Short URL Addresses May Be Creating Easy Paths To Spy On Your Data

We’ve all seen those huge URL’s, be it for a website or a document you have saved in the cloud, they just seem to go on and on with no sign of ever stopping. Then you spot the tiny URL they offer you instead, short and sweet with only a few letters and numbers to copy and paste before you can open your document anywhere you want. Why not use it? well for starters that small URL may be creating just as easy a path to spy on your data!

Research conducted by Martin Georgiev and Vitaly Shmatikov suggest that looking at the abbreviated “short URL’s” used by companies such as Google, Microsoft, and even bit.ly, a company dedicated to creating and sharing short URL addresses, revealed that using a simple trial and error method they were able to gain access to your cloud storage files.

In particular, Georgiev and Shmatikov were able to find and access files shared through Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive with short URLs. If this wasn’t scary enough, someone could place malicious code in the files that had write permissions enabled, allowing them to infect and spread their effect all through one of your files stored in the cloud. Estimating that around 7 percent of the accounts on OneDrive and Google Drive they scanned were vulnerable to this flaw, it’s scary, to say the least.

More worrying may be companies differing responses to be being alerted about this result, with Google doubling the character length of their short URLs, while Microsoft stated that the vulnerability “does not currently warrant an MRSC case”, while quietly removing the short link function on OneDrive so not to expose others to the problem while they no doubt investigate.

USB Thief Infects ‘Air-gapped’ Computers And Leaves No Trace

Malware (short for malicious software) is a type of program that is intended to cause harm to a system, be it in the form of ransomware, like that which has hit several hospitals in the US, or just you generic popup creating malware. A new malware named USB Thief, looks to break the chain of common threats by hiding itself and infecting systems even when they aren’t connected to the internet.

The internet is a wonderful thing but the problem with everyone being able to share and talk to one another is that sending something nasty is as easy as clicking a button (or in some cases, the software even does this for you). USB Thief avoids this by working on USB sticks, the very same ones you use to send information to and from your computer to your parents or even your friends.

The software hides by only executing under a certain set of rules, that is using a key created from the original USB drive it was created for. Even when it does spread it uses a unique key created using the ID of the USB stick and the time, meaning that traditional attempts to copy and discover the malware fail when suddenly it has unknown hardware in the mix.

Not only does it mean it won’t always execute, breaking the common rule of repeated behaviour is traceable behaviour, but it doesn’t leave any evidence on the infected computer, meaning your data could be stolen and you wouldn’t even know it. USB Thief lives up to the second part of its name, with it at the moment only working to steal data, but Tomáš Gardoň, a malware analyst with antivirus provider Ese says that “it would not be difficult to redesign the malware to change from a data-stealing payload to any other malicious payload”.

By avoiding the internet and focusing on the more traditional method of using USB drives, the virus is able to infect systems similar to how Stuxnet worked, enabling it to infect ‘air-gapped’ system (those which aren’t connected to the internet). With the USB lock in place, only the original USB created by its designers can infect systems, meaning if you didn’t create the original you won’t be able to use it.

If that wasn’t enough the USB Thief’s developer seems to have done its homework as it only runs as part of a command from portable versions of legitimate applications like Notepad++ and Firefox. If you’re running Kaspersky Lab or G Data though you should be okay as the malware won’t install itself on your system, a feature that was no doubt down to results from some initial testing.

ASUS Announces Travelair AC Pocket-Sized Wireless Flash Drive

ASUS has created a few products out of their norm lately and I think it’s nice to see them breaching into new product categories, especially when they create things that aren’t all that common yet. The newest product to be announced is the Travelair AC which is a pocket-sized wireless flash drive.

The ASUS Travelair AC features 802.11ac wireless network connectivity which easily is 3 times faster than the legacy 2.4GHz band that a lot of such devices operate on. The faster wireless connection doesn’t just provide better copy and streaming speeds, it also allows your devices to stay on a single network for less hassle.

Basic 2.4 GHz and 5GHz wireless connectivity is just one of the features in ASUS new portable flash drive as it also feature NFC technology for instant connection to NFC-enabled mobile devices for an even easier setup. The Travelair AC features 32GB built-in memory which in itself isn’t much, but it can be easily expanded through the built-in SD card reader.

The flash drive also features a micro USB connector for a wired connection to non-wifi devices as well as to charge the built-in 3000 mAh battery.

ASUS added a dual wireless functionality to the Travelair AC, so you won’t lose your internet connection when using this wireless flash drive. You simply connect the Travelair AC to your router and any device that connects to the drive will also automatically get the signal forwarding to your internet connection. Naturally this support also includes WPA2 security for secure connections both ways

The ASUS AiDrive app for Android, iOS, and Kindle devices allows for easy setup and connection, but the drive is also compatible with Windows and Mac OS devices. The built-in battery should provide up to 10 hours of multimedia content streaming to Wi-Fi-enabled devices per charge which should be enough for even the longest trips.

