It has been reported that some parts if Amarillo received up to 19″ of snowfall over last night and today. With winds topping 30mph,there were drifts over six feet deep left all across the Texas Panhandle.
Businesses all across the area have had to close their doors and schools have been closed for both Monday and Tuesday in some communities. Government offices in Amarillo have closed their doors for both days as well.
Even with warnings about the conditions of the roads by local news and radio, many people still ventured out ending up stuck as even tow truck operators were stuck in the massive drifts.
You’re local cat-man-du office hours to be open to service your computer needs tomorrow, but if that is not possible, our business clients can still receive remote support by visiting this link.
The #1 most asked question at cat-man-du is “How did my PC get infected?” and I’ll be blogging on this soon enough. Today I want to focus on the #2 question “How did my hard drive fail (crash)?”
The simple answer is – Because a hard drive is a mechanical device, it has moving parts and when those moving parts fail or even have a tiny hiccup – your data can be lost. The best thing to remember is this – ALL HARD DRIVES WILL FAIL. Yep, every single hard drive is a ticking time bomb and it’s not a question of “if” but one of “when”.
If you take a close look at the picture on the left, you’ll see a hard drive that a cat-man-du guru took apart so we could see the inner workings. Notice anything familiar about the design? If you guessed “it kind of looks like a record player” then you just figured out more than the average computer user knows about hard drives.
Want to learn more – read on.
A hard drive (the basic design) has many things in common with record players. The information you save and the programs you install on your desktop or laptop reside on the mirrored platter you see in the photo. The disk(s) inside a hard drive are coated with a substance which is magnetized. Attached to an actuator arm is a “head” which is very similar to the arm, head and needle of a record player. At the very tip (where the record player needle would be) is a small bead of ferrite material with a coil wrapped around it.
As the computer user saves data, installs programs and opens files, electrical pulses are passed through the head, creating a pulse for a one and a reverse pulse for a zero.
The ones and zeros make up all the information stored within a PC or Mac. All those ones and zeros are just hanging out on the spinning silver platter (which turns at anywhere from 5400 RPM to 7200 RPM). How fast is a drive platter spinning? 7200 RPM equals about 75 miles an hour.
While all this is happening the actuator arm is moving back and forth across the platter faster than the eye can see saving and retrieving information. If even the smallest dust particle gets in the way of all this high-speed magnetic storage action, it could scratch the platter, interfere with the head and cause all the data to go to info heaven.
When a hard drive fails you need a service called data recovery which can be as simple as removing the drive and making a copy of the ones and zeros to a new drive. It can be a little more tricky the worse that the drive “crash” is. Data can sometimes be saved from failing hard drives using specialized software but if the mechanics inside the drive have failed, the drive has to be sent off to a clean room to be disassembled and the data retrieved – which can be very expensive.
Purchasing a hard drive from a brand that has a proven track record of brining reliable drives to market can also help. Cheaper hard drives are made cheaper and result in a higher failure rate. While there is no manufacturer that can get it right 100% of the time, we have partnered with Western Digital as our sole supplier of hard drives due to their great customer service and fewer failures (not zero failures).
So to sum it all up:
Your hard drive IS GOING TO FAIL
Hard drives are kind of like record players
All your photos, documents, programs, music and videos are floating around on top of a metal platter
Hard drives are imperfect mechanical machines that do awesome things with magnetism
So what do you/ should you do? You’ve heard it before – read on:
Back up your data!
Hard drive manufacturers, computer technicians and technology service providers are not responsible, nor do they warranty or guarantee your data. You are all on your own when it comes to being responsible for keeping your information from vanishing into thin air.
There are many solutions for backing up data, the best ones are the ones in the cloud. MozyHome Free, and Carbonite are two great places to setup an automated backup that will be in the safe (mostly) reliable (mostly) cloud.
Another option is to store your data in the cloud and skip the drive all together (this doesn’t replace a backup). Those with a Google account can use Google Drive to store many different types of information and Dropbox also has free cloud storage.
