Archive for April, 2008

Explores Universe from Browser with Google Sky

This feature, actually seen in Google Earth. But there is different, Google Earth is application and have to download, install first, before you use it. At Google Sky, you do not have to download, just open it with your browser, you directly can view universe. And that’s the advantage; you do not have to fulfill your harddisk with application, beside high resolution image.

Google sky use equatorial coordinate system. At this system, sky objects shown by two numbers, ascensiorecta (English: right accession or RA), and declination. RA number shown in format that same as time format (hours minutes second), while declination shown in angle format (degree minutes second). You don’t have to confuse, if you know object that you wanna see, just typing it in search box. Read more… »

Seagate STM305004SSAB0G-RK Maxtor Shared Storage II 500 GB Shared Storage Drive

Seagate STM305004SSAB0G-RK Maxtor Shared Storage II 500 GB Shared Storage Drive
Product Description:
The Maxtor Shared Storage II 500GB External Hard Drive offers no-hassle backups and shared storage for your networked PCs and Macs. Access any and all files, including digital video, music and photos, from any PC or Mac computer on the network. Play back your photos, videos and music to a networked computer with One-Touch Backup Media Streaming. Its 7200 RPM speed and 16MB cache buffer gives you fast performance, seamless editing and instant access. Drag And Sort organizes your files easily and Simple View gives you quick views of backup and storage status for all users. Just plug it in with an Ethernet cable and the Maxtor Shared Storage II configures to your network automatically. Two USB ports let you add a printer or extra drive, for more storage and functionality. This external drive stores up to 500GB -- enough space for 384,000 photos, 8,300 hours of music or 36 hours of digital video (DV). Simple View Provides at-a-glance views of back up and storage status for all users Password Protection - Set privacy levels on shared folders Simple set up - Plug it in & the drive appears as a local hard drive on every PC and Mac on the network 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet port (RJ-45) Two USB 2.0 ports for printer sharing, storage, expansion or offsite data rotation Compatible with UPnP AV certified Digital Media Adapter (if media streaming is desired) Requires wired or wireless router with available 10/100/1000 Ethernet port PC Requirements - Pentium III 500 MHz or higher; Windows 2000, XP, Media Center; 128MB RAM; Internet Explorer 6.0; Internet connection for system updates Mac Requirements - Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher; 128MB RAM; Internet connection for system updates Dimensions - 5.4 x 2.6 x 8.5 (136 x 65 x 217 mm) Weight - 4 lbs.
List Price: USD 249.99
Lowest Used Price: USD 210.66
Lowest New Price: USD 176.25
Price is accurate as of the date/time indicated. Prices and product availability are subject to change. Any price displayed on the Amazon website at the time of purchase will govern the sale of this product.
Average Rating:
Customer Reviews

Network Storage Needs Better Software
I use the Seagate 500MB storage as a network mass storage resource. The software it came with made network setup almost impossible. Bought Network Magic software and suddenly my Seagate product became very useful

Does exactly what I need it to
I'm not too interested in some of the media capabilities this drive has so I can't comment on how well the streaming works. I was in the market for an external hard drive to attach to a pc on my network that could act as a "network share" in order to keep all of my files centralized. I discovered this drive which plugs into ethernet and can also act as a print server. At first I thought it was too good to be true.

I've had it for about a month now and I am amazed at how flawlessly it has integrated into my network. The drive runs so quiet you won't even know it is running. Even when transferring files, I hear nothing. Also, it runs amazingly cool. It doesn't even get warm. Heat was one of the things I had worred about when I first heard about this device. I have a couple hard drives in external enclosures and they get so hot that I always turn them off when not in use. I worried that this drive being on all the time would be a nightmare waiting to happen. It's not.

The interface is a bit clunky, but really you don't need it that much. I hit one snag during setup. When it prompted me to created my admin account password, it took a long time and then finally popped up some xml error. Turns out the password was saved anyway. The management software seemed to really slow down one of my computers, though it could've been that computer. I uninstalled the software, problem fixed, and put the software on a different computer and no problems there. So maybe it was a conflict with something running on the first pc.

A few days after installing it I had a power outage for a few hours. When the power came back on, all my computers could still access the drive. On the computer running the management software, it showed the drive as disconnected, but that is only for the management features I suppose. Even when it shows as disconnected there, the drive is still on the network and files can still be transferred and read.

