Saturday, June 24, 2017

Will Humans Ever Outgrow Smartphones?

Have you ever seen a human being right now who doesn’t own a smartphone? It’s probably unlikely, right? Even kids have their own smart gadgets to tinker with and pass the time. Indeed, smartphones have become a crucial part of our lives and we can’t imagine living without it. From the moment we wake up until the moment we sleep at night, it’s the last thing we hold and treasure dearly.

Now, the question is will it ever run out of style? Who knows? Technology evolves and it is ever changing; upgrading, rather. When you look back on the proud history of smartphones, you’d notice how pretty tame most mobile gadgets now are unlike older mobile phones that varied in size and shape. Almost everything looks quite the same now despite how powerful they have become internally.

In the past few weeks, two top tech companies have said smartphones will soon be obsolete.

Microsoft's Alan Kipman made the boldest statement, saying smartphones are already "dead". 

Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, was a bit more generous, giving smartphones about five years before they were replaced.

There were two things in common about the companies behind these statements.

First, they both missed the smartphone bus. Microsoft has repeatedly tried to make phones and an operating system and has failed each time.

Facebook also tried to make an operating system and tanked even worse than Microsoft.

Second, they are both bullish on augmented reality. In fact, both statements came while promoting their AR tech. AR is the integration of digital information with your environment in real time. The Pokemon Go app is the most common example.

Kipman is responsible for Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality headset and he predicts this type of tech will kill off our love for smartphones. Zuckerberg agrees and outlines a world where everyone wears glasses which allow virtual screens to be everywhere.


People will always be curious and want to innovate. Some will defy the norm and come up with crazy ideas that may actually work or maybe not but we can never tell unless we give it a try.

That five-inch phone in your pocket, the one you absolutely can’t live without, does damn near anything these days. It’s the Great Usurper, rendering everything from newspapers to music players to actual human interaction all but obsolete. People embraced smartphones faster than any other gadget in the history of the world, creating a trillion-dollar industry that is expected to reach more than six billion people in the next four years.

And yet some people dare to ask, “What’s next?” I hear this question from smartwatch manufacturers and light bulb companies and headphone makers and so many others in tech. They’re all trying to find The Next Big Thing and figure out what the world looks like when smartphones finally go away. Some are betting on the ‘internet of things’ to blanket the world in computers, making the one in your pocket moot. Others say the future lies with computers on your body. Or in your body. Everyone is in the spaghetti-throwing phase, searching for the iPhone (or Pixel) killer. But here’s the thing: Smartphones aren’t going away. Not anytime soon. Smartphones are, and will remain, the hub of a new wheel, the sun around which the universe orbits.


Smartphones are roughly 10 years old now but it’s not showing any signs of becoming obsolete soon. The truth is, it’s actually becoming more popular by the day and experts estimate that almost everyone in the planet now owns one.

But I don't think the smartphone will completely die off. Instead, I believe it's more likely to morph into a mobile computing device that provides the smarts of whatever interface device is feeding you information, whether it's a pair of smart glasses, a digital voice, or even something connected directly to your brain. (Some might argue that mobile technology is getting small enough to pack the necessary smarts into the interface devices themselves, but that will be challenging given the new functions we'll expect these new devices to perform.)

In fact, I believe smartphones, or the core technology powering them, will become even more essential to our daily lives in the future. Whether that tech stays in the rectangular-slate shape we know today or it morphs into some kind of wearable "brain," the technical wizardry that powers today’s smartphones will evolve and make it possible to walk around and access information without ever needing to look at a screen.


There is no truth then that smartphones will run out of style soon but it will probably evolve into something more efficient than it already is and look a little different too. Some makers may be leaning into the technology of augmented reality soon and it’s something we should all watch out for. Whether it will be a hit still remains a question, though, as the technology is yet untested in real life.

While we can’t help but gush over the latest smartphone model out in the market today, there’s a tech staple that has been around for roughly four decades and remains to be useful to this day – the computer. Unfortunately, data loss is still a problem faced by many when it comes to tech use. Before it happens, can help you address hard drive failure issues to protect your data from getting lost or corrupted ever. If you are using an android phone, though, comes to your rescue and save whatever needs saving. A lot of aspects of your life have now become valuable pieces of data that you may lose forever if you are not careful enough.

