Applecentric

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This post has been a long time coming, and at this point I think it is somewhat appropriate. I have been a Windows user for a very long time, some Linux and Solaris thrown into the mix for a little while but never really Apple. So over the past few years I got introduced to Apple, the first one being the Mac Mini from last year which was an impressive little guy. If you asked me back in 2006 if I would be using a Mac I would say that is blasphemy but now I will happily admit it. Over the years I think that Apple’s hardware has improved drastically and you get the better hardware for a better price unlike before, and OS X and higher is much better then its previous versions with better compatibility. Still I’m really annoyed that they don’t have NTFS built into OS X but I think its just Apple being their usual stubborn self so people can’t use the same external USB/Hard Drive between Apple & Windows Machines. I have been using my iPod for a while now, pretty much since the iPod Touch came out and the useful applications and games. So a few years later I got into my first apple, and it was as if I was walking into an unknown zone. Overall I think Apple does have a winning product but you can’t knock Windows just yet, it does have its good uses and I know you Apple fans do get crazy but it wouldn’t be dominating in the market if it didn’t do something right. A lot of you know how much I love Android products but I do love my iPad, I will admit which platform is better for which application, and Apple knows how to integrate all their products but its annoying how much they lock out other companies from innovating on their platforms. I prefer my Android over iOS by far but I wouldn’t mind it syncing with iTunes so I can get my music, of course there are ways to get around it but I’m too lazy to go through the hassle. Luckily for me I started using Spotify to a large extent and so I depended less on iTunes but still on an Apple device iTunes is worlds better then on Windows, for one thing it works.

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What I really think which is better in which:

Mac:

  • Graphical Items
  • Doesn’t Crash As Much, And Yes It Does Crash Under My Abuse
  • Very Smooth Interface, Very Nice Design Of Their Machines

Windows:

  • Network Management
  • Larger Software Compatibility
  • More Games, Alot More Games
  • Larger Variety of Manufacturers to Choose From

I haven’t really jumped into any video editing yet so I can’t compare between the machines, but most probably I will be trying it out on the Mac for sure. If you ask me which do I use more I would say its 70% Windows 30% Apple, and for work I can only use Windows. Apple can be used in Advertising or Media companies but everything else its Windows, too many work applications just aren’t compatible with Macs.

Synology Storage Expansion From 10 TB to 21 TB – DX510

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Recently one of my main storage devices got to about 78% capacity of the available 10.92 TB. Its mostly filled with my TV Shows & Personal Files. I have another Synology Device as well which has about 21.84 TB capacity which is a back up for everything I have, but the main one is the DS1511+. So I wanted to expand it and purchase the DX510 which is an expansion unit, and I bought 5 Hard Drives to fill it right away, the capacity being 3TB (2.73 TB Actual) per drive so it doubles the capacity of the DS1511+.

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One thing to keep in mind is the connection is an eSata with screws so it doesn’t come out at all, if it does then you lose the Volume on your Synology Device so its very important to keep it screwed it. Once you plug in all the hardware and connect it to the DS1511+, the DX510 will power up with the DS1511+ and all controls will be made through the DSM software, I think it stands for the Desktop Synology Manager.

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Configuring is simple, you have two choices, Expansion of the Volume or Creating a new Volume. Also there is a limit to a Volume, it will max out at 16 TB, so I decided to create another Volume with Synology Hybrid Raid I got a Volume space of 10.92 TB so a total of 21.84 TB on the Synology Device. It took 20 minutes to setup the device physically, then to create the volume and do a fully check on the hard drives it took 24 hours, so it can check every sector of every drive on the new expansion unit. Well worth the wait to make sure everything is working smoothly first time around. You can move your Shares to different volumes so give yourself space but when you access it through explorer it looks like as its just one big space. Synology does make everything easier and in reality it is an excellent product.

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If you are looking for a high end storage device that does it all and it is simple to setup yet you have a lot of options for customization I would go with the DS1812+ but if you are looking for something simple for the home the DS1512+ is perfect.

Check out Cameoo in Kuwait they are even cheaper then Amazon which is extremely surprising and refreshing. Forget their website, just call them and ask the Synology unit you are looking for, its bound to be cheaper.

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Tech Round Up – Nexus 7, Dropbox, Zenbook

Google Nexus 7

I got a notification that my Google Nexus 7 has been shipped as off the 13th of July which was pretty exciting since it was around 3:53 am and I don’t know why I was up at that time. I heard some people got notifications and some didn’t get it yet, but I got mine I stopped worrying, I thought they might pull an Apple and just cancel you for random reasons as usual. Now I can’t wait to get my hands on it, I got the 16GB version and with the hardware its packing, its going to be good.

