Fresh Off The Block


Forum and Mobile Updates, and minor fixes

For the last few months, I have been inviting users to help Beta Test a new Forum to replace our long-standing one, which has been found to cause performance issues for our server. Although the new Forum works well, something that personally disappointed me was that the new Forum Software did not have the capability to enable guest posting. The current Technically Motivated forum has a public "Site Troubleshooting" section which permits all visitors, whether registered or not, to post if they have any problems using our website; and unfortunately, this was not something the new Forum would allow.

However, the Forum we have been using for the Beta has since received updates; and a recent new feature will allow us to enable guest posting, allowing us to restore this functionality for the new Beta forum. We will continue to keep the new Forum as a Beta while we test how well this works and whether it is secured enough to not enable abuse; but if all goes well, it is my plan to announce an official time-frame for phasing out the old Forum and switching to the new solution.

On a related note, you may have been aware of the boxes on our homepage showing the latest conversations people have been having here on Technically Motivated, be it on our comment boxes, our forum or on Twitter. However, in recent months, you may have noticed only the Twitter feed was properly working. After some investigation, I've been able to restore the latest comments pane, which had been broken by a glitch. However, the Forum pane has been completely removed, as it turns out the current Forum has broken this feature, and the new Beta Forum does not yet offer a replacement. You can still however see the latest Forum posts for the non-Beta Forum on our sidebar.

In other news, we have recently upgraded our Mobile site, which should now offer an even better experience when viewing us on your mobile or smartphone. You'll now find a much easier-to-navigate menu, as well as easy sharing links atop each article; as well as links to our social pages in the footer. We have also changed the colour scheme to better match our desktop site; and updated the copyright notice. Whether you visit us on your mobile or your PC, we hope you enjoy your time here at Technically Motivated.

What Our Visitors are Talking About

Latest CommentsOn Twitter Right Now
  • “Unlock” Dialogue for Clone System tool in Aomei Backupper 2.5 by William Sims
  • Microsoft gets 561 million euro fine for missing browser ballot “oversight” by Gamer Repulic's Dorthea
  • Microsoft gets 561 million euro fine for missing browser ballot “oversight” by Sherman Moya
  • Microsoft gets 561 million euro fine for missing browser ballot “oversight” by Microsoft gets 561 million euro fine for missing browser ballot “oversight” | The Sanitarium.FM
  • Valve’s Steam Gaming Computer: What we know so far by Valve's Steam Gaming Computer: What we know so far | The Sanitarium.FM
  • Tweet to @TMWeb to have your comments appear here!

    Previous Articles


    Notice: Technical Issues With Our Email Inbox

    I would like to apologise to anybody who has been sending email to our public Inbox and patiently awaiting a response. Unfortunately, due to a software glitch, Technically Motivated's Email Inbox has been failing to load on multiple occasions recently, and our Staff have found themselves unable to read any emails we have received.

    We would appreciate everyone's patience while we try to resolve this matter. As the Contact Form on our website also sends emails to this inbox, we ask that you do not use the Contact Form to send us any messages for which you desire an immediate response. Instead, you can contact us via the Forum or any of our Social Networking links, shown to the right throughout our site.

    My humble apologies for this inconvenience.


    Nintendo announce planned launch date, Zelda game for NX

    Over a year since it was first teased, we still don’t know what it looks like, plays like, or even what its final name will be – and Nintendo don’t plan to spill the beans until later this year. But now, thanks to a Tweet by Nintendo of America (based on information discreetly hidden in Nintendo of Japan’s annual financial report), we DO finally have one piece of concrete information about the upcoming Nintendo “NX” console – it’s launch date:

    March 2017. Just under a year away from the date of this article’s publication. For Nintendo, however, the launch likely can’t come soon enough. The Wii U has failed to resonate with players, with the GamePad being seen as a gimmick and games such as Splatoon and Bayonetta not doing enough to pull people on side; and the console’s lack of power compared to the XBox One and PS4 has seen its third-party support dwindle into near-nothingness. That Nintendo has taken a hit for the console’s failure was apparent in the annual fiscal report, revealing that Nintendo as a whole made 45.3 billion yen less in the last 12 months than the previous financial year, though this still equates to 504.5 billion yen or roughly £3.116 billion British Pounds.

    Importantly, however, Nintendo’s operating income came in at 32.8 billion yen last year, an increase of 8 billion yen. The company predicts that its move towards smartphones, combined with the launch of the NX, will pay off in the next year and aim to hit 45 billion yen in operating income by the end of the 2016/17 financial year.