Pricing and availability of the ASUS Travelair AC are yet to be announced.

Specifications

  • Wi-Fi standards: IEEE 802.11b/g/n/ac 2.4GHz & 5GHz
  • Storage capacity: 32GB
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Micro USB, NFC
  • OS Compatibility: iOS 7 or higher, AndroidTM 4.0 or higher, Kindle Fire HD and HDX, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Mac OS X 10.6 or higher
  • Battery: 3000mAh
  • Colors: White
  • Size: 86 x 86 x 21mm
  • Weight: 120g

Lexar Releases A Bunch of New Flash Products

Lexar released a bunch of new flash-based products and we naturally also want to update you on these. While HDDs are the go-to medium for NAS and SSDs for the PC systems, we shouldn’t forget about our portable storage and mobile devices.

The drive pictured above is the first of Lexar’s new flash drives and it is actually an SSD, just an external one. We have previously reviewed Lexar’s Professional Workflow SSD in the same form factor and that is compatible with the Workflow drive dock system, and this new Lexar Portable SSD is compatible to that system too despite not being from the Professional Workflow series.

The compact and durable drive reads with up to 450MB/s and writes with up to 245MB/s, making it quick and easy to take your files on the go. The LEDs on the front work as capacity meter and the drive is available as 256GB and 512GB models. Since it’s a full-fledged SSD, the drive supports NTFS, FAT, and exxFAT without any trouble. The Lexar Portable SSD will be available in Q1 2016 with MSRPs of £120.99 (256GB) and £200.99 (512GB), a more than fair price.

The second new Lexar product is the 1800x microSD card with impressive speeds that hold up to even the most demanding tasks. The Lexar 1800x is available as 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB models and it leverages Ultra High Speed II (U3 technology) to provide you with the best experience. The card is capable of speeds up to 270MB/s read speeds and is designed for high-speed capture of extended lengths of 4K, 3D, and 1080p full-HD video and high-quality images.

Lexar’s Professional 1800x microSD UHS-II cards are already available with an MSRP of £65.99 (32GB), £109.99 (64GB), and £219.99 (128GB).

The next new Lexar product is quite ingenious. Whether you’ll want to call it a 3-in-1 drive or an Apple Lightning charging cable with built-in flash storage, you’d be right. The JumpDrive C20i is all that and also a USB 3.0 flash drive at the same time, completing the 3-in-1 scenario. The drive can read with up to 95 MB/s and write with up to 20 MB/s for easy expansion of your iPhone or iPad memory. The new JumpDrive C20i flash drive will be available in Q1 of 2016 and have MSRPs of £28.99 (16GB), £39.99 (32GB), £56.99 (64GB), and £79.99 (128GB).

The last new Lexar drive is a little more traditional and it is called the JumpDrive S45. The tiny nano-styled drive is designed for a plug-and-stay setup with its low profile. It is capable of speeds up to 150MB/s reading and 45MB/s writing and be available in capacities up to 128GB. An impressive capacity for a nano-drive. Depending on the capacity, the JumpDrive S45 comes in different colours: Orange, Blue, Teal, and black. Along with the JumpDrive S45, you also get the EncryptStick Lite software for 256-bit AES encryption of your content. The flash drive has MSRPs of £7.99 (16GB), £10.99 (32GB), £18.99 (64GB), and £28.99 (128GB) and will be available in Q1 2016.

Fixstars Launches World’s First 13TB SSD

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Fixstars has unveiled the world’s first 13TB 2.5-inch solid state drive, more than doubling the capacity of the next largest SSD of 6TB. There is a catch, however, and it’s a pretty big one: the Fixstars SSD-13000M will be priced at approximately $1-per-gigabyte, putting the cost of the 13TB drive at around $13,000, according to spokesperson Shien Zhu (via PC World).

The drive uses a SATA 6Gbps interface and is based around 15nm MLC NAND flash technology from Toshiba – a minority shareholder in Fixstars – but with a proprietary Fixstars controller that boasts faster sequential read and write speeds of up to 580/520 MB/s. The random read/write speeds are yet to be revealed.

The SSD-13000M will be sold directly via the Fixstars website, and not through other retailers. While Fixstars sees the drive as appealing to enterprise and business customers, anyone with $13k to burn can get their hands on one.

Competitors in the SSD market have indicated that they don’t plan to release a drive to compete with Fixstars’ 13TB drive in the immediate future, with SanDisk launching 6TB and 8TB SSDs this year, and Samsung releasing a 4TB SSD.

Fixstars has also revealed a 10TB iteration, the SSD-10000M, which is also expected to be priced at around $1-per-gigabyte. The release date for both SSDs is yet to be confirmed.

