Monday, 28 January 2019

Is It Worth Buying Your Personal Server?

With all the leaks, spying, and data stealing and loss happening today, it is enough to drive an ordinary person to buy their own servers for their safety and security especially that of their precious and sensitive data. You’d often see it on the news – breaches in security and computers and servers fall prey to malicious online hackers that use malware to tap into your system and steal your data. Other times they take advantage of your computing power – as in the case of cryptocurrency miners.

If you are a computer user, you can’t just be complacent anymore. You either need to upgrade your computer’s defenses or perhaps buy your own server? It may sound ludicrous to some but it is already an idea considered not just by ordinary people but may even be sold commercially anytime soon. You can’t blame the public in wanting to upgrade their computer safety nets with all the threats they face on the web. There’s also the possibility that some hardware parts and pieces contain chips allowing the culprit to spy on all your computer activities. It makes perfect sense to just purchase your own server then to reduce the threats you are facing every time you use your device.

The 4 Oct. 2018 Bloomberg article "The Big Hack" alleges that China was able to add tiny spy chips to servers made by Super Micro Computer Inc. in San Jose, Calif. (Supermicro), which has manufacturing facilities in Taiwan.

These spy chips may have reached almost 30 U.S. companies, including Amazon and Apple. While Supermicro, Amazon, and Apple refute the allegations addressed in the Bloomberg article, we see the report as a wake-up call for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to buy only U.S.-designed and U.S.-made servers from ITAR-approved suppliers. Why?

China has repeatedly shown a pattern of coordinated and well-funded attempts to compromise trusted computing by infiltrating, hacking, and disrupting U.S. security, secrets, and infrastructure. China has even declared its intention to defeat the U.S. technology industry by 2040.


One example is the controversy involving China. It was recently discovered that a Chinese military unit has been secretly planting microchips on servers that support Amazon and Apple services among others. It’s been dismissed by the Chinese government but we are no longer new to these allegations since there have been talks about China gradually infiltrating US businesses and organizations in secret for years now. We are talking about spying on the hardware now and not just software applications like viruses and malware that you can still somehow prevent when the right firewalls and anti-virus software is set up on your device.

Imagine their unlimited access to the millions of personal data of users accessing these websites and what they do with them after. It’s true that nobody is really safe anymore on the web, which is why those who can afford are already considering of buying their own servers for stronger security measures on their computing activities.

Privacy Labs Inc., a startup based near Microsoft headquarters just outside Seattle, wants to upend all this in the name of digital security. On Wednesday, it began selling a server that runs email, contacts and calendar services through a personal web domain. The Helm Personal Server is an angular gadget, about the size of an open paperback book, that sits on a side table or desk rather than in a data center. Information is stored and encrypted on the device, not in the cloud.

The first aim is to keep private messages from being hacked or accessed by governments and law enforcement. Future products include on-device versions of popular cloud services like file storage and sharing, password management and a virtual private network to make online connections more anonymous.


By having your own private server, you can prevent third-parties like the government or private companies and organizations won’t have easy access to your private messages and correspondence done online. It is way more secure than just using passwords for protection. Moreover, your data is no longer stored in the cloud with everyone else but it is encrypted on your own computer. Hackers will also have a harder time infiltrating your system nor will you be constantly barraged by online ads when browsing since you don’t store all your sensitive information on data centers of big brands like Google, for instance.

It is still a test and it is pretty expensive too but if you want to protect yourself from the common digital security breaches we often hear about today, then why not give it a try. Who knows you may even be able to save yourself from the hassles of data loss, which is a problem encountered by many computer users today. But since you still don’t have your own server to back you up, make it a point to be well-versed about data recovery tools and services like and to get you out of trouble the next time you lose your data either by mechanical failure of your device or by accident.

The following blog article Is It Worth Buying Your Personal Server? is courtesy of The Hard Drive Recovery Group Blog


Monday, 21 January 2019

The Smartphone Era

Everywhere you look, you’d likely see a person glued to the screen of their smartphone. Almost everyone owns a phone or two and they spend a great deal of their time using it for various reasons. Smartphones have evolved to become like mini computers. Almost everything you do on a computer can now be done using your smartphone. It’s a major plus that it is extremely handy and convenient to use. You can use your smartphone for communication, which is essentially its main purpose back in the days. Then, you also use it for different purposes like a camera, calculator, calendar, saving notes, storing songs, clock and alarms, navigation, etc. but since it readily connects to WiFi, you can access the web anytime you want.

Our current addiction to social media and various apps are undeniable. People do not hesitate to spend hundreds to thousands in cash to keep up with all the latest smartphone advancements. In India alone, Indians are big spenders when it comes to smartphone purchases and it is just one part of the world. Other countries have similar statistics regardless of the demographics. From high-end brands like Apple and Samsung to lower-end brands that are mostly from China, the demand is so high and it keeps pushing the smartphone industry forward and upward.