    Of course, Nintendo may also have another ace in the sleeve to get people back on-side – a dynamite launch title. Nintendo also announced today, in a separate announcement to the fans, that the long-awaited Zelda Wii U title has once again been delayed to 2017, for “further quality testing”; and that the game will now launch simultaneously for both the Wii U and the NX – meaning that a new Zelda title may well be a launch title for the next console as well as a swansong for the current generation, paralleling the launch of Twilight Princess for Wii and GameCube ten years ago. 2017 may well be an interesting year for Nintendo fans.

    This article first appeared on Sanitarium.FM

    Join the forum discussion on this post

    Ditch QuickTime on Windows – Apple Drop Support for Vulnerable Plugin

    A recent version of the Quicktime logo.

    A recent version of the Quicktime logo.

    Apple are dropping support for Quicktime, a plugin for viewing and streaming video, on Windows on account of no longer being useful.

    The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has confirmed it'll no longer update or support Quicktime 7 for Windows.

    Way back when, QuickTime was a requirement to run iTunes, as the Quicktime code was used in part to provide the music streaming capabilities of the software, which resulted in many people who had iPods – and later, the iPhone – installing the plugin to their Windows PCs when they wanted them to properly work with their computers. As Apple notes on its support page, however, this situation changed in later versions of iTunes, and Quicktime has not been a requirement to run iTunes since October 2011.

    Despite not being relevant for iTunes any more, Quicktime continued to be useful to serve up video on the web. However, with HTML5 encouraging browsers to support video directly as part of the standard language of the internet, having a separate plugin for the ability now appears redundant. The combination of these two factors appears to have encouraged Apple to have made the decision to no longer support the plugin on Windows.

    The announcement comes a week after the Department of Homeland Security recommended Windows users uninstall Quicktime because of potential security holes, making Quicktime potentially vulnerable and use of it on Windows PCs a major security risk (these flaws do not affect the Mac OS version, which remains in support). Given its status as a potential security threat and the lack of any updates coming from Apple, many sources, including us at Technically Motivated, now recommend that Quicktime is removed from all Windows PCs as soon as possible.

    For those who are unsure how to, Apple's official support pages offer a guide for how to remove Quicktime from Windows PCs. Apple have been reached for comment to confirm the Wall Street Journal's report.

    Digiprove sealThis informative article has been Digiproved © 2016
    Acknowledgements: Quicktime and The Quicktime Logo is a more...
    Some Rights Reserved

    3DNes is a NES Emulator with an added dimension

    Nintendo rose a fair few eyebrows in technology circles when it announced the 3D Classics line – classic games from older consoles such as the NES and Game Boy with a 3D graphic upgrade, offering a unique way to show of the power of the Nintendo 3DS handheld. While the idea has its merits, with a number of classic Nintendo titles getting the 3D Treatment – and persuading SEGA to join in and do the same to some classic SEGA titles – it has to be said that there are actually very few titles that have had the 3D Classic treatment.

    Wouldn’t it be cool if you could take a NES game of your own choosing, and add 3D? If you’ve found yourself thinking that, you may want to check out Geod Studio’s new project, 3DNes – a work-in-progress Unity-based emulator that, as the name suggests, converts NES games into 3D.


    Considering the simplicity of NES games, translating them into 3D is actually a difficult task. Unlike SNES games, which have four background layers, NES games have a single layer for the entire background. Imagine a diorama or a board game – everything in the background is printed on one board, while all the sprites – like your character the ground, enemies, items – are all just pieces on top. To allow the entire game to look 3D, 3DNes uses an algorithm that analyses the flat background and cuts it up into the pieces that make it up, then attempts to turn each piece into a 3D Object. The software is even clever enough to turn round objects into spheres or tubes, so for example, a ball will actually look like a ball instead of just a circle.

    Exactly how well this works depends on the game in question, with things getting messier as the backgrounds get more complex. Games like Mega Man are translated well and benefit greatly from the effect, but games such as Contra or Castlevania somewhat struggle. Perhaps the best-emulated game is the original Super Mario Bros., which the developer admits was the main focus of the emulator and the most tested, which may explain the gap in quality between it and other games.

    This having been said, Geod Studio hopes to improve the number of games that work well through subsequent beta releases, with head of the project Trần Vũ Trúc aiming for one-tenth of the entire NES library as his marker for success. He also suggests that there might be the potential for users to individually tailor the emulator for certain games, but is quick to state this is not currently the case, as he wants to ensure there’s “a strong emulation engine as the backbone” first.

