I miss our CD swaps. Where to buy 1-2 GIG bulk micro SD card October 26, 2021 1:50 AM   Subscribe

I am looking to buy 1-2gig micro SD cards in bulk since CD swaps are history. While CDs are mostly dead, I'd bet most ppl here use Micro SD cards. I loved those swaps, I got some really great music, got more appreciation of "us" here at MetaFilter.

So I did some searching and was amazed (and annoyed) that no one is selling them in bulk for 10 cents apiece.

Maybe you have better search skills than mine and/or maybe you just know where to find them, maybe your uncles business has left him with tons of bitty Micro SD cards. (A 1gig card will hold about 47,386,327.47 mp3s, give or take.)

I'd buy a double fistful of them, mail them out to all of us who want in, and we can have that nice piece of our community back.

I don't know, maybe it'd be better and/or just as easy to put up the mp3s on a google drive or whatever else makes the most sense. That would work fine but part of what I miss was having fun stuff in my mailbox.

Any ideas, suggestions? Anyone else interested in this?
posted by dancestoblue to MetaFilter-Related at 1:50 AM (25 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

There are vendors on Aliexpress selling lots of SD cards, but it's not quite 10 cents level pricing. Cheapest I could find for 1GB was about $26 for 20, and some 512MB ones for around a dollar. If you want to search, use search terms like "sd card 20pcs" or "sd card 50pcs". You can probably find better bulk prices on the parent site Alibaba if you wanted to buy large lots, but that site works differently and you have to submit a request for a quote and then haggle with the vendor so it's impossible to say what the actual price would be.

Important to stress that buying memory storage devices from random Shenzhen vendors like this is practically guaranteed to get you knock-off, counterfeit, falsely labeled, or recycled ewaste. But for low capacity and non-important data, it might not matter.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:52 AM on October 26 [3 favorites]


Are low-capacity thumb drives (USB sticks) any cheaper?
posted by wenestvedt at 6:48 AM on October 26 [1 favorite]


Are we sure more people have micro SD card readers than CD players?
posted by zamboni at 7:34 AM on October 26 [9 favorites]


You can buy a 10-pack of 1GB thumb drives on Amazon for ~$21
posted by briank at 7:43 AM on October 26 [1 favorite]


Also, I flagged this as "Belongs in AskMe"
posted by briank at 7:45 AM on October 26 [4 favorites]


was amazed (and annoyed) that no one is selling them in bulk for 10 cents apiece

Even as scrap, they're worth more than that, because the QC process takes finite time to process each one. With Chipageddon, the endless supply of dirt cheap components has dried up. Hobby electronics was always mostly rejects and ends-of-lines, and now there's a chance to make a bit more money on them, sellers are holding out for higher prices.

I'm an electronics reseller. We're even seeing red 5 mm LEDs, the cockroaches of the component world, have lead times and price increases. It's strange days.
posted by scruss at 8:27 AM on October 26 [13 favorites]


I think thumb drives are a better fit. Not everyone can read MicroSD. Another option is to do spotify playlists or something similar, and lose the physical aspect entirely.
posted by sid at 9:46 AM on October 26 [3 favorites]


Important to stress that buying memory storage devices from random Shenzhen vendors like this is practically guaranteed to get you knock-off, counterfeit, falsely labeled, or recycled ewaste. But for low capacity and non-important data, it might not matter.

It's not just that. With flash memory, there is always the possibility that the controller has mapped sectors over each other, so copying near the limits of capacity will corrupt data. This is a trick usually reserved for selling low capacity flash as high capacity flash in a way that will fool the OS's glance. A way to detect this trick should be to make a zip file of near the chip's maximum size, copy it to the flash device, copy it back, then try to unZIP it.
posted by JHarris at 10:19 AM on October 26 [3 favorites]


As much as I like the spirit of the thing, I'm not plugging a USB stick or SD card sent to me by someone outside my circle into any computer I care about. Really, burned CDs should receive the same side-eye, because infosec, but at least with CDs you can put them in a single-purpose player and not risk your PC.
posted by Alterscape at 10:21 AM on October 26 [17 favorites]



I'm an electronics reseller. We're even seeing red 5 mm LEDs, the cockroaches of the component world, have lead times and price increases. It's strange days.


now can i have angela basset and rafe fiennes skulking round my apartment all sexylike
posted by lalochezia at 10:43 AM on October 26 [5 favorites]


As much as I like the spirit of the thing, I'm not plugging a USB stick or SD card sent to me by someone outside my circle into any computer I care about.

