Backblaze has figured out the biggest predictors of hard drive failure

Cloud storage provider Backblaze continues to share the wealth of information (not to mention hardware designs) it’s learning as it operates its 40,000-hard-drive, 100-petabyte storage service. On Wednesday, it shared its analysis of the 70-plus SMART data attributes that all hard drives report about their performance. Of those, Backblaze’s Brian Beach explained in a blog post, the company use five to predict failures, and the strongest might be related to uncorrectable read errors. “[O]nce SMART 187 goes above 0, we schedule the drive for replacement,” he wrote.

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New ExpressCard adapter helps you get some mileage out of Thunderbolt

The new Echo Thunderbolt to ExpressCard/34 adapter from Sonnet allows you to plug in ExpressCard/34 accessories and then use them via your Mac’s Thunderbolt port. When it arrives in October, it’ll be a way for users to connect Thunderbolt-equipped Macs to USB 3.0 drives and more.

2011 Mac mini review: Ding dong, the disc is dead

The new Mac mini does away with the optical disc drive, leading to a price reduction for Apple’s diminutive desktop. Without it, and with the addition of Thunderbolt and dedicated graphics, how does the mini stack up as a desktop and as a home theater PC?