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If your Mac’s hard drive is experiencing problems, you can recover the partition data using ad hoc programs: here are the best ones
Apple’s macOS operating system is known for its robustness and reliability, but that doesn’t mean that an iMac or MacBook can’t have problems from time to time. Among the many possible technical failures of an Apple computer, one of the most fearsome is undoubtedly the malfunction of a partition. In this case, it is possible to lose all the data stored on that partition in one fell swoop and for this reason, we always recommend you to make periodic backups of your most important data. When the damage is done, however, there is still some maneuver you can do to try to save at least part of the data of the failed HFS+ partition. Let’s assume, in this case, that the partition is still visible on your Mac, but not accessible, and that it is not the main partition on which the operating system is running. So your Mac starts up and works properly, but the data on the damaged partition is inaccessible.
First rule: don’t touch anything
If you are trying to fix a malfunction of an HFS+ partition on macOS, you should not try repeatedly to make it work: if you find that the data is no longer accessible, do not try to copy new files to the disk or test the disk to correct any errors. You shouldn’t even try disassembling the disk and reassembling it on another Mac. All of these maneuvers may make the situation worse, preventing you from recovering the data. What you should do, however, is to use specialized tools, developed to solve problems of this kind.
Free tools for trying to recover a damaged HFS+ macOS partition include Testdisk and Photorec. These are two open source programs that you can make work in tandem to regain possession of your data. The first thing to do is to download Testdisk, extract the zip file on the working partition. Then you have to open the Terminal and navigate to the Testdisk directory (usually it is /Downloads/testdisk-NUMBER-VERSION). Now run the /testdisk command and create a new log file for recovery. You will be asked to enter your password and, immediately after, to choose the physical disk on which the damaged partition resides. Then select the partition that doesn’t work properly, if Testdisk doesn’t find it by itself.
Now run the Analyze command and press enter. The tool will perform a series of tests trying to access the data on the disk, identifying the type of partition and other technical parameters needed to try to restore the data by recreating the “partition table”, ie the file that contains the basic data on the partition. Select the partition and then choose Write to rewrite the partition table of the damaged partition. Press Y to confirm, then Ok and finally exit Testdisk and restart the Mac.
If all went well, you will have access to the data of the repaired partition again upon reboot. If not, it means that the damage is more severe than expected and you must also use Photorec. The particularity of this free tool is that it completely ignores the file system and tries to access the data directly. In the same directory where you installed Testdisk, also from the Terminal, run the command /photorec. You will be shown a menu similar to the one already seen for Testdisk and you will have to select again the physical disk with the damaged partition. Photorec will do a series of tests on the disk to find the partition that doesn’t work. If the partition is very badly set up, Photorec will find more than one (in practice it will see it in pieces). So you’ll have to choose Search and, immediately afterwards, Photorec will ask you where it will have to copy the files it can find (make sure you have enough space). At this point a long and laborious work will begin, with which Photorec will try to extract one by one the files from the not working partition. It will take a long time, don’t worry and never interrupt the operation.
If Testdisk and Photorec are two tools that require some basic technical knowledge (like knowing how to use the Terminal), there are also tools to recover a damaged partition on easier to use macOS. Like Data Rescue and Disk Drill, two paid tools ($99 and $89 respectively) that perform more or less the same actions, but offer a very intuitive graphical interface. If you don’t feel like using the Terminal and are willing to spend a few dozen dollars to save your data, then Data Rescue and Disk Drill are two choices you should consider.
Scratch is a graphical programming environment designed to teach coding to children and those who are new to the world of computer science: here’s how it works.
The average age at which a person starts programming has decreased more and more. It’s not difficult to find 12-13-year-olds who can develop a video game or animation without asking their parents for help. This is thanks to programming languages that have become increasingly easier to learn. An example is Scratch, a graphical block programming environment: to make an animation you don’t need to know even a line of code: instructions (scripts) are present inside colored blocks that users just have to assemble between them.
Scratch is a programming language designed for children aged between 8 and 16 years, but also for those who have never coded in their lives. It can be taught to children from primary school onwards, so as to give them the opportunity to develop logic and reasoning. It is no coincidence that Scratch was created by the Lifelong Kindergarten group of the MIT Media Lab, led by Mitchel Resnick. Scratch was created to give everyone (children, young people, adults) the chance to take their first steps in the world of programming.
