Backup those Computers, Hard Drives really do crash


Almost everyone has heard of a hard drive failing, but few of us have actually experienced it. Two of the biggest questions of hard drive failures are:

1) What causes it?

2) What happens to the data?

Hard Drives, or HDD (Hard Disk Drive) often comes with some sort of life expectancy; a number that lists the number of writes and rewrites the disk can withstand before it eventually stops working. Now, generally these numbers are well into the millions, which means we as users should never reach even close to this life expectancy number. However, things can always be cut short under various circumstances, especially depending on often the drive is used, if its been physically damaged, or perhaps even how well it was made. Other things can cause hard drive failures, such as electrical shortages, viruses, and poorly constructed parts, however these are less common.

Lets say your hard drive just crashed, and you just remembered you dropped your computer last week. Well chances are your hard drive was damaged, and often times this is the most difficult to reverse in terms of data loss. When a drive is damaged, the small pin(s) within the disk can scratch the platters, effectively erasing all data underneath. Other causes of hard drive data are slightly easier to recover. If mechanical failure or an electrical shortage was the cause, technicians can actually read the data by removing the platters and placing them in temporary read containers.

One of my hard drives in my computer crash just this past weekend, hence the point of this article. It goes to show that even if you baby your computer, anything can happen. In the case of my hard drive, it was a mere mechanical failure where the pin simply stopped working. Luckily I could retrieve my data, which saved me a huge headache.

Moral of the story: Save yourself the pain and agony of having a drive fail on you and backup your data. Having a backup is the best way to prepare yourself from a hard drive failure.

Mason Students Disatisfied of Campus Police

The purpose of a police force is to serve and protect, correct? We want to feel safe and protected from harm that could arise at anytime, yet more often than not we feel intimidated. Intimidated by police officers and cadets simply because of the stigma that surrounds them.

Over the years more and more reports about police brutality have surfaced, and complaints about officers simply pulling drivers over to meet their “quota” have increased. This issue isn’t sequestered to just one area, but is a known problem nation-wide.

Students at George Mason University are especially concerned of their on-campus police department. Several students have mentioned that rarely do they see officers walking around campus late at night, or driving around campus. The whole point of patrolling is to make sure everything is sound, isn’t it? Another complaint happened to be about the “blue light” system, where a person would press ‘help’ at the closest blue light and a cadet or officer would walk them to their car or building late at night. One student who chose not to disclose her name, stated that she received a blatant “No” after asking for someone to help her back to her car.

Additional complaints come in the form of numerous speeding tickets, parking violations, and so forth. Students feel that the campus police are “simply looking to get you into trouble”, rather than what their job description entails, serve and protect.

What’s your opinion?


Pinterest is an interesting tool, and I have yet to really grasp a need for it yet, but I’m sure it will come along.

In the meantime, check out my page!

New iPad (3rd Generation) Initial Thoughts

My iPad 3rd generation was delivered today, and as a first-time owner I have to say I can see why there is so much hype! For starters, the main selling point for this new iPad is the retina display, and it is really something to look at. I’ve see the iPad/iPad 2 screen, yet this new screen absolutely blows the nearest competition out of the water.

The resolution on the new iPad is 2048 x 1536, exactly double that of the iPad 2 and the original iPad. How exactly did apple pull this off? For every pixel on the older screen, apple managed to fit 4 smaller ones on the new screen, essentially quadrupling the total amount of pixels from 700,000 to 3.1 million!

The second initial thought I had was the form factor. The new iPad is slim, despite being slightly thicker than the previous generations. In addition, it’s also slightly heavier. Yet the difference is so small that only someone who has spent extensive time with the older models will notice a difference.

Lastly, the battery life. Most iPhone users are used to getting roughly 6-7 hours of constant use. Somehow, apple managed to cram a more demanding graphics processor, retina display, and several other features while delivering 10 hours of battery life; that’s plenty of time for the casual user.

