Loss of interest in Google+

Are users already getting tired of the fledgling social network for Google?  Wow…
A recent study seems to suggest that online traffic in Google+Land is waning.

Upgrading a Hard Drive

What to consider when upgrading a hard drive.

You just came from your 3-day bachelor party in Vegas, a vodka martini in one hand and an HD camcorder in the other.  You start to upload the movies onto your computer, but with all the mp3 music files you *ahem* acquired during the napster days your computer is filled to capacity.

Or, you just got a brand-new digital SLR camera to take pictures of your child’s first solid food, first solid poop, first step (and fall), or the absolute cute-overload of your dog cuddling with your baby.  Yes, you will take thousands of pictures, and these pictures will take up hundreds of GB on your computer.

Or, you found a way to “back up” your DVD and Blu-Ray collection onto your computer so that your 3 year old will not use the disks as ice skates on the kitchen floor.

When the time comes for the need to replace your hard drive, choosing the right drive is not always the easiest task.  Whether it is because your previous drive failed, or your 80 GB drive is no longer sufficient to save your digital photos, music, and videos.

Sure, you can go to any brick-and-mortar store in town, and more often than not they will try to sell you something that will fill their pockets with commission rather than fulfill your needs.

If you’ve been researching online, and you are not as computer-savvy as you would like, chances are your confusion can be limited down to two simple questions.

1.         Do I need 1TB or 2TB?

2.         Do I need a 7200 rpm (performance) drive or a 5900 rpm (green) drive?

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Samsung Spinpoint 2TB

This review is for the Samsung F4EG 2TB HD204UI drives, 5400RPM, 32MB of cache.

Samsung 2TB EcoGreen drive (HD204UI)UPDATE:  Those who have been asking about how to update the firmware for this drive, I wrote a tutorial here.

Hopefully you’ve read my blog about what to consider when it’s time to upgrade a hard drive.

When the time comes for the need to replace your hard drive, choosing the right drive is not always the easiest task.  For data storage, a higher-capacity drive is better, and a 2TB is always a good choice over the 1TB because you will always need more drive space.

For data storage, this Samsung 2TB drive receives my top recommendation.

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Western Digital Black WD1501FASS

This is a review of the Western Digital Caviar Black 1.5 TB SATA II 7200 RPM 3.5 Inch Internal Hard Drive (WD1501FASS). 

WD1501FASSHopefully you’ve read my blog about what to consider when it’s time to upgrade a hard drive.

When the time comes for the need to replace your hard drive, choosing the right drive is not always the easiest task.  If you do a significant amount of audio/picture/video processing, you will need a high-performance drive to run your computer (ie. boot drive) and/or to run your editing programs.  An eco-green drive may not be sufficient for this purpose, unless you are just replacing a data storage drive.

If you are interested in upgrading to a high-capacity performance (7200 rpm) drive, do you go for a 2TB drive, which has more space but also costs more, or do you get a 1TB and save some money?  In this case, how about somewhere in between.  For drive performance, this WD Black 1.5 TB drive receives a top-5 recommendation.  Sure, there are others with similar performance, but IMHO this drive has the optimal balance when considering performance, storage, and price.

With this drive, you will have the space and speed to store and edit all your space-consuming HD videos of your dog swimming in the lake or the bachelor party you never should have filmed.

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$49 iPhone 3GS – Deal or Not?

If you have been itching to upgrade to an iPhone, and you are seriously considering this $49 deal, I would think again.  In fact, I would highly recommend forking over the extra money for the newer iPhone 4.

If you can wait a bit longer, then use your Motorola Razr a bit longer and wait for the release of the iPhone 5 in September.

Or even consider iPhone alternatives, such as Android phones.

Here are a few reasons why the 3GS is not so great a deal, even for under $50:

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Seagate Barracuda LP 2 TB SATA Green Drive ST32000542AS

Seagate Barracuda LP 2 TB ST32000542AS

3.5-Inch Internal Hard Drive
SATA 3 GB/s 32 MB Cache

I purchased a handful of these for various purposes:  to increase storage capacity in a few computers, to put in a D-Link DNS-343 NAS box, and to replace the existing drives on a Buffalo LinkStation Duo (2TB) NAS box.  Bottom line is that these drives are excellent data storage drives.