The Chinese dominance of the Rs 1.5 lakh crore Indian smartphone market, growing at about 10-11% as per research reports, has never been questioned. But it's still surprising that Indian consumers doubled their spending (year-on-year) on the top four Chinese brands - Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Honor - to over Rs 50,000 crore in FY18. These four brands along with a few other Chinese brands like Lenovo-Motorola, One-Plus and Infinix, make up more than 50% of the total Indian smartphone market by sales, The Economic Times reported, adding that data available thus far suggests their sales are growing rapidly this year too.

According to tracker Counterpoint Research associate director Tarun Pathak the top Chinese brands have easy access to the Shenzhen hardware and R&D hub and the supply chain ecosystem. "This has helped them to be innovators and to be always on top of trends," he told the daily. Their pricing strategy is the icing on the cake. The Chinese brands have been able to tap the Indian consumer's preference for products made by multinationals by selling high-specification models at lower prices than South Korean, Japanese and even Indian counterparts.


There are downsides to excessive smartphone use but if there is one thing that we can be thankful for is that this growing industry has created millions of new jobs that likewise help propel the economy upward. It is essentially a “Smartphone Era” that powers the world today. Some of the lesser known Chinese smartphone brands have ambitious goals in terms of sales and it is not unlikely that they would be able to achieve it given the current skyrocketing demand in different parts of the globe.

As of 26 October 2018, Xiaomi has reached a total of 100 million smartphones shipped, completing its annual target ahead of schedule, ZDNet reported.

Xiaomi currently trails behind Huawei and Oppo in China, but it is taking on major competitors outside of its home country.

The Chinese smartphone manufacturer has pulled away from Samsung in the Indian smartphone market, with 27% market share compared to Samsung’s 23%.

Xiaomi has also begun expanding its reach to European countries, and has reportedly seen significant growth in these markets.

CEO Lei Jun recently announced the manufacturer’s new Mi Mix 3 flagship smartphone, which boasts a 93.4% screen-to-body ratio and a mechanical sliding camera design.


Some of the newer Chinese brands can’t be stopped too because their features are gradually catching up with the industry leaders such as Samsung. In aesthetics and functionality, there is little distinction now apart from the brand, which is why the poorer population especially those living in impoverished countries can now enjoy the benefits of having a smartphone at a fraction of the price.

As handy and multifunctional smartphones are, heavy computer users still require computers or laptops to do their jobs right and efficiently too. If you use a computer in your daily life, be wary of common PC issues you may face in your lifetime such as and so you can better react to these situations when they arise. Better yet prevent them if possible for a seamless computing experience without all the hassles.

The article The Smartphone Era is courtesy of


Monday, 14 January 2019

Problematic Hard Drives

Most people can’t live without their computers now. We do so many things with it, from school to office work, for storage of personal data and files, for surfing the web and socializing, to many more, computers is a necessity we can’t afford to live without. Almost everything has gone digital now it is a must to keep up if you want to stay updated in life. While we focus too much on the computer as a whole, we tend to overlook that one of its most crucial component – the hard drive – is actually where most of the action takes place.

Whether you are using an Apple or Windows PC, you still need a hard drive for your device to actually work. They can usually endure heavy computer usage but over time, normal wear and tear and other factors can cause it to break down and fail. Neglect or abuse of your device like power surges, not shutting it down properly, and certain mechanical failure on worn parts can trigger a hard drive failure. There are often tell-tale signs alerting you of hard drive problems if you are observant enough of your computer when using it but some computer users tend to ignore these signs thinking they will resolve on their own.

A computer’s hard drive is one of it’s most important components.

It's the thing that Windows or OS X resides on in addition to your pictures, videos, files, and programs. Without it, a computer isn’t much more than a set of instructions with no content.

A hard drive should last a long time, but eventually, it will cease to work. Personally, I have seen hard drives last more than a decade with heavy use, other times they can fail right out of the box or in a matter of weeks or months. The bottom line is that you just never know when your hard drive is going to fail. For this reason, it is important to back up your data regularly.

Most of the time, your hard drive will give you years of service. Over time, your hard drive could develop problems for several different reasons. Improper shutdowns, power surges and mechanical failure are some of the most common reasons for hard drive failure.


Unfortunately, not doing something about it can corrupt your data or eventually stop your computer from ever working again. If you are not a new computer user, you’ve probably experienced this at one point or another. Sometimes, a hard drive failure can’t be avoided but more problems arise when the data you stored on your device does not have a backup. It can drive you crazy knowing that your data is somewhere in your hard drive but you already lost access to it.