Will Humans Ever Outgrow Smartphones? Read more on:


Saturday, June 17, 2017

How The Environment Suffers From Too Much Technology

Mother Nature isn’t always happy when technology comes knocking on her door. We can't just ignore how the environment suffers from the production of technological gadgets and its use and disposal too. Lands are converted into manufacturing plants and the nearby surroundings are exposed to deadly chemicals and toxins among others. People are exposed to more pollution – water, air, noise, etc.

Mother Nature dies in the presence of technology. We have witnessed it time and again. And we are suffering from her wrath when the usual calamities we face each year have been worsened by global warming and climate change. The people are still yet to learn their lesson. Even the government is clueless on how to address relevant and pressing issues like these and waste time and precious government resources on things that do not really matter.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday to undo Obama-era climate change regulations that his administration says are hobbling oil drillers and coal miners, a move environmental groups have vowed to take to court.

The decree's main target is former president Barack Obama's clean power plan that required states to slash carbon emissions from power plants — a critical element in helping the United States meet its commitments to a global climate change accord reached by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015.

The so-called "energy independence" order also reverses a ban on coal leasing on federal lands, undoes rules to curb methane emissions from oil and gas production, and reduces the weight of climate change and carbon emissions in policy and infrastructure permitting decisions.

"I am taking historic steps to lift restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion, and to cancel job-killing regulations," Trump said at the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters, speaking on a stage lined with coal miners.


While the country’s leaders focus on the economy and the topic of defense, they fail to give equally important issues enough attention like government efforts in protecting the environment because they don’t see its ROI right away.

Flanked by coal miners and Cabinet members, Trump vowed to spark an “energy revolution” that would put coal miners across the country back to work. 

“Today’s energy independence action calls for an immediate re-evaluation of the so-called Clean Power Plan,” he said during a ceremony at the Environmental Protection Agency that lasted less than 30 minutes. “We’re ending the theft of American prosperity and rebuilding our beloved country.” 

And without fully realizing the implications of such actions, President Trump dooms the world to more harm and destruction aside from increasing the nation’s carbon footprint. Perhaps it is not clear to him the outcomes of his decisions or else he’ll likely think twice before passing and enforcing such drastic counter policies.

Trump’s executive order will likely kneecap the federal government’s most important policy for reducing carbon emissions. Doing so would also hamper U.S. efforts to meet the commitments made more than a year ago in the 195-country Paris Agreement ― the first global climate deal to include the U.S. and China, the world’s biggest polluters. 

The long-expected order gives teeth to Trump’s America First Energy Plan, a vague policy outline he issued after his inauguration to eliminate Obama’s Climate Action Plan.

Obama’s plan, launched in 2013, set a strategy for combating climate change by cutting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The utility sector accounts for the greatest portion of the U.S. carbon footprint, producing 30 percent of all emissions, according to 2014 data from the EPA. That’s largely because coal, by far the dirtiest-burning fossil fuel, has long served as the country’s primary source of electricity.

The core of Obama’s initiative was the Clean Power Plan, a sweeping EPA rule that aimed to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels. The policy set new standards for new natural gas-burning power plants, and put stricter limits on coal-fired, steam-based plants, forcing them to be fitted with controversial carbon-capture technology. By implementing the plan, the U.S. hoped meet its emissions reduction goals as part of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. (The failure of previous global deals, such as the 1992 Kyoto Protocol, hinged partly on the United States’ refusal to implement emission cuts.) 


It is not clear to many Americans what the goal of the Trump administration is. Is President Trump really determined to make American great again or is he just adamant to undo any progress the progress administration has made so far and establish policies that are clearly the opposite of what former President Obama pushed for?

We should know the limits of technology. While we greatly benefit from many things offered by these advancements, let us not be blinded and forget what really matters in the end. When we no longer have clean water to drink and clean air to breathe, will technology provide us with what we need no matter how 3D or 4 D they appear?

The post How The Environment Suffers From Too Much Technology is courtesy of HDRA


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Why Take Data Security Seriously?

