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How to Deal with a Broken External Drive

We use external drives for different purposes. Faster SSD drives like the Samsung T5 are fast enough to use in actual computing operations, and a lot of video editors and designers actually edit via their T5 drives through a USB-C. Other HDD-based drives are useful for storing data and moving large files. The cost of external drives is on a decline, so you can get plenty of storage space for a few bucks.

While external drives are versatile and durable, there will be time when your drive fails you. A lot of things can cause the external drive to fail. A corrupt partition or the accidental bumps your external drives have to deal with as you carry them in your bag are just as bad. Before giving up and accepting the loss of files, however, you actually have a few options to try.

Fixing a Corrupt Partition

Partition repair is something you can try if your external drive is no longer detected by the operating system. In the case of Windows 10, you can try accessing the partition using the diskpart command from the Command Prompt with the drive plugged in.

In many cases, the partition itself can be recovered and you will have access to your files again. However, you may also find the partition to be irreparable, in which case you are asked to create a new one and format the partition to make it usable.

If the latter is what you find after running a partition check, don’t go through with repartitioning the external drive (or formatting it) just yet, especially when you have important files inside the damaged partition.

Recovering from Bad Sectors

Another common symptom of a damaged external drive is the drive suddenly becoming very slow and unresponsive at times. When you experience the sudden slowness while the drive is still plugged and fully readable, try running a check for bad sectors.

On a Windows computer, right-click on the hard drive you want to check and select Properties. Click Properties > Tools > Check (under the Error-checking tab) to start the process. You can then choose the “Scan for a recovery attempt of bad sectors” to try and correct the issue.

Again, recovering from bad sectors isn’t always possible, especially when the drive is severely damaged. That brings us to the third option, which is….

Professional Data Recovery

When your disk partition isn’t recoverable, or your external drive remains unresponsive, you want to stop using the drive completely and preserve the files inside. You want to do the same when you start hearing clicking noises coming from the external drive.

Not using the drive further increases your chances of recovering your files. You can then get the help of a professional data recovery service such as Secure Data Recovery to further boost your chances. With the right tools and expertise, complete restoration of your valuable files is more possible than ever.

The next time you run into issues with your external drive, don’t panic! Back up the files that you can still salvage and take the steps we discussed in this article to deal with the issue further


Caltech’s tiny new gyroscope is smaller than a single grain of rice


It’s no secret that the components used in our everyday technology keep getting smaller. But just how much tinier they’re getting might surprise you. At the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), researchers have found a way to significantly shrink optical gyroscopes, the devices used for measuring or maintaining orientation and angular velocity. Simple gyroscopes are found in devices like phones and tablets. However, the higher quality optical gyroscopes used in navigation are still relatively large — slightly bigger than a golf ball. They function very well, but this larger form factor makes them inappropriate for use in certain portable devices.

That’s where the Caltech researchers come into play — since they have found a way to shrink down these high-end gyroscopes to something smaller than a single grain of rice. This is an astonishing 500 times smaller than current state-of-the-art gyroscopes.

“Optical gyroscopes are one of the most accurate types of gyroscopes, and they are used in various navigation systems,” Professor Ali Hajimiri, who worked on the project, told Digital Trends. “However, a regular optical gyroscope is very expensive and bulky. Miniaturizing this type of gyroscope can reduce its cost and size and can potentially replace mechanical gyros. Optical gyroscopes operate based on a relativistic effect known as the Sagnac effect, whereby the output signal is proportional to the size of the gyro. Therefore, reducing the size of the gyro will directly affect the strength of the output signal. In our work, we presented a technique that uses the reciprocity of passive networks to decrease the level of noise, making the signal detectable.”

The Sagnac effect is named after the French physicist Georges Sagnac. It calculates orientation by splitting a beam of light in two and then sending them in separate directions. By measuring the variations in the two beams of light, it’s possible to work out rotation and orientation with a high degree of accuracy. To shrink down the device, the Caltech researchers found a way to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of this system, thereby making it more efficient.