Azimuth “SP-1 Crazy Rider” Designed Watch Unveiled at CES

Mechanical wristwatches are seen as rather antiquated when you consider the development and ubiquitous use of both Smartphone’s and also the new breed of smartwatches. Who would want a timepiece that is able to tell the current time when these new gadgets are able to surf the Internet, keep track of your workout routine and also able to let you know the time in Australia. Luxury Swiss watchmaking company Azimuth is proving there is still a large market for expensive timepieces after unveiling a new watch at CES.

The watch in question goes by the name of the “SP-1 Crazy Riderand is quite nifty when you consider it is able to convey the correct time within the 24-hour clock. A normal watch is as you know, designed for the 12-hour clock, the Azimuth watch takes its inspiration from a motorcycle drive chain. Below is an image to convey this new watch as well as a quick summary of the design behind this new product.

  • Inside the watch housing is a chain which is wrapped around two sprockets which turn in unison.
  • A watch hand is attached to the chain, it makes its way around the watch face indicating the hour
  • A more traditional watch hand in the centre of the watch indicates the minute.
  • As the time goes on, the hour hand is carried along by the chain while the minute hand appears to be linked to the chain.

I know what you thinking, you would like one of these, well, there might be a slight problem considering the watch is estimated to have an RRP price of $5,200 (£3,581.14), which is a lot. Still, the design is certainly creative and will have both consumer appeal and also a market within today’s watch aficionados. Would you buy one?

Image courtesy of ablogtowatch

SanDisk Unveils New Drives @ CES 2016

CES 2016: SanDisk always has a number of interesting products to showcase during press events, and CES 2016 was no different. While the Extreme Portable 510 was announced a few weeks ago, it’s interesting to see how small it is in person and the quality of workmanship. Unfortunately, the 510 only comes in a 480GB capacity which is a baffling decision. Nevertheless, the design is fantastic and incorporates an IP55 rubber coating which protects against dust and water splashes. According to SanDisk, it’s meant for video professionals who require a rugged, and high performance drive on-the-go. In terms of pricing, the device will cost $250 and begin entering retail channels in the next few weeks.

The company also displayed a 200GB USB flash drive which can connect wirelessly to smart devices and provide the storage many users need. This is so important on Apple handsets where the storage is locked and cannot be expanded. Technically the drive utilizes 802.11n, costs $120 and can be purchased right now.

New Regulations Pave the Way for Self Driving Cars on the Road

The development of self-driving cars promises to offer consumers an exciting future, now, regulators in the sprawling metropolis known as California have published draft proposals aimed at paving the way for consumers to legally use self-driving cars on the road.

Included within the recommendations from the Department of Motor Vehicles is the stipulation that a fully licensed human driver must be present behind the wheel in case the technology fails or decides to drive into the nearest hedge. I understand the fully licensed bit, but I would have thought the whole point of a self-driving car is for people to easily travel from A – B in the car. The new regulations also stipulate that users must undergo “special training” and manufacturers must monitor the cars use.

Technology giant Google has experimented to the point whereby a vehicle does not even need a steering wheel or pedals, this sounds impressive, albeit slightly dangerous, for the foreseeable future at least. So much so that the DMV recommends all self-driving vehicles to be equipped with traditional controls. The draft regulations also provide requirements for self-driving cars to be protected from cyber attacks; it will be interesting to see how manufacturers respond to this considering very little is immune from hacks in the digital age.

Many fans and experts alike envisage a future whereby a driving licence is obsolete and even non-drivers are able to metaphorically drive, sounds good until you factor in the many issues including longer traffic jams as more people are able to use a vehicle, only time will tell as to the path with which this new breed of tech will follow.

Image courtesy of marketinginautomotive

GALAX Unveils Company’s First PCI-E SSD

The sequential read and write speeds of modern SSDs have improved at an astonishing rate due to the advent of M.2 and PCI-E interfaces. Traditional SATA 6 Gb/s disks usually operate around a 500-550MB/s read speed while utilizing slightly lower writes. The majority of standard M.2 drives manage to enhance the maximum transfer speeds by a decent margin. However, there is a massive boost when upgrading to NVME drives which are capable of read speeds in excess of 2200MB/s. To properly utilize this bandwidth, a PCI-E slot or 32Gb/s M.2 connector is required. While the greatly enhanced speeds come at a price premium, it provides an insight into the future of performance data.

GALAXY, formerly known as GALAXY, is renowned for creating some of the most impressive factory overclocked graphics cards on the market. Additionally, the HOF range offers stunning visual designs and revolves around a white theme. Now, the company has decided to enter the storage market and launch a gorgeous PCI-E SSD.