For businesses who need a cloud based backup solution, our business division (cat.man.du IT) has a great solution for you.
Early this morning Android 4.2.2 started to roll out to Nexus devices and should start to be pushed out by carriers in the near future. As for me, I keep waiting and checking between blog posts, phone calls and knocking things off the task list.
What does the update contain? Google states it “improves performance and stability.” – I’m looking for a few bug fixes – in particular a Bluetooth bug fix and the strange behavior when waking my device in portrait mode.
I’m sure many techy people are much like me in the aspect that I find myself counting the seconds till the new gadget hits the market. I am the definition of an early adopter, which is not always a good thing. It sometimes leaves me with the buggy 1st generation of a device that will only be upgraded and improved in future builds, but I can’t seem to help myself.
Whether it be a computer, tablet, media player, or just the newest smartphone, I have been on that end more than I care to admit. Well, for those of you like me, here’s a sneak peak of some tech devices that you will see hitting the market this year. Some are already on sale in many stores while others are more niche items and you might have to sleuth around online to find a place to make an order.
#1. Looxcie LX2 Video Camera
This camera is a quick and easy camera that keeps you from digging around in your purse or fumbling with on/off switches causing you to miss that special moment. It shoots 30 seconds of video and allows you to upload directly to the site of your choice including youtube. Never miss another memory. Those who already wear a bluetooth device might find themselves wearing a device on each ear which will end up in some stares without a doubt.
The biggest complaint of mobile gaming is that on-screen controls aren’t very functional due to the fact that they take up too much screen space. When you take your fingers off the display and have a full functioning remote control, you can truly have a first person gaming experience on a mobile device.
#3. Magic Cube Laser Projection Keyboard by Celluon
As if it were straight out of Star Trek or some other futuristic movie, the Magic Cube projects a useable keyboard right onto the surface in front of the user. The device picks up even the slightest keystrokes. It is great for mobile devices like phones and tablets and compatible with iOS, MAC, Windows XP, Vista, and 7.
Again, let’s hop on the Starship Enterprise as this is a device that I still don’t quite believe. It gives the user a gaming experience like none other. It bypasses the many keystrokes involved in many games these days and actually pick up and tension differences that can cut reaction times in half. Absolutely out of this world.
This machine is a beast. Period. 2.0 Ghz i7 Processor, 8 GB RAM, 750GB HD. This laptop will meet the requirements of even the most intense gamers and is available for purchase right now. Hard black shell casing makes this a very stylish piece of technology that I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on.
First, we would like to thank everyone who participated in the Google Nexus 7 contest. It was great to see you guys helping build our social media footprint and the reviews that you all left were amazing.
Being a part of the Amarillo, Canyon, and Dumas communities is an honor and we are proud to be your computer guru. Stay glued to our social media and store announcements as we will be launching great contests for some awesome devices in the future as well!
The Lenovo ThinkPad Twist has made a huge splash in the TouchScreen Convertible laptop genre of new technology. This new laptop is a mean machine too. For those out there who are interested in the new convertible touch screen laptops, this meets or exceeds expectations.
I’ve had the opportunity to do a side-by-side comparison with convertibles from other manufacturers and none match the quality of the way the Lenovo looks and feels. This Ultrabook comes with an, i5 processor, 4GB RAM and a 500GB drive.
Whether you are browsing online, sharing your display with co-workers, or even making a presentation, the Twist has got you covered.
Laptop Mode allows you to utilize this computer just like you would your normal laptop. Running Windows 8 it will run all of your normal desktop applications with the greatest of ease.
Stand Mode allows you to browse and watch your favorite movies, listen to your music, and the TouchScreen allows for the total Windows 8 experience. It’s your full multi-media entertainment system.
Tent Mode makes it simple to perform tasks like playing touch screen games to displaying a PowerPoint slideshow to a group of prospective clients.