Data recovery can help but not all the time you are guaranteed of really getting your lost data back. Moreover, it is also a bit pricey with some companies charging $1 for every gigabyte of data recovered. To save yourself from these worries, be wary of the potential causes of hard drive failure because more often than not you can make preemptive measures to salvage your data in the midst of an impending hard drive failure.

Hard Drive Failure: Causes

Usually, hard drives do crash at certain known periods of your computers lifespan: at the beginning or near-end. When a device’s hard disk crashes at the beginning, its caused can be attributed to a factory or manufacturing defect. If, on the other hand, it crashes after years, your computer is most likely nearing (or has reached) its expiration period.

On what causes a computers hard disk not to carry out its regular functions, there are two identified culprits: physical damage and logical damage.

Physical damage to a hard drive or any of its components can cause it to malfunction. Physical damages are also costlier to fix. Logical damage, on the other hand, prevents the hard disk from accessing files and is usually caused by a corrupted operating system.


If you have a little technical know-how, you are probably aware by now that there are tools you can use to check for hard disk failure but the majority of people will just give up once they see errors popping on their screen, especially once their computer stops working already because the damage to your hard drive is too severe that you can’t open your device anymore.

Well, when it comes to salvaging your precious data, it is always better safe than to be sorry. Get in touch with data recovery experts who have years of experience recovering lost data rather risk losing your files by trying DIY fixes that you aren’t even sure of yourself. Data recovery requires a clean room environment like because the inner workings of your hard drive are extremely sensitive you don’t want to compromise the data recovery process. These experts are also skilled not only in recovering data for individual computers but also to big servers as well

The best thing you can do is to back up your files so you don’t get desperate when the time comes that your hard drive fails on you.

The following post Problematic Hard Drives was originally seen on


Monday, 7 January 2019

Making Sense Of Big Data

Data makes the world go round. Well, it’s actually the World Wide Web but it is essentially where everyone is now. From ordinary individuals of all ages and walks of life to big businesses and organizations, we input so much data on the web. This information, in turn, is utilized by businesses with online platforms to target their customer base. While not all the time it is always for business, people keep on sharing data on the web and the amount of data circulating online is not always used optimally.

Take the case of enterprise data. They are so widespread but you can’t easily relate the data as one. It takes a lot of work understanding what all these big data is all about because you have to narrow down your search and make a thorough review of individual strands of data to make sense of it. Extracting and analyzing these data is already tedious in itself and the entire process takes longer to finish before you figure out what the data you have actually means. There are also a lot of loopholes that need to be considered especially when data is released to customers or third-parties but things may turn for the better with the continuing progress with artificial intelligence.

Life would be simpler if everything were in one relational database, but that's not practical. Enterprises have too much data.

So data gets spread among different databases, some by department, others by function, often with different schemas and degrees of data checking.

There are lots of tools for low-level checking of fields and schemas. But what if you want to understand a complicated relationship between, say, customers of a certain region, purchasing some range of product quantity, and want to understand how their service calls have changed over time?

That will become a major data extraction and analysis problem, starting with figuring out where the data is - probably in several different group databases - and tying all the numbers together. It will take weeks, and you'll probably have to set up another database. Painful at best.


There are certain AI technologies geared to making sense of big data to help humans have a better grasp of what the figures and data are all about. The best promise of AI is the part where this process can be automated using special software so that specific data can be retrieved quickly and with little effort from your end.

As we all know, no science is perfect. However, if you are involved in a big business and deal with big data problems all the time, this new technology is worth looking into because who knows it may actually work.

The data revolution of the past decade has transformed how businesses reach out to prospective customers, manage supply chains and provide services. But just as businesses become more reliant on data, governments have started to regulate the use and flow of data. While these policies might be critical for privacy protection and ensuring national security, they can create substantial costs for businesses, finds a new study by Martina Francesca Ferracane of Hamburg University and others.

The authors argue that in today’s economy sectors such as management consultancy and financial services rely heavily on data. Therefore, policies that restrict the use and cross-border transfer of data are likely to reduce the efficiency of these sectors. Such costs and inefficiencies are passed on to other businesses and then to consumers.


The most pressing concern here is in regards to data security and privacy. These numbers and information do not merely just represent a problem that needs to be solved but pertain to certain individuals or corporations who aren’t always aware how their data is utilized by companies who have access to it. These limitations also affect big data analytics and use and greatly affect efficiency but you can’t always rationalize that the end justifies the means.

We may be a long way from truly finding the right formula in managing big data and data security but at least these factors are still taken into consideration, meaning customers aren’t always that vulnerable on the web.

If big data puzzles many, so does data loss. It can trigger panic attacks among users especially when a backup is not put in place. Learn more about how you can overcome the challenges of data loss by knowing data recovery services such as and for computers and servers alike.

Making Sense Of Big Data See more on:


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