    At the moment, the emulator exists only online, as a WebGL game playable through the Unity Player. This means it only properly supports Mozilla-based browsers, such as Firefox or Seamonkey. It’s also extremely unstable, particularly when not using a AMD Graphics card, and may fail to go beyond loading the ROM, or even fail to work at all. However, Trần states that future releases of the emulator will be made available as software downloads, so it should only be a matter of time before we all get to try it properly.

    3DNes is a NES Emulator with an added dimension" /> 3DNes is a NES Emulator with an added dimension" />
    Join the forum discussion on this post

    Lenovo Grilled By Security Researchers over poor ShareIT Security

    Computer users often make very basic mistakes that make more sensible people wonder just what they were thinking. Case in point: passwords. Splashdata recently published its fifth annual list of the most commonly-used passwords by computer users in North America and Western Europe; and many people will be hitting their heads against their desks when they learn that obvious choices like "password" and "12345678" still top the list.

    While you can expect individuals to make basic mistakes like these, you would assume actual computer manufacturers would be smarter. But if the latest headlines are to be believed, it seems Lenovo's software developers could do with reading this list themselves. As revealed in an advisory posted by Core Security, Lenovo's ShareIT file-sharing software – built in to their computers – has a very serious password-related flaw.

    How bad? The Wi-Fi Network created and used for transferring files between Windows computers "securely" uses a very predictable password: 12345678. Even worse, this password is "hardcoded" into the software, making it impossible for users to change it to something much more secure. The problem is even worse for Android users, where the ShareIT app has no password at all, leaving the network entirely open for anyone within radio range to connect to.

    The implications for the security of transferred files is serious. Merely using a web browser to connect to a ShareIT network can reveal all the files currently stored on the platform by the affected user. While the files cannot be downloaded this way, the researchers also discovered that the files are transferred insecurely, without any kind of encryption, meaning the simple use of a traffic sniffer once connected could allow anyone to obtain a copy of any transferred file.

    Luckily, the flaws may not exist much longer. Lenovo claim that since being made aware of the issues in October last year, the company has worked to bring the software up to snuff. Those running ShareIT on Windows or Android are now advised to download the latest version of the software from the ShareIT website, which was released this week and claims to resolve all the issues found by the Core Security researchers. Given that this is not the first time Lenovo have been found to engage in shady security practices, however, it may be time to think twice about that ThinkPad.


    Forum Updates and News

    Greetings, visitors and Techies.

    Ever since Technically Motivated launched in 2009, our goal has always been to create a technology blog that connects people together whatever their technology expertise; and to create a community of people helping each other or simply having fun and engaging in conversation, while also providing a useful resource.

    Part of the way we've tried to achieve this goal is through use of a Forum where people can start whatever topic is on their mind; and others can join in or start their own. We're now looking for your feedback on potential changes to the Forum to help improve its performance and the overall experience going forward.

    If you're interested in helping out, we ask you to try a new Forum setup we're testing on our specially-crafted page, Here we are testing a brand new Forum Software solution. You'll still find most of the same Forum Categories and sections as in the current Forum, but as well as a different design, you'll hopefully notice a new, more powerful post editor and a much more streamlined approach. What we would like to know is whether a Forum with a simpler feature set and design would not only perform better for Technically Motivated going forward; but also be well-received by our community. Your feedback will determine what route we take for the Forum going forward.

    Don't worry though, we won't be taking down the old one just yet! For those of you who still prefer the current Forum or aren't willing to take the plunge to try something new just yet, the current Forum remains fully functional and open for everyone. Regular visitors might be happy to know that we no longer have advertising on the Forum and Thread Indexes, in order to fix a bug where the adverts would mess up the layout of the Forum and make certain content disappear or look weird, making for an ugly experience on some pages.

    Let us know what you think of both the new Forum and the fixes to the current Forum by posting comments below, or by contacting us directly via our Contact Form. Remember, Technically Motivated is here for you!


    Fixstars launch the highest-capacity SSD yet – and it holds 13TB

    Time was that Solid State Drives were a bit of a compromise. What you gained in speed and safety due to the lack of moving parts and general snappiness of a fully chip-based approach, you lost in capacity – Solid State Drives simply couldn't hold Terabytes of data like classic Hard Drives. Well, thanks to the latest offering from Fixstars, that may soon no longer be the case.