The drive features a white PCB, HOF engraving and early reports suggest it will use TLC flash storage with capacities ranging between 120GB-2TB. Also, GALAX’s first PCI-E SSD features a sequential read of 2600MB/s and sequential write reaching 1300MB/s. Furthermore, its 4KB read has an IOPS of 300,000 while the 4KB Write manages 200,000 IOPS.

As you can see, it’s absolutely stunning and contains a remarkable specification. Sadly, it’s difficult to see the intricate engraving on the drive due to the show room’s lighting. Furthermore, there’s no word about pricing or release date but this should be revealed fairly soon.

When planning a build, do aesthetics play a key part in your decision making process?

Google Document Hints at Upcoming OS for Cars

In the latest Android Compatibility Definition Document, or CDD, Google included details of the requirements for usage of a previously unseen implementation of Android, Android Automotive.

Interestingly, Google already has an app in place to use Android on compatible cars, Android Auto. However, Android Auto is just an app that can be installed on another Android device, allowing it to screencast to the car’s screen via USB, like connecting a laptop to an external monitor. As this runs on an existing Android platform, it would have no place in the CDD, as it would have all the same compatibilities and requirements as the Android OS hosting it.

This draws the conclusion that Android Automotive is a version of the Android OS that would run directly on the cars hardware and be installed from the factory by the manufacturer. Additionally, its presence in the CDD hints that there would also be a version of the Google Play store and other apps designed specifically to run on car hardware. If this is true, it would make Android Automotive the fourth version of Android, after Android for phone and tablet, Android TV and Android Wear.

This raises the question of whether Android Automotive will simply be an extension of the Android Auto app, adapted to run natively on the car, which certain sections of the CDD seem to support, requiring on a software home button, much like Android Auto. It’s not like Android running on a car is anything new, but most cars running Android on their dashboard systems use far from up-to-date versions of the OS, raising security concerns. In order for Android to offer a truly viable car offering, certain issues that have continually plagued the popular mobile OS such as start up times would have to be tackled, and maybe Google have taken so long to offer an official car OS to address them.

So, are you ready for your car to become as smart as your phone?

Image via

Google Maps For Android Showing Pit Stops En Route

Getting from A to B has always been an everyday thing, from the front door of your home to school or work and sometimes it goes a little further, say across the country? For those times, and some shorter journeys too, people have used navigation software like that found on your sat nav’s and even on your smartphones. Google has been keen on making their navigation software both practical and useful by adding features such as alternative routes and traffic warnings, now you may find that a quick stop for lunch is even easier with an upcoming update to the Android app.

Available in an upcoming release for the American version of the android app, by selecting “search along route” people are able to track down gas, restaurants, coffee shops and grocery stores, while the ability to also “search for more places” means that you are not limited to these choices and could soon find your favourite restaurant to stop for a quick bite while on that little drive.

With all these features and an added bonus of being able to see the closing times of gas stations, users could soon find their Google maps being a little more useful in the near future. Hopefully, their European version of this update will be released soon, giving us just another reason to take that long holiday we’ve been asking for.

 

Light Based Memory Could Replace Your Hard Drive

Mechanical or SSD? This argument has gone on many times in my own and many of my friends minds, the added speed of the SSD or the capacity of an mechanical drive. Both of these drives have their advantages and more than often it comes down to the things you wish to do. If you want to quickly load your game and have your computer awake within seconds it’s an SSD, but if you are storing your family photos and music you tend to care about not spending hundreds for storing something you will only ever access at Christmas or to embarrass someone on their birthday, you want mechanical. The advantage both of these devices have over different memory storage methods is they are ‘non-volatile’, meaning that they don’t require constant power to store the information, although researchers now hope to give you a third option for a super fast, light-based storage device.

Unlike SSD’s or mechanical drives which are limited in speed because of the heat and resistance they generate while being used, the ‘nano-photonic’ chips are not limited and can, therefore, operate at much higher speeds. By using the same material that CD’s and DVD’s use, called GST, the researchers have managed to change the structure of the alloy (comprised of Germanium, Tellurium and Antimony) in such a way that they were able to store 8 bits of data in any one location. Let’s just take that in, at the moment, electronic memory can only store binary information (1’s or 0’s). Meaning that they can store four times as much information in a single space, but it is still far from perfect.

Currently the chips are several sizes larger than the media everyone uses today to store data, but the researchers are hopeful that they could soon have you working on computers up to 100 times faster than your current desktop and no doubt with much greater capacities.

Thank you Engadget for the information and image.

Intel 750 Series SSD Firmware Update Improves Boot Times

Intel’s 750 series SSD incorporates astonishingly high read/write speeds but encountered slow boot times compared to traditional SATA storage devices. Thankfully, Intel has released a firmware update today which addresses the prolonged boot problems. To upgrade your SSD to the latest version, all you have to is download the Intel Solid-State Drive Data Center Tool. Once downloaded, launch the installer and you should encounter much more consistent boot speeds.

