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It all started back in December of 2009, when chumby was in the midst of production for the chumby One. The most blatantly strange issue is that the card on the left has its lot code silkscreened using the same stencil as the main logo. Armed with this evidence, we confronted Kingston — both the distributor in China as well as the US sales rep. Normally, at this point, I would simply disqualify Kingston as a vendor, but I’m more persistent than that. One vendor in particular interested me; it was literally a mom, pop and one young child sitting in a small stall of the mobile phone market, and they were busily slapping dozens of non-Kingston marked cards into Kingston retail packaging. After collecting all the samples, I read out their card ID information, and then digested their packages with nitric acid. Sample 4: This is the aforementioned non-Kingston branded card that I spotted being slapped into Kingston-marked packaging, bought on the open market in Shenzhen. Sample 5: This is a device bought from a more established retailer in the Shenzhen market, but still questionable.
That’s a lot of data for a blog post, but I figured more details are better for sharing, since I could find no central database for this kind of information on the web.
The irregular card (sample #1) uses the same controller chip as the outright fake (sample #4) that was bought in the SZ market.
The irregular card is the only card in the group that does not use a stacked CSP construction.
Significantly, Kingston is revealed as simply a vendor that re-marks other people’s chips in its own packaging. Overall, the MicroSD card market is a fascinating one, a discussion perhaps worth a blog post on its own.
To ground this in solid numbers, suppose a production-grade memory tester costs one million dollars. In the end, I’d have to say that both SanDisk and Samsung look like they might be superior wholesale vendors to Kingston for memory cards due to their more direct control of their respective supply chains. I have had the Samsung Rogue since Jan 7th, it previously worked great until about a couple of months ago. Can you provide some details on which sys FS entries you used to read out this data in linux? An interesting observation I had recently was that there can be differences in 1 or 2 chips inside the SD as well. Kudos on a fascinating (and horrifying in its implications!) investigation into this bizarre world of SD cards.
In my country, as a normal consumer, it is already becoming a major headache to discern genuine memory cards from spurious (yet startlingly realistic) fakes.
Scary thought, that this shit might be installed and used for critical navigation and flight control systems on commercial airlines! If a phone does respond “bizarre” is one thing, a engine, landing gear control unit or autopilot is different kettle of fish! The last one I bought was labelled as a Class 4 but actually maxed out at half that yet still reliably stores 16GB. Remarking cards is quite bad but selling ones with fakeflash ™ is a whole level of nastiness. Also one to watch out for, the latest fakeflash also have anti-H2TestW malware that fakes an antivirus warning and replaces the file with a hacked copy that gives perfect results on bad cards.
There are many other brands which are selling memory cards for cheap and their quality is much lower than original ones. You need to put the card in SPI mode and set the fourteenth bit (PERM_WRITE_PROTECT) of the CSD (Card-Specific Data register). Easy to do, but pay attention one time you set the PERM_WRITE_PROTECT bit you can not change it anymore! Then, again in CSD, even fourteen and fifteen bit are OTP (One Time Programmable), so take care also on those. What an unsettling truth to learn about a company that I’ve always regarded as a maker of quality memory and storage. Here in the USA over several decades I have actually found Kingston memory products to be pretty much the MOST reliable retail brand of memory products. Nothing new: The CPU in the commodore 1541 Floppy drive was basically the same as in the C64 itself, with even slightly higher clock frequency (1MHz vs. In all cases, the CID Register contents are identical, except of course for PSN (Serial Number) and MDT (Date of manufacture).
We are very concerned about these results, not least because we are paying approx 10 times the price for the Industrial 2GB SD Cards compared to Standard 2GB SD Cards.
As Fourth of July rolls around, and we predictably reflect on all things American, I reflected about the one thing that makes me (officially, sort of) American: my green card.
The answer has to do primarily with fraud, explains Marian Smith, historian at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS. In the outset of WWII, as babies were booming and Rosies were Riveting, the United States became more attractive to immigrants, and counterfeit green cards became a serious problem.
Though over the past five years immigration to the United States has slowed down, and in the case of Mexico, has actually begun reversing, green card fraud is as big as a concern as ever, says Bill Wright, spokesman at the Office of Communications at USCIS.

Newer green cards, like mine, expire after 10 years, but a resident is eligible to apply for citizenship after five years.