Tablet Mode turns this laptop into a full functioning responsive TouchScreen tablet. The Lenovo ThinkPad Twist is all brought to you by Windows 8, the breakthrough operating system that has everyone talking.
Here’s the good news. If you want to walk in and pick yours up today, you’re in luck – cat-man-du has these right here in-stock at your local location and available for sale online or by phone. Here’s the full specs of the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist that we carry below and as always, if you have any questions, feel free to call your local computer “guru”.
ThinkPad S230u, 12.5″ W HD (1366 x 768) LED Backlight, Gorilla Glass, Low-light sensitive HD Webcam (w/oWWAN), Mocha Black, Twist, Intel HM 77, Intel HD Graphics 4000 Intel Core i5 3317U processor, Y-Cam HD 720p, N-FPR MB, 500 GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm, 4-1 Multi-Card Reader, 4GB Memory, 24 GB Micro Solid State Drive, Serial ATA3 with ExpressCache, ThinkPad a/b/g/n Wireless BT Combo (2×2 ABGN BlueTooth 4.0), Battery (LiPolymer 42.4Wh), Edge S230u, Windows 8 Pro 64 English
For most people, travel is normally the one week vacation with the family or maybe a romantic getaway for mom and dad once a year. For others, it is a routine that they take part in on a regular basis. It’s their job. It’s what they do.
Business travel can be a stressful occupation and a lonely one to boot. But, for those of you who venture down this career, there are some things that will help you enjoy your time and get the most out of your trip. There are many things to consider when traveling and here are some things you might want to pack away before you leave.
For every business person, their laptop is their office. Where they get things done when they are on the go. Take a look next time your at the airport, you’re sure to see a sea of people with their laptop flipped open and working away right there at the gate. No longer is a business worker chained to their desk. Laptops can also offer a way to keep in touch with those you love. When on that long trip away from the family, it’s always nice to hop on Google+ and have a hangout with the wife and daughter. If you haven’t taken advantage of this feature, I highly recommend it.
Believe it or not, there are still many hotels out there that don’t have in-room wifi. And in my experience, those that do offer spotty service at best. In my opinion, having a portable wifi adapter is a perfect solution. Have them activate the wired internet service to your room, hook up your wifi adapter and boom. You have smoking fast wifi right there in your room that is just as secure as your network at home.
I know what you’re thinking, “Who doesn’t own a smartphone”. You’d be surprised. Besides the fact that you can check your email, interact with friends and family via social networking, and even document your trip, smartphones are almost a necessity for any business traveler. Dumb devices just don’t offer the convenience and speed that your typical iPhone and Android device do. These days you even see more and more people carrying other ‘smart’ devices like iPads and Android tablets.
Don’t laugh. At home I’m definitely not a germ-aphobe, but when I travel it’s a different story. Nothing is worse than having to board a plane home with a terrible sinus infection you acquired on your trip. The moment that cabin pressurizes, you know you are in for the worst flight of your life. First thing I do when I walk into the hotel room is to wipe down the TV remote, telephone, alarm clock, and lamp switches. These are proven to be the dirties items in your hotel room regardless of how nice the hotel happens to be.
Airline prices are rising each day and they all seem to be looking for any way to squeeze an extra penny out of the consumer. The most recent way they have done this is to charge to check your luggage (any amount of luggage). For those on a short business trip, the best way to avoid these charges is to pick up a compact carryon piece of luggage. Even your average carryon can get flagged as ‘Too Large’ for carryon and end up having to be check which costs you money. To avoid this buy a more compact rollaway carryon and carry your laptop or ‘personal item’ with you. You normally don’t have any problem boarding with these two items in tow.
I am astonished at the speed that new tech designs roll off the line these days. It wasn’t just a couple months ago that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the new Lenovo ThinkPad Twist, and now Lenovo has dropped another amazing peice of engineering in our laps. The new Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon.
