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iPhone stuffed with crashing hard drive

Simulated disaster

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The data-recovery virtuosi at DriveSavers have come up with an iPhone app that IT admins can use to explain to an unfortunate client exactly how and why their hard drive went south, taking all of that irreplaceable financial data with it.

And, of course, seeing as how DriveSavers is in the business of data recovery and not education, their app also explains how the Novato, California company can retrieve lost data.

The just-released DriveSaver (iTunes links) isn't the first iPhone app produced by a company to juice their cash flow. In addition to obvious candidates such as eBay and its subsidiary PayPal, retailers such as Best Buy and Target will keep you up-to-date on special deals and help you find appropriate gift items, and megacorps such as Coca-Cola and WalMart have apps that mix brand reinforcement with attempts at entertainment.

DriveSavers iPhone app

It's geeky, loud, and chock full of schadenfreude

DriveSavers' app, however, goes those folks one better, mixing edification with entertainment. Its "Hard Drive Disk-aster Simulator" includes an animated - though quite basic - tutorial on how hard drives work. More entertaining - and more useful for the aforementioned IT admin - is its Crash a Hard Drive section, where you can watch and listen to six different types of animated hard drive failures, from the simple to the catastrophic.

There's also a tutorial on protection strategies and a tour of the DriveSavers ISO-5 clean room, including images of some truly pathetic-looking dead drives.

Sure, it's all self-serving, but watching a fatal head crash and examining photos of cataclysmically cratered platters is strangely satisfying.

And, yes, of course it's free. It is advertising, after all. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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