Pre-order your iPhone X Now!

Many people have said (somewhat justifiably) that the newest iPhone is the same thing as the last one, with a new number.  In fact, some of the newer iPhones have had LESS features than previous iterations cough cough iPhone 7 audio jack cough.

However, my over-used joke aside, the iPhone 7 was incredibly popular and Apple added it to their tally of successful bold moves.  The next bold move is supposed to be the iPhone X.

Forward Progress Must Continue

 

With Apple releasing two different branches of iPhones at once, people may wonder why?  Well it seems that the iPhone 8 might fit into the typical category of iPhones – it’s the new one but it’s not that special. It’s basically a nicer, newer iPhone 7 with a few more added features that probably won’t affect your daily life too much.

However, the iPhone X is to be their next big step up.  Among a host of other improvements, it has facial recognition software, which is also the main reason you might need to pre-order the iPhone X if you want to get it soon.

Apparently, Facial Recognition Software Requires Precision

It’s the Facial Recognition bit that has production slowing.  It makes sense, given that this truly is a huge step forward.  According to PC Mag, Apple may have had to lower their facial recognition accuracy to make it easier to produce enough iPhones on time.  That means if you want to get the new iPhone X soon, you probably need to pre-order!

Apple Has Denied This

 

Apple has made a statement about their facial recognition software, saying that they are not compromising its quality and that they fully expect it to become the new “gold standard” in facial recognition technology.

Obviously, they don’t want to admit if they are providing a sub-optimal product, but it is hard to expect the first iPhone to come with this technology to have it perfect.  Just look at how far we’ve come when viewing the iPhone 3 to the iPhone 5, and then from the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 7.

I was just saying how the new iPhone is often just like the old one with some new shine on it, but those subtle changes do ramp up quite quickly. Therefore, it is reasonable to think that in a few years we might look at the iPhone X’s facial recognition capabilities as buggy and imperfect when compared to the iPhone XII, or whatever we’re calling it then.

Trade in your old iPhone for credit toward your new one!

If you’re looking forward to snagging one of the new iPhones (whether that be the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or X) and have an older version, you can trade that in for some credit toward your new phone with most cell providers (or other places like Amazon and Best Buy) will just buy the phone off of you! However, they only accept working phones so if you’ve just been dealing with a cracked screen, make sure to get it fixed first!

Apple doesn’t mind anymore.

 

People are often hesitant to get their screen repaired through a 3rd party provider because Apple used to void the warranty on the phone then.  However, they changed their stance back in February and as long as the repair is done well (do your research and look at the reviews!) they won’t void your warranty.

It’s a small step, but it’s a nice gesture from Apple to notice that it’s unfair to consumers who might not live near an Apple store to get their phone fixed – and we’re all just replacing the screens anyway!

Apple and Samsung are competitors… Right?

Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy series are probably the most popular phones on the market, in a general sense.  I mean it’s really the iPhone by some margin, then the Galaxy is leading the pack left behind Apple’s top seller.  However, while Samsung probably wishes they were leading the market, or at least at a 50/50 split with Apple, don’t worry about them.

Samsung makes money from iPhone sales

In addition to being a massive manufacturer of their own phones, Samsung creates a lot of parts that get used in the iPhone.  This is extremely relevant right now because according to PC Mag, Samsung will get approximately $110 for every iPhone X sold.  So, the new iPhone that is going to keep Apple moving forward, is going to be paying Samsung’s bills too, keeping the iPhone’s closest competitor in the race.

In fact, there are projected to be approximately 50 million Samsung Galaxy S8 sales (which are thought to net Samsung $202) but 130 million iPhone X sales.  You can do the math, that means Samsung would legitimately make more money off of iPhones than their own Galaxies.

But whyiphone x screen

In the simplest of explanations, it’s really a result of supply-and-demand.  Apple wouldn’t be paying Samsung for their parts if they didn’t have to – they probably wish they could be manufacturing every part required for use in their iPhones, but they can’t.  And every recent iPhone uses parts from other manufacturers, the real problem is the iPhone X’s OLED screen.