Frozen Fiefdom - AFFIDAVIT OF ANNA KATHRYN SANDERS, Former ALASKA STATE TROOPER, and MY OLDER SISTERA A Fortunately, someone's curious questions reminded me that I still have much more information to publish, including this Affidavit. It is actually snapshot of a much longer forensic investigation to find the ground truth behind some irregular Kingston memory cards. A call came in from the floor noting that SMT yield had dropped dramatically on one lot, so I drove over to the building to have a look (this is the advantage of being in China during production — you can fix problems like this within the hour, before they become really serious issues). The first thing that raised my suspicions is the external markings on the irregular Kingston cards. Typically, brand name vendors like Kingston would be very picky about the accuracy of their logos.
First, we wanted to know if these were real cards, and second, if they were real cards, why were the serialization codes irregular? While I know chumby is a small fry customer compared to the Nokias of the world, I think it’s still important that they answer basic questions about their quality control process even to the small fry.
It’s disconcerting that a high-profile, established brand would stand behind such irregular components.
It was purchased through a sanctioned Kingston distributor in China, and to the best of my knowledge, none were shipped to end customers of chumby. I actually acquired three total SanDisk cards from different sketchy sources but all of them checked out with the same CID info, so I only opened one of them.
These cards employ Toshiba controllers and Toshiba memory chips, and seem to be of good quality, and thankfully the only ones that were sent on to chumby customers. Both the irregular Kingston and the fake Kingston had low serial numbers and whacky ID information. I’d like to point out to casual readers that the spot price of MicroSD cards is nearly identical to the spot price of the very same NAND FLASH chips used on the inside.
I have a small problem with a Lenovo s10-3t where they have a SD card bay door cover that can’t be closed when you have an SD inserted. It is shocking to see how unreliable memory cards are becoming these days, despite their increasing storage capacities. I came by in entirely happenstance… I was reading the wiki on SD speed standards and came across your pic of digested cards.
The last time I was in Asia (~15 years ago) I bought a fake (and I knew it) Omega wrist watch and some knock-off designer fragrances… I guess even swindlers have to stay ahead of the ever climbing power curve. However this is almost *always* only an issue when people purchase from questionable sources. But that assumes you are buying from a *reputable retailer who purchases inventory direct from the original manufacturer*. And now they cost something like $.20 to embed in an SD card (and are likely clocked faster than 17 MHz)? I wonder then if I could have used the SD card as a significant additional source of computational power back then. Although the permanent resident card became green again in 2010, understanding the changes it has gone through requires looking back at the original green card. It was only in 1940 that the Alien Registration Act required, for the first time, that all non-U.S.
To fight document fraud, INS redesigned the green card 17 times between 1952 and 1977, according to the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
During the naturalization process, immigration officials take your green card, so if all goes well I will be turning in my beige card for a blue passport soon. You may not use the Specification in any way to create or develop a runtime, client, player, executable or other program that reads or renders SWF files.
After poking and prodding a bit, I realized that all the units failing had Kingston microSD cards from a particular lot code. In fact, across the entire batch of irregular cards, they shared the exact same lot code (N0214-001.A00LF) (typically the lot code will vary every couple hundred cards at least). The broken D is something found on SanDisk cards, but Kingston cards found in US retail almost universally use a solid D. After some time, the Kingston guys came back to us and swore these cards were authentic, not fakes, but at least they reversed their position on not offering an exchange on the cards — they took back the programmed cards and exchanged them for new ones, no further questions asked. I had an issue once with an old version of a Quintic part being accidentally shipped to me, and once I could prove the issue to them, I received world-class customer service from Quintic, a full explanation, and an immediate and full exchange of the parts at their cost. From appearances alone, it would look to be the sketchiest of the bunch, but in reality it’s one of the best built.
However, Samsung does get to offset that against the ability to diversify the same die from microSD packages into street-packaged TSOP devices, and they also don’t have a middleman like Kingston to eat away at margins. Oddly enough, of all the vendors, Kingston quoted with the best lead times and pricing — better than SanDisk or Samsung, despite the competition making all their own silicon and thereby having a lower inherent cost structure. In a study I’m doing on flash memory behavior, I found very interesting evidence that most cards (SDHC more so that CF or SD) are basically useless for anything but FAT32.
This card that has allowed me to work, go to college, get federal aid, and travel abroad freely since 2007, is in fact beige. I had the factory pull the entire lot of microSD cards from the line and rework all the units that had these cards loaded.

Second, there was a lot of them — about a thousand all together, and chumby was already deeply back-ordered. This is in contrast to the card on the right, which is laser-marked, and has a lot code that varied with every tray of 96 units. Other cards in the irregular batch also had similarly very low serial numbers, in the hundreds to thousands range. Price erosion has been brutal on all the FLASH vendors, and as small fry I might be repeatedly taken advantage of as a sink for marginal material to improve the FLASH vendor’s bottom lines.