However, PCIe drives require a longer period to initialize and it’s highly doubtful if the boot speeds will match SATA SSDs. Despite this, the drive’s extra few seconds on boot isn’t going to be a major issue as NVME SSDs are mainly used for professional situations and these machines are on for days at a time. I’m also pleased to see Intel addressing this and PCIe SSDs offer such an enormous performance boost that they could replace SATA drives in the future. Although, the average end-user isn’t going to notice a distinct difference in consumer tasks like games.

If you’re interested in a 750 series SSD, feel free to check out our comprehensive review here

What size of SSD do you currently have and is it M.2, SATA or PCIe?

Thank you The Tech Report for providing us with this information.

Australian Student Reported To Have Developed New Ion Drive

NASA holds the current record for most fuel efficient drive, with its HiPEP (High Power Electric Propulsion) system. The idea of an Ion drive is that it uses electricity and a material to propel ions out of a funnel in order to focus the created momentum, and with the HiPEP allowing 9,600 (+/- 200) seconds of specific impulse the drive is a pretty strong contender for space travel. Seems like its record could be destroyed though according to a student newspaper Honi Soit.

The paper states that the new drive developed by Sydney PhD Student Paddy Neumann, which reports stating that its specific impulse reporting up to 14,690 (+/- 2000), almost one and a half times the record held by NASA.

What is more impressive about the drive is that NASA’s HiPEP system uses xenon gas, while Neumann’s drive can run on a range of metals, the best results are apparently achieved using magnesium, a metal that is commonly found in space junk and could be used to power the system using old satellites left in orbit.

With the possible ability to not only help clean up space but also create a new and more powerful engine that could soon be used to power the craft of the future, not bad Mr Neumann, not bad at all.

Thank you Honi Soit and Futurology Loaded for the information. 

Image courtesy of NASA. 

Seagate Backup Plus Portable Drive 2TB USB 3.0 Review

Introduction


Seagate released their Backup Plus Slim Portable Drive a while ago, but it is still a very valid product and one that shouldn’t be missed. Today I’m taking a closer look at the blue colored version of the Backup Plus Slim Portable Drive with a capacity of 2TB and a USB 3.0 connection.

The thin and light drive is easy to carry everywhere and is perfect to keep all those files that wouldn’t fit on a normal thumbs drive. The thumbs drives might get bigger, but they haven’t reached the 2TB capacity yet and certainly not at a price point that this USB 3.0 hard disk can be had for. It certainly is a lot of storage in a small size and for a good price, and that is something that we like.

The Seagate Backup Plus Slim Portable Drive isn’t just small and light, it’s also sleek and tough thanks to the metal design. The drive measurements are tiny, it is just 113.5mm long, 76mm wide, and typically weighs 159 grams.

The use of a micro connector is obvious here as we couldn’t have this small a drive without. The USB 3.0 connection provides a lot more bandwidth than USB 2.0 as well as major access improvements when dealing with UASP enabled ports.

Seagate’s Dashboard software also works with this drive and it is a great piece of software. All your photos, movies and videos can be backed up using the Seagate Dashboard, including the ones you’ve shared on Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube. Use the Seagate Mobile Backup app to create backups directly from your mobile devices and easily share your content between PCs and Macs. The Seagate Backup Plus Slim Portable Drive is also compatible with Lyve, so all of your photos and videos can be easily shared.

Not only do you get a 2-year warranty with this drive, Seagate also threw in a bonus in the form of a 2-year access to OneDrive with 200GB online storage valued at $95. That makes the drive kind of free if you had planned to purchase that service anyway.

Packaging and Accessories

The drive packaging is simple but provides all the necessary details right off. Brand, drive series, capacity, and the bonus is all mentioned on the front of the box.

The rear side features a little more information about OneDrive and the activation details as well as a little information on Lyve.

Inside the box, you’ll find a USB 3.0 cable as well as the quick start guide to get going in case you shouldn’t know how. The drive is pre-formatted, so all you need to do is plug it in and start using it.

Windows 10 USB Installers And U Drives Pose for the camera

There is little doubt that people want Windows 10 and are looking forward to the final version. Not only have Microsoft listened to what users want this time instead of telling them what they want, they’ve also come up with a lot of new things that most likely will make Windows 10 the most popular Microsoft OS to date.

The full launch is almost here and the first images of the actual USB drives with the installers are starting to surface. We’ve previously seen the retail packaging, but this time it’s the actual drives that pose for the camera. The first one is courtesy of Paul Thurrott that shared this aesthetic pleasing USB drive on Twitter. It contains both a 32-bit and 64-bit version, ready for both older and newer systems.