The iPhone X’s screen is huge and Samsung may be the only potential manufacturer for it due to the enormous demand Apple is needing to fill.  If the iPhone X wasn’t expected to achieve such high sales numbers, they could probably go to a different manufacturer, or try to keep the entire process inside their company.

Samsung wins either way

Samsung stands to lose a lot if they stop providing parts for iPhones, and they can’t guarantee that their phones would then skyrocket in popularity (if the iPhone’s quality suffered as a result).  For the time being, it seems the two competitors are tied together.

Samsung wins either way. Either the iPhone outperforms the Galaxy by a huge margin like expected, and they still make a lot of money from both their own phone and the iPhone.  If the iPhone X doesn’t reach the high projections, the most likely candidate to replace the iPhone X in a consumer’s hand might be the Galaxy S8, which Samsung won’t be upset about either.

 

The Basics: What is Phishing?

Phishing is just the term for people trying to lure others to give up their secure information through emails.   People hopefully aren’t falling for the Nigerian Prince bit anymore, but it’s a good representation of the basic idea.

Nowadays, people don’t typically ask for you to directly send them money – instead they try to get sensitive information (often CC info, or your login information for your bank/PayPal) or they might just want you to click their link to download malware onto your computer.  In general, it’s all bad and you could lose valuable information and money.  Or your time and patience while you try to get it back.

An Example of Phishing

I’ve attached an email below that we got that isn’t quite as obvious.  It has many errors in it, but they aren’t too noticeable, and on first glance it seems like it might be a legitimate email from PayPal.  I have to respond/handle legitimate emails like this pretty regularly, so it’s not hard to believe that someone could get tricked.  Catch someone before their first cup of coffee and they might just fall for it completely!  Here is the unedited email in question:

As you can see, this email is impersonating PayPal, saying you need to click the link to verify your account because some illegal activity has been going on in your account.  At first glance, this looks fine, like something PayPal might send out.  However, there are several mistakes/signs that this email isn’t correct.

The Errors

There are actually many small errors throughout the email that should tip you off that something is wrong, on top of the fact that the URL the link will take you isn’t PayPal.  Let’s go through them.

  • The logo is wrong.
    • PayPal uses mainly two versions of their logo, one of which looks a lot like this, but it is slightly different. I didn’t notice this at first, so if you didn’t, don’t feel bad.
  • Broken English
    • “…from different country followed by some illegals buys . we think that you’re not who do that, so we have suspended your account.”
      • When you look closely, it becomes pretty obvious that this is written in broken English. Notice that the last bit “so we have suspended your account” is perfect though, so if you just skimmed the email you could totally miss that.
  • “We will give you 1 Day to update your informations or we will suspend your account forever.”
    • More broken English. But suspend my account FOREVER? Okay well Paypal wouldn’t do that… that just doesn’t make sense.  But if you don’t pause to think about it, you could get spurred to action.
  • Lastly, the link doesn’t go to PayPal.
    • You can highlight the link they want you to click and see where it’s going to take you. It’s not Paypal, so wrap it up and call it a day.  The email is fake.  I don’t know if they wanted you to just click the link and it would download malware, or if they wanted you to input your Paypal information so they could get access. It doesn’t matter, don’t click the link.

Why do Phishing emails have errors?  Are they not trying hard enough?

The assumption is that for most scammers, English is not their first language so there’s a greater chance of typos and improper grammar. However, there is speculation that emails like this are typed a little poorly on purpose to get specifically the uneducated/lazy/tired individuals that are less likely to make a big fuss if they give up their information.

This is why we all laugh at the old “Nigerian Prince” scam, but it was/is moderately successful! We all think “who falls for this stuff…” but it’s because they want to get the gullible and uneducated to work with them.  They don’t want everyone to respond to the emails, because that would be a waste of time for them.  They only want people who are likely to actually fall for their tricks – thus poor grammar and spelling are very common. People who will overlook the obvious issues in the email are more likely to just give their information without questioning it.

Now I know everything about Phishing and will never get got by it!