“This demonstration shows the potential of integrated optical gyros, and can open all kind of applications that need low-cost, small, and highly accurate gyros — like gaming devices, autonomous vehicles, wearables, CubeSats and nanosats,” Hajimiri continued. “[The] next step is to improve the sensitivity and make it smaller, as well as enhancing integration capabilities. We are thinking about commercializing our device.”

It might take a while to get to that point, but it seems that tinier, more efficient gyroscopes are definitely in our future. A paper describing the work was recently published in the journal Nature Photonics.

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Bright idea: this motorcycle jacket has built-in lights that sync with your bike

Motorbike leathers are there to protect riders from injury, as well as to keep them warm while riding in colder climates. But darker leather jackets, which are some of the most popular available, also have an obvious downside: They make bikers difficult to see in the dark.

This poses a clear safety risk for riders, which a new Kickstarter campaign wants to help lessen. Manufactured by French company Raylier, the “first luminous jacket for bikers” promises to make bikers more visible on the road — courtesy of various embedded LED strips. These can be switched on with the simple press of a button on the jacket’s belt. The aim is reduce the number of fatalities on the road, of which bikers currently represent around 18 percent.

“More than 60 percent of bikers’ accidents are due to a lack of visibility,” Baptiste Rosay, one of the co-founders of Raylier, told Digital Trends. “Thanks to our jacket, we improve their visibility in order to avoid crashes and save their lives. More than visibility, we improve the communication with the road users. A warning mode will make the jacket blink and improve visibility in risky situations. A brake light works autonomously, thanks to an on-board accelerometer. It intensifies the rear lights when slowing down.”

Rosay said that the jacket is made of a super tough leather, which is higher quality than the materials used by competitors at a similar price range. Each jacket is also equipped with a visco-elastic protective shell. This is crucially important since — if there does happen to be an accident — the jacket should help reduce the risk or severity of injuries. The jackets are also stylishly designed. While the LED light strips are instantly noticeable when they are switched on, when they’re turned off they won’t attract attention.

As ever, we offer our warnings about the potential risks inherent in crowdfunding campaigns. These can involve projects which don’t ship on time, products which don’t ship as described, or — at worst — sometimes even products which don’t ship at all. However, if you’re aware of these risks and still want to get it involved, head over to the project’s Kickstarter page. Prices for a jacket start at 540 euros (around $615). Shipping is planned to take place in February 2019.

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Dell patent hints at a super-thin, OLED-backlit keyboard

RGB backlighting may be all the rage in every PC component and peripheral from mice to RAM, but Dell clearly thinks that the bog-standard LEDs being used in most designs aren’t up to scratch, as it’s filed a patent to use OLEDs instead. It describes using an OLED panel in each key of the scissor-switch keyboard to illuminate the keycap. Maybe we’ll see such designs in future versions of its gaming laptops, like the Dell G3.

Mostly used in display technologies, OLED lighting has a number of advantages over traditional LEDs. When used in TVs, for example, OLEDs allow for thinner designs and blacker blacks, since they act as individual pixels, so when turned off, they are actually off. In the context of a keyboard, however, they could offer a way for keyboard (and by extension, laptop) manufacturers to cut down on the size and weight of keyboard lighting components, potentially leading to slightly thinner and lighter devices, as well as offering more nuanced lighting options.

The Dell patent was filed at the start of May 2017 and was approved at the start of November this year. It discusses the use of a pair of housings within a keyboard key, one being the switch and the base of the keyboard, and the second, the light-emitting keycap. It suggests two potential methods of lighting up the key. The first would have a cut out that sits over an OLED film, while another suggests an OLED sheet shaped like the key it represents, embedding the sheet into the keycap itself.



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Traditional LED lighting, say in the case of Cherry MX mechanical switch keyboards, sees an LED built off-center into the housing for the switch mechanism. This can result in uneven light coverage in the keycap, which is why clear switch housings, which help disperse the light more evenly, have become more commonplace. Membrane boards must illuminate larger swathes of the board itself to achieve a similar effect. Both cases can result in lots of light bleeding around the keys. That can provide an attractive effect, but Dell’s patent has the option to eliminate that entirely. In theory, Dell’s design could light up the keycap indicators only.