The second photo that surfaced comes via IThome and show the U (update) drives. These aren’t looking as good as the above and they are most likely intended to be bundled with systems as an upgrade option. The Chinese text on the box that you most likely aren’t able to read is “Windows 10 upgrade Package. July 29 is enabled”, which speaks for the above statement.

Will be you be upgrading to Windows 10 when it’s released? Or will you wait and see what the general opinion is before making the switch?

Thank You WCCFTech for providing us with this information

Apple To Replace 3TB Hard Drives In 2012 Model iMacs

We all love that little extra storage, some of us even need it. At the moment my hard drive is warning me that I’m running with less than 50GB free (game sales always do that), and some of us sometimes even end up upgrading our hard drives just in case we might need that little extra space. So what about those of you who brought a 3TB iMac between December 2012 and September 2013?

For those who bought an iMac in this period might want to take up Apple on their replacement scheme they’ve recently launched. If you take them up on the offer Apple will replace and transfer your data (if it’s possible) until December 19th or three years after the original sale (whichever ends later). It will also compensate people who have paid to replace a hard drive from the list of affected models.

So what’s affecting all these hard drives? Quite simply they are failing almost 44% of the time, almost five times that of the models released during the 2013 period a year before.

The graph above outlines the information that MacNN was able to report on, showing that with a 44% for a 3TB Seagate hard drive, a significant change from their normal failure rate.

If you are a Mac user and want to check if your iMac may be affected check out the replacement scheme located here, by entering your serial number you can check if your system may be affected by this problem.With the offer

With the offer available, even if you’ve yet to experience a problem with your machine I would recommend checking and taking them up on the offer if the problem does affect you. The last thing anyone wants is to lose their files and memories because of a bad hard drive.

Thank you MacNN for the information.

Image courtesy of Apple.

HGST Launched the 10TB Ultrastar Archive Ha10 HDD

HGST has set a new standard for mechanical hard drives with their helium filled drives and the latest one based on that technology have just been launched. The new HGST Ultrastar Archive HA10. brings 10TB of storage capacity specially designed for Active Archive applications.

This is the third drive based on HGST’s HelioSeal technology and it is the first 10TB enterprise-class drive in the industry. By integrating SMR into the drive, HGST achieved a higher density than other HDD vendors.

Shingled magnetic recording (SMR) is a relative new standard. Where traditional hard disk drives record data by writing non-overlapping magnetic tracks parallel to each other, shingled recording writes new tracks that overlap part of the old and thereby allowing for higher track density.

Due to the way SMR works, this method will have some impact on write performance as it might need to rewrite more data than it actually has to store. This is combated by a great use of firmware and drivers, but the drives are optimally suited for sequential backups rather than random writes. Sequential writes is the most common way backups are done, making this drive absolutely perfect for archive backups.

The HGST Ultrastar Archive HA10 drive is rated at two million hours mean time between failure (MTBF) and is backed by a five-year limited warranty. It has a 10-15 unrecoverable reduced bit error rate, rotational vibration safeguards, and 600K load/unload cycles.

Android Auto Now Available for the Latest 2015 Hyundai Sonata

If you are an Android user and looking to buy a car that can take you anywhere, you might consider what Hyundai has to offer this year. The company just revealed that their latest 2015 Hyundai Sonata with Navigation model just received support for Android Auto and is ready for navigation duties.

Already a 2015 Sonata with Navigation driver? Then you can take the car to a Hyundai dealer and have the Android Auto software installed free of charge. The company also knows that some customers may not have access to a Hyundai dealer or have time to leave their car overnight to get the software update.

This is why Hyundai will make the software available to download by owners later on this summer. All you need is a MyHyundai account to start the download and once downloaded, it can be uploaded on a USB drive. The update itself is pretty easy too, just stick the USB drive into the Sonata’s USB port and let the automated update system do its thing.

To be noted is that customers need to know the Vehicle Identification Number and provide a name and address to be able to register for a MyHyundai account. In addition to the 2015 Sonata with Navigation model, Hyundai is also making the Android Auto software available for a wider range of cars, including Sonata Sport, Eco, Limited, Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T.

Thank you Android Central for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of hdmotori.it

Nvidia’s GeForce Drivers for DirectX 12 Receive WHQL Certification

We are all excited about the new Windows 10 and DirectX 12 features and it looks like Nvidia wants us to experience only the best once Windows 10 is officially launched. The company claims it understands how important it is to experience only the best out of games, so it went on to create the Game Ready drivers which get a new update every time a major title is released.

“We feel the same way about our graphics. We don’t want gamers beta testing our work when they play their games for the first time. So we created GeForce Game Ready drivers.” Nvidia posted on their blog.

