Archive for May, 2010

Canadians in no iPad rush

With little fanfare iPads are launching in several countries starting tomorrow. For many Canadians there’s no rush to get one. The early adopters already own one after driving across the border or purchasing one from the grey market. Best Buy, Futureshop, and Apple stores expect to stock limited quantities of all 6 versions, however if you’re hoping to get one be advised that the entry level model ($549, 16 GB, wifi, non 3G) will probably sell out. At best you’ll have to drive to more than one store to get your hands on one if you don’t plan on lining up overnight.

I’m projecting the sales of the 3G version will be quite limp given the pathetic data plans offered by Rogers and Bell. $15 for 250 MB? Really? I suspect even the dumbest rich bastards won’t fall victim to that scam. Maybe if it came in a distinct color to denote that it was indeed the expensive version or at least some other markings to let everyone else know that you have a superior status symbol. Perhaps it would be a good idea for next year’s version, hmm?

For the poor folk look to the cheap electronics market of Shenzhen China where knock offs and bootlegs are plentiful. For a mere $100 you can own a 7″ ipad clone or if you want something with a little more power, $400 gets you a 10″ model with Windows 7. There’s always going to be a cheaper alternative to those who are willing to wait on technology.

Price plans, limited stock, or simply a poor choice to waste your money. Any way you look at it iPad sales will be lower than expected. While we are close to our neighbors to the south, Canadians are not blindly following sheep like our American cousins. Ipod yes. Iphone yes. Ipad no.

The reality of an hd crash

When your computer crashes it can point to major problems. I’m not talking about a simple problem that’s resolved by a reboot or reinstall. I’m talking about a physical hard drive crash. Heads fully contacting the platter surface, scraping and spreading debris inside your hard drive at 7,200 RPM. While the drive itself is no better than a doorstop or paperweight at this point, it may still be possible to recover your data.

Why you (or me for that matter)? Hard drives will fail over time. The physical wear and tear that occurs on a regular basis every time you turn on your computer, copy a file, or even when your screen saver is running adds up to hard drive wear. Managing your system files in a proper environment can also factor in to whether your drive lasts 5 years or 1. There are several disk utilities that can help you monitor the health of your hard drive but in the end it’s still up to you to back up your important files on an ongoing basis.

The repairs that occur within a clean room environment are delicate and require a certain expertise. It’s not something you can learn in college. Managing data storage will become the next hottest job trend as new data centers open and expand their capabilities. There will be plenty of opportunities if you know anything about maintaining massive amounts of servers and hard drives and being able to do it the most efficiently as possible.

As for the hard drive, whether it’s the platter, the motor, the heads, or the electronics that fail the problem cannot be fixed by the average home user. Even IT professionals aren’t trained to perform these types of repairs. Talk to a data recovery expert and get the facts. The more information you are able to provide the more accurate a quotation can be. Don’t rely on the guy who can’t even explain what a servo is. Get the right data and make an informed decision.

Bill aims to cut down the spam

Perhaps some relief is in sight for your email inbox. Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement has proposed two bills aimed at protecting web surfers from identity theft and spam. Unfortunately spam has just become a part of everyday life and for the most part attempts to reduce or eliminate it have been futile. It’s estimated that spam costs Canadians over $3 billion in network security and lost productivity costs. It’s certainly a step in the right direction. Now if we could only get other countries on board we could free up some bandwidth and make the Internet fast again.

Rugged and Secure

You can never be too safe … or can you? LaCie has a new rugged safe external drive ready for those who need the extra protection. Shock proof shell designed by Neil Poulton not good enough for you? How about 128 bit encryption secured by biometrics? Comes in shiny silver and black in two flavors: 500 GB ($190) and 1 TB ($300). Go ahead, take that rugged hard drive mountain climbing with you, at least one of you should survive the fall.

SSD Hybrid to bridge the gap

Although they tried this before with little success there’s something to be said for giving it another go. Hybrid technology can be hit and miss, who knows that this new drive will bring. Seagate is offering up a hybrid drive with SSD technology. Boasting SSD performance while attempting to keep prices reasonable.

The SATA drive (dubbed “Momentus XT”) spins at 7200 RPM, has 32MB of DDR3 cache, and 4GB of SSD capacity. This combination can result in faster applications and access to data compared to traditional hard drive technology. Actual platters should only spin 10% of the time reducing energy costs. Frequently accessed data would be stored on the SSD portion of the drive. 250 GB version is estimated to cost $113.

Updated:
A speed test compares this drive to others and the XT doesn’t come out looking so good. Performance is disappointing. Given the price drops in hard drives you should just probably stick with a pure SSD drive if you’re looking for the best performance.

Mobile Platform Sales and loyalty

Android phones are selling like hotcakes. Compared to the iPhone the Motorola Droid sold more units in the first 74 days. This is certainly good news for Google and Motorola, whose mobile division has been on life support for a while now. Still the dividing line between iPhone users and Android users is still clearly apparent. Each have their own loyal users who swear by their mobile platforms.

Ultimately the success and failure of any platform is its applications. The iTunes store had a bit of a head start but made the best of it racking up tons of applications for every possible use. However the inconsistent approval process has deterred some developers away, often claiming censorship, favoritism, and heavy restrictions. The Android store boasts 30,000 apps currently available for download (Apple has about 140,000). Still some ways to go but it’s still good news for Google.

The odd man out? Research In Motion. While still the “business man’s phone” Blackberry users still have their loyal users in tow. However with newer flashy features available on other platforms the numbers are beginning to weaken. In a recent survey 40% were willing to trade their Blackberry for an iPhone. While only 32% would trade it for a Nexus One. Probably just a case of “the grass is greener”. Still plenty to choose from and many features to offer. Making the phone decision even harder. Try to stick to a short term contract and try them out. You may like what you find.

Not enough storage

If you are a data whore you probably already own a NAS where you store all of your home made porn. Well this begs the question what do you do if you have a lot of porn? 2 TB NAS not good enough. 8 TB still not good enough. Heck why not build your own 16 TB NAS from scratch? All you need is some handy welding tools, 8 x 2 TB WD hard drives, ATOM N270 processor and board, and some free time to watch the video. Performance times should look something like 88MB/sec (write) and 266MB/sec (read) rivaling that of most current top end SSD’s. Enjoy!

Perhaps the DIY is not for you. Well meet the new lineup of Seagate’s GoFlex external hard drives. Basically the idea behind this is they are flexible (hence the name). Got a drive with a USB 2.0 connection and have a computer with USB 3.0? No need to buy a new drive with these drives. Simply buy the USB 3.0 adapter/cable and voila, that Seagate GoFlex magically works with whatever connection you require. eSata, Firewire, tv connection, wifi, whatever you need. Expect the other hard drive manufacturers to follow suit.

Seagate 3 TB hard drives will require new motherboards. Should be coming out later this year so hold off on buying those 1.5 TB and 2 TB drives if you can.


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