Archive for September, 2011

Networked USB: How do you share?

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I have always enjoyed the idea of being able to use my USB harddrives as NAS storage.  The problem was, I have never really taken the time to learn how to create my own NAS. The technology to do such a thing has been around for quite a while, just build a box, drop your flavor of Linux (FreeNAS preferably) and hook everything up. Not too hard right? But the Über geek in me has tapered off for the last few years as I have tried to become a tech journalist of sorts. I haven’t built a computer in a long time and not really done anything hardcore geek style like coding a webpage or hacking a neighbor’s wifi either. So I have come to the point in my geek life where, the quicker and easier is better for me.

So let’s see, I have a few USB harddrives laying around, 60GB, 120GB, (2x)500GB, 1TB & (2x)2TB drives. What to do with all that storage? Why can I not add these to my network like fileshares and have a fileserver. This would go the way of my previous mentioned Linux box, or I could go the Windows route and try out the Windows Home Server. HP actually released some nice pre-built machines like the EX490 Media Smart Server, but the problem still lies, that I have to have a box that is on all of the time. I never really have liked the idea of having a box online all the time. I also wanted a low power device as well, that didn’t take up a lot of space. So let’s rewind to the idea beginning, when I first started getting the idea of a unique piece of equipment that could connect to the network and allow me to connect things to it via the USB interface.

The first device that I came across was very basic, just need some software installed on the client machine so that you could access the device only on that client machine. Not the best idea, but a good start. This device was circa 2007 and was the Belkin Network USB Hub. The problem was, this device to me was very expensive when it first came out. At least expensive for what it didn’t do. The device (I think) originally sold for $99, but just didn’t have exactly what I wanted, but it had the basic idea down. I could take a printer, a camera or a USB harddrive and plug it in to this device and would be available on the network. The problem was, the client device has to have the client software installed. Also, I cannot access the connected devices outside of the network, easily. This was great for sharing media and devices within my home network, but not when I wanted to share it outside of that. I bought one pretty late in the game, and right before they dropped the price down to like $69.


So then comes the PogoPlug by Cloud Engines. They were funded in 2007 as well, and I don’t know the original release date of their first device, but I also, came late to the game on this one, but GLAD that I found them. This does a lot better than the Belkin device. It allows me to access the USB hard drives on my entire network and the web! There still is a client software that needs to be installed since there isn’t really a “server” on the other end, but after installing it, it treats the drives as mapped Network drives that automatically reconnect every time that you log back in. The client software also turns the client into “device” on the network and you can chose which folders to share on the network. Awesome. Even better, they give you a web based access so that you can access the drive outside of your network, on the web from anywhere in the world!!! SWEET. Oh yeah, they also build in a XBOX compatible share so you can stream media to your XBOX. Doublely Awesome!

The success of this device led Cloud engines to come out with a 2.0 device earlier in 2010 (again, I think, google it). They even now have added a PogoPlug black and a new PogoPlug Business that adds auditing abilities. Earlier this year (2011), they added the PogoPlug Video, that was meant specifically for video processing and transcoding on the fly, so you could throw any file at it, and stream it to any device. This device was $300, but well worth the price, because that means I didn’t have encode videos to specific format to make it work on a specific device. The only problem, this GREAT processing came at a price. This past summer, PogoPlug had to recall the device. I was heartbroken. I stood by them though, and I bought a $49 PogoPlug on Amazon and just deal with not being able to watch every media file on every device.


Now, following in the footsteps and trying to pickup on the craze, is LaCie. They are known for their impeccable harddrives and simple designs. I recently just bought a 2TB Minimus USB 3.0 and I love it! Their device is called the LaPlug. It is basically the same exact device that the PogoPlug is. It has the same 4 USB ports and same style web interface so that you can share EVERYWHERE! It is pretty much a feature for feature match up against the PogoPlug. So it could be a total toss up to the popularity of this device. I think that PogoPlug has them beat in the time frame arena, since it has been out a while and has a very good community built around it. They even have forums that show you how to expand your PogoPlug beyond its stock features. So only time will tell on this, but good luck LaCie. You have a good bit to catch up on. In the mean time, I have some (The.Big.Bang.Theory.S05E02.HDTV.XviD-ASAP) to download and watch on my XBOX.