You should not take the security and protection of your data lightly whether online or offline. Accidents can happen and you may end up losing precious data without even having the chance to save a backup copy that you can access from another device. And at a day and age when personal data of millions of people are scattered all over the web, it is more important than ever to protect your data at all cost.

There are various cyber security measures you can adopt depending on your needs. But before that, among the first measure you can take is to transfer and save another copy of important files/ data you have in a separate storage device for safekeeping or risk having your personal data in the wrong hands, or worse, lost forever.

Consumer Reports has announced it is to launch the first phase of a collaborative effort to set up a new standard for digital security for consumers, in an attempt to boost consumer confidence in privacy and data security.

The new initiative will aim to bring out the positive aspects of previous similar schemes, and will be carried out in conjunction with several partners within the industry.

Safeguarding the security and privacy of consumers will be the end goal of the new measures.

The US-based nonprofit organization is hopeful that the industry will adopt the standard in the development of various digital products, including connected devices, software and mobile apps.

The aims of the new standard include ensuring all products, whether they are laptops, security cameras or even cars, are built with the robustness needed to withstand security threats.

The standard will also aim to inform consumers about what data are being collected by their products, while at the same time offering more clarity when it comes to the idea of ownership.


And cyber security should be taken seriously not just on a personal level. As more and more businesses establish their online presence, it is more important than ever to protect the company’s data and prevent thieves from gaining access to both company and consumer information.

The data privacy and access discussion gets all the more complicated in the age of IoT.

Some organizations might soon suffer from data paucity -- getting locked, outbid or otherwise shut out of critical new data sources that could help optimize future business. While I believe that every data-driven organization should start planning today to avoid ending up data poor, this concern is just one of many potential data-related problems arising in our new big data, streaming, internet of things (IoT) world. In fact, issues with getting the right data will become so critical that I predict a new strategic data enablement discipline will emerge to not just manage and protect valuable data, but to ensure access to all the necessary -- and valid -- data the corporation might need to remain competitive.

And the problem is more complex than it seems. Just look around you and take in just how digital our world has become, where the personal and work lives of people all revolve around the web and the machines they are using.

You might counter that there are ways to ensure some basic privacy by aggregating and anonymizing personally identifying information out of such data, but we already know it's difficult, if not impossible, to truly anonymize stores of big data. Accumulated masses of IoT data can easily contain deeply embedded clues that can be correlated with public data sets to restore identifying information.

Imagine that your car reports where it's parked most nights. Or that smart components within the car can track when they were last serviced or upgraded. A business that makes clutches might learn about a car owner's home address -- and thus their identity -- travel patterns and driving habits.

Some supply chains already push the monitoring and proactive maintenance for embedded -- or even merely associated -- components back up their chains. Wal-Mart made a fortune offering its suppliers some transparency into sales in exchange for having those suppliers maintain their own inventory in stores. This seemed fine, since the traditional goods we've bought didn't keep reporting on us once we carried them home. But now, new, intelligent devices we buy and plug in keep up a continual connection and data flow up to a third-party service. Who's got eyes on all that big data about us that we unwittingly generate?


One can never stress more than enough the value of cyber security and the importance of protecting your data. You input personal data in every social media account you have – and all of them are also connected to one or more email accounts. You share photos of yourself and the people you love in these platforms, and at times, even the location you are in, in real time. You not only endanger personal details but even your physical security when criminals are aware you are out of the house and on vacation somewhere far away by simply posting photos of your mini-getaways on the web.

Why Take Data Security Seriously? was initially seen on


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Why Buy An External Hard Drive?

Our daily life revolves around the multiple use of technology. From smartphone use to the use of household appliances, we all have learned to incorporate their use in our daily lives. Back in the days, only a handful of people had personal computers or laptops of their own. There was really no need to own one since there is not much to do with it aside from encoding data and files. However, a lot has changed today that owning one simply is a must.

All computers and laptops have a built-in memory albeit not that big. Storage space may be somehow limited; it is why computer and laptop owners who require plenty of storage purchase an external hard drive where they can save and store extra files. Having an external hard drive also protects your files from cyber criminals who are after your precious data. They are not flawless, however.

One afternoon last fall, Kevin, an engineer who works for a Florida power company, was quickly checking emails on his home computer when he spotted what he thought was a message containing the mailing label he needed to return some headphones he had recently bought.

