techxplore blog

Prevent Data Loss with Timely Hard Disk Checking

Cranking sound from laptop during startup is a sign of an impending disaster. Well it’s true, if the sound comes from the hard disk. I bought an Aspire S3 laptop computer as it’s handy for travel. Very sleek design and light. Everyday, I have it with me going to office and back home. I just put it on sleep mode and I’m ready to go. Open it up and I’m ready to work.

Sad story is after 9 months with very few or without shutting it down, it start to behave abnormally. The Windows 7 operating system hangs up and informs me to backup my laptop. It’s one of those system messages which is nagging to backup my data, which I haven’t done from the start. I am too lazy to use the system backup utility to do backup of my laptop. I convince my self that nothing will go wrong for a relatively new device.

HDDScan for Windows

HDDScan for Windows

Everything is seems too late when one fine day the laptop froze and no key works. I have to shut it down using the power on/off button. It is really a big head ache with all important files and data going with it. My friend suggested to use SpinWrite disk revival software which could revive hard disk that are “dying” in which case is the predicament that I have. Since, it’s a commercial software I went to retrieve the data using TestDisk which is an open source software.

I am glad the partition was read by TestDisk disk recovery software, even if Windows could not recognize it and says it should be formatted. Even Partition Magic recognizes it as a bad disk. Anyway, I got all the data back. But I’ve learned the lesson that timely hard disk checking should be included in regular maintenance of laptop computer. I found HDD Scan software to be a perfect tool to do the job.

HDDScan for Windows Scan Graph

HDDScan for Windows Scan Graph

The hard disk S.M.A.R.T information is provided and the surface test to verify it’s reliability is a feature I like. Have I known HDDScan software earlier, the trouble of going through data recovery to retrieve valuable information could have been prevented.


Acer TravelMate Laptop Synaptics Touchpad Does Not Allow Click or Double Tap

Strange things do happen every now and then on my laptop. I have done some upgrades on security patches and software and noticed that the Synaptics touchpad does not work properly. Usually, a tap on the touchpad is equivalent to a left click on the mouse and a double tap would be equivalent to a double click on a mouse.

The Synaptics touchpad in general works, but the tap-to-click functionality does not work as before. I need to use the touchpad left button to select via click or double click to select some items. There are some settings which might have been affected. I checked on Windows XP’s Start -> Control Panel -> Mouse -> Properties and all seem to be okay.

Windows XP Mouse Properties

Windows XP Mouse Properties

Finally, I found that the item to check is on the Synaptics Pointing Device icon on the system tray. The “Tap to Click” feature needs to be checked to make it work. After setting it properly, I enjoyed once more the tap-to-click feature of the laptop’s touchpad.

Synaptics Touchpad Settings

Synaptics Touchpad Settings


Nokia E52 Hard Reset and Format Phone to Factory Settings

Brand new phones are flooding the market now. There are lots of choices available, but I am stuck with Nokia E52 phone. It’s very handy and works akin to a smart phone. It has some Wi-Fi and 3G capability which is a basic thing required for internet connectivity. I could browse the internet with Opera Mobile browser and chat via Skype.

All the features are fine, but important VoIP software suddenly did not work after upgrade of firmware. Currently the software version is 091.003 and custom version 091.003.C00.01. Both software version and custom version were updated on 3 April 2012. The particular Nokia E52 model I have is E52-1 with type RM-469.

In dire need of the VoIP software to run on my phone has led me to search and try for a method to do a hard reset of the phone. I need the phone to be set back to the very initial state from the factory.

A way I discovered to format Nokia E52 phone was to use the following key combination:


I backed up first the phone contacts, messages, photos, music, videos and other data with OVI sync. Next, I’ve removed the phones micro SD card. After which, I used the above key combination to format the phone.

It sure did format the phones memory card, but the problem I have with downgrading or resetting the Nokia E52 software firmware still remain. The above key combination to hard reset or phone format did not downgrade the software firmware.


Key Benefits of Mobile Device Security Enterprise Solution

Internet it almost available anywhere with 3G feature available in most mobile devices. Also, most work place is littered with WiFi access point. As a result, I’ve observed that people tend to more and more use mobile devices both for personal or work use. This scenario brings a new challenge to secure data accessed from mobile devices.

Thus, for an organization or business it is a must to include them in the over-all IT security land scape. Having an enterprise solution for mobile device security problem would be best. One might ask about the key benefits for implementing such enterprise security software solution.

Key benefits of mobile device security enterprise solution:

  • reduced security risk
  • limit data loss
  • better visibility
  • reduced operational costs

Security is a primary objective and mobile security software will ensure proper configuration. It protects devices from malware by limiting the security risk from compromised devices. Policies for data access are enforced via data encryption and passwords. Lost devices or stolen can be remotely locked or data erased.