Another advantage of OLED lighting in a keycap could be to give greater control to the user. While LEDs allow for per-key backlighting, OLEDs are small enough that if used in adequate numbers, could allow for inter-key backlighting, such as providing different colored lighting for different parts of a keycap, or even animations within individual keycaps.

Taken to an extreme, Dell’s patent could even allow for something like the classic Optimus Maximus keyboard from Art Lebedev, which buried entire OLED displays into each key.

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Microsoft patent could let you write on both sides of the Surface Pro

A Microsoft patent application for a new type of display was discovered and it looks like something that might one day change the way consumers interact with touchscreen Surface devices. Originally documented with the U.S. Patent Office on May 1, 2017, the now public patent showcases a “reflective multilayer structure to present information on the external surface” on a given sample device.

Though the reflective display patent does not specifically refer to any Microsoft products by name, its subsequent diagrams show would be considerations for a future device. In the patent abstract, a peculiar looking image of a Surface-like 2-in-1 comes complete with the words “metallic writing surface” illuminated on the rear.

As the patent puts it, that is just a way of rethinking the otherwise dead unused space on a computing device.

“Consumer demand for smaller and more powerful personal electronics devices drivers innovation to adapt existing device components for new and or multiple purposes. Many laptop computers and accessory keyboards include a surface area that does not serve a functional electronic utility.”

One proposed implementation of the reflective panel involves making a surface metallic so that it creates “uniformity in color and tone” between the display and other parts of the device. Touch also seems to be supported, with another implementation supporting the use of technologies so that a user can “draw on the reflective external surface with a finger or stylus and the underlying may selectively illuminate pixels at corresponding locations.”

A final proposed version of the reflective panel involves using it as a primary OLED, LCD or LED display while the device is closed.

“Although the reflective display is visible when the laptop is in the open position, the user, may in some implementations elect to fold the laptop into a closed position with the reflective display facing up to more directly view or interact with information,” Microsoft said in the patent.

Patents might not always hold up to be true, but this one seems to be impressive. It would not be the first time that Microsoft would be considering a new type of display. Previous patents for a single flexible display have also surfaced, suggesting it could be for the company’s upcoming Andromeda device.

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Oculus VR could upgrade the Rift with a new display in 2019

Oculus might be focusing more on making its virtual reality hardware more accessible than pushing technological boundaries, but a new report suggests it does plan to upgrade its Rift PC VR headset in 2019. The modest refresh, said to be known as the Rift S, would introduce a higher-resolution screen, and add inside-out tracking, effectively making it a PC-tethered version of its Oculus Quest headset.

While the likes of Pimax and HTC have released new high-end VR hardware like the Vive Pro in 2018, Oculus has focused more on developing its lower-end solutions. It released the Oculus Go in early 2018 and more recently the Oculus Quest, both of which are wireless VR headsets with onboard tracking and processing, requiring no additional hardware to operate. Their visuals aren’t as impressive as PC-tethered solutions like the Rift though, despite their updated hardware.

Oculus has long been expected to begin work on a second-generation Rift headset in the aftermath of the Quest’s release, but recent reports suggest that may no longer be the case. Amid rumors of the Rift 2 being shelved for now at least, the Rift S has emerged as a potential future design, TechCrunch reports.

Supposedly the Rift S would ditch the external tracking cameras of the Rift, opting instead to use the same headset-mounted tracking sensors of the Oculus Quest. That could present some problems with controller occlusion, although the setup process would be notably easier.

The sources at Oculus also suggested that the Rift S would feature an upgraded display, most likely the same one used in the Oculus Quest, which features 1,600 x 1,440 pixels per eye, for a total resolution in excess of even the Vive Pro.

Publicly, Oculus is keeping quiet about its future hardware releases, responding to a request for comment with: “While we don’t comment on rumors/speculation about our future products, as we shared last week, PC VR remains a part of our strategy and is a category we will continue to invest in. In addition to hardware, we have a robust software road map and are funding content well into 2020.”

Although Oculus appears to have had creative differences with its former CEO, it is targeting of better accessibility with VR is more in line with the thoughts of one of its other co-founders, the maligned Palmer Luckey. He recently wrote about how VR needs to offer a near-perfect experience before consumers will adopt it en masse.

