MacDirectory Magazine

Spring-Summer 2010

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 141 of 147

FEA TURE REVIEW World II has some neat features up its sleeve, including Mionet, an all-in-one remote access and file sharing system that lets you access your computer from anywhere in the world. The World II can also be used as a web, FTP, UPnP, and iTunes server. It is probably the greenest NAS you can buy, using up to a a third less power than comparable drives. You can also double the capacity, but then you lose RAID 1 protection, which we don’t recommend. Take it all together, and it’s a very popular drive. Unusually, it has a substantial user community on the net devoted to exploring every possible customization and hack you could ever wish to make. The World II doesn’t have the information panel of the G-RAID, so its warning and diagnostic system is more opaque. But its elegant design allows screwdriver-less replacement of a bad hard drive. The World II’s vented enclosure is designed not to require a fan. It’s the quietest external we have ever tested. What about even more security? Cloud-based backup is online backup over an Internet connection to — presumably — multiple storage centers which protect you in case of major natural or man-made disasters. Such a strategy depends on two things: that your upload broadband speeds are high; and that you don’t mind someone else having physical possession of your data. This is not a solution that the late Thomas Wolfe would have had in mind when he remarked ‘Even paranoids have enemies’; but for the rest of us, it adds a comforting layer of additional security. Norton has a notable offering in this area which focuses on conventional file backup. By contrast, the popular Drop Box service immediately detects changed files and synchronizes them to the clouds. But DropBox only works with a single, dedicated folder. There are no clear choices here — yet. And for almost all users, this kind of backup is still too slow to use for all but selected files. What’s the matter with Mac external interfaces today? Apple is in a dreadful bind with external storage. Traditionally, over a couple of decades, Apple has always led the personal computer world with the most reliable, the most advanced, and the fastest external storage interfaces. This year, Apple has fallen behind. It is desperately trying to get rid of Firewire. Firewire was first dropped in the Macbook AIR, and subsequently in several supposedly ‘consumer’ grade Macbooks. Exactly whyApple is trying to get rid of Firewire, nobody knows. The trouble is, Apple has nothing to replace Firewire with. PCs have two interfaces that are much faster: eSata (only for disc drives) and — just beginning to appear — USB3. Apple has discussed some important next- generation connection technology, but this is many years in the future. There’s also the issue of the millions of Firewire peripherals that millions of users have bought that won’t work on Macs that don’t have Firewire. It will be many years indeed before we are ready to give up the countless Firewire gadgets we’ve been accumulating over the years, ranging from the merely useful to the utterly essential. We users are not the only people baffled by Apple’s abandonment of Firewire. So is Apple. Every now and then it forgets itself, and skittishly puts Firewire back into a product that it was taken from. So much for leadership. The solution is simple: provide USB 2, USB 3, Firewire 400, Firewire 800, and eSata. On everything. Sonnet Technology to the rescue Sonnet Technology is one smart company. Ten or fifteen years ago, they made a name for themselves as the most reliable of the Mac processor upgrade manufacturers. More recently, Sonnet’s talented engineers have staked out some of the high ground in storage technology. Among Sonnet’s most impressive products are its cards that allow Mac desktops and laptops full speed access to eSata external drives. While testing the G-SAFE, we used Sonnet’s Tempo Sata Pro Expresscard. At $199, this is one of the most expensive eSata cards you can buy, but it is by far the fastest, offering potential throughput of an astounding 200 megabytesper second. What else do you need to know? A top tip is to exerciseyour hard drives. Don’t keep a hard drive in cold storage and assume it will work three years later. You’ll be lucky if it does. Stored hard drives should be exercised for a full day at least once every three months. Avoid Apple’s Time Capsule hardware. It doesn’t work reliably. Back up daily! 140 MacDirectory

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