RAID does not protect your data completely

When shopping to expand the storage for your Mac, the common solution is to purchase an external storage where you connect via the USB or Firewire port of your Mac. The other option is NAS (Network Attached Storage), which is a storage device that you access via the network.

A NAS is actually a self-contained small computer build for storage purpose. There are many vendors offering NAS products such as Synology, Qnap and Netgear. Even Western Digital and Seagate now offers NAS storage. One of the advantage touted by NAS vendors is the RAID feature found on most NAS.

With proper RAID setup in NAS, you can prevent loss of data in the event of a harddisk failure. For example, if you have 3 units of 3TB harddisk setup in a RAID 5 configuration, you’ll get 6TB (3TBx2) of usable space, with the extra 2TB used for redundancy. With this setup, you are protected with one harddisk failure at a time. When one of the harddisk fails, your data is still there, and you can plug in a replacement to restore back to normal working condition. But when two harddisks fail at the same time, you data is gone.

One area that is often neglected by marketing literature of NAS product is that RAID does not protect against the failure of the NAS device itself. When your NAS device failed (not the hard disks), you have to pray that it can be repaired. There is no guarantee that moving your hard disks to a new NAS will work. There could be differences in firmware version or you can not find the same model replacement for your failed NAS. The risk of complete data loss is there.

Modern NAS has GUI interface that makes their management as easy as possible. NAS is an attractive option especially for sharing media among family members. It does however pays to understand the RAID feature in your NAS and the protection level of your setup. And NAS needs backup.

App of the week: Temple Run

Temple-Run

Temple Run is the game you play to test your reflexes. Running in a 3D maze to get alive is what the game is all about. Swipe to turn, jump and slide to avoid obstacles, collect coins to power up and Temple Run is a never ending running game until your character dies. Temple Run is a free universal app with power-up option via in-app purchase of coins.

Temple Run on the App Store

Delete images from iCloud Photo Stream in iOS 5.1

Prior to iOS 5.1, photos uploaded to Photo Stream in the iCloud are read only and can not be deleted. Apple fixes this annoyance with the release of iOS 5.1. You delete Photo Stream photos in the same manner as you would delete photos in the Camera Roll album:

  • To delete a single photo, select the photo by tapping the photo when you are inside Photo Stream album. Then tap on the Trash icon to remove it.
  • To delete multiple photos, on the main Photo Stream screen, tap on the action icon. Then tap one after another to select the photos to delete. And then tap on the red color Delete icon to remove the selected photos.

How to key in en dash and em dash in iOS and OS X

An “en dash” is a hypen the width of an n while an “em dash” is a hypen the width of an m. Each has its usage in the English grammar which you can wiki to find out more. If you’re using two continuous hypens (–) in your writing, you probably meant to key in em dash but has no idea how to.

em-dash

To key in en dash or em dash in your iPhone or iPad, press and hold the hypen key and then select the dash from the pop up.

For OS X, to key in en dash (–), press Option together with the hypen (-) key. For em dash (—), press Option together with Shift and hypen (-) keys. Please note that not all OS X apps and fonts support these two characters.

App of the week: Angry Birds Space

angry-birds-space

The birds are back with Angry Birds Space. Luckily, instead of cranking up follow-ups such as Angry Birds Season/Angry Birds RIO in the shadow of the original Angry Birds, developer Rovio took a bold step by venturing into space. And Space gives up a brand new out-of-this-world physics thus a different gameplay from the original series.

So, the birds are back, and the domination of the Angry Birds franchise continues. And you have to be warned that unlike past Angry Birds games for the iOS, in-app purchase is everywhere for Angry Birds Space. The version for iPhone costs $0.99 to download and the HD version for the iPad is $2.99. But this only gives you probably half of the game and you will be prompted to purchase in order to unlock new levels. For parents, this will probably be the most expensive Angry Birds game ever.

Angry Birds Space for iPhone

Angry Birds Space for iPad

App of the week: Draw Something

draw-something

To find out why Draw Something is the latest sensation on the App Store, just download the app and play it. Entertaining and addictive, Draw Something is a social where you draw a sketch of a selected word, send the drawing to the other person and he/she tries to guess the word. You earn coins when you guess right and you can use the coins to buy color pack for your drawing. There is a free version available and the ads-free version is a universal app at $0.99.

Draw Something on the App Store

Swipe up to activate camera on lock screen in iOS 5.1

ios51-camera

In iOS 5.0, when you double-tap on the home button while your iPhone is locked, you get the above lock screen with a camera icon on the right end. You can then tap on the camera icon to activate the camera.

With iOS 5.1, Apple removes the double-tap gesture. Instead the camera icon is permanently shown in the lock screen. Tapping on the icon however will not activate the camera. You need to tap on the icon and swipe up to launch the camera app.

ios51-slide

This might not look as easy as a single tap, but it is intuitive and is actually faster than double-tapping to launch the camera.

iPhoto for iOS will not run on first generation iPad

Apple released a brand new iPhoto for the iOS during its March 7 iPad media event. iPhoto for iOS, costing $4.99 on the App Store, is a universal app for both iPhone and iPad. It requires at least iPhone 4/4S and iPad 2, and requires the latest iOS 5.1.

When you try to install iPhoto on the first iPad, a message will pop up preventing you from buying and installing the app. The message “This app requires a front facing camera” is indeed strange as iPhoto is not a camera app.

iphoto-ios

We are highlighting this for those who own the first generation iPad. You can purchase the app on your iPhone 4/4S, thinking that it will work on your old iPad. Bt if you’ve already plan to buy the new iPad, then it is just a couple of days of waiting to use the app on a bigger screen.