The attachment came up blank, so he moved on. Soon his computer began to run a little sluggishly. Then, three hours later, his screensaver—a photo from a South Pacific vacation he and his wife had enjoyed—disappeared. When he checked the directory holding all his photos, he was startled to find them all renamed with strings of gibberish.
ALSO ON HIS SCREEN was an icon for a document he didn’t recognize. He clicked on it and panicked as he read a chilling message: “All of your files are encrypted,” it began. And they would be lost to him forever unless he made a ransom payment of $2,400.

This is a reality an unfortunate few experiences when they encounter experienced cyber criminals who will take advantage of you and your computer’s vulnerability. If you haven’t protected your data or stored a backup somewhere else, then you’re a goner.

What happened to Kevin and thousands of other people last year could easily happen to you. Your computer or smartphone could be attacked by what’s known as ransomware, a fast-growing online scourge that can cost you thousands of dollars if you pay to regain your files—and thousands of dollars if you don’t. Also at stake: documents critical to your business or personal finances, priceless family photos, and the days or weeks you might spend trying to replace what you have lost. Want to recover your photos or financial records? You could be ordered to pay anywhere from $200 to $10,000—the range of ransom money typically demanded of individuals, according to a recent IBM Security survey. And nearly a quarter of businesses hit by a ransomware attack end up paying $40,000 or more. As the Department of Homeland Security warned last year, ransomware’s effect can be “devastating.”

Ransomware has spread with terrifying speed. This type of malware—short for “malicious software”—accounted for fewer than 2% of emails with malicious links or attachments in the fall of 2015, according to PhishMe, a cybersecurity firm. By last fall, ransomware’s share had zoomed to a shocking 97%. Total ransomware losses in the U.S. hit $1 billion in 2016, up from $24 million in 2015, the FBI estimated.


It is never wise to store all your important files in one place. So if you have the money to spare, buying an external hard drive can save you from all these headaches. You have somewhere safe to store all your important documents, photos, and even songs and movies that you painstakingly downloaded from the web.

It may not be a widely celebrated holiday, but World Backup Day — celebrated on Mar. 31, just ahead of April Fools' Day — aims to encourage computer users to regularly back up their data.
That appears to be something many users don't do.
CBC Radio technology columnist Dan Misener explains why it's important, and offers some strategies to keep data safe and secure.
It's a day all about backup awareness, and getting more people to start backing up their computers if they don't already, or — for those who do — to take a serious look at their backup strategy, and make sure it's up to snuff.

Why is there a need to backup your computer?

Whenever I talk about the importance of backup, I always think about my friends Mike and Catherine, who lost every single photo of their twin sons' first year because of a hard drive crash.
We're talking about protecting your most precious digital documents. The kind of stuff that's heartbreaking to lose, because it simply can't be replaced.
And to be clear, backups don't just protect against hard drive crashes — there are many, many ways to lose data. You can lose data in natural disasters like floods or fires, for example. Or you can lose data if your computer is stolen.
And then there's ransomware.


Those are just some of the reasons why backing up your computer with an external hard drive, for instance, can save your files/ data (and even your life). Make a conscious effort to protecting your data because the web is not a safe place at all and that hackers are just around the corner waiting for you to click that one suspicious spam mail that can be your undoing.

Invest in your data security and free yourself from the constant worries of cyber crimes that happen all around you with the help of a trusted external hard drive where you can transfer and store important files from your phone, tablet, laptop, and computer.

Why Buy An External Hard Drive? Read more on: The Hard Drive Recovery Associates Blog


Monday, May 29, 2017

Level Up Your Computer Memory With A New SSD

Most computer and laptop owners are aware that their gadgets have a hard drive in place, where data and files are saved and stored. Some even go to great lengths and purchase a backup – an external hard drive where they transfer precious data to free up space on the computer’s hard drive itself.

What many are not aware of, there are other storage options for your computer aside from the conventional hard drives we know of. If you haven’t heard of an SSD or a Solid State Drive, now is the best time to give it a try and enjoy the same benefits offered by a hard drive and some more minus the minor flaws of using an HDD.