Dropbox Expansion

I think I use Dropbox for almost everything, I store everything electronically that I can that is usefull like airline mileage cards, a copy of IDs, bookings in PDF, not including music, videos, and tv shows, and any other form of media that can be stored. A long time ago I go the Dropbox Pro plan which gave me 50 GB and then with the HTC One X they give you the an extra 24 GB, so I had a total of 74 GB. Then recently I got an update from Dropbox a few days ago that I got an upgrade to the account and its not 126 GB which is a pretty nice thing to see since its been a while since they updated their packages.

Then I setup a friend’s Samsung Galaxy SIII and I knew they had a package for Dropbox too and since he wasn’t using it I signed up through it and got a nice 48 GB bump to 174.75 GB. I do love Dropbox and now more space to abuse.

Asus Zenbook

I made the jump, it was out of stock for a while on Amazon and the other day it said In Stock so I hit the Add To Cart & then the Checkout button right away. It seems that the Zenbook has been an Amazon Exclusive because I couldn’t find it anywhere, and I specifically wanted these specifications. The only thing I’m going to do is do a clean install of Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate which I have without all the random junk installed for it to be even faster.

Specifications

  • Intel Core i7-3517UM 1.7 GHz
  • 4 GB SO-DIMM, 128 GB Solid-State Drive
  • Backlit Keyboard
  • 13.3-Inch IPS Full-HD LED Screen, Intel HD 4000 Graphics
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

I will probably get my hands on it next week when both the Zenbook and Nexus 7 hit my mailbox.

Flow Wall System

Two things I love the most about homes, its Garages & Organization, I love seen a clean well designed garage, it tells me the owner of garages is a lover of machines. Whenever I would see celebrity homes on MTV Cribs I just wanted to see their Cinema Room & Garage. Something has to be said for a well design garage with all the tricks to make it that much cooler. With this system everything just looks so well organized and designed, I would not want it any other way with it. Also I think we can all agree that Bruce Wayne has the coolest garage period.

FLOW WALL® System is a modular wall storage and organization for home and workspace. Get your stuff off the floor and onto the wall: neat, organized, and easy to find when you need it. Create personalized storage space anywhere and get your life in order. Simply combine FLOW WALL® Panels and Storage Accessories for a customized storage solution.

The best part about it is that it is relatively well priced for the products, for about 500 KWD you can get a great set of cabinets and well area organized in the garage. I have seen storage items for garages in Kuwait and they do get a bit expensive. But with this it works nicely, I wish this was available in Kuwait, and if I was building a tool area I would get this storage solution for it, it would make the garage look that much cooler.

Link: FlowWall

Drobo Mini & 5D

Drobo Mini & 5D

A valuable solution for the traveling nerd, Drobo’s brand new Drobo Mini is the world’s smallest full-featured storage array that operates off combined disk and solid-state technologies, making it also one of the fastest. Like Drobo’s other products, the Mini has four hot-swappable drive bays that allow you to manage as much storage as you can afford to purchase. Along with the Mini, Drobo has also released the 5D, a mega storage solution that works with up to five hot-swappabl drives and both have an extra SSD bay which drastically increase the responsiveness of the system.

For the mini you will require 2.5″ Hard Drives (Laptop Size) to fit into it unlike the 5D which can take any type of Hard Drive. The cool data-protecting design features automated SSD acceleration, as well as Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 interfaces—a which I don’t think any storage array has yet on the market. The way these bays have been designed is to make it easy for the drives to slip in and out, and when it comes to design I have to hand it to Drobo they have always perfected that with their products. If you are looking for an external storage device to be connected directly to your computer then this is the solution for you, I have always recommend it to people, for me I prefer network connected storage devices but for some people speed is important and in this case Thunderbolt & USB 3.0 are lightning fast.

The Drobo Mini ($599) and 5D ($799) both already on sale on Amazon without the drives.

Link: More Details @ TheVerge

Cloud Storage of Every Kind

Right now you have a lot of choices for Cloud storage, the first player to the game being DropBox and they have integrated seemlessly into so many services and a lot of people use it naturally. Right now there are several cloud storage services out there: Microsoft SkyDrive, Apple iCloud, Google Drive, Box, & DropBox.

