Subject: General Tech | July 23, 2014 - 01:40 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: xiaomi, snapdragon 801, smartphone, mobile, LTE, Android 4.4.2
Yesterday, Xiaomi revealed a powerful smartphone called the Mi4 that looks to give the unlocked OnePlus One a run for its money. The new smartphone is launching first in China with an international version coming in the future.
The Xiaomi Mi4 features a 5" 1080p IPS LCD display, 13MP rear camera, and 8MP webcam. A metal band surrounds the outside edges of the phone while a stainless steel frame adds rigidity and protection for the internal hardware. The other bits of the case are plastic, however likely due to weight and signal reception concerns. There is a removable back cover that is available in several different designs and colors. The Mi4 is slightly bulkier than its predecessor at 0.35-inches thick and 149 grams.
Internally, the Mi4 uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC with four Krait 400 CPU cores clocked at 2.5GHz and an Adreno 330 GPU. Further, the smartphone features 3GB of RAM and either 16GB or 64GB of internal storage. It is powered by a 3,080 mAh battery which should provide ample battery life. Wireless connectivity includes dual band 802.11b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, 3G, and LTE. The WCDMA version of the smartphone will be available first with a CDMA version coming next month, and a 4G LTE capable device coming in September.
The smartphone runs Android 4.4.2 with a highly customized MIUI5 user interface. An updated version of the UI, called MIUI6 is reportedly coming in August, but it is unclear how soon Mi4 users can expect an upgrade.
The Xiaomi Mi4 will be available on July 29 for 1,999 Yuan ($322 USD) for the 16GB version and 2,499 Yuan ($403) for the 64GB version. Initially, it will be 3G only, but a 4G LTE capable version of the smartphone is coming in September (presumably for the same price). Even further out, an unlocked international version is said to be available for purchase in the future.
In all, the Mi4 looks to be a decent phone with enough design tweaks and hardware oomph to give existing high end smartphones a run for their money. You do sacrifice micro SD card support and stock Android, but if you can live with that and are in the target market (or can wait for an international version) it is worth keeping an eye on!
Subject: General Tech | July 23, 2014 - 01:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: dropbox, data privacy, encryption
Dropbox has faced many questions about the privacy of the data held on their service after modified links were shown to successfully connect to private portions of accounts as well as their ability to hand over all your content in readable form to authorities. While for many the lack of encryption is not much of a concern, businesses cannot afford to be so lax with potentially valuable client data stored on Dropbox. This use of Dropbox by businesses is far more common than you may think and may expand with the announcement of Dropbox for Business and the expanded services available for this new service.
For those with security concerns about storing unencrypted data on Dropbox it would seem that the recommendation is to use third party client side encryption software. That does mean that the new search features will not work as Dropbox will be unable to index files as they pointed out to The Inquirer and other media. Dropbox does have a decent reputation for protecting the data they store but for those intending to store proprietary data on the cloud the balance between ease of use and privacy should be considered before moving to any cloud storage provider.
"DROPBOX HAS DEFENDED its record on privacy following allegations by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that it is "hostile to privacy"."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- THUD! WD plonks down SIX TERABYTE 'consumer NAS' fatboy @ The Register
- Experts gathered round corpse of PC market: It's ALIVE! Alive, we tell you @ The Register
- DIY Conductive Paint For All Your Wearable Needs @ Hack a Day
Subject: Storage | July 23, 2014 - 06:21 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, Red Pro, red, 6tb, 4TB
Western Digital has extended its Red line with 5 and 6TB models, sporting 1.2TB per platter. Performance is expected to be slightly improved over the older / smaller capacities of the Red. The upgraded line will use an improved 'NASware 3.0' firmware, which makes improvements to Western Digital's software based vibration compensation. These improvements mean WD can now support up to 8 Reds in a single chassis (up from 5 with NASware 2.0).
Also announced was the new Red Pro line, available in capacities up to 4TB. The Red Pro is just as it sounds - a 'Pro' version of the Red. This model borrows more features from WD's enterprise line, making it very similar to an SE series HDD. Imagine a Red, but at 7200RPM and more aggressive seek times. The Red Pro also borrows the enterprise-grade 5-year warranty and is supported in chassis up to 16 bays, thanks to built-in hardware vibration compensation. When all is said and done, the Red Pro is basically a WD SE with firmware tweaked for NAS workloads.
We typically have our WD reviews post right at the NDA. On this piece, we opted to hold back as we've been working with Western Digital on some abnormal performance results we saw with the 6TB Red. Below are the results seen in Iometer. Note that the 6TB Red failed to demonstrate the expected 'ramp up' seen with other drives. HDDs normally show increased performance as Queue Depth increases. This is because the HDD controller is able to see multiple pending requests and optimize its access pattern. The more commands in the queue (higher QD), the more the HDD can optimize the pattern, and therefore the higher resulting IOPS seen.
As you can see above, the 6TB Red appears to behave as if NCQ is disabled. Some might argue (in reviews that have already published) that the drive still performs well, but the plain truth of the matter is that a HDD effectively operating without NCQ removes the drives ability to scale when multiple commands are issued. Any test issuing more than one command simultaneously will see a lesser result as compared to a properly configured drive, so things like streaming multiple videos or several users actively simultaneously accessing a NAS will see a negative impact on performance.
The 4TB Red Pro did not demonstrate the issues noted above, and Western Digital has just issued this statement in response to our feedback. Here it is:
WD has learned that initial production units of WD Red 5* and 6 TB drives perform below our expectations in random-read benchmark tests when measured with specific testing software. We have found a configuration setting to be causing these particular test results, for which we are developing a firmware update to correct the configuration setting. In the intended application -- multi-drive NAS systems -- the drives have performed to our high expectations in WD’s labs and by our system partners; users will experience normal WD Red performance.
WD is committed to providing optimally performing storage products, designed for intended applications, and we will have a firmware update available through the WD Red Product Customer Service support line as it becomes available.
*Limited quantities of 5 TB have shipped with the earlier configuration setting.
We have decided to publish the full article covering both new drives, including the 6TB Red in its (currently shipping) misconfigured form. It will go live once I add the necessary verbiage explaining the misconfiguration seen on the 5TB and 6TB Red. Stay tuned for that piece later tonight, as well as a follow-on piece to be published as soon as we have the updated firmware from Western Digital.
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