Transfer speeds are great. I'm only on a 100mb network and I'm pretty happy with transfers. Also, no problems so far in transferring large files. I've sent files that were 4gb and no dropped connections. I've sent batches of 20gb worth of files at once and not a single problem.

I am very happy with this purchase.

Poor backup software and support for Visa
Do not purchase this product to backup your computer(s). The initial low cost of the device will be offset by the need to purchase additional backup software.

Setup was quick and easy. I initially used the drive without installing the EasyManage software and it worked great. I then installed the EasyManage software so I could configure my backups.

I immediately noticed some bugs in the EasyManage software. For example if I clicked on the title bar the software would disappear forcing me to kill the app through TaskManager. I went to the Seagate support site (who recently purchased Maxtor) and was excited to see they had a Vista specific update v4.1.0.15. Unfortunately the updated version of EasyManage had even more bugs than the v4.1.0.10 version that shipped with the product. The newer version now forces the user to select user security control warnings and app still disappears when you click the title bar. I was able to get around these software bugs by carefully avoiding the title bar and accepting the annoying popup messages.

The real problems came after my first attempt to backup my outlook data. I started to get backup errors and after reading the Maxtor documentation on their support site I realized they block the backup of .pst files and any other system or hidden files. I contacted the Maxtor technical support via chat and the tech support person informed me that they do not recommend using the backup utility for "application data"

I purchased a network storage device to backup critical files on multiple machines. The Maxtor EasyManage software is crippled by design. There are a number of software products on the market for backing up to the drive but they cost - per machine. I decided that I would be better off buying a competing product for slightly more to avoid spending an additional 0 on backup software.

Functionably Sound with nice features
This product works very well, I have owned it for about 2 months and have had no problems with it. Its about half full and seems to have no performance issues. Easy to setup just plug in and install software. All my home computers have a drive mapped to its root for easy access. I am going to to buy a simple 500 GB external drive that I can attach to the NAS for autobackups at night. GREAT PRODUCT!!!

rather disappointing...
Amazon delivered but Maxtor didn't. The ethernet drive seems to work ok but the software is really outdated and sub-standard. I have un-installed it since it really doesn't do much and it puts an obtrusive icon in the sys tray that is hard to delete. The XP backup software seems to be much better than the Maxtor software and that's not saying much. It's noisier than I hoped and if you turn it off, you have to use the browser interface to get it so the computers on the network can "see" again, everytime.

I wish, just once, the product description would accurately portray the real situation instead of some idealized situation. It does operate though and store files.

Would I buy it again? Probably not but I'm not going to return it, that would be a real hassle.

D-Link DNS-323 2-Bay Network Storage Enclosure

Product Description:
The D-Link DNS-323 2-Bay Network Storage Enclosure, when used with internal SATA drives enables you to share documents, files, and digital media such as music, photos, and video with everyone on the home or office network. Remotely accessing files through the Internet is also possible with the built-in FTP server. Whether you are allowing access locally or over the Internet, keep data safe by only giving rights to specific users or groups. When configuring the DNS-323, you can create users and groups and assign them to folders with either read or write permissions. This is ideal for an office environment with employee-specific sensitive data or for the home where you can ensure your children will only have access to age appropriate material. LEDs - Power, LAN, HDD 1 and HDD 2 System Requirements - 1GHz Processor, 512MB Memory, 200MB Hard Disk Space, Windows XP SP2 or Windows 2000 SP4, CD-ROM Drive to view Product Documentation and Install Software Dimensions - Width 4.1 x Depth 7.8 x Height 5.2 inch Weight - 2.7 pounds
List Price: USD 229.99
Lowest Used Price: USD 170.00
Lowest New Price: USD 178.88
Price is accurate as of the date/time indicated. Prices and product availability are subject to change. Any price displayed on the Amazon website at the time of purchase will govern the sale of this product.
Average Rating:
Customer Reviews

Great NAS, Okay Media Server...BUT...
I originally wanted this product as a RAID NAS to backup my music and photos. Then I got a PS3 and thought it'd be a great bonus to use the media server component. Here's where it fares:

This is great as a RAID NAS. I didn't want a whole computer running to act as a file sharing device. Obviously, you can do that, too. I didn't want a network attached device or external USB drive without RAID because I'm looking for the reliability of RAID (two drives that mirror each other so that if one fails the other still has your data). Many of the RAID NAS devices in this price range have one built in drive or some other mechanism where if a drive fails, you have to send it back to the manufacturer to replace the drive(s) and rebuild it. What's the point?!? I popped in two 500 gig deskstars in there and away it went.