Well, no.  Unfortunately, being cautious is pretty much the best advice we can give you on how to protect yourself, but it’s impossible for us to guarantee that that will keep you completely protected.  However, as long as you are careful, potential hackers/scammers won’t want to waste their time with you.

How To Write A Good Password

15 years later, the leading authority on password advice changes his mind

Earlier this week Bill Burr told the Wall Street Journal that he regretted much of the password advice he gave almost 15 years ago. Who’s Bill Burr? He’s the reason you’re required to come up with a new password every 90 days on some sites. And the one who suggested things like this: p@$$w0rD123!

Turns out, changing your password every 90 days makes passwords less secure. And replacing a=@ o=0 s=$ may not be as clever as you think. See, hackers and hacking algorithms are very aware of this trick and it’s very easy for them to bust these passwords.

So what should we do???

Making a complex (but easy to remember) password

Whenever a customer drops off their computer or phone at one of our stores, we ask for the password. We do this for testing purposes, to ensure device functionality both before and after the repair. However, collecting passwords from tens of thousands of different people has led me to notice something.

Almost everyone uses a weak password.

It’s understandable. Complex passwords are hard to remember and who has enough energy to commit a random number/letter combination to memory? Instead, almost every password I see is some version of a word, often with a number or two, and maybe an exclamation mark. Bunny21 or Timothy1986! – something like that. These passwords are fairly simple and easy to crack and we all know that.

We also know what a complex password looks like. It’s something like sO#tO32bEgO or LiTi7An&Be. These passwords avoid full words and look like keyboard gibberish so the common perception is they are difficult to memorize. But they don’t have to be.

Here’s the trick. Start with a phrase that means something to you. Now choose a number (one or multiple digits) and your favorite special character. Something like below:

Soon to be Gone – 32 – #

or

Lions Tigers and Bears – 7 – &

Now, take the first two letters from each word and combine them to make a single 8 character “word”. Then put the number and the special character in-between any of the two letter segments. So…

Soon to be Gone becomes sotobego and then so#to32bego

Lions Tigers and Bears becomes litianbe and then liti7an&be

Lastly, capitalize one letter from every two-letter segment. You can choose to capitalize either the first or last letter each time, or make it a bit more random which letters you capitalize. In my case, I chose to capitalize the second letter each time for the first password, and the first letter each time in the second password. The end result is:

sO#tO32bEgO and LiTi7An&Be

Both of these seem entirely random but are actually fairly easy to remember since they are based on a phrase with personal meaning. It can be a bit tricky to type at first, but you’ll remember this password more easily than you’d expect since you’ll remember how you created it. And you’ll also be surprised how quickly your fingers will develop muscle memory and learn to type the new password.

Another method

If you can use a longer password, another common technique is to create a phrase password. Something like:

Agavehorsecloudpooltoasterdrive

As it turns out, creating a long password adds hacking difficulty even if it’s made up of common English words (which typically makes a password less secure). Because the password is adequately long and the hackers can’t predict the length of any individual word, it’s pretty hard to crack.

The key is just to not use a phrase that means anything to you this time. Nothing from literature especially. Try this method to create your password using only a dice and a cheat sheet. The random roll of a dice will make your password nearly impenetrable!

Give it a try. Did this method work for you? We’d love to hear your feedback!

What’s the best way to prevent viruses?

As a computer repair shop, we’ve seen our fair share of viruses.  And when our CEO asked everyone what we all personally believed to be the best way to protect yourself from malware and viruses in general, the answer was pretty one-sided.  Common sense.

Common Sense

More than anything else, the best way to protect yourself online is by using common sense. Be careful what you’re clicking on, what attachments you’re opening, what you’re downloading, and who you’re trusting.  Common sense is a really ambiguous term though, so here are some specific tips to help you out.

Browse with caution

Browsing with caution doesn’t necessarily mean being afraid to open up Yahoo or CNBC, but if you think a website or email looks sketchy or out-of-place, maybe skip it.  Phishing can take many forms: a Nigerian prince asking for money is obviously a ploy – but “Well’s Fargo” sending you an email saying you need to verify your information in the next 24 hours or they’ll close your account isn’t quite as obvious.  When in doubt, look for ways to verify the email is legitimate, such as a phone number or contact information at the bottom of the email and verify that it matches with Wells Fargo’s actual number.

