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.
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The West Wing – one of my favorite TV shows of all time – is now part of Amazon’s Prime Instant Video library, meaning Prime members can now watch all seven seasons free. Like all Amazon Instant Video, you can watch on your computer, the Kindle Fire, or any number of compatible Smart TVs and set-top boxes. The XBox and PS3 game consoles are also compatible with the service.
If you’re not a Prime Member you can join, of course, pay to watch The West Wing on Amazon Instant Video, or purchase the DVDs.
Irrespective of your political leanings, it’s a great show.
A clip from The West Wing
For reasons too esoteric and boring to list, last week I decided to add a Mac desktop to my office setup.
This week I set about figuring out exactly how that could work.
I didn’t have an extra limb to hawk, so Apple’s Mac Pro was out. A Mac Mini could work, but would require either an additional monitor alongside my existing PC’s display, or connecting both the Mac Mini and PC to my monitor and work out the wiring, adapter and configuration nightmare that monitor sharing can be, particularly between a Mac and PC.
The iMac, on the other hand, seemed perfect. With it, I would get not only a Mac, but a monitor upgrade for my PC as well. This was a beautiful solution: I could leave most everything as-is, simply removing the old PC monitor and replacing it with the iMac. I’d connect my PC’s video-out to the iMac, use it as a display for both, and without so much as an extra inch of desk space used, I’d be ready to rock and roll with two OSes in a nice, neat package. I could even sell my 22-inch monitor to help fund the iMac.
You could almost call it elegant. I’d found the ideal dual-OS setup.
And then my “brilliant” plan fell apart.
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I’ve waited a very long time for this day: Amazon Instant Video is now available on the PS3.
That means if you have a PS3 and are an Amazon Prime Member, you now have access to thousands and thousands of TV shows and movies for free, right from your television. If you’re not a Prime member, you can still buy or rent movies and TV episodes for a fee.
Here’s how to get started. On your PS3, go to the TV/Video Services menu and select the new Amazon Instant Video icon; this will install the required software. Once installed, the new application will run. Select Register Device from the main screen. This will display an alphanumeric code unique to your PS3.
Now, head over to Amazon.com and click the Begin Registration button. Enter the code. After a few moments, you’ll be asked to update your One Click payment settings (for rentals and purchases). Next, you’ll choose a purchase PIN so that you can prevent unauthorized purchases from guests, children, etc.
That’s it! You’re done and ready go roll. Enjoy!
Don’t have a PS3? Want Amazon Instant Video on your TV? Either nab a PS3 or a Roku box to get started.