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PC Power Myths Debunked

In these hard economic times, saving every penny counts. I found this article that debunks five popular myths about PC Power. If you read it over, you may find some useful tips to save some money for yourself and maybe even SRG.

I will admit that I generally leave my PC on at home all day long every day... in fact I don't think I've turned it off in the last 2 months! Think of the cash I could have saved!

From now on I will be making sure to turn off my computer when I am done using it.


Causes of Hard Drive Failures

An article in the Proceedings of the 5th USENIX Conference on File and
Storage Technologies this month offers perhaps the most in-depth study
of hard drive failures to date. Google uses hundreds of thousands of
hard drives to store its data, and a sample of one hundred thousand of
Google's drives was studied for five years to determine common causes of
failure. Since this very interesting article is a little dense to read
in its entirety, I thought you would enjoy reading some highlights.
Going against conventional thought, the study determined that increased
temperature and/or activity had little or no correlation to failure
rate. By extension, it was found that drives spinning up and spinning
down most often had the highest failure rates. This means it's best to
uncheck the "Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible" box in Energy
Saver — at least in terms of hard drive health. Some SMART (self
monitoring and reporting technology) parameters are excellent indicators
of impending mechanical failure. Among failed drives, a good chunk gave
no warning by SMART, even though SMART- monitored parameters were to
blame for failure. For this reason, SMART is most useful as a
statistical predictor of failure for a population of drives rather than
on individual devices. With that in mind, if your drive reports SMART
errors you should at the very least immediately perform a full backup.
About 3% of drives failed in the first three months, 1.8% in the first 6
months, 1.7% in the first year. From there, failure rates jump to
approximately 8% in the second year, 9% in the third year, fall to 6% in
the fourth year, and jump back to 7% in the fifth year. The whole
article can be read at: <
disk_failures.pdf> ~ Matt Klein Small Dog Electronics

Andrew Webb
blogging just like everyone else at



Google Blog Directory

As many of you know I'm a big fan of most things Google. On the most general level, I find their vision as a corporate entity simply staggering. Eric Schmidt stated ""It will take, current estimate, 300 years to organize all of the world's information." Google has their hands in just about everything these days. If there is information to be indexed, whether it be words, music, video, data, print, photos, ideas, you name it, Google is indexing it and making it searchable. One of my favorite manifestations of this data collection are the many blogs that Google publishes on a wide range of topics from consumer packaged goods to public policy. Check out Google's Blog Directory.



Free Shipping Day

Maybe this is pushing the boundaries of what this blog is for, but whatever, if it's on the Internet, it at least loosely relates to technology, right?

You know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but you might not know about Free Shipping Day. On Thursday, December 18, dozens (46 as of this posting) of retailers are getting together to offer free shipping with guaranteed arrival by Christmas. Many of the stores you'll recognize, many you won't. However you look at it, it beats fighting the crowds to get Grandpa that thing that looks like it's somehow used for golf.

Check out the full list of participating stores at



iPhone Users List - Late Edition

Lots of fun this week in the iPhone users list. A few milestones, some cool apps, some neat tricks, and some generally bizarre iPhone goodness.

The iPhone reached 2 important milestones this week. The first was the App Store selling it's 300,000,000th app. Considering the app store just opened in July, I'd say apps are selling like hotcakes. Couple that with over 10,000 apps for sale via iTunes, and you've got something close to a tech phenomenon. Second and more importantly, Rick Sterling, our own big cheese, took a bite of the Apple. He has joined the rank and file of over 30 iPhone users at SRG. Who's next? Someone else in Business Operations perhaps?

Now on to the apps. Moving forward i'll add a link to the iTunes App Store that you can click on from your iPhone or computer running iTunes. From your iPhone you can download and install the app. From your computer you can download the app to iTunes then install it the next time you sync via cable.

I came across an app that will make accessing AT&T wifi hotspots from your iPhone a lot easier. This is important because two things happened earlier this year. Starbucks switched hotspot service providers from T-Mobile to AT&T and AT&T started letting iPhone users access AT&T hotspots for free. AT&T is also the commercial wifi provider at DIA. For all these reasons and more, this week's first app recommendation is Easy Wi-Fi for AT&T. From "Easy Wi-Fi simplifies using your iPhone at AT&T hotspot locations. To gain access you simply start the Easy Wi-Fi application and you're logged in automatically. No more registering each time with Safari and waiting for SMS codes. Easy W-Fi makes AT&T Wi-Fi and the iPhone even better." Click here to launch the iTunes App Store on your Computer or iPhone.

The next app is pretty popular already. The Google iPhone app. It's nice to see Google continuing to support the iPhone while they are working to get Android, their own mobile platform, off the ground. It's even nicer to see Apple turn a blind eye to legal restrictions placed on the iPhone development community. In any case, the Google iPhone App has lots of cool features that make it worth downloading. The coolest feature is voice activated search. Hit the search button, speak your search terms, and Google search results are returned via the Safari web browser. It also has built in links to all of Google's most popular apps like Google Earth, Picasa, and YouTube, among others. You can also configure it for integration with Google Apps for Your Domain (GAFYD), Google's Enterpise Application Suite that is going toe to toe with the Microsoft Office Suite. We've been testing GAFYD at SRG for the last year or so, and despite some functional gaps, it is one kick butt application suite. Anyway, you can download the Google iPhone App here.

The best part of this week's iPhone apps? They're both free.

Let's wrap up with bizarre manifestations of the iPhone culture. Here's a DIY tip on how to use your iPhone to automate one of life's more mundane tasks, feeding your dog. For the weary traveler, here is a simple tip for turning an air sickness bag into an iPhone stand, just hope you don't get airsick.

That's all for this week.