Overall I have to say I’m happy with the product. It’s effectively replacing my small 13” netbook with a little help from the apple keyboard. For $600, this is probably one of the best times to buy an iPad, seeing as this technology should be top-notch for the next few years. Think about, it’s already impossible to see the pixels on the new screen, so increasing the resolution is out of the picture; all apple can really improve on is the speed.

Video review coming next week!

Briggs – Journalism Next: Chapter 9

In this chapter of Journalism Next, Briggs capitalizes on the importance of data integrity in a news story.

To maximize data integrity, Briggs suggests creating folders in e-mail programs and use these to organize various categories of email. This helps when it comes time to retrieve information. In addition, he suggests to make a list of thing needing to get done as well as making a calendar.

Briggs suggests using Goggle to manage your daily data needs.

Briggs – Journalism Next: Chapter 8

Just about every article on the web nowadays is accompanied by some sort of digital media, which in itself can tell a story. As journalists, we strive to provide the best content for our readers, viewers, and listeners, and what better way to provide these stories than with supplementary videos and images?

In chapter 8, Briggs gives several tips on how we can incorporate digital storytelling into our pieces.

Digital storytelling consists of a primary form – video, and can seem quite complicated to a novice. However, with help from Briggs, one can understand the basic rules and practices, the importance of audio, and editing methods to really make content stand out.

Briggs – Journalism Next: Chapter 11

The previous chapter in Journalism Next spoke about the importance of creating conversations and connecting with the audience. Chapter 11 focuses more on the importance of actually building that digital audience, especially for news.

The first point Briggs made was that journalists should make a point to track everything they post, so that they can view who is reading their blog/website and where their website may be showing up elsewhere.

He also makes a point to mention that it is important to read as many related stories, so that one can grasp a firm understanding of the background and be able to add to their own stories.

Another incredibly invaluable tool is the art of spying. Well, not literally…but close! Briggs suggests journalists track audience search history, so that we (the blogger) can easily publish posts that relate back to our audience.

Interesting, isn’t it? It gets better.

As mentioned previously in Journalism Next, Briggs revives the topic of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, and that it is one of the most crucial parts of web blogging. By optimizing your content in such a way, Google and other search engines will yield much better results in your favor, which in turn leads more people to your content.

Where I’ve Been

The New iPad

Apple always seems to make their technology, whether completely revamped or slightly added to, a completed and utter revolution. This year, despite only making a few adjustments to their iPad line, the revamped tablet has once again become a hit.

This years iPad features the same dual-core processor, but with quad-core graphics. Despite what many are saying, this is not a quad-core processor, but instead apple’s new A5X chip. In addition, the new device features 1GB of RAM (finally, right?) and a new 5 megapixel iSight rear camera; the front-facing camera has remained the same.

The bulk of the story here is the new retina display, which features a resolution of 2048×1536. This results in a total of 3.1 billion pixels, or 264 ppi. This is a little insane considering the human eye can only see up to a maximum of ~250-300 ppi. Nevertheless this enough for many, including myself, to dive into the tablet experience for the first time. For those who already have an iPad, it may not be the best time to upgrade, but for those who have never had a similar device, this is the best opportunity to get the most out of your money.

Edit – March 10th, 2012: iPad pre-orders have now sold out online, and new shipments aren’t expected for another two to three weeks. The only way to grab yours on the 16th is to wait in line friday morning.

Workshop 2: iMovie

When it comes to video editing, I consider myself pretty versatile when it comes to software. However, previous to my decision to snag my first iPad, I had little to no experience with iMovie.

After finishing the workshop in the STAR Lab with a friend of mine, we both came to the realization that iMovie is simply an equivalent to our favorite windows based editing program – Sony Vegas.

It features the same click-and-drag format, and allows you to import files of all types. To make things easier, iMovie provides a set of premade special effects to really add to the professionalism of your final resultm, just like Sony Vegas.

All in all, the iMovie application for both Macs, iPads and other iDevices is very similar to other programs. It’s versitile enough to provide adequate editing power, and simple enough for even the most novice of users.

I can confidently say I’m well versed in just about every video-editing software out there now.