If your new Windows 10 computer takes a long time to boot up, that's likely because it runs on a regular hard drive. This is also the case of most older computers. Do you know that replacing that hard drive with a solid-state drive (SSD) will make the machine run much faster? It's true, a 5-year-old computer with an SSD boots much faster than even a brand new rig running on a regular hard drive. The good news is that swapping out the drives is quite easy to do and not too expensive either, thanks to the fact that SSDs are now much more affordable than they were a few years ago.


There is good news about SSDs and you are probably wondering what’s in it for you - a regular computer/ laptop user.

Hard drives are getting a much deserved kick in the pants with Intel’s new Optane Memory.

The processor maker claims its newest technology will give old-school spinning drives solid-state drive-like (SSD) speeds today and eventually transform computer storage forever. 

Intel Optane Memory might sound like RAM, but it’s actually a specialized storage product that hooks up to the M.2 storage slot (PCIe Gen 3.0x2) on a PC motherboard. You’ll find them on the latest motherboards designed for Intel’s latest 7th generation, or Kaby Lake, processors and the 200 series Intel chipset.

The connected storage drive endows you with 16GB or 32GB of Optane Memory for blazing fast cache.

Cache that can make, say, your 1TB, 7,200 rpm spinning hard drive twice as responsive in performing daily tasks and booting up or launch your browser up to five times faster. Oh, and how about 67% and 65% reductions in game app launch and game level load times, respectively?


And Intel is offering everyone a chance to upgrade their computer’s storage with an SSD that promises to work even better than the good old hard drive. It can even store data for an even longer time without the constant risk of data loss.

It definitely feels like Intel is on to something here, for the simple reason that most computer users look for the larger hard drive. It’s one of the most important factors to the casual user, and they definitely notice when storage space is lacking. What system builders know is that using an SSD improves the minute-to-minute usability and responsiveness of any system, to the point that we’ve taken to harshly criticize modern systems that don’t at least offer it as an option.
The bottom line is that Intel is offering up a product that makes some impressive promises to a market that already had to answer them.


There’s no harm in trying this new technology from Intel. Technology is evolving. Newer developments are designed to help us keep up with the various technological advancements the best way we can. And we will never really know if something works unless we give it a try. SSDs have been here for a while. Your computing and data needs will tell you whether you can benefit more from an SDD or an HDD.

Level Up Your Computer Memory With A New SSD is available on HDRA Blog


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What You Need To Know About A Disaster Recovery Plan

Disaster may strike when you are least prepared for it. It is true when it comes to natural disasters where people are hurt, displaced or killed because of unpreparedness. The same thing applies to your digital life. As more businesses rely on technology to maintain and grow their business, more and more processes are computerized to make things faster and easier.

However, it has a major flaw. Since technology relies on power/ electricity to function, any power interruption or outage can put a temporary halt to the business and render both machines and files useless for a while until the power returns. It can happen when your town was hit by a major storm and there has been flooding all over the area – even your office was not spared. You may end up with computers soaking in water and files you may never be able to retrieve anymore.

You close your small business for the day and go home. You come back the next morning, and a leak has caved in the roof and it has fallen on your office server. If you don’t have an IT disaster recovery plan, your day is going to get much worse.

According to the US Small Business Administration (SBA) and its Prepare My Business program, 90 percent of companies fail within a year unless they can resume operations within five days following a disaster.

It is the reason why a business recovery plan is a must for any business to flourish no matter what kind of disaster threatens its existence.

An IT disaster recovery plan is a process put in place for responding to unforeseen events effecting your data with a documented and structured approach and a clear set of instructions. These instructions include a step-by-step plan designed to greatly minimize the impact of any disaster and to allow your business to swiftly resume operations.

The broader terms business continuity or disaster recovery, generally  describe a similar concept. They are procedures allowing you to recover from a disaster quickly so you can continue your business with minimal disruption. However, the IT disaster recovery plan refers specifically to data and other IT operations.

The other two descriptions may also apply to procedures providing for things like replacement for damaged equipment or inventory and even additional part-time or full-time help where needed.

It begins by analyzing the business process and the continuity needs of the company. It requires a business impact analysis and risk analysis to establish the recovery time objective and recovery point objective — both important when setting up the plan.


