Factor Reviews: iStorage diskAshur² portable hard drive

It’s nice when you get something new and it’s exactly what you wanted it to be. And not trying to sound too corny or clichéd, but that’s exactly the feeling I got when I opened the iStorage diskAshur² portable hard drive. In fact, if anything, the iStorage diskAshur exceeded my expectations, but that’s really not saying much because I wasn’t expecting a lot from an external hard drive. I expected it to work, and its 500GB of space is massive so I expected to use it a lot, but that’s really where my expectations ended.

Let’s start with the way the iStorage diskAshur looks. I got mine in black; I’m assured it comes in other colours, but why do that to yourself? In black, it’s a sleek and stylish device, but unlike other external hard drives it feels solid and secure and, at around 20mm thick, retains a kind of impressive heft.

The device itself encrypts all data copied to it and can only be unlocked by entering a seven-to-15 digit PIN. To service its encryption feature, the hard drive has telephone-style keys on its front, which really adds to its look. I’ve read some criticisms that the finish can become marked with use, but that’s like saying my iPhone is at risk of getting scratched or my new trainers becoming worn through use. It may happen, but when your iStorage diskAshur, iPhone or new trainers begin life looking this good, who cares?

Setting up the iStorage diskAshur is so simple I’m not really going to dwell on it here, but basically get it out the box, plug it in, reset password/code and you’re done. Beyond that there are a number of optional features to take care of later, such as the ability to make the hard drive ‘self-destruct’ (not literally) whereby entering a passcode will reset all encryption and delete all data should this be necessary. Additionally, a Brute Force Destruct Feature is included in the device, which overrides the encryption key and locks the device if the passcode is entered incorrectly 15 consecutive times.

For anyone dealing with confidential data, the iStorage diskAshur is a product I’d really recommend. I got the 500GB version, which retails at £159.00 For the amount of space it has there are much cheaper models on the market, but they won’t come with encryption and may not be as sturdy, so it’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth it. The range goes up to a 2TB version, so there’s plenty more space available if needed.

In all honesty, the iStorage diskAshur is probably better suited to a professional setting, but for anyone looking for a solid external hard drive that keeps all your personal files secure, then you’d do well to find any hard drive that does it better or more attractively  than this.

Factor’s verdict:

Steve “Woz” Wozniak to advise hologram emoji company that he calls “groundbreaking”

Apple’s co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak has found himself a new gig; Woz has joined the hologram emoji company, Mojiit, as an adviser.

In his role as advisor to Mojiit, the legendary entrepreneur and engineer will help assemble a world-class engineering team in addition to bringing investors and partnerships to the newly launched startup. Wozniak will also serve as mentor to Mojiit founder, Jeremy Greene.

“I’m thrilled to join Mojiit as an advisor,” said Wozniak. “Jeremy is a natural leader, the company is groundbreaking, it’s going to change the ecommerce space, and it’s a lot of fun.”

Created in 2017, Mojiit is the latest startup technology venture from Greene. The company’s tech essentially enables users to project and share 3D hologram emojis via smartphones.

The platform turns users into emojis by scanning their face, which can then be sent to loved ones and friends. Once a Mojiit message is received, it will map the area where it is received and place the Mojiit hologram there in real time, so it works in a similar way to Pokemon Go.

“Steve is one of the best and brilliant engineers in the entire world. But outside of that, he’s a wonderful man,” said Greene. “There isn’t anyone I’d want to be in business with more than this guy. He’s a legend. Who better to learn from than the guy who created the computer?”

Image courtesy of Nichollas Harrison. Featured image courtesy of Mojiit

In addition to consumer use, businesses of all kinds can tap into hologram emojis with Mojiit’s technology.

Mojiit investors already  include NFL alum Ed Reed, and the company was able to raise a total of $1 million in its seed round of funding.

Alongside the appointment of Woz, Entourage and Ballers producer Rob Weiss recently joined the company as a creative director.

“It’s exciting to expand beyond television and film to digital platforms,” said Weiss. “Hologram technology brings incredible opportunity to entertainment and media. I’m thrilled to be leading creative at Mojiit.”

Nanoengineers send antibiotic-delivering micromotors into the body to treat cancer-causing infection

Nanoengineers have demonstrated for the first time how “micromotors” that measure half the width of a human hair can be used to transport antibiotics through the body.

Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego tested the micromotors in mice with Helicobacter pylori infections, which can also be found in about two-thirds of the world’s population and while many people will never notice any signs of its presence it can cause peptic ulcers and stomach cancer.

The mice received the micromotors – packed with a clinical dose of the antibiotic clarithromycin – orally once a day for five consecutive days.

Afterwards, nanoengineers evaluated the bacterial count in each mouse stomach and found that treatment with the micromotors was slightly more effective than when the same dose of antibiotic was given in combination with proton pump inhibitors, which also suppress gastric acid production.

Micromotors administered to the mice swam rapidly throughout the stomach while neutralising gastric acid, which can be destructive to orally administered drugs such as antibiotics and protein-based pharmaceuticals.

Because gastric acid is so destructive to traditional antibiotics drugs used to treat bacterial infections, ulcers and other diseases in the stomach are normally taken with additional substances, called proton pump inhibitors.

But when taken over longer periods or in high doses, proton pump inhibitors can cause adverse side effects including headaches, diarrhea and fatigue. In more serious cases, they can cause anxiety or depression.

The micromotors, however, have a built-in mechanism that neutralises gastric acid and effectively deliver their drug payloads in the stomach without requiring the use of proton pump inhibitors.

“It’s a one-step treatment with these micromotors, combining acid neutralisation with therapeutic action,” said Berta Esteban-Fernández de Ávila, a postdoctoral scholar in Wang’s research group at UC San Diego and a co-first author of the paper.

The nanoengineers say that while the present results are promising, this work is still at an early stage.

To test their work, the team is planning future studies to into the therapeutic performance of the micromotors in animals and humans, and will compare it with other standard therapies used to combat stomach diseases.

UC San Diego nanoengineers also plan to test different drug combinations with the micromotors to treat multiple diseases in the stomach or in different sections of the gastrointestinal tract.

Overall, the researchers say that this work opens the door to the use of synthetic motors as active delivery platforms in the treatment of diseases.

Image and video courtesy of the Laboratory for Nanobioelectronics at UC San Diego.