The programming language allows you to create very simple projects such as colorful animations, but also very elaborate content such as video games or videos. Scratch is an open-source programming language and every day new blocks (scripts) are added that allow you to improve your projects. Here is how it works and how to use Scratch to create colorful animations and to teach programming to children.
Scratch is a graphical programming language with an object-oriented approach, i.e. you don’t need to know strings of code to realize your projects, but just assemble the various colored blocks inside the editor. The environment was created to give children the opportunity to enter the world of coding and create their first projects, such as graphic animations and interactive stories.
Scratch is an open-source programming language and anyone can develop new blocks and add functionality. The programming environment is available both online and offline, allowing the user to work on their project at any time.
To create your first project with Scratch you need to sign up on the platform so you can save the content you created. Registration to Scratch is free and can be done directly on the website of the programming language. Following the wizard, you will complete the registration process in less than five minutes.
Once you have created your account, you can use Scratch online directly from your computer’s browser. The Scratch editor is very simple to use and allows you to create an interactive animation or story in no time. The editor is divided into three parts: on the left we have the characters to insert in our project (called Sprites), in the central column there are colored blocks, ie sounds, backgrounds and any other element that can customize your animation, while on the right we have to insert commands that make move their sprites (the protagonists of the story).
Scratch allows you to customize the project according to your needs: you can add colored backgrounds from the memory of your computer, or record sounds with the microphone and use them to let the characters of our animation speak. The only limit is the user’s imagination.
The programming environment can also be used offline by downloading the appropriate program from the Scratch website. However, you must also install Adobe AIR 20, otherwise Scratch will not work perfectly. There is also an application (Scratch Jr) for the tablet dedicated to children between the ages of 5 and 7 years. In this case, the programming language is even more simplified and allows you to create stories with simple touches on the screen.
The success of Scratch is linked to the ease of use and the ability to create many different things in a few minutes. Scratch is especially designed to create simple projects, such as a colorful animation or a short video. Thanks to the work of the community, however, over time the programming language has been enriched with new blocks and features, also allowing you to develop applications. Scratch has now become a complete programming language that can be used for any type of project.
The advantages of Scratch
“Imagine, program, share.” This is the motto of the Scratch community, one of the most active in the world of programming. The success of the coding environment is linked to the ease with which you can find a solution to your problems: every day new projects are added on the platform from which you can start to develop your own graphics animation. Moreover, being an operating system designed for children, it is very simple to use: it only takes a few minutes to become familiar with the tools in the editor.
In many parts of the world, Scratch has been a part of education since primary school. Learning a programming language not only allows children to develop logic, but also to unleash their creativity. And learning new things becomes even more fun. Especially if you can do it by playing with your children. The many projects on Scratch are proof of the success of the children’s programming language in recent years.
A branch of Facebook dedicated to robotics teaches robots to learn from their mistakes
In a roof garden at Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters, a six-legged robot named Daisy makes rough noises while staggering over sandy soil.
Daisy, which looks like a giant robotic spider, is part of a robot science project within Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) group. Since last summer, FAIR scientists have helped robots learn how to walk and grab objects. The goal is that they learn to do these actions in the same way that people acquire these skills: exploring the world around them and using trial and error.
Many people may not know that the world’s largest social network is also tinkering with robots. But the work of this group is not intended to appear, for example, in the Facebook news feed. Rather, the hope is that the project will be able to help researchers to make artificial intelligence learn more independently. They also want to make robots learn by using less data, which humans are often required to collect before the AI can function properly.
In theory, this work could eventually help improve the types of AI activities that many technology companies (including Facebook) are working on, such as translating words from one language to another or recognizing people and objects in images.
In addition to Daisy, Facebook researchers are working on robotic arts that consist of multi-jointed arms and robotic hands equipped with tactile sensors on the tips of the fingers. They are using an automatic learning technique called “self-supervised learning”, in which robots have to understand for themselves how to do things, repeatedly trying to perform an action and then using the data collected by the sensors to improve more and more.
Research is still at an early stage: Meier said that robots are just starting to reach objects, but have not yet decided how to collect them. Like children, who must first learn to use their muscles before they can move – not to mention pushing themselves up to stand up – so too, robots must go through that discovery process.
But why force a robot to understand these kinds of tasks?
