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24 Days of Gadgets - Day 13

December 14, 2009 - Dave Hecei
Not too long ago it was uncommon to find more than one computer in a home. Today, it is uncommon to find just one. Many homes will have a family computer and maybe a laptop or two. There might even be an older Mac that still works great for Internet and E-mails. For homes, or a small office, with multiple computers, there is an easy way to share files between computers. I’m not talking about a server, but a NAS, or Network Attached Storage.

A NAS can be something as simple as a single external hard drive, or it can be a massive multiple drive unit with redundant backups. The type I am talking about here is the simple single drive unit. Buffalo Technologies, who makes some great Mac compatible drives, has the LinkStation Live LS-CHL.

When buying your first NAS there are some basic functions to look for. A NAS will have an Ethernet connection. A basic unit will use a 10base100 connection, or 100 megabits per second (Mbps). If you tend to transfer large files between computers, or you want to watch video, HD or standard def, then you will want to look for one that can handle 1000Mbps (as long as you have a gigabit network).

The Buffalo Tech LinkStation Live LS-CHL is a great basic NAS, plus a whole lot more. Easily setup using a web browser, the LS-CHL can store and share data files and media files, like MP3s, mpegs, MOVs, etc. The LinkStation comes with some folders already setup for you, one being a music folder that is automatically seen by iTunes as a shared library. There is also a DNLA compatible share for video files, which is then automatically seen by any DNLA compliant media player, available from Buffalo Tech, Western Digital, D-Link, and others.

A feature that sets the LinkStation Live apart is the Web Access feature. This allows you to access your files and media securely from anywhere in the world, with the proper Internet connection. It can even send your media files to a 3G iPhone, using a 3G or WiFi network connection. You can even use it to share files with your friends and family. Just upload the files to the LinkStation Live and then email them a secure web URL allowing them access to photos, home movies, etc. This is a great feature since many E-mail systems balk at large attachments, and attachments are a security risk anyways, right?

Other features include: Time Machine compatibility, eco-friendly power system, built-in FTP and print servers, built-in BitTorrent client, and utility software disc for Mac and PCs (for PCs there is Memeo AutoBackup software). There is a USB port for adding additional hard drive storage or to connect a printer for sharing.

The LinkStation Live LS-CHL is available in several storage sizes: 500MB, 1TB, 1.5TB, and 2.0TB. The internal drive is the newer SATA type. Prices start around $140.


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