    Fixstars SSD-13000M

    Introducing the new Fixstars SSD-13000M, a new 2.5-inch Solid State Drive capable of holding a whopping 13TB of capacity, making it the biggest SSD in the world at the time of writing. To give some perspective of just how much data that is, you could fit 2,800 full-size DVDs on just one of these monsters, though the company also offers a less-expensive model released at the same time with a slightly lower 10TB capacity.

    Both drives offer read speeds of up to 540MB/s and sequential writes of up to 520MB/s, which means theoretically you could fill just one of those Terrabytes in just 33 minutes and 37 seconds if you've got huge amounts of data to store at once.

    Of course, writing huge amounts of data to a drive at once can severely reduce it's lifespan. However, Satoshi Miki, CEO of Fixstars, commented: "The Fixstars SSD series has been highly regarded for their distinct reliability on steady read/write performance that lasts over time." To this end the drives are temperature-controlled to reduce the amount of heat typically generated when a drive is put under heavy load, preventing heat damage; while the drives offer an optional high durability mode that allows users to cut the storage in half in return for a claimed three times the longevity (so you end up with just 6.5TB usable space, but it will live far longer).

    Naturally, a drive like this is going to be expensive; and the target market for this high-capacity SSD is more tailored towards the enterprise; and for tasks such as heavy-duty video processing. The SSD-13000M's expected retail price in America, where it launches by the end of Febuary 2016, is an eye-watering $13,000 – that's a grand a Terrabyte! This equates to about £9,000 for us British folk, although everything Hardware tends to command a higher premium when it reaches these shores, so take that estimate with a pinch of salt – especially as prices and availability outside the US are yet to be confirmed.

    Join the forum discussion on this post

    [Review] Mini Tool Power Data Recovery 7.0

    We've all had that moment. You delete a file that you didn't mean to, or that you didn't think you'd need at the time; you empty the Recycle Bin; and then suddenly you realise – damn, I actually needed that! You probably also thought the file was gone for good – deleting it from the Recycle Bin was your last chance to get it back, right? Wrong!

    When files are deleted in Windows, Windows simply "forgets" about the file, acting like it no longer exists; and tells the hard drive it was stored on that it can use the space owned by that file again. A file is only truly "erased" when the space it used is fully written over. This means if you act fast, you can usually recover a file that you've deleted entirely from Windows, with minimal to no damage. To do this, you need a File Recovery tool. One such tool is Mini Tool Power Data Recovery – but is it as good as it sounds? In this article, we run it through its paces.


    It is not very often when reviewing software that I start by talking about the setup process itself, because most Windows software that uses an installer to set up the software for your computer works in broadly similar ways – click Next, review the Licence and agree to it (if there is one), choose where to put the software, add extra options such as Desktop Icons, and click Next again and let it do its work. The setup for MiniTool Power Data Recovery is no different, bar one exception. As I mentioned in the introduction to this review, it's important that if you are trying to recover a document, you do not write new data to the drive you are trying to recover from, because any new data could overwrite that document and make it irrecoverable. To that end, the setup for MiniTool Power Data Recovery warns you of this fact, asking you to confirm the location you want to install the program to and reminding you not to install to the same drive you want to recover from as soon as you click "Next" on "Select Destination Location" – regardless of where you install the program to.

    That warning message, asking you to confirm you want to install to the specified location

    That warning message, asking you to confirm you want to install to the specified location

    To some, this message may come across as a little scary, and may suggest that any folder you install the program to is wrong. However, it is simply providing useful advice and asking you to double-check your choice to make sure you don't do something you'll regret later. Kudos, Mini Tool!

    First Impressions

    After installing MiniTool Power Data Recovery and running it for the first time, you'll be presented with the main interface for MiniTool Power Data Recovery, which will also appear first in all subsequent runs.

    The main interface

    The main interface

    MiniTool Power Data Recovery is mostly geared towards recovering lost files, whether those accidentally deleted as mentioned in my introduction, or in the case of removable media, through formatting. To that end, the tool includes three file-related recovery options – Undelete Recovery, Digital Media Recovery and CD/DVD Recovery. But MPDR (to give it a shorter title) has a far greater remit, as the tool also includes the ability to recover whole disk partitions that have been damaged (Damaged Partition Recovery) or can no longer be found by the target computer (Lost Partition Recovery). All of these tools are presented on the main interface in large, two-tone buttons (not unlike the tiled interface of more recent Windows and Windows Phone releases); and mousing over an option presents a description of the tool accompanied by a charming animation of the tool’s icon – for example, mousing over “Undelete Files” makes the trash can icon lift and shake its lid for a moment, while the label changes to explain that the tool offers the ability to “Quick scan, recover deleted files”.