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Which color OnePlus 6T should you buy?


Best answer: Right now, the OnePlus 6T is available in just two color options: Midnight Black and Mirror Black. Both colors feature glass at the back, but the Midnight Black option has a matte finish that gives it a more metallic look.

OnePlus: OnePlus 6T ($549)

Go with Midnight Black if you prefer a matte finish

With the OnePlus 6T, you have the option of choosing between a glossy or matte finish in black. The Mirror Black is the default color option, and it comes with a glossy finish that’s prone to smudges. The Midnight Black, meanwhile, has a matte finish that makes it easier to hold, and it doesn’t smudge as much.

The Mirror Black option is available with the 6GB/128GB and 8GB/128GB storage options, and the Midnight Black variant is limited to the 8GB/128Gb and 8GB/256GB models. So if you want to get the Midnight Black finish, you’ll be shelling out a minimum of $579 for the 8GB/128GB model. OnePlus launched a Silk White variant with the OnePlus 6, but as of now there’s no information to suggest that particular color option will debut on the 6T.

OnePlus is also known to launch limited-edition color options, like the gorgeous Amber Red variant of the OnePlus 6, and customers in markets like India get exclusive Disney-themed collbaborations, like the OnePlus 6 Marvel Avengers Edition. We don’t know when these variants will be made available, but it’s possible we’ll hear more updates on this front before the end of the year.

Our pick

OnePlus 6T


$549 at OnePlus

Two options to choose from… for now

If you’re eyeing the OnePlus 6T, your color options range between choosing a glossy or matte finish. The default Mirror Black has a glossy back that attracts smudges, and the Midnight Black has a more metallic finish that feels better in-hand.


Sonos delays Google Assistant support until 2019

Private beta testing will begin this year.

For well over a year, we’ve been waiting and waiting for the Google Assistant to finally arrive on the Sonos One. Sonos previously said that the integration would be ready before the end of this year, but according to a new blog post on the company’s website, that’s no longer the case.


Now, Google Assistant for the Sonos One and Beam is being pushed back to “a date in 2019.” Sonos notes that it needs “a bit more time to get the experience right”, but if you don’t want to wait that long, you can apply to help Sonos beta test the Assistant starting later this year.

Sonos is looking for applicants that will stream a minimum of 14 hours of audio per week, use 10 Google Assistant commands each day, and respond to surveys they’re sent within 72 hours. The screening process will take a few weeks, and once this is done, Sonos will start by rolling out the beta to “a few hundred homes”, followed by “a few thousand” over the next few months.

Another update will be shared in early 2019, but it’s currently unclear if that means Google Assistant will be ready by early 2019 or if that’s when we’ll learn more about its eventual release.

Sign up for the Google Assistant Sonos beta here


Target’s Black Friday sneak peek includes some great tech deals

Target’s Black Friday ad sneak peek is here, and it brings the heat on some popular holiday gift ideas. The retailer is kicking off November with a bang by hosting an “Early Access” sale that is good for November 1 only, with deals on items like smartwatches, Lillebaby carriers, TVs, Keurigs, and more. There will be hundreds of doorbuster deals available on Black Friday, and thousands of deals that last longer than that.

Deals worth considering

Google Home Hub

This is the newest hardware from Google, and it’s the company’s first “Home” device that comes with a display. It normally sells for $149, but it looks like Black Friday is bringing a $50 discount, dropping it to $99. This is probably the best price we’ll see on it for a while, but availability may be limited on these.

Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen)

Amazon’s new Echo Dot brings up to 70% improvements in terms of sound quality and clarity, and it’s already going to be more than 50% off. It normally sells for $50, but will drop down to just $24, which is $1 lower than we saw on the second-gen last year during Black Friday. If you’ve wanted to upgrade your current Dots to the new one, the holidays are proving to be the time to do it.

PlayStation 4 1TB Spider-Man Bundle

Marvel’s Spider-Man has received rave reviews from nearly any and everyone who has played it, and is sure to be a popular title this holiday shopping season. Target is bundling it with a 1TB PlayStation for just $200, which is $100 less than Best Buy sells just the gaming console for. It’s a doorbuster item, though, so if you’re interested in one you’ll want to be there early.