Make sure you’re on the right website

Take a quick look at a website’s domain to make sure you’re on the correct site before you submit personal information or download anything.  If you’re going to download Microsoft Office, make sure you’re on Microsoft.com, not Microsftoff.com.  It’s a small detail, but that’s exactly how people get malicious software.

Check for an SSL certificate

An additional security measure on websites is having an SSL Certificate (Secure Sockets Layer).  That’s the little lock next to the website’s name:

It essentially just means that any information sent to or from that website will be encrypted and is therefore much harder to access for any 3rd party.

Don’t click sketchy ads

If you’re going to websites to illegally stream your favorite shows or sports, you should probably be cautious, use an adblocker, and don’t click the ads you DO see on the page.  But if you’re the type of person to go to those websites, you probably know that already.

When all else fails: use your common sense.  If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

Our favorite antivirus = Windows Defender

Windows Defender is a program that comes on every Windows computer with Windows 8 or newer (also called Microsoft Security Essentials ) and it does a pretty decent job.  It’s downloadable for all Windows computers with older operating systems as well.

Why paid antivirus solutions come up short

Besides using common sense, you still need an antivirus. But that doesn’t mean you need a paid antivirus.

Essentially, many of those common “big” antivirus programs do exactly what you want to prevent: slow down your computer.  They often force bloatware onto your computer or make you download extensions that make your browser slow and clunky.  It’s pretty ironic that the programs you’re downloading to STOP your computer from slowing down/having pop-ups will have the opposite effect.  If you don’t want to be constantly pestered by your antivirus your best bet is to just stick with the security your computer came with, because it’s definitely good enough.

Why Windows Defender is the best

How to Geek says it caught 99.9% of all “widespread and prevalent” malware.  According to them, it may not hit quite as many benchmarks as some paid options but it’s good enough.  Frankly, you won’t notice any difference in protection between Windows Defender and Norton/AVG/McAfee.  What you WILL notice though, is how annoying that paid antivirus program is.

Windows Defender is smooth and runs in the background while it does its job.  It will give you the rare notification that isn’t invasive or distracting, but that’s how you know it’s working.  Plus it’s free.  And unless you really feel like financially supporting the antivirus community, free is better.

Now that DOESN’T mean that you’re 100% protected all the time. Viruses and malware are persistent and you are always at risk of being infected – whether you have an additional antivirus program or not.  You should still be careful (see section on common sense).

Even more protection: monthly Malware Scans

If you really want to double down and cover all of your bases, you can use a malware scanner once a month (or once every few months) to ensure that you haven’t picked up any malicious software.  Malwarebytes has developed a good reputation for routine malware scanning, and they have both free and paid versions.

If you go with a scanner that is manually controlled – which we would recommend since you are already running Windows Defender in the background – just remember to use it.  It’s not helping you if the icon is just sitting on your desktop. Make sure to run it every now and then!

Conclusion

These suggestions are for the average user for their personal computer.  Large and medium businesses are obviously at more risk and will require more layers of protection for their network, because they have more to lose and attackers have more to gain.  However, for personal use, most paid anti-viruses hurt more than they help and you just shouldn’t worry about it too much.  Browse with common sense and stick with the basics.

Worst case scenario: a virus removal from a computer repair shop just like us is always an option.  If that doesn’t do the trick, a system reinstall will cure your sick computer and have it back up to speed in no time.

Top 5 Gadgets of 2017

We’re obviously a big proponent of NOT getting the latest gadgets, and instead upgrading your old ones.  However, some things can’t really get upgraded (for phones we can fix it, but we can’t make it BETTER than it was new) or sometimes it’s just not worth it.  Also, given the nature of our work, we’re all pretty geeky and like the latest and greatest in tech – this is where we get to share that. In order to help you keep up with some of the newer trends in technology, we have put together a list of the top new gadgets that have debuted in 2017.