The robot has to understand what the consequences of his actions are, Franziska Meier, scientific researcher at FAIR, told CNN Business. “As humans we can learn this kind of thing, but we have to be able to teach a robot how to learn it,” she said. Also, she said, researchers were surprised to find that letting robots explore to understand things for themselves can speed up the learning process.
In a demonstration last week, Daisy was operating in demo mode, but through self-supervised learning she was slowly learning to walk. The six-legged robot, which the researchers bought, was chosen for its stability, said research scientist Roberto Calandra. The robot began to feel the various soils on which it was placed, before starting to move (soils that included smooth salt within Facebook and other surfaces). Slowly he learned how to move forward taking into account elements such as balance and the way it is positioned using the sensors on the legs.
The researchers also tested another robot, which consists of an articulated arm with a pincer for grabbing objects. Through coordinates, this analyzed the point in space that the researchers wanted to reach and, taking five hours, reached the object – always making different movements, each time the experience increased the learning data compared to what it felt before.
“Every time, in practice, he looks for something, gets more data, optimizes the model. And that’s just the beginning,” said Meier.
Calandra said that one of the reasons it’s exciting, working on this kind of AI with robots, rather than using the software on a computer, is because it forces the algorithms to use the data efficiently. That is, they have to understand how to do tasks in days or hours since they have to do it in real time, rather than in software simulations that can be accelerated to imitate a longer period of time like months or years.
“If you start out knowing that it’s just a simulation, you’ll cradle yourself with the ability to perform hundreds of risk-free attempts. And this is an approach yes, very interesting scientifically, but it does not apply to the real world,” said the researcher.
Google has announced the suspension of all commercial activities with Huawei. The Chinese company will not have a license for the Android operating system nor for Google services.
Google’s decision to block the authorization of its Android mobile operating system in Huawei could give a huge blow to the ambitions of the Chinese technology giant to become the leading player in smartphones globally.
The U.S. technology giant has suspended business with Huawei, which means that the transfer of hardware, software and key technical services is blocked. Google has taken this step to comply with Washington’s decision to put Huawei on the so-called “Entity List”, which means that American companies need a special license to sell products to the Chinese company.
Huawei can therefore no longer license Google’s Android operating system and other services that the company offers. The Chinese company is now able to use a public version of the Google operating system through the Open Source Android project. It means that future Huawei phones will not have any of the Google services that users expect from Android devices.
“We’re sticking to the order and reviewing the implications,” said a Google spokesman today. “For users of our services, Google Play and Google Play Protect security protections will continue to work on existing Huawei devices.
A Huawei spokesman told CNBC that the company is “evaluating the possible impact of this U.S. government action on consumers.
“Huawei has made a substantial contribution to the development and growth of Android worldwide. As one of Android’s leading global partners, we have worked closely with their open source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefited both users and the industry,” the spokesman said. “Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphones and tablets to cover those that have been sold or are still available globally. We will continue to build a secure and sustainable software ecosystem in order to provide the best experience to all users globally.
This is a blow to the Chinese company, which relies heavily on Android for the smartphones it sells outside of China. Within China, the company uses a modified version of Android that does not include Google’s pre-installed apps because search engine services are blocked in the country. But in markets outside China, Huawei smartphones use Android with Google apps.
Just over 49% of Huawei’s smartphone shipments in the first quarter of 2019 were in international markets outside mainland China, according to Canalys. Huawei was the second largest smartphone manufacturer by global market share in the first quarter. The company has already outlined its ambitions to become the first player in the smartphone market by 2020. But this latest move by Google could put a brake on the company’s projects.
“It’s a kind of “instant switch” for Huawei’s ambitions to outperform Samsung in the global market,” said Nicole Peng, vice president of mobility for Canalys, this morning at CNBC.
Huawei relies on key components from many other U.S. suppliers for everything from smartphones to network equipment. It has more than 30 U.S. companies among its “core suppliers. Some of these vendors, including Qualcomm and Intel, have told employees that they will not sell to Huawei until further notice. This according to a Bloomberg report.
Huawei, for its part, says it is preparing for the kind of situation that it will now face. In March, the company said it had developed its own operating system for its consumer products, in anticipation of when it would no longer be able to use Google or Microsoft. And just last week, the Nikkei Asian Review reported that Huawei would inform some suppliers that it would prepare itself for any problems related to the US-China trade war by developing its own technology.