I wanted to share the photos and music I put on the network with my PS3. Using the latest (1.04) firmware, I was able to set it up and have it running with 10 minutes. I could play files just fine. HOWEVER the media server built into the NAS would unreliably provide MP3 Tags. For instance, it would allow for a "Rock" folder, but not "Soul". On the PS3, they were just listed under "Other". If I copied those same "Soul" files via the NAS to the PS3 HD, or put them on a USB Drive, the PS3 read the tags fine, so it was obviously a problem with the mediaserver. To verify even futher, I used a mediaserver on my desktop with those same files, again, and the PS3 saw them and categorized them just fine.

So... If you want to share a few songs, play one album at a time, view one folder of photos at a time- this will be awesome out-of-box. If you want to rip 300 CDs to the NAS and play by genre, rating, year, etc... You're screwed! ...Or are you? The DNS-323 allows you access to it's guts (Linux) so you can actually install a GOOD mediaserver on your NAS. I installed Twonky (Aprox ) in about half an hour at most. You can find the info on the DNS-323 wiki. It's a lot easier and safer than it sounds.

So... all in all, this is a great device. Perfect RAID NAS. Okay Media Server (minus one star for that). But with the flexibility to install a good media server and other linux components like a web server.

Piece of cake. Out of the box it had the 1.03 firmware. I updated that first- easy. Then I added the 2 drives- very easy. Then I logged in via the browser (I never installed the dlink software!)- easy. It asked me how I wanted to use the drives and then formatted them- easy. The PS3 automagically found the mediaserver- Super Easy! Figuring out why it didn't tag my music properly- Frustrating! Installing Telnet and a new MediaServer... Not bad if you have a clue about computers (FTP, and basic Linux).

Performance: Unsure. I'm using wireless right now and there seems to be a delay inbetween songs. It might be better wired, or maybe that's just a limitation of streaming from a separate device. Also, I've noticed multiple disconnects from my DSL. This almost never happened before (maybe once in 6 months). Right now my DSL modem is also the wired/wireless router- not the best option in performance.

Handy network storage and printing
I am a new user of the DNS-323, and I would say my tech experience is moderate. The unit was very easy to setup. I installed 2 x WD 500GB SATA hard drives (WD5000AAKS), which you add to the unit without using any tools or screws. They just slide in from the front and click. Removal is just as easy. The included setup CD made finding the DNS-323 on my home network painless and fast on all of my networked computers.

I did not (have not yet) set up any user groups or permissions, which means that all the computers attached to my network can access both drives and all the folders on the DNS-323. I can see why you would want to set groups and users to protect information, but for the moment, the no group/users way works for me.

Setting up the print server was the only thing that gave me a bit of an issue with my HP Photosmart D5160 printer. To resolve my slow printing/no printing problem, I did this:

1) Configured my DNS-323 with a static IP address and made note of it.
2) Connected my printer to my computer, install drivers etc and make sure it was working correctly. (ie: printing!)
3) Next I opened the printer properties, selected the PORTS tab, and ADD PORT for a new local port named: \\lp Click OK and exit. Make sure this is still your default printer.
4) Finally, I disconnected my printer from my computer and connected it to my DNS-323. Without any further adjustments, I was able to print as normal from my computer.

Overall, I like the DNS-323 very much for a shared storage/backup device that all the computers on my network can access. The network print server was also a selling point for me (so I was pleased to get it working properly!), as was the idea of being able to replace hard drives quickly and easily as they become full, thus extending the the life of the product. I have not tried the iTunes server or the media server, since I wanted the DNS-323 primarily as a BACKUP device and would rather not play with the data I store on it. But it does have that included function for those who wish to fully explore its capabilities.

just what I needed
I've been looking for a RAID-1 NAS box for home for a while. Then after reading lots of reviews I decided to buy this one. I've had it for about 3 weeks, and so far it's been great. Easy to set up, fast and it powers down the drives when inactive (I love this feature). Good job D-Link! I got burned with you a long time ago (with a webcam that I could never get to work) but it looks like you learned from your mistakes :)

Unreliable/unable to recover from hard drive failure
The D-Link DNS-323 is a dual SATA enclosure, boasting an embedded Linux running on a Marvel board with an ARM5 processor. You put in the drives, and it configures them using the software raid stack from its embedded Linux. It has gigabit ethernet, and as NAS functionality goes, it only supports SMB shares. That's about where the coolness ends - with the specs. Even though it runs Linux, it is not capable of serving NFS. Even though it runs Linux, it is not capable of using ext3. But I am getting ahead of myself.

