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When it’s time to replace SSD

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While solid state drives (SSD) are more stable than hard drives, age can eventually cause them to fail. It is therefore important to know what signs to keep an eye out for, which could signal an impending failure. According to Tony Yu, South African country manager at ADATA, while there are tools available to monitor your SSD for flaws, there are some very specific signs you can look out for.

“While the technology in SSDs has evolved over the years, making them even more stable and reliable, there are instances where they can fail. When a computer attempts to read or save a file, but it takes unusually long, the system will eventually abandon the task and give an error message. These are known as bad blocks and can result in you not being able to read from or write files to the SSD,” he says. Other symptoms of bad blocks include needing to repair your PC or file system, and the freezing and crashing of active applications. “If you are getting frequent errors when moving files, or your system is running slow, particularly when you access large files, you should consider running a diagnostic tool to determine whether there are any physical problems with your drive. I would also advise you to back up your files immediately to avoid data loss.”

Yu says there are two ways in which bad blocks can affect your files. “If your system refuses to write data to the drive, I would recommend that you try and save the files to another location, or copy it to the cloud, restart your computer and try saving them to the drive again. Fortunately, in this case the data has not been compromised as it was not written to the drive in the first place,” he says. “Unfortunately, if your system refuses to read the data, you have a much bigger problem, because often, that data is lost for good.”

An error popping up stating that your PC needs to be repaired can be a sign of your SSD developing bad blocks. “While this error sometimes pops up purely because the computer was not shut down properly, it can mean that you have issues with your SSD. Fortunately, most operating systems come with built-in repair tools that will guide you through the steps of repairing the file system,” says Yu. “There is the possibility of losing some data in the process though, which is why we recommend that you back up your data on a regular basis.”

Another symptom that your SSD is on its way out, is when your computer crashes during the boot process, but works fine after hitting the reset button multiple times. “If you are experiencing this, I would suggest that you immediately back up your data, because this is usually caused by a bad block or an impending SSD failure,” he says. “Again, it’s best to use a diagnostic tool to test whether it is the drive and, if you have backed up your data, consider reformatting your drive and reinstalling the operating system.”

In the event of the drive becoming read-only, data can still be recovered. “If you are unable to save to the drive, we recommend that you try and connect it to another device as an external or secondary hard drive. That way, if the SSD is still working, you can at least recover all your files and delete all the data before discarding your SSD,” says Yu.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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