In a world awash in external USB hard drives, the NAS – or Network Attached Storage – toils in relative obscurity. And that’s too bad, because for the networked home they can be an invaluable addition, taking a surprising amount of hassle out of everyday computing tasks.
A NAS is basically a hard drive bundled with a low-power computer that sits on your home network (router or switch), allowing you to access files from every computer on the network, along with tablets, smartphones and media players (PS3, Apple TV, Media Center PCs, etc.). You can use a NAS to centralize music libraries, documents, installation files, backups, video collections, photos, etc., all without a direct connection to your devices.
Several companies offer inexpensive NAS solutions and most are pretty good. But I’ve long been a fan of Buffalo Technology’s networking products, and their NAS offerings are no exception. The company’s newest home NAS is the LinkStation Live LS-X, available in 1TB, 2TB and 3TB capacities. The 2GB version, the LS-X2.0TL, retails for $219, but is available from Amazon.com for just $129 with free shipping – that’s cheaper than many external and internal hard drives with the same storage capacity.
Continue reading »
I’ve been a SkyDrive users for years, which is to say I’ve had an account and tinkered with it from time to time. Its 25GB of free online storage was generous, but without syncing or integration with Windows or the Mac OS, also largely useless. I have, though, been a daily and evangelistic user of Dropbox, a service that – perhaps more than any other – has changed the way I’ve worked over the last few years. Dropbox was what SkyDrive should have been from the jump.
But I’m happy to report that Microsoft today unveiled major, but not surprising, changes to SkyDrive that make it not only useful, but a service that Dropbox will actually have to compete with. Competition is good, though, so I’m happy not only to report the changes that Microsoft has made to its online storage service, but also improvements that will surely come from Dropbox as it responds to Microsoft’s seismic SkyDrive revamp.
Here’s what’s changed with SkyDrive:
Continue reading »
If you have a large 1TB or 2TB boot drive in your Windows PC, you probably won’t care about this article; a few lost gigabytes means jack to you. If, on the other hand, you’re using a high-speed SSD as a boot drive, every gigabyte counts, and you’ll want to read on.
Most Windows users with SSDs probably have either 64GB or 128GB models (256GB, 512GB, and other large capacity models are still quite pricey). Filling these drives with applications, videos, photos and games is easy, but we expect these things to occupy our precious gigs of space. What we probably don’t expect – and certainly don’t like – is having 10-15GB taken up for no good reason at all. And, for most users, that’s exactly what the HIBERFIL.SYS and PAGEFILE.SYS files do: take up space and offer nothing in return.
What follows is a quick outline of how to get rid of these two files and free up space on your SSD or hard drive.
Continue reading »
‘Til now, if you had a free Dropbox account you’d get 2GB of storage to sync and store files. If you wanted more than 2GB you’d either have to pay or refer new users. Each referral got you (and your referee) 250MB of additional space, and you could collect up to 8GB of free referral storage. If you lassoed 32 new Dropbox users, you’d have a total of 10GB on a free account (2GB + 8GB of referral space) – and even a little more if you performed tasks to promote the service.
But this week the folks at Dropbox upped the bonus per referral to 500MB, and the total storage you can earn through referrals to 16GB. This is a very welcome move, particularly considering how expensive the paid plans are: $10/month for 50GB and $20/month for 100GB. To compare, Google offers 200GB of Cloud storage for about $4 a month ($50/year).
If you’ve already referred people to Dropbox, the service has doubled existing bonuses, too, so if you’d earned, say, 4GB through referrals, you now have an additional 4GB.
There was more referral news out of Dropbox this week; for full details, check out their blog post on the subject. Then, if you’re a Dropbox user, get to referring! If you’re not a Dropbox user, get started!