Tag Archives: Data

Review: Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery

Admit it, we’ve all deleted the wrong file on our flash drives or wiped the wrong hard drive. Unfortunately, these files are unrecoverable if you don’t use an automatic backup service such as Time Machine or make backups of your flash drives. Luckily for us, Stellar Data has decided to fix this issue by making their own affordable data recovery software for Mac.

Stellar’s Mac data recovery software can recover files from almost any HFS, HFS+, HFS Wrapper or FAT based drives. This includes flash drives, hard drives and iPods in disk mode. In my review, I will show you how to recover these files and give you my thoughts on whether you should buy Stellar Phoenix for Mac. Are you using a PC? If so, check out this review.

Using Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery

Installing this recovery software is as easy as installing another Mac app: just drag and drop the app to your Applications folder. Once you’ve purchased a key for the software, you can register it via the “Registration Tool” where you can copy and paste your purchased key. At the time of this review, Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery costs $99 for a digital copy or $119 (plus shipping) for a physical copy of the software. If you’re purchasing for your school or business, prices may vary.

Once you’ve launched the app for the very first time, you may notice the only major downside to this application: the interface. The images seem a bit “cheesy” and the buttons are oversized. While the look is unappealing, it probably won’t matter to you when you’re in the midst of panicing after accidentally deleting an important essay from your flash drive.

Recover Data Button

To actually recover a drive, click on the obnoxiously large Recover Data button which is located towards the center of the welcome screen.

Since Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery can recover such a wide variety of files and media, you have to choose what you would like to recover. You can view this list which is located towards the top of the recovery window. After you’ve chosen your drive, you can choose the extent of which you would like to recover files, such as quick, advanced and deletion recovery. Keep in mind that the higher quality of the scan you run, the longer the recovery will take.

Recovering your drive is pretty simple:  after selecting your recovery options, you’ll be taken to a screen where you can actually recover your files. You’ll be prompted to select the drive that you’d like to recover (a flash drive in my case). Phoenix will now attempt to recover your files, which you can then select and choose where to export the recovered files.

Drive Selection

If you would like to create an image of one of your drives, return to the homescreen and press the Create Image button. You can then select the drive you would like to make an image of and choose a destination for the image to be saved.

What I Think

So far, I’m a huge fan of Stellar Phoenix for Mac. It has had no trouble recovering data from a wide variety of flash drives and external hard disks. All of the deleted files were recovered without any corruption or data loss. The only problems I ran into were “jumbled” file names, which can definitely get annoying.

All in all, I think Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery is a great deal as it only costs $99 for a single user digital copy. Comparable software can costs upwards of $200 and don’t offer the extensive features of Stellar Phoenix. If you would like to buy this software for yourself, head on over to Stellar’s website for more information.

Disclosure: I would like to thank Stellar Data Recovery for sending this software over for review.

Create Rich and Interactive Data Mashups with Excel

Microsoft has launched a new service that allows developers to quickly create rich and interactive data mashups for their sites.

Microsoft Excel

Follow three easy steps to develop mashups with Microsoft Excel web App on SkyDrive using JavaScript:

  • Upload your workbook on SkyDrive
  • Embed it on your web site
  • Mash it up with our JavaScript API

Before you can embed your Excel workbook on a web page, you need to upload it a folder on SkyDrive and then set permissions on the workbook. Once   you have your workbook uploaded to SkyDrive, you can use the SkyDrive Embed dialog box to get the HTML and JavaScript code that will embed the workbook on a Web page. Now, you can use the Excel Services JavaScript library to make rich data mashups using data from your embedded workbook.

While the iframe code only displays the spreadsheet on a Web page, Microsoft Excel Web App also generates a JavaScript snippet that you can paste into the HTML of your web page alternatively. This JavaScript snippet consists of an HTML div element that displays the spreadsheet and a script element that sets options for appearance and interactivity. You can add your own code to programmatically manipulate the embedded spreadsheet.

Excel Mashup

Sony Public Relations Posts Grim Update On PSN Situation.

HUGE ALERT TO ALL THOSE READING THIS: If you use one password on all services online then stop reading this post and go change ALL of those passwords. Done? Okay, good. Read on.

PSNup

Here is the bad news: your Credit Card information has probably been stolen. Here is the extremely bad news: the hackers also know where you live and your phone number, as well as the password that you use on most of your services (if you are the one password is enough for a bajillion accounts I am very secure!kind of person). Here’s the gist:-

What they have stolen:-

  • Name
  • Address
  • Country
  • Birthday
  • Email Addresses
  • PSN ID/Password
  • Probably Your Trophies As Well

What they might have stolen:-

  • Purchase History
  • Credit Card numbers used for purchase
  • Security question on your PSN account (which is usually the same across many platforms, so change this one too)

What Sony officially advises you to do:-

If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, to be on the safe side we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.

To protect against possible identity theft or other financial loss, we encourage you to remain vigilant to review your account statements and to monitor your credit or similar types of reports.

How did the hackers obtain your password in the first place?

Why, it was in plaintext, my good man!