All companies should anticipate for disasters and establish their very own disaster recovery plan to protect important data and files of the company as well as expensive machines and gadgets that are just as difficult to replace with.

Asynchronous vs synchronous. Dark disaster recovery vs. active architecture. Active/active vs. active/passive. No setup is objectively better or worse than another. The best one for you primarily depends on your level of tolerance for what happens when the server goes down.

Security experts say how individual companies choose to save their data in anticipation of an outage depends on how long they can survive before the “lights” are turned back on. What level of availability does your company need? Is the face of your company an ecommerce site where even a few minutes offline can cost an astronomical sum? Will the cost of an active-active system outweigh the potential loss of business from an outage?

“It isn’t about one being more efficient than the other. More to the point of what needs are you trying to solve for. For example, buying a Ferrari to get groceries will get the job done, but is it really fit for purpose?” says Don Foster, senior director of solutions marketing and technical alliances at Commvault.


A company has to take into consideration everything that has to do with the operation of the business when preparing for a disaster recovery plan – whatever the disaster may be. But once you understand what needs to be done and the amount of preparation required, your business will not only survive any disaster but even thrive while others struggle to pick up the broken pieces of their operation.

The following blog post What You Need To Know About A Disaster Recovery Plan was originally seen on


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Hard Blow For Microsoft’s Windows 10

The computing world is only made up of two users – a Mac user and a Windows user. While the rich and the elite prefer their sleek, shiny and classy MacBook Pros, the majority of the world relies on Windows PC in their day-to-day.

Most Windows users are now using the Windows 10 operating system. It may mean a smooth transition for someone who bought a brand new computer or laptop but it can be a struggle for someone who owns an existing laptop and has decided to finally make the upgrade. And while many try to resolve any issues on their own or learn to live with the losses along the way, some will make a fuss and voice out their complaints.

Windows 10 has certainly not been short of controversy. Between forced upgrades, telemetry and privacy concerns, and the introduction of increasing numbers of ads, Microsoft has been on the receiving end of a good deal of criticism for the latest version of its operating system. And the trouble is not over.

With the launch of Windows 10 Creators Update just around the corner, Microsoft faces a lawsuit from three people from Illinois who claim that the upgrade not only resulted in data loss, but also damaged their computers. The lawsuit makes reference to the difficulty many users found in declining the offer of upgrading to Windows 10.


While an upgrade promises better features, it has some major downsides too. For starters, forced upgrades leaves you with little choice but to give in and upgrade to the latest Windows offering even though you have been using Windows 7 for as long as you can remember. Hence, a sudden upgrade can result in a major inconvenience and even data loss or damage to property.

A class action lawsuit filed in Illinois last week alleges that Microsoft did not do enough to ensure that its Windows 10 operating system wouldn't cause problems for users who downloaded it.

The suit, filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, names three plaintiffs and seeks more than $5 million in damages. It was filed on behalf of all Microsoft users in the U.S. who lost data or whose devices were damaged after installing Windows 10.

Released in July 2015, Windows 10 was offered as a free upgrade for one year to any Microsoft users running previous versions of the company's operating system. While Microsoft touted the cloud-focused Windows 10, now installed on more than 400 million devices, as its most advanced and secure OS to date, many customers have complained about the company's aggressive efforts to get people to upgrade.


So, just what does this lawsuit implies and how will it affect Microsoft in general?

The three say Microsoft did not provide adequate warnings before customers started the Windows 10 upgrade process, such as "the fact that consumers should back up their data before the download was commenced, the fact that the operating system might render their computers or particular programs on their computers unuseable, or the fact that the download might cause them to lose data."

Plaintiffs also allege that Microsoft was aware "of the fact that its Windows 10 operating system upgrade could cause loss of data or damage to hardware."

Plaintiffs are looking for damages, attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and other reliefs the court would seem fit.


While many are forced to make upgrades because that is what the system tells them to do, anyone who suffered greatly because of these things is also free to speak up and file cases when they feel that their rights have been trampled on. And let this serve as an example to Microsoft that even though people who use their gadgets have no choice but to comply with most upgrades, some will not take it lightly and even file lawsuits if the inconvenience was more than they could bear.

The following article A Hard Blow For Microsoft’s Windows 10 is available on