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May 30, 2021

Glacier-Arches Trip 2021—Day 1

Porter Sculpture Park

Porter Sculpture Park

   Since last year I have been watching the webcams of Glacier National Park in anticipation of the snow plows reaching Logan Pass.  When this happens there is a span of a couple weeks where the Going-to-the-Sun road is closed to cars, but open to cyclists after the plows finish for the day.  I watched crews reach Logan Pass last week and put my notice into work that I would be taking a week off to take advantage of this unique period of cycling time at the park.
   The travel plans have been shifted around some as my original road companion was unable to come along.  Luckily, Annie (aka Wingnut) was able to join me last minute.  After packing the car all day yesterday Annie and I set off this morning.  A quick stop to the grocery store and the long quest west began.
   Aside from gas and bathroom breaks we didn't stop until we reached Porter Sculpture Park in Montrose, South Dakota.  I have seen the large bull's head since my first trip out west back in 2013.  Then we stopped to visit Dignity of Earth & Sky in Chamberlain, South Dakota.  I had hopped we would make it all the way to Wyoming on the first day but we got started latter than hoped.  So we found a campsite just outside of the Badlands.

I’ve been using a 128 GB Sandisk micro SD card in my phone for several years. Today I went to sync up some files on that card and killed the drive. I can mount the card read-only but a read/write mount refuses to function. I picked up the device in August of 2014 and it was one of the largest micro SD cards available at the time. It hosted until it was replaced in September of 2016 when it was replaced with a 200 GB card as the server was nearly out of space. After that I moved the micro SD card to my phone to hold (part) of my music and audio book collection.

Interestingly, the data currently on the card seems just fine. If mounted read-only the volume functions as expected. Sadly, I don’t know how to tell my phone to mount the file system read-only so this fact isn’t too useful.

There have never been a huge number of writes to this card over its life. The card was usually close to capacity but the data was fairly static. What killed it I couldn’t say. I cannot find any diagnostic tools to provide any insight either. I was under the impression that large flash devices understood and could deal with some of their storage dying and addressed this using wear leveling and over-provisioning. So far I haven’t found any tools to display how much these backup techniques are being utilized.

New the 128 GB micro SD in 2014 sold for $100 and the largest micro SD card available was either 200 or 256 GB. Now the same SD card sells for $20, 512 GB can be had for under $100, and the largest readily available micro SD cards are 1 TB in size. Seems to be the trade-off: falling prices and larger capacities but lower reliability. The card only lasted 6 years but is now so cheap to replace it is hardly worth complain. And unlike a typical hard drive failure, I haven’t lost the data—I just can’t write any more.