First thing I did was update the firmware to CC35 for these drives, and thankfully so because each of the drives were still running CC34.  I used the bootable disk (available at Seagate.com), and unfortunately the updater rejected all of the drives.  The error message is as follows:  “The existing CC34 components did not match what was called out in the update matrix in the configuration file.”  So I just forced the update on the drives by using the bootable CD and going into the FreeDOS prompt.  After power cycling the drives after the update, the disks were ready to go.  For detailed information on how to upgrade the firmware, see this blog.

After updating, I ran a benchmark test on these drives.

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Upgrade Seagate 2TB ST32000542AS firmware to CC35

These days, we are relying more and more on electronic files for everyday things, such as pictures, videos, bills, and mail.  Because of this, the need to store these e-files is ever increasing.  These 1-2TB drives are becoming the rave of data storage addicts because of the cheap cost-to-GB ratio.  So I decided to take a look for myself.

I populated a D-Link DNS-343 NAS box with 4x Seagate 2TB (ST32000542AS) green drives I ordered online.  They came with CC34 firmware, and having read numerous posts and discussions, I realized that it is important to check on whether or not I need to upgrade the firmware before popping them in.  It was not easy, but it was not too difficult either… if you know what you’re doing, or if you have the proper guide.  I will show you how I did it with relative ease.

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Dr Zahi Hawass no longer Egypt’s “Indiana Jones”

Modern-day Indiana Jones

Dr. Zahi Hawass, Modern-day Indiana Jones.

Okay, so this one blog is not a tech blog, but I just had to put it out there.

Dr. Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s Minister of State of Antiquities, was swept aside in a cabinet reshuffle after the ousting of Egypt’s former President Mubarak.  Dr. Hawass is the face of ancient Egypt, and often recognized by his Indiana Jones-style hat.  He doesn’t just wear it for vanity (or maybe he does), he goes out and gets down and dirty in the discovery sites.

Hawass has frequently appeared on international television, often times covered in dust at the site of a dig, while he explained one of the latest discovery of Egypt’s innumerable ancient ruins.

Hawass became a celebrity abroad with his documentary appearances (Chasing Mummies), describing finds from various pharaonic dynasties or campaigning for the return of treasures he said had been smuggled overseas.  However, his dictatorial way of directing and managing archaeological dig sites have been compared to Mubarak’s way of running the country.

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From Comcast to Netflix, and back to Comcast

I was tired of giving my paycheck to Comcast for premium tv/video cable subscription.  I looked into TiVo + Netflix to save on cost.  Wrong.

How did Netflix fail so miserably? Let’s see…

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Review – WD Caviar Black 1.5 TB SATA drive WD1501FASS


Western Digital WD Caviar Black 1.5 TB SATA Hard Drive WD1501FASS

This is a review of the Western Digital Caviar Black 1.5 TB SATA II 7200 RPM 3.5 Inch Internal Hard Drive (WD1501FASS) .

Rating:  4.5 stars (out of 5)

This drive is a member of the WD “Black” series, and not a WD “Green” drive. It is 1.5TB model (WD has a 1TB and 2TB black models). It has a 64MB cache, 7200rpm and a 5-year manufacture warranty.  What this means is that these drives are able to store 50% more files than just 1TB drives.  For example, a 1TB drive can store about 250 DVD-quality movies, whereas this drive can store 375 of the same movies. That’s a huge difference!

These drives were available at another site last summer, and the price went as low as $90 when I purchased these in January.  Now, you can find these online for about $80.  What this means is that these are relatively cheap yet high-performance drives and are very good for data storage.  If you need to upgrade your computer’s drive, this may be one to consider. At 1.5TB, it offers a very good price-to-storage compromise. More storage than the 1TB model, but cheaper than the 2TB model.

The question everyone seems to be asking is:  Is this drive part of the Advanced Format Technology (or AFT)?  I asked WD for the answer.

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