Well I guess I'll just have to keep all these SD cards I found in the Pentagon parking lot for myself, then.

Joking aside, I wonder how much the market for counterfeit cards (ones formatted/mapped to present a higher capacity than they actually are) drives up the price for the low-capacity ones? You would think they'd be dirt cheap, but yet 256MB cards still run almost $5 ($3.50/ea in quantities of 100+) and that does strike me as a bit high.

The two ways I could see a "mix tape swap" working would be for everyone involved in the swap to supply their own card and send it out—I suspect lots of people have at least 1 or 2 old cards sitting around in a junk bin or drawer somewhere—or to use optical media of some sort. I hope I'm not the only one with a half-finished spindle of CD-Rs still on their desk, waiting for the day they become useful somehow...
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:52 AM on October 26 [6 favorites]


Is this about having a physical souvenir of this? Is bandwidth an issue? Using Dropbox or posting mp3s to a password-protected server seems much easier. I could probably offer some space if that helps.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:51 PM on October 26 [5 favorites]


Last time I looked into this, ten years ago, something like 70 US cents a piece for lots of >20 was the best I could find for low memory micro-SD cards in bulk. Aliexpress turned out to be as good as more obscure options. (It was for a really goofy art project, replacing defunct and damaged "push button for [walking person]" street crossing boxes with "push button for [dancing person]" boxes that played funk tunes.)

But, also, the last online mixtape exchange was a whole lot of fun and worked great, at least for me. Assuming "our" refers to mefites, perhaps we should look into / volunteer for making that happen again instead?
posted by eotvos at 2:32 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]


To avoid abusing the edit button - would a postcard exchange with URLs or QR codes be of interest, to capture the physical mail and art aspect? Sending postcards internationally is a lot cheaper than CDs.
posted by eotvos at 2:35 PM on October 26 [15 favorites]


I remember back in the day there was a service called MuxTape that was really nice for sharing playlists like this. The MeFightClub group did a mix tape exchange where I discovered a lot of really good music.

But that was back when the RIAA was still fighting things so it got taken down and the open source versions have stopped being maintained as far as I can tell.

You could just pass around Spotify playlists but if the goal is to have a physical artifact then probably a flash drive is the way to go these days.
posted by JDHarper at 5:57 AM on October 27 [2 favorites]


I mean, a MeTa post of "Show me your themed Spotify playlists" would be no more or less out of place here than our irregular-but-not-uncommon "Show me your workspace" or "Show me your kitchen" or the like.
posted by tzikeh at 4:05 PM on October 27 [1 favorite]


we buy ~20k microSD cards a year from

https://www.oempcworld.com/

where I work. we get volume account pricing, and the cards are supplied in JEDEC tray packaging so there is much less waste than consumer packaging.
posted by Dr. Twist at 4:24 PM on October 27 [3 favorites]


I think the cool thing about the swap is it's one to one; you send out one mixtape, you get one, there's a connection with a stranger through your taste in music. Simply having a meta thread where we post playlists doesn't quite equate.
posted by sid at 7:24 AM on October 28 [4 favorites]


I'm still out here, waving frantically on my desert island with the one coconut tree, hoping someone will want to do cassette swaps. They're cool again, dammit!
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 8:21 AM on October 28 [3 favorites]


While my 1993 car has a cassette deck so I could theoretically listen to a tape I no longer own anything with which to record a mix tape.
posted by Mitheral at 6:07 PM on October 28


I have a cassette deck! And a CD burner! And an sd card reader! And a micro sd adapter for same! And I boycott Spotify!

And I loved the swaps!
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:16 PM on October 28 [4 favorites]


You can buy a 10-pack of 1GB thumb drives on Amazon for ~$21
Also, I flagged this as "Belongs in AskMe"
posted by briank at 9:45 AM on October 26
I originally had this posted as an AskMe but it got taken down, because it's actually more of a metafilter thing.

And it's a bit more than ~$21 for 10 1 GIG thumb drives; it's ~$21.81, plus tax here in Texas brings it to my door for ~$23.67. Not a lot, really, depending how many people want to play. I'll mail them out, won't break me, but if we get a lot of ppl who want in it would help if a few ppl kicked in.

