Backing up hard to do, but worth it

This is an edited version of my weekly column for Loose Wire Service, a service providing print publications with technology writing designed for the general reader. Email me if you’re interested in learning more. Sometimes it takes something like an earthquake to realize that you’re vulnerable. Once the ground stops shaking and you’ve begun to …

Continue reading ‘Backing up hard to do, but worth it’ »

A Beginner’s Guide to Saving an Old Computer

(This is the text of my weekly Loose Wire Service column, written mostly for newcomers to personal technology, and syndicated to newspapers like The Jakarta Post. Editors interested in carrying the service please feel free to email me.) What should you do with an old laptop that is so slow you have time to down …

Continue reading ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Saving an Old Computer’ »

A New Concept In Storage, Or Too Small To Matter?

It’s finally arrived: the USB flash drive that thinks it’s a floppy disk. It was like this: For years stuff — data, programs — was moved around via a floppy disk. First they were big 5” things, then they shrank to 3”. Iomega tried to win people over with ZIP drives but they never really penetrated …

Continue reading ‘A New Concept In Storage, Or Too Small To Matter?’ »

Why You Should Never Give A Company Your Data

Here’s a great example of why you can never really entrust your information to anyone but yourself. The Register’s John Leyden reports that Pointsec Mobile Technologies, a data security company, has obtained via eBay a hard disk apparently owned by ”one of Europe’s largest financial services groups”. On the hard disk were, in the words of …

Continue reading ‘Why You Should Never Give A Company Your Data’ »

This week’s column – Visualizing Tools

This week’s Loose Wire column takes a look at programs that visualize your hard disk. ONE OF THE CRAZY THINGS about computers is that the more we use them, the more of a mystery they become. Think of all the things you’ve done with your computer: reading and writing e-mail, browsing Web sites, downloading (and …

Continue reading ‘This week’s column – Visualizing Tools’ »

How Long Do USB Thumb Drives Live?

Had my first USB thumb drive (sometimes called USB flash drives, or USB key drives) die on me today. They’re a great way to move stuff from A to B, and to keep an extra back-up in your pocket, but don’t rely on them too much. I’ve had several over the years (they first started …

Continue reading ‘How Long Do USB Thumb Drives Live?’ »

The Smallest Hard Drive In The World

Small is beautiful. The Guinness World Records has certified Toshiba’s 0.85-inch hard disk drive as the smallest HDD in the world (it’s not actually out yet; expect to see it in September). Toshiba say it’s the first hard disk drive “to deliver multi-gigabyte data storage in a sub-one-inch form factor”. (The 0.85-inch measurement refers to …

Continue reading ‘The Smallest Hard Drive In The World’ »

Say Hi To The 400GB Hard Drive

Are we far away from terrabyte hard drives? Hitachi said today they have “the world’s highest capacity 3.5-inch ATA hard drive, the 400GB Deskstar 7K400”. The new drive has been designed for audio video The Deskstar 7K400 provides enough capacity to store the following: 400 hours of standard TV programming 45 hours of HDTV programming …

Continue reading ‘Say Hi To The 400GB Hard Drive’ »

News: The Dark Side of Backing Up

 From the We Should Have Known This Dept comes news that CD-ROMs degrade in months, even at room temperature without sunlight. Dutch magazine PC Active tested data disks from 30 manufacturers that were recorded 20 months ago. Several data CDs developed serious errors, or became virtually unreadable, The Register reports.   It’s perhaps too early …

Continue reading ‘News: The Dark Side of Backing Up’ »

News: Hard Times For The Hard Drive

 Just when you thought hard drives couldn’t get any bigger…. they don’t. Interesting piece called Midlife crisis for the hard drive by CNET’s Ed Frauenheim says growth in hard drive capacity, after doubling annually during some periods, is beginning to slow “as engineers run into technological obstacles and many PC buyers feel they have more …

Continue reading ‘News: Hard Times For The Hard Drive’ »