This tells me that Kingston must be crushed when it comes to margin, which may explain why irregular cards are finding their way into their supply chain.
The economics that drive this are fascinating, but in a nutshell, my suspicion is that incorporating the controller into the package and having it test, manage and mark bad blocks more than offsets the cost of testing each memory chip individually.
One solution that somebody managed to discover was that you can cut SOME of those SD 4 gb units in half because they only have 1 chip in them and the remaining covering is superfluous. Running ext3 on it will ruin both performance and life expectancy of the card when you write to it a lot.
I assume the rampant fraud that happens in the Chinese marketplace has something to do with your experience there. Their registrations were forwarded to Immigration and Naturalization Services, which then mailed noncitizens Alien Registration Receipt cards. These color changes helped immigration officials more quickly identify new and expired versions. Given the relatively high cost of these components, I needed to develop some simple guidelines for IQC (incoming quality control) inspection to accept or reject shipments from memory vendors, so I decided to do more digging to try and find ground truth. A project for another day will be acquiring lots of refurb microSD cards and collecting interesting data off of them. Kingston is also probably more willing to talk to smaller accounts like me because as a channel brand they can’t compete against OEMs like Sandisk or Samsung for the biggest contracts from the likes of Nokia or RIMM.
A full bad block scan can take a long time on a large FLASH IC, and chip testers cost millions of dollars.
Isn’t it fun to connect the dots, all the way from silicon die markings to the linux kernel to end users, and all the businesses in between? Unfortunately I’ve already blown another $13 gambling at Walmart in hopes of getting a 1 chip unit but the one I got was 2 chips and a waste for my purpose. Most high-end class 10 cards end up doing read-modify-write cycles on 4MB chunks if you do random write access instead of writing contiguous blocks in units of at least 64kb. Rather, its new high-tech features, like miniaturized faces of presidents, holograms, and color-shifting ink, he says, are what make it extremely challenging to replicate. Therefore, the amortized cost per chip for test alone can be comparable to the cost of silicon itself.
Good cards can have up to three 4MB chunks open for writing at the same time, bad cards only one. In addition to preventing the disintegration of a green card in the wash, this also made it easier for officials to access file data. Sandisk has done a lot more marketing in the microSD space, and as a result, it’s much easier to find Sandisk cards on the open market. As a result, Kingston plays a significant and important role in stabilizing microSD card prices and improving fab margins, but at some risk to their own brand image. A  Plenty of hearsay, and inaccurate facts are presented below in this Affidavit of Anna K.
Significantly, ghost shifts are often run using marginal material that would normally be disposed of but were intercepted on the way to the grinder. Sanders.A  I wonder how accurate her formal reports were when she was an Alaska State Trooper?
As a result, the markings and characteristics of the material often look absolutely authentic, because the ghost material is a product of the same line as genuine material. A  There's an Unsolved Mystery right there:A  How could I have been "Found" by LAPD or anyone, when I was never "Missing" nor Lost? A  I assumed she was feeling a bit down over the slumping economy and her own financial position, and wasn't keeping up with personal grooming, and wasn't concerned about her appearance. Grant would like to request the videotapes of the Key West Airport baggage claim during my arrival on that date, so we can all have a review of the appearance of Anna, and me. Grant, Attorney at Law, Juneau, AK From Wedding Bells to Tales to Tell: The Affidavit of Eric William Swanson, my former spouse AFFIDAVIT OF SHANNON MARIE MCCORMICK, My Former Best Friend THE AFFIDAVIT OF VALERIE BRITTINA ROSE, My daughter, aged 21 THE BEAGLE BRAYS! HELL'S BELLS: THE TELLS OF THE ELVES RING LOUD AND CLEAR IDENTITY THEFT, MISINFORMATION, AND THE GETTING THE INFAMOUS RUNAROUND Double Entendre and DoubleSpeak, Innuendos and Intimidation, Coercion v Common Sense, Komply (with a K) v Knowledge = DDIICCKK; Who's Gunna Call it a Draw? AFFIDAVIT OF ANNA KATHRYN SANDERS, Former ALASKA STATE TROOPER, and MY OLDER SISTERA A Fortunately, someone's curious questions reminded me that I still have much more information to publish, including this Affidavit. A  How about some facts, such as the Officer's name, time, location of the vehicle, etc.

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