This is why Nvidia worked closely with Microsoft and other Game Developers that focus on making or moving their games on the new API. Nvidia now has the first WHQL certified drivers, putting it a step forward ahead of AMD. Why? Because, a Windows Hardware Qualification Lab certification is given out once Microsoft can confirm that the drivers are 100% ready for its OS.

“As the launch of Windows 10 and DirectX 12 nears, our GeForce drivers have taken a major step forward: WHQL certification has arrived.”

What this means is that no major issues are encountered when the driver is installed and used in a variety of Windows-based application requiring graphical rendering, but for short, it means Windows certifies your games work perfectly as far as they are concerned.

Nvidia offers already offers support for DirectX 12 API on their Maxwell and Kepler GPU architectures and states that Fermi will receive support later on as well. Eager to take your Titan or GTX 980 for a DirectX 12 spin? Then get your DirectX 12 certified drivers from here.

Buffalo Announced new MiniStation Extreme NFC Portable Hard Drive

Data security is more important than ever, especially for companies who work with a lot of personal details about their customers. Buffalo announced a new external hard drive that doesn’t just come with great physical resistance, it also packs the latest in digital protection. Buffalo’s new portable hard drive is called the MiniStation Extreme NFC and it will be available as both a 1TB and a 2TB version.

The drive has been tested and passed the US military drop test where it can withstand bumps and drops from a height of up to 1.2 meters. The ruggedized chassis and specialized internal bumpers absorb and transfer the shock away from the drive itself. It has also passed the IPX3 test to prove that it can withstand water and splashes and the IPX5 test for dust protection.

The digital side doesn’t just bring a 256-bit AES Full Data Encryption to protect sensitive data, it also comes with an included NFC smart card to protect and unlock the files. You don’t need to remember any passwords and you can ship the card and drive separately for additional protection.

“When examining the rugged portable drive market, many of our competitors focus on being the best at a single metric of device protection while sacrificing other data security capabilities,” said Matt Dargis, COO, Buffalo Americas, Inc. “We designed the MiniStation Extreme NFC to be the most complete rugged portable drive on the market, including features that not only protect against the elements, but also support the latest hardware encryption technology and NFC secure access functionality. We packaged all of this functionality into a sleek, compact design that sets it apart from the competition.”

The MiniStation Extreme NFC comes with an integrated flex connect cable and connects through USB 3.0 for maximum transfer speeds.

The new Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC is available now for an MSRP of $129.99 for the 1TB model (HD-PZN1.0U3B) and $199.99 for the 2TB model (HD-PZN2.0U3B). Both are backed by a three-year warranty and comes bundled with TurboPC EX2, Backup Utility, Formatter2, and Lock and Go for NFC.

Western Digital Introduced the Purple NV 4TB and 6TB NVR HDDs

Western Digital introduced the new WD Purple NV hard disk, a purpose-built line of 3.5-inch high-capacity drives for the greater demands of scalable network video recorder (NVR) surveillance systems. The new Purple NV drives will be available as 4 TB and 6 TB hard drives to suit the ever growing need for video storage.

Compared with the standard WD Purple drives, the new member of the WD’s surveillance video recording family is designed for larger-scale network surveillance systems utilizing higher hard drive bay counts and greater numbers of attached cameras, which demand increased storage capacity and durability. The new drives’ high capacities also enable long video retention periods for analysis and reference.

“The global video surveillance market is expanding with the increased accessibility to easy-to-use systems for small businesses and municipalities,” said Matt Rutledge, senior vice president of HDD marketing at WD. “WD optimized the WD Purple NV line of hard drives for NVR digital surveillance systems to improve high-definition video playback for high-camera-count applications. NVR surveillance systems can produce incredible amounts of data which makes the WD Purple NV hard drives a perfect solution for NVR systems needing high quality recording and playback and high capacity storage.”

WD Purple NV is designed to withstand the demands of always-on digital NVR recording environments and at the same time it offers a low power consumption and many advanced performance features typically reserved for higher end surveillance storage. Among the features are the WD AllFrame technology that helps to reduce footage loss with a proprietary cache policy, the premium protection through tarnish-resistant components, and support for even the highest camera-count systems.

The new hard drives are covered by a three-year limited warranty and the drives will be available later this quarter, so before July sometime.

SDD-Z Utility Tool Upgraded to Version 15.03.15b

Most people know CPU-Z and GPU-Z, but SSD-Z might still be relatively unknown. It is however a very useful utility and the new tool just got another upgrade to version 15.03.15b, but it still resides as a beta version. The new version brings along a list of bugfixes as well as a long list of new supported drives.

SSD-Z does what a lot of other apps also do, but in a familiar look as well as doing more than most apps. It can show you all your drives relevant information including what NAND is used, the controller, firmware and features. SMART and partition information are also available and so is a benchmark function. The benchmark function is still being developed, but it’s a great start. It will give you relevant information such as access times as well as random and sequential performance figures.

