Western Digital My Cloud – Review

On May 5, 2014, in Hard Drive, NAS, Review, Wireless, by Elisa Pacelli

WD My Cloud
Company: Western Digital
Price: $149.99 for 2TB model
Requires: Mac OS 10.6.8 or higher, Windows XP (SP3) or higher

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Cloud computing is all the rage nowadays. We use iCloud for our music and photos, Dropbox and Google Drive for file sharing and storage, plus a host of other cloud-based services, on a daily basis. The problem is, some of these services can get expensive or lack the security features we need. One solution to this problem is to use a local cloud service, like the Western Digital My Cloud.

The My Cloud is personal cloud storage known as a NAS, network attached storage. Connect it to your network (hence the name) either wirelessly or by Ethernet, and all your files on the My Cloud are available to whomever you authorize on your home network.

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Voyager S3 – A Review

On March 7, 2013, in Hard Drive, Review, by Rich Lefko

Voyager S3 External HD Dock
Company: Other World Computing
Price: $37.99

S3 loaded

 

NewerTech offers a variety of hard drive docking solutions for those of us who prefer to use bare hard drives for external storage.  These docks also come in handy for those who need access to a hard drive they pulled out of a Mac or Windows machine.

MyMac’s David Cohen reviewed the NewerTech Voyager Q Hard Drive dock back in September of 2009.

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The Guardian MAXimus mini
Review

On June 7, 2011, in Hard Drive, RAID, Review, by Rich Lefko

Guardian MAXimus mini
Company: newertechnology
Price as tested: $229.99
NewerTech – Other World Computing

Are you backing up? Do you have enough storage for your laptop, or your Macintosh computer? How about portable storage? Can you move your storage around if you need to?

I have a solution for all of these and it it is called the NewerTech Guardian MAXimus mini (Abbriviated here as GMM) from NewerTechnology.

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Verbatim Storage – Review

On October 25, 2010, in Hard Drive, Review, by Elisa Pacelli

Verbatim 320GB Acclaim USB Portable Hard Drive
Product Page
Price: $59.99 on Amazon at press time

Verbatim Tuff ‘N’ Tiny 16GB USB Drive
Product Page
Price: $39.77 on Amazon at press time

Everyone should be using an external hard drive to back up their data. Knowing that is the easy part. The hard part is deciding which type and brand of hard drive to buy. I’m currently using two options from Verbatim. Want to know what I think? Read on.

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Creating a catastrophe on a Mac, or any other kind of computer, really isn’t all that difficult. Sometimes you get curious and want to try something you have no business messing with, and in the process you press a key and suddenly your eyes narrow and your stomach constricts. It happens the moment you realize you should not have pressed that key because now you’ve fallen through a trap door from which there is no exit.

I’ve done this so many times over the years that I’ve grown philosophical about it. But what exactly does that mean? It means two things.

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Win a FREE Hard Drive on Twitter! – Update!

On October 13, 2009, in contest, by MyMac Administrator

We have changed things up! We are going to switch to a WEEKLY giveaway for a month rather than bi-weekly!

With all the software, photos, music, and videos we seem to need every day on our Macintosh computers, we all need more hard drive space! Here is your chance to win a 320GB miniG Firewire Hard Drive!

The rules are very simple:
Using Twitter, simply tweet this:

Twitter Contest @MyMac Win a free miniG Firewire HD from Transintl.com! Just RT this post. Details http://tiny.cc/kOqq2

Simple, no?

Why are we doing this? Well, MyMac.com loves our sponsors, of course, and Transintl.com are good people who we want to help bring awareness to. It really is as simple as that!

(And they are supplying the drives, so there is no money coming out of our pockets!)

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CleanApp 3 – Review

On December 29, 2008, in Macintosh, Review, by Donny Yankellow

CleanApp 3
Company: Synium Software

Price: $13
http://www.synium.de/products/cleanapp/index.html

Want to recover valuable hard drive space on your computer? CleanApp 3 is the program you want to check out.

CleanApp recovers hard drive space by searching for and deleting unneeded files on your computer. It will search for foreign language packages (a huge drive hog), old files that you may not even know you have anymore, preference panes and widgets, caches, and applications. Once it finds them you can choose to delete those files from your computer.