Although Huawei has been able to reduce dependence on U.S. suppliers for some components, experts said it might not be enough because it still needs other parts from U.S. companies. And analysts also questioned the profitability of Huawei’s operating system.
Neil Shah, director of research at Counterpoint Research, said Huawei will have to rely on third-party Android app stores outside China because Google Play will not be installed by default. And this could be a problem.
“This is a clear disadvantage for your operating system (Huawei) compared to Android provided on Samsung or other phones, primarily in terms of the lack of apps available on the Play Store, as apps (some may be dated), and in terms of security, as they will not be screened by Google,” said Shah.
“As a result, all apps from U.S. companies will not be available and users will be forced to crack them or Huawei will have to make them available through third parties, which will be a huge task for the Chinese company,” he added.
We all know Android and we know that this operating system from Google is the unchallenged market leader in the world, with only one competitor that it follows from far away: Apple’s iOS. But there are not only these two OS for smartphones: the list of operating systems for mobile phones is long, even if almost nobody knows them and everyone assumes that you can only choose between the two most famous. A new mobile OS , however, seems to be on the launching pad towards consecration: it is KaiOS, it derives from the deceased FireFoxOS and it is developed today by KaiOS Technologies led by Sebastien Codeville, an engineer with a background in Alcatel, Philips and TCL. Why is KaiOS about to take off? Because it is an operating system for cheap and less powerful mobile phones.
KaiOS: technical characteristics
Technically KaiOS is based on Linux and derives from Boot to Gecko, which in turn is a derivative of the latest version of FireFox OS. According to KaiOS Technologies, this new mobile operating system ” combines the power of a smartphone with the convenience of a feature phone “, that is, a cheap device for a few tens of dollars. KaiOS supports apps based on HTML 5 and normal features for a smartphone like 4G LTE, GPS and Wi-Fi. In its current version it can work with only 256 MB of RAM, thanks to its lightness. Lately, native HTML 5 versions have been developed for this operating system of famous apps like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WhatsAppand there is also an official store, called KaiStore, where users can find all the apps developed for this operating system. There are not many, but the number is growing. Obviously, then, there is no lack of the monetization mechanism of all this for KaiOS Technologies: it’s called KaiADS and it’s the advertising platform for apps that run on KaiOS.
KaiOS: because there will be a boom
Last year, Google has invested $ 22 million in mobile operating system KAIOSand announced a native version of Google Assistant. This tells us that KaiOS is not just any OS, but it can actually make big market shares. But it will not be the same market as Google Android and Apple iOS : it will be the feature phone market, those devices with low performance and very limited functionality (for example: no touch screen, no camera or a low-resolution lens). In the world, even today, over 3 billion people do not have access to the Internet (ie 54% of the world population). Only 19% of the population does not access the Internet due to infrastructure shortages, while the remaining 35% cannot afford a connection. Or a smartphone, given that in 2018 the average cost of a phone was 120 dollars, a figure that can only spend 10% of the population of emerging markets. The cost problem, therefore, is more than real and lowering the price of devices and services is essential to bring this huge slice of the world’s population into the digital age.
KaiOS: the OS for Smart Feature Phones
According to a recent research by Counterpoint Research in the next three years a global market of 28 billion dollars could be born : it is the ” Smart Feature Phone ” market. Phones, that is, that are a cross between smartphones and feature phones . In practice, feature phones with Internet access and a few other features necessary to use the basic services of the Web. KaiOS is the ideal candidate for the role of operating system of these Smart Feature Phones , thanks to its lightness (in terms of hardware resources required) ) combined with the fact that it is an operating system that is born with the Web in mind.
The first Smart Feature Phones are a success
From words to deeds: KaiOS has collaborated in the USA with Alcatel to launch Go Flip, a Smart Feature Phone with a 2.8-inch display (320×240 pixels), 5 MP camera, 1.1 GHz dual-core processor, 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of internal memory. The battery, just 1,350 mAh, offers a 6-hour autonomy in conversation and 11 days in standby. Shortly thereafter, together with the Indian Reliance Industries, KaiOS launched JioPhone: 2.4 inches, 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB of internal memory. KaiOS Technologies has also worked to bring KaiOS to the Nokia 8110 4G, an updated version of the legendary mobile phone launched in 1996 and even seen in the movie Matrix. Today there are over 80 million devices with KaiOS operating system in the world, how many will be in 2020?