Administrators can do mobile device management and have critical visibility of device accessing corporate data such as number, type, and more information. The centralized visibility coupled with device management control and security could bring about savings in time and money which considerably reduce operational cost.

Is it really worth to investing on mobile device security software? The answer could depend all in the size of mobile device user base of an organization or business. But it’s pretty much an important aspect to consider than suffering data loss or security breach in corporate world.


Business Improvement Ideas in IT Technology

Increasing business growth in rough times sometimes pushes executives to look into IT area for improvements and cost reduction. Thus, there is an increase in demand for new IT technology which able to bring savings and operation improvement.

McKinsey Global Survey shows that about 25% of executives both IT and non-IT agree on IT based solution to bring about good results. What are the particular ideas or project would bring some business growth in the face of economic downturn.

Business Improvement Ideas in IT Technology

  • increase offshoring or outsourcing
  • increase virtualization or infrastructure consolidation
  • renegotiating vendor contracts
  • improve efficiency in application developments and maintenance
  • reducing service subscriptions
  • deferring projects and new initiatives

The most popular approach is for server consolidation or use of virtualization technology. This brings about reduction in space, reduction of electricity consumption, simpler server management, and lots of other benefits. Then the cloud technology coupled with IT outsourcing or offshoring which could help business focus on core competency. These three are on the top of the list of business improvement ideas with IT technology.


High-end Mobile Device Security Threats and Hacking are for Real

Internet Crime Complaint Center Mobile Device Threat Warning

Internet Crime Complaint Center Mobile Device Threat Warning

A new trend I’ve observed at work is “Bring Your Own Device”. You name it. Apple’s iPhone, iPad, different flavor of tablets and smartphones running Google’s Android OS. Let’s admit it. It’s really convenient to use a mobile device between home and work. Peoples personal and professional lives become more mixed and inseparable. This kind of scenario poses significant challenges to the corporate IT department.

In our case, it’s difficult to give support for several portable devices which our IT technicians don’t own. Moreover, how can we secure our internal networks and data from usage of a private mobile gadget? It becomes difficult to define which data are individual or corporate on personal devices. The adoption of own devices at the workplace is making mobile security threat as top priority.

FBI’s division on Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has even issued a warning to users of smartphones running on specifically Android operating system. A wide range of the mobile device, such as iPhones, iPads, Blackberry and tons of other are not exempted of these threats. It’s only a matter of time when these problems surface on every internet ready device.

Gone are the days where malicious software, security or hacking threats are confined to computers or laptops only. Now, mobile device is increasingly attacked by cyber criminals as these devices have superseded laptop or desktop computer popularity. Furthermore, there are more and more valuable data are stored on smartphones and tablets, which make it a lucrative target. High-end mobile device security threats are for real, and everyone should be ready.


Power of Windows 8 in HP ENVY 4t-1100 TouchSmart Ultrabook Specification

HP ENVY 4t-1100 TouchSmart Ultrabook

HP ENVY 4t-1100 TouchSmart Ultrabook

Looking for a combination of an ultrabook and a touch based device has come to an end. HP ENVY 4t-1100 TouchSmart Ultrabook touts the power of the touch interface from Windows 8 the flagship operating system of Microsoft. The HP TouchSmart Ultrabook is a fresh genre in its class. It’s leading a new form of ultrabook with a mix of the tablet interface in it.

By regular standards, the HP ENVY 4t-1100 TouchSmart Ultrabook is an ultra-slim gadget that is about 2 cms thick. It is powered by 3rd generation Intel Core i3-3217U processor or Intel Core i5-3317U processor with Intel HD Graphics 4000. The Beats Audio feature is a great treat for music and video media lovers due to best sound quality. Moreover, the ultra book laptop has dual speakers with subwoofer to deliver the richest audio.

Base HP ENVY 4t-1100 TouchSmart Ultrabook Specification:
Operating system: Windows 8 64
Processor: 3rd generation Intel Core i3-3217U Processor (1.8 GHz) (17W) + Intel HD Graphics 4000
Memory: 2GB 1600MHz DDR3 System Memory (1 Dimm)
Maximum memory: Upgradeable to 16 GB
Memory Slots: 2 DIMM
Hard drive: 320GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
Optical drive: External Tray Super Multi 8X DVD+/-RW w/Double Layer
Network interface: Integrated 10/100 BASE-T Ethernet LAN
Wireless: Intel 802.11b/g/n WLAN and Bluetooth + WIDI
Power supply: 65W AC power adapter
Battery: 4 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
Battery Life: Up to 5 hours
Ports: 1 SuperSpeed USB 3.0; 1 HDMI; 1 headphone-out; 1 microphone-in
Expansion Slots: Multi-format digital media card reader
Energy Efficiency Compliance: ENERGY STAR® qualified
Display: 14.0″ diagonal HD BrightView LED-backlit Display (1366 x 768)
Keyboard: Standard Keyboard or Backlit Keyboard
Dimensions: 13.38 x 9.28 x 0.78 in
Weight: 3.98 lbs
Webcam: HP TrueVision HD Webcam with integrated microphone
Audio: Beats Audio; 4 speakers
Warranty: 1-year limited hardware warranty support
Software included: Norton Internet Security 2012 (60-day trial), CyberLink DVD Suite; HP Games; HP MyRoom