<user2>  creditCard.paymentMethodId=VISA&creditCard.holderName=Max&
creditCard.cardNumber=**********&creditCard.expireYear=****&creditCard.
expireMonth=*&creditCard.securityCode=***&creditCard.address.address1=
example street%2024%20&creditCard.address.city=city1%20&creditCard.
address.province=abc%20&creditCard.address.postalCode=12345%20

<user2>  sent as plaintext

<user3>  uh

<user3>  did you censor that card?

<user2>  ya its fake

<user3>  good

<user1>  wow, plaintext :S

<user5>  plaintext wow

<user3>  im never putting in my details like that

<user2>  ya is all fake lol

<user2>  i never used cc on ps3

<user2>  normally you ATLEAST enccrypt the securtity code, even if its ssl

PSNDRM

As the entire chat log of the hackers while they were penetrating the PlayStation Network shows at one point of time, I really cannot believe that a network that puts so much Digital Rights Management (DRM) protection on every game manages to store passwords without any kind of encryption. Thoroughly unbelievable. It is going to take a lot of coaxing from them for me to get back to the network. Thoroughly disgusting and outrageous.

Do You Want Big Brother Spying on You?

Back in 2006, the   U.S. Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, under the Bush Administration, called for new rules that would require ISPs and cell phone companies to collect more data (spy) on all of their users. It’s called Mandatory Data Retention. At the time, there was enough opposition to this idea that it never got far.

Recently, the  House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security held a hearing to promote this controversial idea once more. Several members of congress have already proposed legislation on data retention, and support for it is coming from both Democrats and Republicans. The Obama administration’s Department of Justice is also expected to support forced data retention.

Currently, ISPs and phone services already keep transaction records for 90 days, in accordance with the 1996 Electronic Communication Transactional Records Act. After 90 days, the records are deleted, and some law enforcement agencies would like to see these records kept much longer.

Big-Brother-is-Watching-YouSince it’s obvious to many that this is another case of Big Brother is watching, how can these politicians justify their call for more intrusion into business’s and customer’s internet and phone traffic?

Most of this call to action is the result of law enforcement and defense agencies wanting longer retention periods, and politicians that want to look like they are tough on internet crime, such as child pornography. However, privacy advocates such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), see it as having bad unintended consequences for user privacy, First Amendment anonymous speech, and ballooning costs for retaining the information.

In my opinion, new laws requiring data retention are going to cause more problems than they solve.

Law enforcement agencies can already ask internet and telecom providers to collect extensive information on suspects. Collecting more data will help law enforcement and Homeland Security catch criminals and terrorists, but these new laws will treat all of us like suspects.

The collected information will seriously clamp down on anonymous speech and whistle blowing. Do you trust the government to stop itself from trying to track down sources of leaked information or people who voice strong anti-government or opposition party speech?

Government and law enforcement won’t be the only ones able to access this data. How many websites are hacked every day? How many government agencies have data stolen from them? We’ve already seen what’s happened with WikiLeaks and government employees who get fooled into giving out information.

It will also make simple visits to legal sites more ominous. Would you want everyone to know you’d visited a site about STDs, mental health, bankruptcy, adult entertainment, or any other normally private topic.

Civil courts will be able to get access to this information. It could be used in divorce cases, to prove infidelity. It could be used in law suits to prove prior knowledge or associations.

The internet and telecom providers can handle the additional open-ended costs of mandatory data retention, since those costs will be transferred to the consumers. It will be the same as a new hidden tax. Smaller businesses, and start-ups may not be able to bear the added costs, thus reducing innovation, and killing competition with the big internet companies.

In summary, new data retention laws would be good for big government, law enforcement and big business. They would be bad for the average joe consumer, free speech and free association. If you don’t agree (or you hate freedom), you have the freedom to comment below.

10 Petabytes Data Tower Higher Than Burj Khalifa; Dwarfs Empire State

For those in the unknown, Burj Khalifa is the the tallest structure every created in the world. It’s height according to recorded stats is 828 meters or 2,717 ft. The next highest man-made tower is the Taipei 101 which stands at 1,671 feet. So can anyone beat the Burj Khalifa as the tallest structure in the world?

Tallest Tower in The World

Yes, but that is if you stack hard drives which account for 10 Petabytes of data. As you can see from the above illustration, which was created by the folks at Backblaze; who provide online backups/cloud storage to customer; after they reached 10 petabytes of backup data. They also stated that the amount of backup data they have is bigger than the internet archive.

So we finally have something to rival the man-made structure with man-made data. What do you think? Can you imagine that someone would create a tower bigger than 10 petabytes now?

Also it would be great to know how much data storage you have online and offline. Make sure to tell me about it through your comments.

(h/t @arpitnext)

RIM Gives India Access to Blackberry Messenger

RIM BlackberryThe stalemate between RIM and the Indian authorities finally seems to have ended. Research in Motion stated that it has provided solutions to Indian security agencies which will allow them to access data sent using Blackberry Messenger services.