 

  1. Samsung Galaxy S8

Where else would we start besides the brand new mobile phone?  The next iPhone isn’t out yet, and the Samsung Galaxy S8 is the latest Android model to be released. While its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, was disappointing to most people, the S8 is an improvement in many ways. With a larger, sleeker screen, the S8 has created an immersive platform for those who enjoy using phones for videos and gaming. It also has an improved camera, which has become one of the most important features of a smartphone. The improved pixel quality of the S8 makes for sharper, more realistic photos.While it still has its flaws, such as the occasional slow processing, many agree that the display and visuals are some of the best to ever come from a smartphone.

 

  1. Here One Earbuds

A terrific complementary piece to a brand new smartphone is a set of ear buds that match in quality. The latest gadget that guarantees to “drown out the noise”, is the set of Here One earbuds from Doppler Labs. These wireless earbuds allow the user to manipulate the sound around them using built in microphones and sound processors; the goal being to be able to eliminate specific sounds around you. While Doppler Labs has not necessarily perfected this, it is still a far step in being able to completely manipulate the sound with your own earbuds. Occasionally the battery can be insufficient, but the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to the Here One earbuds.

 

 

  1. Microsoft Surface Laptop

For the past few years, Microsoft has been presenting consumers with a tablet that can do basically everything a regular laptop can. The Microsoft Surface Pro has been marketed as a 2 in 1 device, giving people all the advantages of a tablet and a laptop. Well, now they have finally come out with just a regular laptop. The Microsoft Surface Laptop is a more efficient, standard-type laptop that appeals to those who do not need the tools that come with a tablet.

The sleek design is reminiscent of the Macbook Pro, except it has fabric all around the keyboard (for those of you who value fabric with your computers). The Surface Laptop allows the user to run only Windows programs, but this prevents the system from slowing down or running into malware from other programs. Overall, the Microsoft Surface Laptop is a successful addition to the market of traditional laptop computers.

However, a negative that we know since we are a repair shop: you better not hurt it.  If something goes wrong with your computer, or you spill water in it, etc. it is near impossible to open up, so it’s not ideal

 

  1. LG Signature Series Wallpaper Television

For televisions consumers are always searching for the perfect balance between the quality of the picture resolution and the overall size and sleekness of the television. LG has presented consumers with a new television that contains Organic LED technology that provides for more picture depth and contrast. However, it gets its “wallpaper” name from the fact that it is only .15 inches thick and weighs just 16 pounds. This helps the television to blend seamlessly into the wall, and with a screen size of 65 inches, it does not sacrifice any picture size for the smaller size of the entire device.

  1. Amazon Echo Dot

Voice-command devices are gadgets that are becoming increasingly popular. The Amazon Echo is one of the more popular voice-command devices, but Amazon has released a smaller, cheaper version for those who only require the more basic needs provided by the Echo. The Amazon Echo Dot, is a smaller, sleeker version that does not have the high-quality sound system of the regular Echo, but it provides many of the same services. The Dot is recommended for those who don’t require a top-notch sounds system from their device. However, if you are not satisfied with the basic sound system it provides, the Echo Dot is able to connect to another sound system nearby. The Echo Dot is recommended for those looking for a smart assistant device, but aren’t necessarily sure about making the full investment.

 

These are just a few of the new gadgets that are sweeping the technology market so far in 2017, and while more will come out in the coming months, the ones listed above are recommended for anyone looking to improve their current devices.

The Future of Virtual Reality

At one point not that long ago, the concept of virtual reality was just something that seemed cool, but not in the immediate future. Well time has passed and we have arrived where virtual reality is not only possible, but is becoming increasingly popular in the technological mainstream. Virtual reality, or VR, has been around for some time, but it has just recently reached the height of its popularity. Companies are releasing brand new and sophisticated forms of VR, such as The Oculus Rift, Sony’s Playstation VR, and Samsung VR Gear. In video games, movies, sports, or any kind of entertainment, people are searching for the most immersive and realistic experience they can find, and this is where virtual reality can step in.

