Digital Learning Day Shortbread

Eight is Enough

  1. Backblaze’s hard drive reliability review for 2015
  2. Engadget: You can now pre-order an Oculus PC bundle for $1,500
  3. Reuters: Apple ordered to aid FBI in

    unlocking California shooter’s phone

  4. DigiTimes: Asustek sees slight drop in 4Q15 revenues
  5. DigiTimes: MSI reports revenues increase for January 2016
  6. Continuum with lapability: Transform your

    phone, tablet, or mini PC into a laptop – Neowin

  7. GSMArena: Sony announces 22.5MP IMX318

    sensor with built-in hybrid AF and 3-axis image

  8. announces open-source Vulkan drivers for Intel hardware

Digital Learning Day

  1. U.S. game industry pulls in $23.5 billion in 2015
  2. VR-Zone: Gigabyte unveils the Radeon

    R9 380X WindForce 2X for $230

  3. Newegg’s deals


  1. TweakTown’s Nvidia Shield 4K Android TV review
  2. DPReview: Beauty-centric Panasonic

    Lumix GF8 is all about the selfies

  3. TechSpot’s guide to HEVC/H.265 encoding and playback
  4. OCC reviews IOGear Kaliber Gaming Saga headphones
  5. NikKTech’s SteelSeries Apex M800 mechanical keyboard review
  6. APH Networks on SilverStone Strider Platinum ST75F-PT PSU
  7. The Rojak Pot on Huntkey SZN507 smart power strip
  8. Guru3D’s DeepCool GamerStorm Genome case review
  9. Hardware Canucks review Corsair Carbide 400C case
Comments closed
    • DancinJack
    • 4 years ago

    Really quite disappointing. And don’t give me this “it’s the first iteration!” I understand that, but that is a huge disparity.


    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 4 years ago

    I wish that Windows Phone would take off. That Continuum feature looks really neat. An employer could issue a phone and docking station. If something like that laptop doc were lighter and wireless I could see that as the way forward for businesses. On the go and in the chair users with only one device to manage.

      • The Egg
      • 4 years ago

      If Microsoft has a good/useful feature, you can be certain that it will be laughably mis-managed, never fully realized, and left to die on the vine.

      Then 2 years after it’s been on life-support, they’ll announce a new initiative to revive it during a press release, only to completely ignore it again after a few months.

    • chuckula
    • 4 years ago

    I’ll post a few more comments in the forums, but Serve The Home has initial benchmarks of the new 16 core Xeon D parts: [url<][/url<] Here's a link to the SuperMicro board that was used in the test: [url<][/url<]

    • ronch
    • 4 years ago

    For being the two biggest hard drive suppliers, Seagate and WD sure turn out the highest failure rates in the industry. Gotta make sure I go with HGST or Toshiba for my next drive.

      • Beahmont
      • 4 years ago

      It truthfully looks more important to go with the 4TB drive from any manufacturer. The WD and Seagate 4TB drives are apparently in the same range as the Toshiba’s there, but everyone except HGST suffers below that point.

      • The Egg
      • 4 years ago

      HGST drives do look very good across the board, but there aren’t enough Toshiba drives to draw a meaningful conclusion.

      For Seagate and WD, it seems to be heavily model-specific. For whatever reason, reliability improves substantially at 4TB and above (though with WD dropping off again at 6TB). This is the opposite of what you’d expect, as you would [i<]think[/i<] fewer platters means less chance for failure. Seagate's 4TB+ offerings even seem quite decent. Seagate's 3TB ST3000DM001 on the other hand, seems to be a defective design. Nearly 30% failure just flat unacceptable.

        • Krogoth
        • 4 years ago

        Either a design flaw (too many platters for the motor) either/or that line suffers from severe QC issues.

    • ronch
    • 4 years ago

    I sure learned a lot of digital things today!

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 4 years ago


    • LiamC
    • 4 years ago

    Ouch! Those Seagate 3TB numbers have got to hurt

      • ronch
      • 4 years ago

      Now happening: Avoid Seagate like the plague.

        • Waco
        • 4 years ago

        Now happening: People assume that a bad batch of drives used in environments and workloads far beyond specifications are representative.

        Note how many drives they are STILL buying from Seagate, and note those failure rates.