The HP ENVY 4t-1100 TouchSmart Ultrabook laptop would be suitable for general number of home users or students who would like to experience the power of Windows 8 operating system for light work and entertainment use. The entry cost of TouchSmart Ultrabook is at $799.99, but higher end upgrade and options will slightly cost a little more.


Apple iPad Mini’s Price is Right

Apple iPad Mini Release Price

Apple iPad Mini Release Price

Apple’s iPad Mini is now out in the market. Apple marketing guru Phil Schiller announced that the iPad Mini would begin at $329 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi model. Since the first launch of iPad in 2012, Apple is under pressure to defend its dominant position in the tablet market. Its target is to fight competition from Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus tablets. The iPad Mini is somehow poised in the middle of iPhone and iPad, which is slightly larger than the seven-inch display offered by its main competitors. However, with the high price tag of iPad Mini, some think that the mini-tablet price war is off.

Everyone knows that Apple does not come cheap as usual. Maybe more important than the features of iPad Mini is perhaps the brand which influenced its higher price than competition. Kindle Fire, Nook and Nexus 7 might deliver similar or better features than Apple iPad mini at much affordable price. You now know the iPad price, the Kindle Fire/Nook/Nexus7 price and finally the iPad mini price. Still iPad Mini is way too expensive, but market analysts project the smaller tablet demand would be able to cut competition. Everything remains to be seen, if iPad Mini’s price is right.


Removing and Clearing Formats in MS Word 2003 versus MS Word 2010

Microsoft Word is widely used word processing application software of the MS Office Suite. It has many features that make writing documents easier and interesting because of the ability to create charts and insert pictures. In addition, a common task in MS Word application software is to format text. Formatting Toolbar can be used conveniently to format text changing font, font size, and even the spacing on each line. The steps basically include highlighting the text to change and click on the attributes from the formatting toolbar to apply.

There are times that document formats are not necessary especially when the focus is only the content. Conversely, it would also be an easy task to remove all applied text formatting, styles and effects on a Word document. I am lost sometimes on how things are done as Microsoft has changed the user interface from version to version. Thus, there’s a bit of variation depending on the MS Office Suite used. I’ll show some steps for comparison purposes the removal of format using MS Word 2003 with that of MS Word 2010.

MS Word 2003 Clear Format Steps:
1. Highlight or select the text
2. Click Edit on menu bar
3. Select Clear on sub-menu
4. Click Formats

MS Word 2003 Clear Format Steps

MS Word 2003 Clear Format Steps

MS Word 2010 Clear Format Steps:
1. Highlight or select the text
2. Click Home on menu bar
3. On Font tab menu
4. Click Clear Formatting icon

MS Word 2010 Clear Format Steps

MS Word 2010 Clear Format Steps

Formatting provides consistency in a document, but when needed it comes handy to know how to remove and clear formats as well.


Digital Camera Workshops Guarantees Better Holiday Photos

A digital camera to capture and store photographs electronically has become a necessity when going on a holiday. I could not imagine someone going on a vacation without tagging along a camera. Somehow there’s something missing without it. I guess everyone would like to share their experience or keep a remembrance of their trip. Worst though is the photos taken did not capture the expected scenery / view or it is blurred.

I even was not spared of this predicament. So, with the wide variety of digital camera available, it would not really matter as long as you’ve got one for holiday. The choice could be from a basic point and shoot camera to a DSLR camera. I have observed though that DSLR camera are increasingly becoming within the reach of the average photographer or photo enthusiast.

Having an expensive camera would not guarantee good pictures. A friend has bought Canon EOS 650D DSLR, but has no idea on fully utilizing its features. The poor thing ended up being used like an ordinary point and shoot camera. Actually, EOS 650D comes with Hybrid CMOS AF System for unparalleled performance. There are 4 different AF methods to select from such as Face + tracking, FlexiZone – Multi, FlexiZone – Single, and Quick mode. In the proper hands, pictures would rarely go wrong with this type of DSLR camera.

Having an eye for taking good photos is learned from experience or from someone with experience. Thus, digital camera workshops that cater to the needs of beginners, hobbyist and serious photo enthusiasts is a way to capture interesting and better looking holiday travel pictures.