It is multi-function and can be used as a complete touch screen Windows 8 desktop computer as well as laid out flat as a table computer, allowing you to gather friends (or clients) around the display and all take part in the user experience. Even as a business professional the applications are as endless as your imagination. Explaining what your talking about to your clients as they stare you in the face, knowing full well they cannot invision your idea can be frustrating. No more frustrating then having 7 or 8 prospective clients hovering behind them as you try to show them your design on your laptop.
The IdeaCentre Horizon changes everything. Imagine your talking to your clients and you can see that they are not grasping your concept, you then lay this machine down on the table top and spin it around for them to interact with using the touch screen interface. I can guarantee you will see some jaws drop.
If you loved squaring off on the old table top pac-man (and other games) in the ‘old-school’ arcades and movie theaters, then this new computer design will blow your mind. The new IdeaCentre Horizon takes an old idea and puts an entirely new spin on it. This machine has plenty of power to turn a night with the family or a group full of friends into an interactive game night that no-one will want to miss out on. Lenovo is bringing back ‘Family Game Night’ in a whole new way. It’s also rocking a blazing fast i7 Processor, Windows 8 Pro, 10 Finger Multi-touch, 27″ Backlit HD Display.
In the ever changing world of computers and technology, the next new device or computer is always just around the corner. Whether it be the new all-in-one touch screen desktop or the brand new laptop/tablet convertible, you have a choice to make.
Finding which style suits you best is probably the hardest part. On one hand the laptop is versitile and you can take it with you anywhere, but the desktop has the huge monitor and is constantly hooked to your home network. Now you’re standing in the store staring at the two weighing options and trying to figure out which is going home with you.
Well, maybe this post can be of a little assistance in the process. Take into consideration first, for what do you use your computer? Are you a business professional and in need of a portable workspace, or are you the casual internet browser who likes to catch up on TV and movies. Keep in mind that the average person keeps the same computer for an average of 4 – 7 years after purchase. Make sure you get what you need.
Here is a list of reasons you might want to purchase a laptop:
You are a business professional.
You don’t know when and where you might get tasked with building a spreadsheet or powerpoint presentation for your boss or client.
You take your work with you when meeting clients and business prospects.
You spend very little time at home.
You spend much of your time on the road or traveling.
You don’t have space for a workstation.
Here is a list of reasons you might want to purchase a desktop:
You have a home workstation.
You share the computer with family.
You need a large monitor for graphic design, movie production, animation etc.
You have a list of periferrals you use frequently that are not easily portable.
You are a intense ‘Gamer’
There are more reasons to consider and each person has their own criteria for which machine they are going to unbox, but these are just some things that I recommend people think about when making a computer purchase. It’s an important purchase and making sure you have something that fits who you are and your needs will ensure a better ‘friendship’ between you and your computer.
Thinking of making the move to Windows 8 but still wanting a desktop for your desk? The Lenovo IdeaCentre B540 is an amazing all-in-one that is light, quiet, powerful and responsive.
As I used the PC the first thing I noticed is that it is fast and has a highly responsive touch interface (it has a ten point touch interface). I liked the way it felt to inrteract with Windows 8 tiles and apps. I also liked that the front was completly covered by the glass (no bezel to block the far edges from touch).
Another thing that I like about this all-in-one is that there is ONE cord (the power cord). It’s extremly simple and fast to setup and to move (weighing only 23 lbs).
This is not a PC for gaming enthusiests but has the power to quickly launch and support anything else you may need (spreadsheets, documents, bookkeeping software as well as games that don’t require high-end graphics cards and faster processors). That said, it packs pleanty of storage, processing power and memory along with a beautiful display.
Some quick specs:
Processor: Core i3-3220
Memory: 6GB DDR3 (upgradable to 8GB)
Storage: 1TB SATA Hard Drive
Screen Resolution:1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
Wireless Keyboard and Mouse
1 Year Lenovo Waranty
The bottom line is that you get a lot of bang for the buck with this all-in-one. For $899 you get a great Windows 8 experience, a fast PC and a beautiful display – you can spend more and get better but this is a great entry into the new world of Windows 8 touch.