I think thumb drives are a better fit. Not everyone can read MicroSD. Another option is to do spotify playlists or something similar, and lose the physical aspect entirely.
posted by sid at 11:46 AM on October 26
I agree that a thumb drive might be the ideal, but read on a bit; I've got another couple of ideas which could make this easy-peasy plus still fun opening up your mailbox

As much as I like the spirit of the thing, I'm not plugging a USB stick or SD card sent to me by someone outside my circle into any computer I care about. Really, burned CDs should receive the same side-eye, because infosec, but at least with CDs you can put them in a single-purpose player and not risk your PC.
posted by Alterscape at 12:21 PM on October 26
I think I'm a bit more careless, and probably I should be a better citizen, practice safer computer attitudes/actions.

we buy ~20k microSD cards a year from
https://www.oempcworld.com/
where I work. we get volume account pricing, and the cards are supplied in JEDEC tray packaging so there is much less waste than consumer packaging
.
posted by Dr. Twist at 6:24 PM on October 27
If I am reading their bulk prices correctly, this is exactly the site I was looking when asking about inexpensive SD cards when I wrote this. Not sure if I've got their bulk pricing correctly or not; going to call them tomorrow and see.

However,
lots of push-back in this thread on the hassles of physical drives and cards. I was reading WaPo earlier, they wrote a piece about ppl who were running out of storage in Google accounts. I still thought that Google accounts were limited to 5GIG, turns out they now offer 15 GIG. 15 GIG is plenty for what we're doing. So I got to thinking that we could post our .mp3 files there, giving free access to anyone who has a password to a directory. (Can be read-only or read-write permission.) I've used my Google account many times to pass .mp3 files around.

Honestly, the only concern I have about setting up an account as Secretary Of Defense Melvin Laird (or some other mope) to use as a way to pass files around is that Google would perhaps get wind of it and shut it down. I don't have a Spotify account, nor Box account either..

I'd be glad to set up the Google account, then move your .mp3 files into a directory with your MetaFilter nick on it, with you having read-write and all others as read-only and then we're in business.

And then, in keeping with the old tradition of something fun in your mail-box, we could send postcards, which would make it fun all of us and less expensive for people in Europe/Australia/wherever else.

Do this look like a good fit? Anyone know if Google would catch on, and/or if they did catch on would they care? Or maybe do you know of a better place to put them instead of a new Google account? Anything I'm missing here?
posted by dancestoblue at 4:14 AM on October 29


TBH I think the main problem is that mix tapes and CDs are special in a personal way that something shared online can never be. Even with posted access keys. And it's not like I didn't convert all my MeFi shared CDs to MP3 the moment I got them.

It's personal in the same sort of way a handwritten letter is.

Definitely in two minds about this as I am very much down the chicha/cumbia/goth/horror surf rabbit hole and would love to drag some innocents down for company.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCZtBmIQBN0
posted by Buntix at 3:17 PM on October 29


TBH I think the main problem is that mix tapes and CDs are special in a personal way that something shared online can never be. Even with posted access keys. And it's not like I didn't convert all my MeFi shared CDs to MP3 the moment I got them.

It's personal in the same sort of way a handwritten letter is.

posted by Buntix at 3:17 PM on October 29
Nodding in agreement -- it is nice to get something other than just the music. That's what I thought we could do -- to at least some extent -- by sending post cards to whoever would want to participate in that way.

~~~~~

I'm just off the phone with the outfit that Dr. Twist has done business with; even buying 100 1 GIG SD cards, he quoted $3.35 each, seems way out of line to me but hey, it is what it is. That pushes me more toward putting the music online, and then sending a card or letter et cet.
posted by dancestoblue at 3:53 PM on October 29 [3 favorites]


Anyone know if Google would catch on, and/or if they did catch on would they care?

Google drives are meant for sharing, and I'm pretty sure they don't police the contents. For nearly a decade now, I've hosted copies of the daily films for an October horror movie challenge I take part in, with links to stream them posted on a public forum. (Not, like, blatantly advertised, but they probably could be found with the right Google search.) Out of ~300 movies, I've gotten DMCA takedown notices maybe 3 or 4 times -- asking me to delete a particular movie, not the whole batch. And that's the extent of it.

So if you went that route, I'm guessing you'd have no worries.
posted by alyxstarr at 8:49 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


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