          • ronch
          • 4 years ago

          Even so, would you feel comfortable buying Seagate drives after seeing these Backblaze reports for a while now?

            • synthtel2
            • 4 years ago

            Actually, yes. I’d like to pick a model that’s been out for a while and hasn’t aquired a terrible reputation in that time, but evidence is plenty of stuff they make is fine. The same applies to WD – they make some stuff that’s terrible and some stuff that’s not. I wish it were easier to figure out which is which (for both brands), but avoiding a brand entirely doesn’t look to accomplish much here (unless you’re going all-HGST, but that’s a bit pricey).

            • ronch
            • 4 years ago

            Well, my data is more important to me than holding Seagate in a good light, insisting they’re still a good option despite the data we have here. To still insist they should be considered borders on fanboyism.

            And of course no brand is perfect, but Seagate seems to be falling all over the place.

            Third, HGST drives are no more expensive than Seagate or WD. In fact, where I live Seagate’s drives command a small premium. Just small, but it simply means HGST drives aren’t more expensive, and conversely are slightly cheaper.

            • synthtel2
            • 4 years ago

            Seagate seems to have fewer models with major issues, but the ones that do are more problematic (compared to WD) AFAICT. Yes they’ve turned out a couple of garbage models lately, but WD has also had serious issues with the greens. Seagate and WD both make quite a bit of reliable stuff. From just the Backblaze data here, look at the 4 and 6TB Seagates they’ve got in service. Now, would I feel comfortable going out and buying some random just-released Seagate and not paying any special attention to backups? Hell no. Would I feel comfortable buying an ST4000DM000 when I’ve got a proper backup scheme in place? Absolutely.

            If your data is that important to you, the correct solution is to be doing proper backups, not to just trust in more reliable drives. HGSTs die too.

            As for pricing, a quick [url=<]search[/url<] for 4TB drives shows.... - The Seagate ST4000DM000 that Backblaze has so many of for $122 - The cheapest WD is the WD40EZRZ (this is a rebranded green) for $134 - The WD40EFRX (red) is the next step up at $150. Backblaze has little data for the 40EFRX, but hasn't had good luck w/ EFRXs in general. - HGST stuff starts at $160, and goes [i<]way[/i<] up from there I wouldn't be surprised to learn this is different outside the US though.

      • Krogoth
      • 4 years ago

      Looks like a bad batch.

      The trend isn’t that encouraging. HDD reliability has gone down the tubes due to cutbacks on QC and QA. There’s no vendor that is “safe” from issues.

        • nanoflower
        • 4 years ago

        Yes, if you read the entire article you can see that Backblaze is buying a LOT of Seagate 4TB and 6TB drives and don’t seem to be having any issue with the reliability of those drives. So it does look to be an issue tied to the 3TB family. That being said Backblaze do really push the drives and someone using them in a home or typical office might not see the same failure rate.

          • Krogoth
          • 4 years ago

          I also suspect that the move from longitudinal recording to perpendicular recording inflicted a massive dip in HDD reliability. It is one of the original reasons why PMR never took off until it became a necessity.

          • ImSpartacus
          • 4 years ago

          That’s a good point. Just because Seagate and wd drives appear to have vastly inferior fall rates under backblaze’s intensive use case doesn’t mean that Seagate and wd have inferior fail rates under moe lenient consumer use cases.

          Or at least, it might be more likely that they might still be inferior, but at least not so egregiously so.

          It’s unclear because we don’t have the data.

            • Deanjo
            • 4 years ago

            [quote<]under backblaze's intensive use case doesn't mean that Seagate and wd have inferior fail rates under moe lenient consumer use cases. [/quote<] It could also be since Backblaze decided to purchase their seagates directly from seagate this time instead of hiring shoppers to go buy them off the shelf that Seagate gave Backblaze this time binned product which would not be representative of what is available to the average consumer. It would not surprise me if this was the case considering the bad PR they received after the initial studies being done with off the shelf drives.

            • egon
            • 4 years ago

            Your theory’s incorrect [url=<]according to Backblaze[/url<] - they don't source their drives directly from Seagate. Further to that, they [url=<]previously investigated[/url<] and found no evidence that 'shucked' drives failed at higher rates. But suppose you were right - your argument cuts several ways. If you have issues with Backblaze [i<]sourcing[/i<] drives differently from the average consumer, you should also have issues with Backblaze [i<]using[/i<] them differently.