The Indian Government had asked RIM to provide it access to Blackberry Email and Messenger services by January 31, 2011. While it has given the security agencies access to Blackberry Messenger data, it still hasn’t given them access to the Blackberry Enterprise Server.

“RIM continues to work closely with the government and RIM’s carrier partners in India…We are pleased to have delivered a solution well before a mutually agreed milestone date of January 31, 2011.”

“No changes can be made to the security architecture for BlackBerry Enterprise Server customers since, contrary to any rumors, the security architecture is the same around the world and RIM truly has no ability to provide its customers’ encryption keys” said the RIM update.

Even Nokia set up its Mail and Messaging servers in India recently, to allow law enforcement agencies to intercept email and messenger data.

via WSJ

Android Data Theft Vulnerability Detailed

It should come as no shock that Android has security holes, especially seeing that the majority of rooting and jailbreaking techniques exploit recently discovered or undisclosed vulnerabilities in order to escalate privileges and provide end users with the endless amounts of customisation and third party apps. Well there’s a dark side to that as well.

An independent security researcher has detailed a proof of concept method to surreptitiously slurp data from an Android handset using a combination of XSS (cross site scripting) and Javascript.

With the help of the open source security framework Metasploit, Thomas is easily able to disguise a download as an Adobe update, which actually contains code that will upload files to the attacker.   He has tested it on the Android 2.2 emulator as well as an HTC Desire and is successfully able to pull pictures off the SD card. Google has sent word that a fix for Gingerbread is on the way, but that leaves a serious amount of devices running Android 2.2 that are vulnerable to this attack – which doesn’t say much about carriers working to keep users up to date and reduce fragmentation.

See video of the demonstration at Vimeo.

Verizon to Offer Unlimited Data Plans with iPhone 4

Both Reuters and the WSJ have confirmed that Verizon will offer its existing unlimited data plans with the iPhone 4 as well. This means that if you have a CDMA iPhone 4 on Verizon’s network, you can get an unlimited data plan for $29.99.

In contrast, AT&T offers a $25 data plan which is capped at 2 GB data usage per month with an additional charge of $10 per GB. The voice plans are nearly identical for both carriers.

For data hungry geeks, this means that the Verizon iPhone 4 will be a much better option than the AT&T iPhone 4.

One point of concern is that the iPhone 4 doesn’t support LTE, so users will have to use the slower CDMA technology.

AT&T’s Larry Solomon has already attacked Verizon on this – “The iPhone is built for speed, but that’s not what you get with a CDMA phone. I’m not sure iPhone users are ready for life in the slow lane.”

We will know more details about the Verizon iPhone 4 at tomorrow’s special event.

via AppleInsider & BI

Free Disk Space Analyzer – O&O DiskStat – Limited Time Offer

folder-check-icon[Windows Only] I recently saw an offer for a 1 Terabyte hard disk for around $120. The price of storage space keeps getting better and better. Once you start filling up huge disks, you need a way to figure out what stuff belongs on them and what you need to send to the trash.

There are dozens of disk management solutions out there and many of them are free. However, sometimes you get what you pay for. O&O Software is giving away copies of their O&O DiskStat program. It’s normally priced at $30 USD. In this case, you are getting much more than what you pay for.

o o-screenshot

Quote from O&O Software:

O&O DiskStat is a high-power tool for analyzing the used disk space on your storage volumes. With an easy-to-use interface based on the design of the Windows Explorer, you can take a closer look at the file and folder structure of your internal and external drives. Through intuitive and beautiful graphical representations you will find out which files, file types and folders are taking up the most space.

A few of the features:
* Analysis of the File System Structure
* Supports Internal and External Drives
* Windows Explorer Look & Feel
* Support of 64-bit Systems
* Windows Vista/7 Compatibility

Sign up for a free license of O&O DiskStat (requires an email address)

Free Clipboard Manager and Personal Database – Ditto

You probably know how the Windows clipboard works. You copy something, then you can paste it somewhere else. The things you copy could be plain text, formatted text, images, links or files. You may also know what happens each time you use the clipboard. The Windows clipboard only holds the memory of the last clipping. Anything you clipped previous to the last item is gone forever.

This loss can be frustrating, and the frustration has inspired many solutions to this problem. The most common solution is a tool called a clipboard manager. These tools (sometimes called clipboard extenders, enhancements or extensions) can give you access to old clippings.

I won’t use a PC for any length of time without a clipboard manager. Over the years, I’ve tried many clipboard extenders, and Ditto is my favorite. Ditto is a free and open source program. It has built-in help and an active online forum. It also comes in a portable version that you can unzip onto a flash drive and take with you for use on any PC.

Ditto’s search feature is what really sold me on it. When Ditto is activated by it’s hot key, it displays the most recent clips and also defaults to a search mode. As soon as you start typing, Ditto searches all of it’s clippings for the characters you enter and displays the most likely clippings that contain those characters.

When you combine the search feature with Ditto’s ability to permanently store clippings, you have a time saving database right at your finger tips. After I describe the program, I’ll show you my favorite feature to save you time if you decide to use it.