Main Features

  • Details of the controller and processing tech of NAND chips (for known devices).
  • Verify that TRIM is enabled for your system and SSDs.
  • S.M.A.R.T. status and full list of all the device’s available attributes.
  • List of all partitions. Including hidden, unmapped and boot partitions.
  • Benchmark IOPS, transfer speed and random access time (work in progress)
  • View the raw device identify data words.

Changelog

  • The current user locale is now used to determine if Celcius or Fahrenheit should be used to display the temperature. If you wish to switch, click on the temperature panel on the device tab.
  • The program is now DPI aware, meaning that using a DPI other than 100%, will scale the interface accordingly. This may require a little more tweaking.
  • Many more devices have been added.
  • Better SMART attribute interpretation based on the SSD controller.
  • The minor ATA version is now reported in the ATA Standard tooltip.
  • The actual model name is now shown in the program title. For most drives, this is different than the model name reported by the device itself. If an SSD is not in the internal database, no name will not appear in the program title.
  • Fixed Kingston devices from being detected properly.
  • Fixed an issue where “Samsung 840 PRO” would be detected as “Samsung 840”.

Thanks to Aezay for providing us with this information

Toshiba Reveals Its 6TB Internal and External Drives

Toshiba has announced a 6TB capacity version of its Canvio Desk 3.5″ External USB 3.0 Hard Drive and Desk 3.5″ Internal Serial ATA 3.0 Hard Drive series, both of which are designed to extend capacity of your storage either as an upgrade or extension.

“Toshiba has been developing and manufacturing hard drives for more than 20 years,” said Maciek Brzeski, Vice President of Branded Storage Products, Toshiba Digital Products Division. “The time is right to upgrade our offerings not only to meet, but to exceed consumers’ expectations by expanding the offerings of our internal and external 3.5″ hard drives.”

The Toshiba Canvio Desk 3.5″ Internal and External Hard Drives will be available on the market in May 2015 at select retailers and on Toshiba’s Website. Both internal and external drives are set to come with a price tag of $369 and be accompanied by a three-year Standard Limited Warranty in the Americas.

Thank you Guru3D for providing us with this information

Anki Overdrive: The ‘Scalextric’ of The Future

Anki, the creators of the A.I. racing game Anki Drive, have announced their latest product, the Anki Overdrive – what very much appears to be the Scalextric, or for the non-Brits among us, the slot cars, of the future.

Anki introduced their slot-less cars during Apple’s WWDC in 2013. Until now, the track you see in that presentation had pretty much been the same, using A.I. cars that are programmed to race each other around it.

Now though, with ‘Overdrive’, Anki really has captured the spirit of slot-cars, with most of the usual features, including bridges and of course, the dramatic crashes on the corners. There are some things though, like jumping, ‘respawning’ and ‘shooting’ opponents’ cars, that our old fashioned Scalextrics could never match.

Anki Overdrive won’t be available until September 2015, but for now, we have this video below.

Source: The Verge

The Craziest Car Stereo You’ve Ever Seen

CES is nothing but a distant memory amongst many of us, but there still are loads of gadgets, gizmos and interesting products still coming out of the woodwork.

Take this one for instance, probably the most ridiculous car ‘stereo’ you’ve ever seen. The Hertz Audio Fiat 500 “Pole Dance” is essentially a Fiat 500 with more speakers fitted in it than your average concert arena. The car is absolutely loaded with nothing but speakers – from the dashboard to the doors, to the walls, to the boot.

meade916 who posted the video bellow on YouTube says “No, i don’t know if it actually drives” – I would certainly like to find out!

Source: meade916 on YouTube

The Swiftech MCR140-X AIO Pump, Radiator and Reservoir Revealed

Swiftech is well-known for their great looking water cooling gear, but their new all-in-one radiator, pump and reservoir unit, the MCR140-X Drive, sure is ugly!

The new unit features a 25mm thick 140mm radiator, but features an extended housing on the rear that allows them cram in the reservoir and the pump. This means it is a custom loop equivalent of an all-in-one unit. You simply plumb the unit into your existing CPU or GPU water cooling block and you’re good to go.

It’s pretty garish in terms of design, but what it lacks in looks, it oozes in practicality. Suddenly you’re able to cram all this custom loop equipment into a massively compressed space. This could prove extremely useful for those wanting to use something like a GPU water cooling block in a small form factor chassis.

It comes equipped with a SATA power connector for its 1200 – 3000RPM pump, there is an additional fill port, a side window to view coolant levels and it features G1/4 fittings. The unit should be available immediately with prices of around $89.99 US.

We look forward to finding out how well this unit performs in real world test.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of TechPowerUp