What Is Flash Memory?

By: MIKE SELVON

If you've ever felt out of the loop when the conversation at a party turned to tech subjects that were over your head, now is the time to build up your knowledge base. One of the most common new ways to store information is with flash memory.

This term is something that you should get to know because chances are you already use it on a daily basis. Flash memory is used in a number of components that are part of most people's everyday life.

Flash memory is something known as "non-volatile computer memory". Non-volatile is a fancy term that means the memory device will still hold the memory whether or not the device is powered.

Your hard drive is probably the best example of non-volatile computer memory, because you (hopefully) retain all of your files even if your computer is turned off.

If you use any kind of digital components that are compatible with your PC, then you probably own flash memory. Digital cameras, camcorders, video games, and even GPS units all use flash memory to capture and store information that can later be downloaded to your PC.

Though flash memory may take several different forms, like memory cards, memory sticks or jump drives, the basic operating principles are the same.

Flash memory is special in that it can transfer files and information between computers by simply inserting and removing the memory device. If you take the memory stick or memory card out of your new Nikon digital camera and you want to transfer your pictures to your computer to print the photos, you can do that safely and without worry. Just make sure that the memory stick is compatible with both your new Nikon camera and your computer.

Another great thing about flash memory is the cost. This type of memory actually costs very little and is very versatile. Part of the reason that it is so cost-effective is that it can be erased and used over and over again, unlike some other computer accessories like CDs or DVDs.

Using flash memory allows you to transfer a load of photos to your computer for printing or editing, delete the flash memory device, and do the same thing all over again as many times as you like.

A flash memory source is a great way to back up your digital photographs while you are editing them. If you make a mistake in cropping or editing a picture that you can't undo, or even if you accidentally delete the photo, you can rest easy knowing that you have a copy of the original picture saved on the flash memory card that goes in your camera.

It's a good idea to keep two cards, so that you can make sure one is always in your camera and the other is being used to back up photo files that you are working with.

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