    Our testing methodology

    Obviously, when it comes to tools that claim to recover deleted files, it’s important to test that the software can both find deleted files; and how well it recovers them. We tested Mini Tool Power Data Recovery by first creating and then permanently deleting two files to see if the software would succeed in both counts.

    The first of these two files was a text file, which we called “Recoverme.txt”, containing simply a sentence of dummy text:

    (No caption)

    (No caption)

    The second was an image, a copy of our website’s logo. This way, we would get a good measure of the tool’s ability to find and recover both small, simple files and larger, more complicated ones.

    Our website's logo, which we used as part of the test.

    Our website’s logo, which we used as part of the test.

    Undelete Recovery

    For many people, Undelete Recovery is likely to be the feature they will use the most. This tool is designed to help people recover individual files that have been permanently deleted or lost from their computer.

    After clicking "Undelete Recovery" from the first screen

    After clicking “Undelete Recovery” from the first screen

    Upon clicking the icon for Undelete Recovery, there will be a quick loading bar, and the program will present you with a list of drives attached to your computer. Simply select the one where the lost files are found; and click Scan. As the description of the tool states, MiniTool Power Data Recovery performs a quick scan (no more than a minute in my tests on a 250GB hard drive); and then presents you with the files it has found which may be recoverable:

    The same results in "List" view.

    The same results in “List” view.

    The results of the scan can be seen in one of two methods, which can be selected using tabs below the blue toolbar. By default, the list starts in “List” view, which presents you with a list of files and folders similar to browsing a folder tree in Explorer. In this view, files are grouped into the folder the program believes they may have come from, allowing you to find a file by where you last remember it being. There is also a “Lost Files” folder, for files that have no last known location.

    The results of a test scan in "Type" view, one of the two available views.

    The results of a test scan in “Type” view, one of the two available views.

    In “Type” view, seen above, the results are organised by the type of file that the tool has found, with separate sections for “Pictures”, “Archives” (things like Zip Files and installers), and so on, with other files or those of unknown type getting placed into an “Other Files” category. This view can be useful for finding a specific file when you know what it was you need to recover, but can’t remember where it was. However, our testing returned many files that were simply classified as “other”, and only three files that were categorised in any way, suggesting this view may not always work as intended. Results will obviously vary on a person-by-person basis and the level of usage of the drive in question.

    Unfortunately, because Undelete Recovery only performs quick scans, it may not search the computer very thoroughly and may miss files even if they were only recently deleted. In our test, Undelete Recovery twice failed to locate the files we created and deleted despite being ran only a short time afterwards. This means it may fail to be a solution for many people who need their files recovered without waiting for the more thorough, but longer scans to complete.

    Digital Media Recovery

    “Recover lost photos, mp3/mp4 files and video files from flash drives and memory sticks.” While this tool’s name and description may imply that it’s tailored mostly toward scanning SD Cards and USB Sticks etc, or for finding pictures and video, Digital Media Recovery is really MiniTool Power Data Recovery’s equivalent to a “full scan”, as opposed to Undelete Recovery’s “Quick Scan”. As a result, it takes a much longer time to complete, but finds and identifies a much wider array of files – many more than the tool’s description may suggest, including Microsoft Office and OpenOffice Files. In fact, during testing, the same 250GB hard drive that scanned in a minute using Undelete Recovery was estimated to take 9 hours in Digital Media Recovery mode.

    MiniTool Power Data Recovery - Digital Media Recovery - Scan Progress Dialog

    This will take a while…

    This is a preview for an upcoming article, which is not yet completed. Come back soon to read the full article!


    [Review] MultCloud 2.3.1 – put multiple cloud drives into one service!

    multcloud-logoMore and more people are taking their files online and storing them on storage services all across the internet. The reasons they do this are various, but often it's to allow the same file to be gotten at again when on a different computer; to share documents with colleagues or friends; as a backup in case the local computer fails, or just to clear up space on their own computer by using someone else's storage.

    As the desire for online storage increases, more and more companies are setting up their own storage services offering different amounts of space and features. Some users are taking advantage of this by signing up to multiple services, to increase their storage by combining what's available from all the sites; and sharing their files among them based on which service they feel is most useful for each file. MultCloud is designed with these people in mind by allowing them to connect to several services at once, to remove the need to switch between lots of websites. But is it worth your time?

    This is an update of a review originally posted on August 26th, 2013 to reflect changes to the service since the original publication.

    Read the rest of this entry »