Why you should never “ever” Defragment a Flash Drive ?

The reason is that flash drives do not have a read/write head, so if you were to defrag one, you wouldn’t get any extra performance benefits from it whatsoever. Basically, without a read/write head, flash drives don’t have to work any harder to find your files. Your files can be laid out in any order and your flash drive will still be just as fast when finding them for you.

Another reason is because flash memory wears out over time. Basically, the more you write (saving files, etc.) to your flash drive, the shorter its lifespan will be. And since defragging is a huge write process, every time you do it, you’re adding thousands of extra writes to your device that just aren’t necessary. So, if you’ve been continuously defragging your flash drives, you should stop. If you want your flash drive to last you a long while, simply stop the defrags. You won’t get any benefit from it and you’ll just end up with a broken down flash drive for no reason at all. Go and defrag your hard drive instead!

The difference in defragmenting a hard drive and a flash drive is that in the case of the hard drive defragmentation can minimize wear-and-tear on the drive, whereas with the flash drive it causes more wear-and-tear.

References:

http://www.worldstart.com/tips/tips.php/4663
http://www.pcmech.com/article/never-defragment-flash-drive/
http://ask-leo.com/should_i_defragment_my_usb_flash_drive.html

10 Ways How Photoshop Changed The History Of Photography

In the past, you had to be very patient as a digital photographer. If you wanted to catch something spectacular you had to carry your camera with you everywhere until you saw something special. To capture a sunrise you had to get up at the crack of dawn. Models had to spend hours in the makeup room and studios had to be well lit. Everything I just mentioned changed instantly with the invention of Photoshop.

Photoshop has changed the history of digital photography. Nowadays, when you look at an amazing photo or image your first impression is still “wow” but your immediate second thought is “that has to be photoshopped”. When you think of the history of Photoshop and everything Photoshop did to change the game, it’s pretty insane.

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Downloads for personal use to attract service tax in India

Next time you download a paid software application including games from a foreign supplier/Web site into your computer or to your mobile phone for individual use, you may have to pay a service tax of 10 per cent to the Government.

Till now, service tax was payable on electronic download of software only if they were intended for furtherance of business or commerce by the person downloading. The amendment in this Budget seeks to eliminate this pre-requisite.

What it means is that every download of software including gaming software, application software, mobile software etc for personal use would also be liable to service tax. This assumes more importance specifically when the supplier of software is overseas.

Mr N.R. Badrinath, a partner with a consulting firm Accretive Business Consulting, told Business Line that in case of downloads made available by foreign suppliers, under the ‘reverse charge principle’ the person downloading such software in India would need to pay the service tax at 10.3 per cent.

This means that even an individual downloading software for personal use would need to pay the service tax, seek registration under the service tax provisions and also file the statutory returns thereafter.

Non-compliance with the provisions could trigger interest and penalty. “This amendment brought in with respect to information technology software services will create a lot of hardships,” Mr Badrinath said.

Further, the Budget replaces the Customs/excise duty levy of 8.24 per cent on software imported for commercial exploitation with a service tax of 10.3 per cent.

Canned software

The only welcome news is that the Budget proposal does well to reduce the classification issues on packaged or canned softwares (off-the-shelf software). Canned software has been a matter of much debate and deliberation as far as the applicability of central excise, customs and service tax is concerned, an analyst with another consultancy firm said.

The Budget now clarifies that transfer of right to use a canned software is liable to only service tax and would not attract central excise and customs.

However pre-packed gaming software imported in the physical medium for retail sale continues to attract customs duty of 8.24 per cent.

Courtesy: The Hindu

Tips for Judging Motherboard Quality

With more and more components being integrated inside the computer CPU, the motherboard doesn’t affect the system performance as much as it used to just a few years ago. So what makes a given motherboard a good motherboard?

There are features, of course. The number of memory sockets, the number of expansion slots, the support for SLI and CrossFire configurations, the number of SATA ports, the presence of eSATA ports, the number of USB ports, the presence of digital audio outputs (SPDIF), RAID support, overclocking options and, especially right now, the presence of new technologies such as SATA-600 (a.k.a. SATA 6 G) and USB 3.0.

But if you are buying a motherboard and find two or more products with similar features, which one you should buy? One answer might be “the one with the best quality”. But how can you tell the quality of a motherboard?

There are a few small details on motherboards that reveal a lot about its overall quality.

The first one is the quality of the electrolytic capacitors that are used on the motherboard. Many years ago some manufacturers used low-cost capacitors that leaked after some time, leading the computer to behave erraticly and even damage the motherboard. Since then, several manufacturers started using capacitors that are immune to such leakage. One of the best kind of capacitor uses polymer type, also known as “solid”. They are easy to spot: the look like small aluminum cans. Then the second best are the ones manufactured in Japan (brands include Nihon Chemi-Con, Rubycon, Sanyo, Matsushita/Panasonic, and Hitachi).

The second clue to quality is the kind of chokes (coils) used on the voltage regulator circuit (which is located close to the CPU socket). These chokes can use ferrite or iron in their core. Both are squared components measuring approximately 3/8” x 3/8” (1 cm x 1 cm), but ferrite chokes are “closed” while iron chokes are “opened”. So if you see a bunch of gray or black square components near the CPU socket without a coil inside of it showing up you are seeing a ferrite choke, otherwise you are facing an iron choke. Ferrite chokes are better than iron chokes.

Then we have the number of “phases” of the voltage regulator circuit (think of a phase as being like a piston in a car engine). The more phases the voltage regulator has, the better, because each transistor present on this circuit will work less, thus producing less heat. The less heat your motherboard produces, the better for its life-span and of course temperature inside the computer. A high number of phases also increases the motherboard efficiency, i.e. it consumes less energy.

But how can you tell the number of phases from a motherboard? By counting the number of chokes available: each choke is connected to one phase. However, current CPUs require several voltages to work, so the voltage regulator circuit will have separated phases for each voltage. For instance, on motherboards designed for CPUs with integrated memory controllers (all AMD CPUs and Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 from Intel), the voltage regulator will produce two distinct voltages, one for the CPU core and another one for the memory controller. In this case the motherboard manufacturer may say that the voltage regulator circuit is, for example, a “6+2” design, meaning six phases for the CPU core and two phases for the integrated memory controller. Motherboards targeted to the new Intel CPUs with integrated video controller need to produce three different voltages, the third one being to the CPU integrated video processor, so manufacturers announce the voltage regulator circuit like “6+1+1”.

So when comparing motherboards, you should buy the one with more phases.

Some manufacturers, however, use a higher switching frequency on their voltage regulator circuit, what makes one phase to be more efficient than several phases from competing products. Manufacturers that offer this kind of solution on their products advertise this very clearly on the product specs page.

Courtesy: http://exectweets.com/2010/02/12/tips-for-judging-motherboard-quality/