of stored data. Numerous academic researchers across the United States discovered this fact the hard way when a widely used cloud storage service experienced a major outage that permanently erased large volumes of vital data. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that Dedoose, a hosted data storage service designed specifically to handle research documentation, was recently hit with a massive technical error that brought servers down and prevented users from accessing their accounts.

Harvard University researcher Margaret Frye was one of the victims of this outage, realizing that when she was finally able to log in, approximately 60 annotated texts had gone missing. Those documents, which covered vital AIDS research in Africa, have yet to be recovered. All told, the outage has cost Frye more than 100 hours' worth of work. Other researchers affected by the event have reported similar losses, with one taking to Facebook to claim that an entire project has been ruined in the aftermath.

"For me, at the time, saving it into the cloud seemed like a way of making my data more secure," Frye said, according to the source. "But now, having this experience, I'm sort of questioning those assumptions."

Optical-based archiving on the rise
These types of incidents demonstrate the immediate need for high-quality data archiving solutions. Redundancy can no longer be considered a luxury by organizational leaders. The costs of a massive data loss event are simply too high for most companies to endure. Increasingly, businesses with major cold storage needs are turning to optical media as their preferred format. Forbes contributor Tom Coughlin noted that optical-based data archiving tools have become popular among some of the more tech-savvy organizations in recent months. For instance, Facebook turned heads when it announced its large-scale cold storage system built upon Blu-ray media. Panasonic and Sony have also pursued new developments in this area, announcing the forthcoming release of a Blu-ray disc specifically designed for archiving large volumes of company data.

"The rapid increase in content for cold storage, particularly in cloud storage environments (especially with consumer content) is leading to a new emphasis on cold storage archiving," Coughlin wrote.

Blu-ray hits the mark
TechnoQWAN Chief Analyst and ZDNet contributor Robin Harris explained that newer, high-capacity Blu-ray discs have proven to be ideal formats for organizations' cold storage needs. Given the significant archiving demands of businesses that run data center facilities, the space offered by these discs is a considerable benefit. There are many other advantages to using Blu-ray for data archiving applications too. Compared with other forms of data storage, Blu-ray discs are extremely affordable. Other large-scale archiving tools can be prohibitively expensive and may need to be replaced for more advanced hardware down the line. Blu-ray discs can be produced at a fraction of the cost, meaning data center operators face low investment expenditures.

Furthermore, Blu-ray's affordability enables organizations to scale up their archiving processes at a moment's notice. Considering that data centers are already inundated with information, and that those data streams will only become more crowded, the ability to raise storage capacity without breaking the bank cannot be underestimated.

Another key feature offered by Blu-ray is durability. What use is an archiving tool if it's prone to failure. Blu-ray discs are surprisingly resilient, capable of enduring harsh environment conditions that would wreak havoc on other forms of technology. Businesses should choose Blu-ray discs for their enterprise-grade data archiving solutions.

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