Check out some YouTube videos about the 3 devices:

BuyTV talks about the Belkin Network USB Hub

BuyTV talks about the PogoPlug

Official Product Video for LaPlug

-rusty g

Ever see my theme elsewhere???

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So I was just a little bored at work today and I was reading the tech news from my Google Reader page, I noticed another website that I was reading had the same free theme that I had. Now I had seen this a time before on VeronicaBelmont.com. I really never paid any attention to this because I just figured it was a popular theme out there because it was free. I remember actually reading about it somewhere on one of the tech sites like Mashable.com. I really liked the theme, so I picked it up and put it on this website. The funny thing is, if you take the little small phrase from the bottom of this page, and google it. You can find that there are a lot of other websites out there with it. So that’s what I did partially at work today, took the phrase “Powered by WordPress and Mystique theme by digitalnature” and looked it up. WOW, I never knew I was going to run into so many sites that have the same theme, or at least a modified version of the same theme. Check out the list that I found:

http://granthuhn.wordpress.com

http://veronicabelmont.com
http://iknowrusty.com (this website)
http://miravox.fmcrowd.com/
http://www.gbcallen.org/ (modified)
http://41minds.com/ (modified)
http://www.dirtyshort.com (modified)
http://jayolsonimprov.com/ (modified)
http://www.tainteamtour.com/
http://odogparks.org/(modified)
http://www.moveablepeace.org/(modified)
http://blogs.dotnetkicks.com/connectsql
http://www.facetray.net/ (modified)
http://clubs.calvin.edu/crew/
http://www.pioneercrew.org/site/ (modified)
http://www.alexxcalise.com/
http://arcommunitybankers.com/
http://eurohealth.ie/ (modified)
http://puppeteersofpugetsound.org/
http://www.chinmaykulkarni.info/blog/
http://ericgoldstein.net/
http://www.ohioview.org/
http://www.calda.org/(modified)
http://michaelwalsh.org/
http://www.levelcapped.com/(modified)
http://repeater.org/
http://www.adminlair.com/(modified)
http://campusninja.nl/test/wordpress/ (modified)
http://www.agentsinspired.com/
http://www.uprdetroit.org/
http://bobdawg.org/wordpress/
http://www.namase.com/(modified)
http://edtech411.com/
http://eye-dropper.kepi.cz/
http://berrythemereview.com/
http://www.elitethemes.net/
http://rha.njit.edu/wordpress/ (modified)
http://www.cmduke.com/ (modified)

The funny thing is, I never knew I had so much in common with so many other websites. Or should I say that only the (modified) ones had any creative smarts about them and changed it up a bit. Now, you can keep looking, because there was something like 8 million hits when I searched that phrase. Have a good weekend folks.. I may end up blogging about the facebook/google+ war here later this weekend…
-RustyG

Revision3 keeps knockin’ em’ out of the park

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Revision3 is an online TV distribution channel that has a lot of great shows for many different tastes. If you are searching to cut the cord and don’t know what to look for online, might I suggest two new shows that Revision3 has added.

One of the original creators and founding partners of Digg and Revision3, Jay Adelson, has a brand new show called Ask Jay. The idea behind this show is to help those out with any sort of start up or any entrepreneurial endeavors you may be embarking on. Jay has been chosen as one of Time’s Most Influential People of the World in 2008. So to say that Jay has a little experience in this area, is minor understatement. You can check out Ask Jay over at Revision3’s website http://revision3.com/askjay or click on the banner below for his latest episode “How Do Companies Raise So Much Money?”

 

Another brand new show is for the gamers out there, called New Challenger. Some of you may know Anthony Carboni from other Revision3 shows like App Judgment or previously hosting Bytejacker. He is still showing his cold beating gamer heart as the new host for New Challenger, along side other great gamers like Tara Long and Ryan Clements, just to name a few. Anthony is one of the new rising stars on Revision3 and loves to hardcore it up while playing games like Minecraft or Dead Island! You can check out New Challenger on http://revision3.com/newchallenger or even watch the latest episode where he and Destructoid’s Tara Long review Dead Island by clicking on the banner below.