I for one shifted my iTunes and current Apple services to the iCloud, it just helped me access my iTunes from my other machines mainly and get my music on the cloud. SkyDrive interfaces with Microsoft very well but thats about it for me, doesn’t really fit my needs since I barely use Microsoft Office. Google Drive is very Google Docs oriented, a bit on the stiff side for me, stills its new and I haven’t had a chance to try it out completely. I haven’t really tried Box which is another independent service. DropBox has all my needs covered for now with an excellent updated online interface, works perfectly with Android & iOS, and does exactly what I need between my machines. Below is a comparison chart between the different services, the comparison done by Gizmodo, and the only major difference is that DropBox is a bit too expensive and I think they should bring down their prices but it is their core service in this case. You can also check out a more detailed analysis at the link below from Gizmodo, for now I’m sticking to DropBox.

Link: Gizmodo

Synology Updates it’s 5 Bay NAS Server to DiskStation DS-1512+

I got my hands on the Synology DS1511 about year back now and its been operating very solidly this whole time and I love it, and now they have come up with their next iteration which I would recommend since its based on the same machine but with upgraded features. Other then the 5-bays, this NAS device sports some very cool feature set:

  • USB 3.0
  • User-replaceable fans
  • Passive CPU cooling
  • 2.13 GHz, dual-core CPU
  • Up to 3GB of RAM
  • High speed network transfers with link aggregation
  • Support for emerging 4TB hard drives

The DS1512+ is the successor to the DS1511+ and is available starting today at a MSRP of $799.99. As with the DS1511+, the DS1512+ is scalable via two 5-bay DX510 expansion boxes for up to 15 drives and 60TB.

Link: Synology

Gmail Capacity Issues

FindBigMail

Recently for the last few months I have been hitting the maximum capacity of Gmail. I tried going through and cleaning up my mail box but I just ended up making up excuses and keeping the emails, I never really want to delete any emails. So I decided to do two things, one is to upgrade my mailbox and secondly is to really go through it and sort it out. So I went for the $5 plan since it really cost nothing and more then triples my regular capacity, and I ran FindBigMail on my mail box which sorted out my big files and I got to see I had a lot of junk emails that could be deleted that I was reluctant too but it was really junk.

Gmail Storage Upgrade Packages:

  • 20 GB ($5.00 USD per year)
  • 80 GB ($20.00 USD per year)
  • 200 GB ($50.00 USD per year)
  • 400 GB ($100.00 USD per year)
  • 1 TB ($256.00 USD per year)

Link: FindBigMail

Review: Synology 1511+

I have gone through several storage devices over the years and now I have been using the Synology 1511+ and loving it. I still have my Netgear which has been operating fantastically, but I needed some more storage in another location and less expensive, Synology fit the bill perfectly. One thing to note I really am not a fan of Drobo after trying it out, its speed is always questionable and it has problems sometimes dealing with different drives, and its can’t be attached to the network easily.

Pros

  • Very well built
  • A long list of features
  • Amazing Web Based & PC/Mac Manageorgeous, PC and web-based management software
  • Works with 3TB Drives
  • Expandle with DX510 Expansion Unit
  • Hot-Swappable Drives

Cons

  • Its a bit on the expensive side

Synology builds a solid piece of hardware with useful things like 4 USB, 2 eSATA, and 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports. What makes their products truly great is their fantastic software. The feature set is too long to list here, but it’s basically a file/backup/web/email server, media streamer, and download manager jammed into a cubic foot box. You can have it up in running in 10 minutes thanks to its amazing software.

The same software can be used with different machines, so you can have several Synology Storage Units on your network controlled from the same panel. Its a very highly featured software and your able to configure your storage device in any way possible, and its still simple enough to set it up in about 10 mins. I am running it at 5 x 3TB Hitachi Drives for the past few months without any headaches at all, this is a very high performing machine and the best part is that it can be expanded up to 45 TB with two more additional units which just hook right up to the back of the 1511+.

I highly recommend any Synology model, and espeically this one is fantastic this one is awesome!

Price: $866
Link: Amazon

Rating:
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WD My Book @ 6TB

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There are a lot of storage solutions out there, some simple and some complex, the WD My Book line has been very successful for people looking for a home storage solution. I’m more keen to go for something slightly more complex and works on the network but if you need a solution on your desk then this would the way to go. It may not be on the network but its a lot of space and looks good.

WD My Book 6TB with FireWire 800/400, eSATA, and USB 2.0 for connectivity, and it also works with Apple’s Time Machine.

Link: Gizmodo