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Regular readers of my articles know that I am the back up king. I lost my main drive a while back and I will NEVER let that happen to me again.

At the time, I was backing up, and cloning my main drive, but had gotten lazy and had not run the back up in several weeks. Nowadays I back up my main hard drive (HD) to four external drives. Overkill? Probably, but I feel secure. I’m about to add a fifth backup that will be offsite just in case disaster hits my house.

My main HD has all of my music, photos, the files that make up my website, business information etc. If I lose that drive, it will take me years to re-create some of the items, while others are irreplaceable. Think about what is on your main HD.

Today I was working on a project and turned on one of the four external drives I use to hold working files. These drives are in addition to the four I use for back ups.

I turned on the drive and saw this:

I always break into a cold sweat when I see that message box pop up, especially for these drives. See, I don’t back these drives up. If there is something I want to keep on these drives, I drag that over to a drive I do back up.

OK, turn the drive off, check all the connections, and turn it on again, same message. Turn on the other external drives, no messages. Good. Whatever happened seems to have only affected this drive. I look for another FireWire cable, tried that, same message.

My first line of defense for problems like this is Disk Warrior (DW). This program has saved my bacon on several occasions. I launch DW and it immediately sees this drive is in trouble. I start the program and it goes to work on the drive.

After a bit of time, this message pops up:

It isn’t often that DW fails me, so I shut the program down and turn the drive off. Then I repeat the entire process and get the same message. Clearly, I am in trouble. Fortunately I have the resources of the ever-vocal MyMac staff to bounce things off. So a call for help goes out via email. The first to reply is Robert Hazelrigg with this: “Try DataResQ 2. It’s worked for me in the same situation.” I think I have that program, but had never used it. I look through my apps folder and I find Drive Genius (DG), another program from the good folks at Prosoft Engineering. I think I’ll give that a whirl first. I launch the program and its version 1, there is a version 2, but I decided to stick with the one I own for now. I run the “Scan Blocks” option and after a while DG reports that there are no bad blocks.

The drive is OK mechanically, but the directory block is fried and DW can’t bring it back. In this case, there is only one thing left to do, call for the big guns in the form of Data Rescue 2 (DR2).

DR2 is an interesting program. It scans the drive for files that can be recovered. In fact, DR2 can be used to find deleted files as well.
Deleted files are not really “deleted” from the drive. When you create a file, the Mac OS creates an entry in the directory block on the HD. When you delete that file, all the Mac OS does is delete that directory entry in the directory block on your HD. The actual file remains on your drive until it is overwritten by new data. Until that happens, a program like DR2 can retrieve the files. Just another reason to use a process called “zeroing out” your hard drive if you plan to sell it. Writing “ones” and “zeros” to the drive to completely erase it.

You can also use DR2 to analyze your drive or clone it. It has two modes, “Assistant” where the program walks you through a scan, or “Expert” where you can choose what you’d like to do.

The folks at Prosoft will let you download a demo of DR2, which is fully functional with the exception that you can only recover one file that is 5 MB in size or less. You have to buy the program to recover more than that. I think this is fair because the demo allows you to test the program by running a scan to find out if the data on your drive is recoverable, before you shell out the cash. DR2 retails for $99.

I ran the “Quick Scan” option, and sure enough, all of my files were there.

It’s simple to use this program, even in “Expert” mode.

The “A” section lists the drives connected to your Mac. The “B” section contains all of the functions this utility performs. As you can see in the illustration above, as you select each function in “Expert” mode, the program gives you an overview of what it does. Once you choose the function, you hit the big “Start Scan” button “C” and DR2 goes to work.

The “quick scan” function was pretty quick and it found all of my files. I went through the list carefully making sure I was not copying over system files, or .DS files. After that, I clicked on the “recover files” button, and about 3 hours later, I had all 193 GB of files safe and sound on another drive.

After testing the files to make sure all was well, I launched Apple’s Disk Utility and reformatted the bad drive and did a block check. Then I copied all of my files back over to the drive and all seems to be fine now. There is some risk copying the files back, mainly because I don’t know what caused the directory damage in the first place, though I suspect an electrical storm we had a few days ago might have been the culprit. In any event, if this data was super important, I probably would have replaced the drive, something you may want to consider.