We have reached the current peak of virtual reality technology, but the real questions are how much can it improve, and what impact will virtual reality ultimately have on our society.

To start with the first question, virtual reality certainly has room to improve. Yes, it is already an immersive experience like no other, but who’s to say it won’t get better? The current crop of virtual reality headsets is the best we have ever had, but you can say that about any developing technology.  There’s a reason we get the latest phones/laptops/TVs etc.

Currently it can be difficult to set up the virtual reality sets, especially when trying to eliminate any blurriness or disorientation. They still provide for an immersive experience, but it is not always as clear as it should be. Also, there are limitations to the amount of tasks you can do with a VR headset. The virtual reality aspect of video games tends to sell you on the fact that you are in the world itself, except they often lack the story or substance of regular video games.

Also, while video games have made a huge step in the world of VR, film has yet to catch up in terms of providing the general public with a readily available, high quality VR film experience. In other words, we still have a very, very long way to go before all of our gaming, movies, and sports are consumed through virtual reality – if that ever does happen.  All of these concerns are without mentioning the bottom line – price and availability. So yes, while we may be blown away by the VR headsets that are out now, they are really just the tip of the iceberg going forward.

The more pressing question is what impact it will have on society in the future. Most tend to think of VR as simply a way to make entertainment more exciting and realistic, but the use of VR is going to extend far beyond that. Already, VR has proved to have certain medical and psychological benefits.

People who suffer from anxiety and depression have been able to find relief using virtual reality, as it provides an outlet for those to work through their real-life issues in a controlled environment. It has also been proven to provide relief for those suffering from physical pain, maybe just because it is a strong and distracting experience. Another interesting benefit, some VR experiences allow the user to see what they would look like at the age of 65. Those people who were not happy with how their future looked were more likely to make positive changes to their lifestyle. The applications of VR are endless, so while the immediate future promises of better video games and movies, we really don’t know what some of the final products might end up being.

However, although virtual reality should be beneficial overall, there are still questions. Prolonged use of virtual reality could lead to people being susceptible to motion sickness and sight damage. Yet, the non-physical damages may be more severe. It remains to be seen if VR can cause any permanent psychological damage, but most concern tends to stem from the fact that people may get too engrossed in the experience and prefer virtual reality over their real lives.  There are plenty of books and movies about this (Ready Player One is coming out soon) and who knows how accurate those might be, but it is a concern.  Current video games can already damage a person’s ability to have strong, intimate relationships in real life. Virtual realities can be fun, but can be detrimental to a person’s growth.

Like most things, VR will bring its fair share of disadvantages. But as long as it is used properly, virtual reality should be one of the more exciting and innovative uses of technology that we have ever experienced.

net neutrality

Net Neutrality means that ordinary people get to use their internet access however they want.  Facebook, Reddit, Amazon, Netflix, whatever – nobody’s going to stop you or charge you extra on top of your subscriptions.

It seems like a pretty good thing, that essentially EVERYONE is in favor of right?  But who would be against a relatively free internet?  Somebody must be against net neutrality, or else we wouldn’t have a designated day (July 12th) to remind the world that the current way the internet works is GOOD, and that we shouldn’t roll back the Net Neutrality regulations that are currently in place.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are opponents of the free internet – the internet we have today – and I’m sure you didn’t need another reason to dislike them.  ISPs (Comcast, Verizon etc.) want to be able to control the content in their services as a way to charge customers more for specific, premium services (streaming, gaming, uploading etc.)

Essentially, some things that you use the internet for are more resource-intensive than others. Streaming content on Netflix or Hulu is harder than going through your email or browsing Facebook.  Streaming services are a perfect example of what ISPs hate, because it requires a lot of resources from them while Netflix just needs to keep updating their library to rake in their monthly subscriptions.

 

With that in mind, it makes sense that Comcast might want to charge you extra for streaming Hulu too often since it’s resource-intensive for them.  However, the customer should get to use their internet subscription however they want to.  If you’re paying for a certain internet speed, they can’t tell you that you can’t use that to binge-watch The Office.  That’s for the customer to decide, because you are literally paying for that right.