Other deals to keep an eye on

  • Xbox Live Membership – $10 off
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Target Exclusive Benefits

Target is offering free shipping on all holiday orders beginning November 1. As an added benefit, any REDcard holder will score an additional 5% discount on each purchase they make, which can lead to some really insane deal prices.

Deals worth ignoring

As with every major shopping event, there are some “deals” here worth passing on. Unless you are dead set on buying a new TV that day, or just need an extra for a guest room, it’s safe to skip most TV deals you see. The Google Home at $79 is a deal we see throughout the year, as are the $40 PS4 and Xbox One controllers. Select video games will be down to as low as $25 each, but the titles are probably on the older side, so unless you know someone who really wants that exact game, these may be worth passing on. Also, be sure to pass on Ring’s Video Doorbell at the $50 “discount”, because it’s normally only $100, and you should aim to find it for less than that.

Store Information

Target will open its doors at 5PM on Thursday until 1AM on Friday, then will will re-open again at 7AM on Friday. You’ll be able to order many of these deals online for in-store pickup as well, though some of them will be available in retail locations.

Get prepared

Are you ready to conquer Black Friday and Cyber Monday yet? If not, don’t worry. We will help you out every step of the way. Be sure to sign up for our Black Friday newsletter, and keep your eye here for more ads and leaks as they are made available.


The best wireless charging pads for the Galaxy S9

If you’ve upgraded to the Samsung Galaxy S9 in 2018, you’ll want to try out the wireless charging functionality. There’s a large number of options out there for wireless charging, but not all are made equal. For those who love keeping things “on brand”, we’d recommend the Samsung convertible charging pad, but there are some great third-party accessories available, too, including the stylish IOttie iON Mini, and the budget-friendly option from Anker.

If you want a reliable wireless charging pad that won’t let you down, check out these great products!

Top Pick

iOttie iON Wireless Qi Charging Pad Mini


From iOttie comes this stylish charger that’s Qi-compatible with a charging zone capable of 10W output. Available in Ash Gray or Ruby Red fabric, this is a wireless charger that will look great on your office desk or end table.

$29 at Amazon

Best from Samsung

Samsung Fast Charge Convertible Wireless Charging Pad


Samsung’s wireless charging pad combines the best wireless charging technologies packed into a really sleek design. Launched alongside the Galaxy S8, it features a premium leather-like appearance and ingenious design which allows you to easily convert this pad into an angled charging stand.

$50 at Amazon

Old school cool

Samsung Wireless Charging Pad


Samsung’s old style of the wireless charging pad is still a reliable option for the Galaxy S9. These charging pads look like mini-UFOs and are Fast Charge-compatible. It also ships with a Samsung 2A wall charger — always great — and comes with a standard one-year warranty.

$24 at Amazon

Budget Pick

Anker Qi-Certified Wireless Charger


Our most budget-conscious pick on the list spares no quality or features. Anker, a well-known brand, offers a 7.5W Qi wireless charger that is extremely thin and low-profile with a larger charging coil that dissipates the heat over a wide surface area.

$13 at Amazon

More power

Anker 10W Qi-Certified Wireless Charger

If speedy charging is what you’re after, you’ll want to spend a bit more on this Anker charging pad. You’ll need a Quick Charge 3.0 wall charger to get the top speeds, but beyond that this has a some good features including the LED indicators around the edges that will turn off when charging is complete.

$22 at Amazon

Best for the office

Spigen Qi Wireless Charging Stand


Spigen’s charging stand is angled, making this a great option for your office desk so you can easily see your display while your phone is charging. This stand features three charging coils that allow you to charge your Galaxy S9 in vertical or horizontal orientations, but you’ll need to supply your own wall adapter.

$25 at Amazon

The point of the Samsung Galaxy S9’s glass back is to enable wireless charging, so you should make good use of that feature! Which charger you go with will ultimately depend on your budget and design preference, but I personally use the iOttie iON Mini — and be sure to put a thin case on it before you accidentally drop your phone one too many times!

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