Tuesday, 26 February 2013

SSD vs Spinning Disks

Solid State Hard drives (SSD) vs Standard Hard Drives


SSD Advantages

  • Many of the advantages SSD drives offer are directly related to the very thing that makes them different from traditional hard drives: no moving parts. Mechanical failure is the No. 1 reason traditional hard drives often "crash." Over time, the moving parts that make up a traditional hard drive wear out or simply fail. Solid-state hard drives work more like the flash memory cards used in digital cameras and the thumb drives that have all but replaced CDs and floppy disks. They use no moving parts for data storage, so they have a lower failure rate.
    Speed is another advantage of SSD hard drives. Start-up time and disk-read time is faster in SSD hard drives than in traditional hard drives, again because of no moving parts. Traditional hard drives are literally "disk" drives; they must spin up at start-up and while processing data. With no disk to cue up, SSDs start and read data more quickly. Another plus to SSDs' lack of moving parts: They make little to no noise, compared with traditional hard drives.

SSD Disadvantages

  • Solid-state hard drives are a relatively new entry in the computing game. As with any new technology, the kinks are still being ironed out. Because SSDs are a new technology, they are more expensive than traditional hard drives. Expect SSDs to remain a pricier option until they become more commonplace. Another drawback to SSD hard drives: They currently offer less storage space than traditional hard drives.
    One reason SSDs have been slow to catch on is that most of the these new drives have slower write speeds and limited write-cycle lifetimes. In layman's terms, this means that although SSDs access data more quickly, it takes longer to save data to these drives. However, the limited number of write cycles is more troubling. Traditional hard drives have almost-unlimited write cycles, meaning that data can be erased and written over and over, but SSDs write cycles are more limited.


  • Solid-state hard drives have a clear advantage over traditional hard drives because they have no moving parts to fail or wear out. However, SSDs are a relatively new technology that is still developing

Thursday, 24 May 2012

When to turn off my computer?

A customer of my business recently e-mailed and asked, "Would you give me your opinion about leaving the computer on during the day."

I get this question quite often. The rule I use is, if I am going away from my computer for about an hour or less, I leave my computer turned on. If I am going away for about an hour or more, I turn it off.

When I leave the computer turned on, I usually turn the screen off (the screen uses a lot more power than the computer, so this saves quite a lot of power).
It is possible to set most computers so they will turn their screen off after a certain amount of time with no activity on the keyboard or mouse, but I don’t use these "power saving" features, because they have (in the recent past) tended to cause some problems with some programs.

If you turn the screen off, just remember to ONLY turn the screen switch on, NOT the computer's main power switch (i.e. if you forget the computer is not off, and you hit the computer's power switch, the computer will go off, which is not good for your computer).

The reason I turn the computer off when I'm not using it for a while, is that (1) it uses power when it is on, (2) the hard drive and the fans spin when the computer is on, and these wear out (as I sell and repair computers I have often seen this). The reason I leave it on if I'm just going away for less than an hour, is that (1) turning it off and on a lot causes more wear on the circuits and the hard drive, (2) it takes less time to turn the screen on, than to start the computer, and (3) if I leave the file I am working on open, I don't have to open it when I get back, which saves more time.

NOTE: If there is an electrical storm, I prefer to have my computer OFF and unplugged, because computers are somewhat sensitive to electrical variations and spikes caused by lightening. .

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Email Spam

You must have seen an increase in the quantity of junk mail which shows up in your email box, or on your choicest newsgroup. The activities of a small number of people are becoming a 
bigger issue for the Internet. 

Chain letters that ask for money, whether for reports or just straight up, are unwanted whether they come in the post or in e-mail form. You may see e-mail coming from Nigeria or another African country, sent by someone who wants to use your bank account to transfer 20 million dollars. This is called a ’419′ scam and people have been killed over it.

Any email or message that you had not asked for and is from someone unknown or 
unsolicited is Spam.

Spam is flooding the Internet with many multiple copies of the same email content, in an 
attempt to force the message on on-line users who would not otherwise choose to have it. Most spam is commercial advertising, often for highly doubtful products, get-rich-quick bogus plans.

One particularly troublesome type of email spam is sending spam to mailing lists (public or private email discussion forums). Because many mailing lists limit activity to their subscribers, spammers will use programmed automated tools to subscribe to as many mailing lists as possible, so that they can grab the lists of email addresses, or use the mailing list as a straight target for their attacks to make money.

Make sure that you are not leaving your email at a place where it is said that it will be published online! There are programs used by spammers that can capture such openly left email addresses of yours and then start sending you junk email, i.e., spam.

To the recipient, spam is easily identifiable. If you hired someone to read your mail and clean the spam by clearing it, they would have little trouble doing it. What then can you do to make this process automatic?

I think we will be able to help solve the problem with a small program called Mailwasher.

This program lives on your computer and checks your email and shows you the sender and content of the email directly from your email providers mail server. With this information you can decide if a message is spam or not. Once you have decided you can either delete the message directly from the server or choose to download it to your computer with your email program if you decide the email is legitimate. In this way only email you determine to be OK will ever get to your computer.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Anti-virus rant

Don't you just hate it when, shortly after you purchased your brand new computer/laptop you are told you need to pay a subscription for the continuing use of the pre-installed anti-virus software? 9you all know the usual suspects)

Fight back by un-installing this software and replacing it with FREE to download and FREE to use anti-virus.

My favourites are:

Microsoft Security Essentials

AVG Anti-virus

There is NO NEED to pay for virus protection the two listed ones above work as well as any paid-for software.