=-RustyG

Oh COME ON!

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In a follow up to my previous post about Apple copying Samsung, I came across this story about a new phone that Samsung just released in the UK on Vodaphone. It is the Galaxy S II carrying the android gingerbread OS. When I saw the announcement on Engadget Mobile, I had to laugh again. Mainly, because if the rumors are true, it seems it is only half true. They just have the who is copying who backwards. If the next iPhone is suppose to be the mockup that MacRumors is showing off, man do these phones look awfully close. Again, I submit for your consideration the evidence:

click for larger image

-Rusty G

Apple inundated news?

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Sorry that I am on this Apple kick, but it is really driving me nuts here lately. I spoke a little about this in my previous post about the Samsung vs Apple quarrel that is going on. It’s like every time I open my news here lately, it is nothing but apple. You people realize there are other companies out there right now? I will say they seem to be one of the most valuable companies in the world, but MAN, this is ridiculous. (to be honest, I am not helping by griping about it either…) I am so sick of hearing about iPhone 5 rumors and parts being leaked. It’s like we have seen all of the parts, but no whole phone yet. Go over to AppleInsider or MacRumors and look up iPhone parts. The latest? We have a FCC ID #! Who freaking cares?

Did you know that IFA 2011 is going on right now over in Germany? Heck, Samsung, Toshiba & LG are all announcing some pretty cool stuff at IFA. But when I open up my news this morning, I get iOS beta 7 expires in October! WHO FREAKING CARES?!?! I guess this further cements the fact that all the parts are coming together and they have their FCC approval and that we should see an iPhone refresh here in the first week of October.

I mean it is to the point that we are putting up their building issues in London because of the size of their retail store plans. Also, we are watching glass getting put up? Why not watch grass grow? Are we so worried about what Apple is doing that we have to know EVERYTHING about them? Oh, wait, here’s another. Apple has their own police force running around and impersonating officers. Isn’t that a crime punishable by jail time? I know if I did that, I would be in jail. Is it because they have so much money, if they have a problem, they can just pay off the police?

It just goes to show you the power that Apple has on it’s name. You can almost post anything and say Apple did it, and you get 200,000+ views. Even the bad stuff. For instance, I like this one: a guy is complaining about the Sears goofup they did a few months back on the iPad and priced it at $69. Sears wasn’t going to honor it, so what did he do? He emailed all of the tech blogs! Who thought that was a good idea? Apparently he did. Hey, here’s a story, I’ll sell it to you for an iPad 2 w/Wifi! Of course though, you can always email Steve Jobs, I mean Tim Cook. They always seem to answer to customer emails.

-Rusty G

Apple copying Samung or Samsung still copying Apple? Who knows? Who Cares?

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Looking at a post by MacRumors this morning almost had me laughing. I have been watching the IFA in Germany through many of the tech blog websites and seeing all of these cool new gadgets being announced. As I was watching the Samsung announcement, I was looking at their new GIANT Galaxy Note phone coming with a 5.3″ screen. WOW. What I had interest in was the overall design of the phone. I thought the phone had looked kind of familiar. I went back to look at the rumored iPhone design from Macrumors. Then I went back to the announcement of the new Samsung Phone. Wait a minute! See if you see what I see:

Wait a tick, if I move the camera over to the other side, and I make the button longer.. I would swear they are the same phone. Now this is a little early to tell. Especially since all the parts (parts, and more parts) are still leaking. So until the phone actually gets here we can’t say. I am having a hard time believing the phone will be different, especially since the one of the newest “leaks” show the same front face again! Even the same metal band that goes around the current iPhone 4, CDMA and GSM. The other rumor that seems be popping up is that there will be an 8GB cheaper version sold of the iPhone 4 or 4S due to the iCloud upgrade that is coming. This does make some sort of sense, so you can get more people on the iPhone and make more money. Why have huge memory when everything comes from the iCloud? All of this is pure speculation and rumor at this point, but we shall see in the coming months. I will say though, if they do go with the bigger screen and bigger home button, it looks a lot like Apple copied Samsung.
-Rusty G

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