            • HERETIC
            • 4 years ago

            Be hardware/hardware France does a regular hardware returns report.
            It’s data is from a online hardware store.
            Main downside to the results are-only up to 1 year old.
            Latest results-
            – Seagate 0.60% (against 0.68%)
            – HGST 0.81% (against 1.16%)
            – Western 0.90% (against 1.09%)
            – Toshiba 0.96% (against 1.34 %)
            For more info on individual drives head over to be hardware.

      • Liron
      • 4 years ago

      I filled my 4 of my 5 slots with 3TB Barracudas. They all survived their 3 years at pretty much 24/7. Then they started dropping like flies, but they were so much cheaper than the competition that I can’t quite resent them for it. Besides, they weren’t catastrophic failures and I could Recuva most of the files out of them. The little old 750GB drive that I brought from my old old computer that I had been worried about has outlived them all and still works merrily with no bad sectors, though.

      • ch┬Áck
      • 4 years ago

      Ouch for any others besides the Hitachi drives tbh fam

      • jihadjoe
      • 4 years ago

      It’s crazy though that despite the catastrophic results from the 1.5 and 3TB Seagate Barracudas, WD still has the highest failure rate since 2013. Those goddamn 2TB Greens must’ve done them a real number.

    • DancinJack
    • 4 years ago

    [quote<]Backblaze's hard drive reliability review for 2015[/quote<] A little smug that the only spinners I have used in the past 5+ years are HGST.

    • Noigel
    • 4 years ago

    I’m sorry but I side with Apple on not breaking encryption. It’s a crappy situation but when you open a door you open it for everybody… the NSA, foreign gov’t actors, local gov’t actors, anyone dedicated enough to abuse it.

      • Beahmont
      • 4 years ago

      Well then you’d be wrong. For one, neither of the current Orders against Apple compel them to break the encryption.

      The first order merely compels Apple to turn over a key that Apple posses to an individual’s phone. It is a long standing common law practice for law enforcement to be able to compel a person or company not the subject of the investigation to turn over key’s to apartments, safes, lock boxes, etc. in the possession of the person or company to a place that law enforcement has a valid search warrant. That the key is now digital and to a phone does not change the power of law enforcement to ask a judge, who has to approve the writ, to compel Apple to turn over a key that Apple is known to actively have in it’s possession to a phone that law enforcement has a valid warrant to search.

      The second order, the one mentioned in the short bread, is even harder to defend. It only compels Apple to provide the firmware that Apple has in it’s possession to disable the automatic erase and lock-out functions in iOS9 on A6 or less chips. The Feds will still have to brute force the encryption. Which could still take years because the on board chip in the iPhone 5C in question can purportedly only run a key check every 5 seconds.

      None of this breaks encryption, and all of these options are not available on Apple iPhones equipped with an A7 or better. Security != encryption, warrants issued through regular non-FISA courts are still perfectly legal, and the right to privacy is not the right to permanently obstruct all investigation into a crime.

        • JosiahBradley
        • 4 years ago

        Just because it is the current day law doesn’t make it right/ethical.

          • Beahmont
          • 4 years ago

          Wait, so you’re saying that if you owned a key to an apartment that LE had a perfectly valid warrant to search, that everyone including LE knows you have, that having the key does not implicate you at all, that you are not a subject of the investigation, and that you do actually have the key, that LE shouldn’t be able to compel you to turn over the Key? Yeah, that’s so reasonable.

          Why would that be wrong/unethical?

        • cygnus1
        • 4 years ago

        While I understand your viewpoint, you may not have all the facts. It’s speculated that releasing the key for the first order, would eventually lead to cracking of any iOS device with iOS 7 or lower. It’s also possible the key may not be device specific. Maybe they just want to wait until they aren’t selling any devices that can actually run that version (the 5S, older ipads, etc). While the key would be under law enforcement control at first, once a copy of it is no longer in Apple’s control they have zero chance of keeping under control. Maybe if the government offered to guarantee chain of custody of the key, and destroy the copy after the phone is unlocked, and provide a bond payable if said key is ever leaked (billion dollars ought to do in that case), maybe then the request would be reasonable.