Essentially, these big companies want to roll back the current net neutrality agreement so that they can charge premiums for access to certain content.  Facebook, Reddit, Amazon, Netflix, Yahoo, etc… you might need to pay more to get what you want!  Right now you pay your internet bill, and your Netflix/Hulu subscription or your Amazon Prime, and that’s it.  But if we get rid of the regulations in place, you might get hit with a paywall before you can access some of your favorite websites.  Or they might just cap your download speed if you’re streaming something too long – which leads to buffering which leads to headaches.  But you’re paying for a high enough download speed that you shouldn’t have to buffer to watch Game of Thrones and they shouldn’t be allowed to throttle your download speed just because they don’t like what you’re using it for.

A customer is entitled to receive what they pay for.  You can’t tell somebody who is paying their bills that it’s suddenly not good enough.  The internet access that we have today gives us the freedom to use our internet access for whatever we want.  We don’t need to pay extra to the cable/internet companies because we’re going to a website they deem “premium”.

At the end of the day, the current regulations are what we need.  It’s what we currently have, but we need to make sure that it stays.  Once we cross that line, it’s hard to go back.

Please visit https://www.battleforthenet.com/ to make your voice heard, or to learn more about the current Net Neutrality rules in place.

SSD vs HDD

In our society where the technology landscape is constantly moving and shifting, people are always concerned with having the best new thing on the market.  So when people are talking about a new form of storage on your computer and replacing your hard-drive, it’s easy to be skeptical.  However, if you are interested in having a better experience using your computer, then an upgrade to an SSD (or Solid State Drive) may be for you. Computers used to rely on HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) as the main storage device, but SSDs are becoming more and more prevalent. HDD versus SSD

So what exactly are SSDs and HDDs?

A Solid State Drive is a storage device containing nonvolatile flash memory, and it is used in place of a Hard Disk Drive because of its speed. A normal SSD offers the largest jump in performance for a regular PC. Most people are familiar with a standard USB drive, so think of the SSD as a larger USB. An HDD, is the mechanism that controls the positioning, reading, and writing of the hard disk.  So while an SSD is like a large USB, an HDD is more like a larger floppy disk.

That comparison might be a little harsh, but still. An SSD can perform all of the functions as an HDD, but SSDs store their memory on flash chips that retain data even if there is no power on. As mentioned before, the SSD is nonvolatile, which means that the disk can be turned off and it won’t forget what was stored on it. By storing data in microchips, this prevents the SSD from requiring moving parts, which makes it more reliable. An HDD does have several moving parts, which causes it to be slower and also gives it a higher failure rate because moving parts are susceptible to wear and tear over time.

Solid State DriveThe main advantage of an SSD is the speed, because the flash memory chips used in SSD are much faster at reading data. When an HDD is crowded with data, sometimes it becomes fragmented across multiple sections. This will cause the HDD to take longer to read the data. Unlike the HDD, the SSD is able to read files simultaneously across multiple sections, which prevents fragmentation. If you are looking to improve the speed of your system, once again we can consider this a win for SSD.

The one advantage HDD does have is that it is cheaper and is still able to store lots of data. However, unless you need to store a large amount of data (and you’ll probably know who you are, if that is the case) a standard 240 GB is probably enough. Also, people may argue that the SSD is significantly more expensive. This is the case if someone wants a huge SSD, because an HDD with 1 TB of data will probably remain notably cheaper than an SSD of that size. However, the price of the standard SSD has declined in recent years, making the price difference not a major issue anymore for the average consumer who likely only needs between 120 and 480GB of storage. With an SSD, you are sacrificing a few bucks for a much more efficient and reliable system.

Comparing the two side by side, the HDD requires much more power and time to operate as opposed to the SSD. The failure rate is higher, and the price of the SSD is continuing to decline, making the price difference a non-factor compared to the past.  Given all these factors, we can see how the SSD is a clear improvement over the HDD. When it comes to finding a new computer that is “better, faster, stronger”, the Solid State Drive will turn your old computer into the new one you have been looking for.