First thing I had to do based on the advice pouring from the Internet was to upgrade its firmware to the latest and greatest 1.0.4. Then I put in my 2 x 1TB drives and I started configuring it. The web interface gives the usual choice of jbod/raid0/raid1 - and after choosing raid1, it asked me how much RAID1 I want, promising that the rest will be used for a JBOD setup. I selected a 500GB setup for RAID1, which gave me an extra 1TB of JBOD scratch space I planned on using for stuff like local mirrors and caches. I did a samba mount for the RAID1 volume, dropped about 20GB of stuff on it and then proceeded to test the failure handling of the DNS-323. Power off, pull out one drive, start it up in degraded mode. As expected, the JBOD volume is gone, but the RAID1 one is still going strong, data is still there. I zero out the drive I pulled out, power off, insert it back, and power on again.

This is where the fun started. One would expect the device to reconstruct the RAID1 array, and give me an option to remake my JBOD from the space not being used for the RAID1. Sure enough, the web interface prompts me resync the new drive2, issues a failure, asks for a reboot. Upon reboot it asks again to resync the newly inserted drive2, this time it looks like it is making it through, half an hour later it says it is happy and asks me to reboot. Fine, I reboot, next time it comes up it prompts me to resync the newly inserted drive1 (note - this is the *other* drive that I have not touched, now it thinks that drive is newly inserted as well). This is testing, so I click ok, it fails, asks for reboot; reboot, starts syncing fine, completes, asks for reboot. On next reboot, it asks to resync the newly inserted drive2, and the cycle seems to keep on repeating.

On the positive side, the data continued to be available. But maybe because it was running degraded most of the time, I don't know why, it stopped being reliable. I would get random read-only errors from the smb mounts, directory tree corruption (files that should be in subdirectories show up in the root of the share), a whole bunch of problems that made me put the thing in the box it came from and send it back to Amazon. I wasn't even trying to stress test it and it failed miserably. Totally not worth my time dealing with it. How many people that declare themselves happy with the device have actually tested the recovery from a hard drive failure?

FTP has some limitations
I've only had this for a few days. Installed one of the two 1TB drives in. Want to test it some before installing the second drive and setting up raid 1. I want to primarily use FTP because this unit is for a church so that the staff can store files for sharing with various levels of access. I don't really want to have to modify a user's personal laptop. FTP access via a web browser seems like an easy solution.

Installed the drive under firmware 1.03 as it came. Found that I couldn't create a new folder when as admin using a web browser under the ftp section. Found out that this is solved in 1.04 so I downloaded this upgrade, installed it and was able to then create a new folder when I was granting ftp access rights. Now comes the limitations and one bug. I set up a Group and granted this group read/write ftp access to a specific folder. What resulted was 'read only' access. Tried several times, same results. Could successfully assign read/write access to same folder for an individual user. Emailed tech support, they replied back asking me if I had reformatted the drive after the upgrade. I didn't so I proceeded to do so.

After reformatting, same problem. Couldn't grant read/write ftp access to a group. WELL, I ftp'ed into the DNS323 as one of the users in this group and I could write to the folder. I copied a file from my laptop to the folder even though on the web browser admin screen of the DNS323 it showed the 'read only' icon for this ftp access. So there is a bug in the code for displaying read/write for group ftp access. For an individual ftp access rule, it does show the read/write icon but not for a group rule. that was the bug.

Now here is the limitations: for an individual or for a group, there can be only ONE ftp access rule. So you can't grant Group1 read/write access to folder1 while giving that group read only access to folder2. Once you install the second rule, the first rule for the group is removed from the access list. (Now when you give the group access to a folder, it also applies to sub-folders/sub-directories under that folder but the same type of access applies to all sub-folders. Now for an individual user, the same applies... only one FTP access rule can be created for that user.

Now this isn't true of network access which is a bit more flexible. However if you are like me thinking you could simply use FTP instead of network access, then you're out of luck for now. Its possible to workaround this limitation but its not really workable in all situations. You could simply create a 'generic user' that has access to folder one and a different 'generic user' for accessing folder two. So some people who would need access to both folders would have to know both IDs and passwords. This can get messy. I'm hoping they plan to enhance the FTP capabilities to the same level as the network access.

May update this review later as I test further and find out other things. I wish the documentation would be more in depth.

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