        The 2nd order is honestly the harder one of the two to accept. It [b<]IS NOT[/b<] widely known or accepted that Apple has the firmware the government requested just sitting on a server somewhere. It's possible engineering effort would be required to create it. If anyone at Apple has to do any kind of work, outside of just copying files, to produce that firmware, then that means the government is compelling them to create a work. The government is not equipped to determine the burden that creation puts on Apple and it should not be allowed to compel creation of a work. Without knowing all the facts, we can only speculate why Apple is choosing to fight these writs. I for one am on their side because they deserve to defend their position in court. The government should never have blanket authority to compel actions of individuals or entities. The only reasonable way to allow the government that power is if the writ is resistable through legal proceedings. If a writ is challenged, the people should always be on the side of the challenger until the writ is proven reasonable. The government should never be allowed to determine the validity of a writ or the burden a writ creates.

        • w76
        • 4 years ago

        That’s not at all what ArsTechnica is reporting. I believe they’re requesting the ability, among other things, to create a modified OS update that can be forced on to the phone to include features that’d allow (and presumably become standard in the OS) government to bypass the 5 second limit and process brute force attacks at the maximum speed of the hardware by way of lightening cable.

        I think if we lived in a world where our law enforcement and state security agencies (FBI, CIA, NSA, international equivalents) had proven trustworthy, no one would make an issue of it. But that’s obviously not the world we live in, therefore, Apple’s a hero to some, villain to others.

        In my book, it’s shockingly refreshing that a large tech company is finally taking a principled stand.

        Edit: My last sentence isn’t fair. Others have of course tried, but were gagged, so we either heard about their failed attempts belatedly or simply never will. Not for nothing companies like SpiderOak have their canary warnings.

          • blastdoor
          • 4 years ago

          I generally agree with you on this. A few thoughts:

          1. Even if those agencies were totally trusted in their intentions, we would also have to trust them in their competence. I am one of the many people whose sensitive personal data was stolen from OPM — I don’t trust the competence.

          2. Even if Apple retained the technical ability to do this, Apple is not a monolithic entity. Developing an OS is not a one man job. There would be many people at Apple who could potentially leak this security-weakened version of iOS. So while Apple’s “competence” in this area might be greater than the government’s (if for no other reason than Apple has fewer employees), I still don’t trust it.

          3. I am very confused as to what is or is not technically feasible here. Suppose Apple were to create this weakened iOS — how do they get it onto the iPhone 5c in question? And if they can do it, would that approach work on devices with an A7 or later (since the A7 has the secure enclave)? I wonder if anyone outside of Apple even knows the answer to this…

        • Zizy
        • 4 years ago

        The order means Apple has to create broken iOS version they can install to phones which will disable those security measures. Apple claims they do not have this broken iOS yet as per Tim’s response.
        This isn’t merely “give us the keys to apartment so we can search it”. It demands Apple to create backdoor to the device, which will supposedly be used just this once, if you believe this sort of bullshit.
        EDIT: Well, actually not create a backdoor. It demands Apple to disarm mines leading to entrance. Slight difference but irrelevant one.

      • Hattig
      • 4 years ago


      It seems they want Apple to create an “iOS upgrade” that disables the device wipe upon 10 unsuccessful login attempts.

      I expect the device wipe is actually an encryption key change, where the old key is lost forever. So presumably that is what will be disabled.

      But there’s still a chance that this is in hardware, with on-chip authentication and wipe being done below the OS, in the firmware.

      At some point, the cost of doing all the work is going to be immense to Apple, and also risk future roadmaps. Maybe Apple should submit a proforma invoice to the state, a few billion might change some tunes.

      • trackerben
      • 4 years ago

      The door was already constantly open whenever the attacker left information which could clue in law enforcement as to his jihadist schemes. It so happened that he left it to auto-lock when he went off to indiscriminately massacre American.

      What the FBI needs is for the relevant American firm to provide the technical means to access the criminal’s files, hopefully to find clues to others who are planning attacks on American citizens and property. The firm says it has a superior need derived from commercial obligations which its board and corporate allies believe can globally override the specific needs of a critical US anti-terror investigation.

      Assume this is no false choice set, as both parties acknowledge. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the many, or so it seems. It boils down to a matter of probable costs in either corporate resources or human lives potentially at risk. Which many’s needs you would honor in this case depends on which of these you willingly uphold: a corporation’s loyalty to its stakeholders, or a police agency’s duty to its nation.

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