Using the Prosoft tools got me back to where I wanted to be fairly painlessly. I am glad I have these tools in my utility arsenal and I would urge you to buy them as well. Believe me, hard drives die. Sooner or later you will face what I just went through. I hope it isn’t your main HD that fails with all of your irreplaceable pictures, movies and music. However, if it does, and it’s not mechanically dead, you’ll be very happy you have DR2 to recover your stuff. Data Rescue 2 comes on a disk so you can start up from it if your main drive has failed.

Remember, its not “IF” your hard drive will fail, its “WHEN.”
This is not a review of Data Rescue 2 from Prosoft Engineering, but if I was awarding it a score, it would be very high.

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USB 2.0 Universal Drive Adapter
Review

On February 6, 2007, in Review, by Knot Gullible


USB 2.0 Universal Drive Adapter
Company: Newer Technology, Inc.

Price: $24.95
http://www.newertech.com

If you’re like me, you have a collection of old hard drives.

I’ve been using Firewire externals since forever, and $29 USB enclosures from compass since I got my G5 tower. Carbon Copy Cloner happily backs up my Documents folder (You DO keep your desktop clean, don’t you?) onto the hard drive named “USB” every morning at 4 a.m.

Every Saturday, I swap out the drives and put that week’s in the fire safe.

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Macspiration 42
Ten Common Tech Terms

On July 3, 2006, in How-To, Macspiration, by Donny Yankellow


At MyMac.com, and other computer sites, terms like freeware, burn, jpeg, and more are being used all of the time. Sometimes we (the writers) take for granted that the audience understands what we are talking about. I figured I’d make a list of ten of the more common terms we might use in articles. You might look at a lot of the words below and think they are common sense. What might be common sense to you might be totally foreign to another person.

1. Download: When you view a website, or email, or anything on the internet, those files are being downloaded to your computer. In other words, they are coming from another computer, somewhere in the world, and being sent to your computer through your internet connection.

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SohoRAID SR3000
Review

On May 15, 2002, in Hard Drive, RAID, Review, by Tim Robertson

SohoRAID SR3000
Computer Platform Independent (FireWire Needed)
Company: RAIDON Technology Inc.

Price: $449.99
http://www.raidon.com.tw

My day to day operations in my “pay all the bills” job forces me to manager a fairly large RAID system. For those who do not know what a RAID is, let me explain.

What is a RAID?
A RAID is a simple, elegant solution to make using server space more efficient. For example, if you run a large business that calls for many people to access stored information on your server, chances are you will be running a RAID on that server. It lets you connect many cheaper hard drives together to increase your storage size, without the user seeing a lot of different connected hard drives. While the server has four 10GB hard drives connected to it, from the users perspective, they see one single 40GB drive (or “Volume” as they are officially called). More likely, in this scenario, they would see one 20GB Volume, as the other 20GB of the RAID would work in the background, quietly mirroring (copying) everything the users do to the other 20GB. Call it a self-backup if you will. This is a typical RAID1 setup.

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Tech Tips
My Mac Magazine #27, July ’97

On July 1, 1997, in Tech Tips, by Abraham Amchin

Welcome to Tech Tips! This installment deals with hard drives. We’ll discuss several technical issues including how a file’s size is determined; when, why, and if you should optimize your drive and hopefully provide you with a better explanation of how stuff is stored inside your Mac.

Let’s start with the basics, file size terminology. Note that I’ll be using a lot of technical terminology – don’t despair, there won’t be a quiz afterwards.

The smallest unit of storage measurement is a bit. Bits are a little too small for what we deal with, so then there are bytes. Bytes contain 8 bits. Actually, bytes still don’t represent a significant enough capacity so we’ll use kilobytes. There are 1024 bytes in a kilobyte. Kilobytes is a little more our size and the best way of describing them is that, assuming a tiny hard drive such as a 40 Meg, a simple word processing document will take up one kilobyte (KB). As I already mentioned the word Meg, a definition is in order: one megabyte is 1024 kilobytes. Any modern hard drive will be measured for capacity using megabytes unless the vendor has a drive in excess of 1000 megabytes, in which case they would be measured in gigabytes, which is 1024 megabytes. Confused yet? Don’t be, the only sizing that you have to remember is kilobytes, megabytes and if you really want to impress your technical friends, gigabytes.

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