Review: Drobo FS Network Storage Array

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Wow, that title’s a mouthful — Network Storage Array — but don’t let that technical-jargony sounding term scare you, this Drobo FS device is really as easy to use as your Fridge. And for me, that’s a Holy Grail — something that you use and basically forget the complexity.

Whut?
But let me back up a moment and describe what a Network Storage Array (or NAS – Network Attached Storage) device is.

Basically, it’s a box with a bunch of hard drives in it, and some network intelligence. You connect your NAS to your home or office network, and it appears to your computers as if it’s another computer on your network that’s sharing some drives.

You copy stuff to your NAS and share files with any other computer on your network.

Pretty simple, yet difficult to do well

And this is where things get a little squirrely. Some people have a household with mixed computers sharing the same network. In my case, I’ve got Windows (2 varieties), OSX and Linux machines. And some network storage devices don’t play well with different machines on the same network. Sure, the box may say Win/Mac, but invariably issues arise. Not so with the Drobo FS. Continue reading “Review: Drobo FS Network Storage Array”

Discovering new apps on your device

One of the neatest things about owning a digital device is discovering new ways to use it. Got a spare 10 minutes? Look for a new app. Great way to kill time :smileyhappy:

For example, when I bought my iPad Touch, I started monitoring websites and twitter feeds such as 148apps and appadvice.com.

There’s an more than one app for that:
I also installed Chomp — a cool app discovery app (so meta) that recorded your recommendations and suggested other apps based on those recommendations. Apple’s iTune Store and app now does this through the Genius service — though it’s not quite as good as Chomp is.

Last night some friends recommended AppShopper — an app and companion website that introduces some great filtering features to the app discovery process.

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The features include:

  • Popular Apps: Overwhelmed by the App Store? The list of Popular app changes lets you browse a list of only the apps that other AppShopper users think are worth looking at.
  • What’s New: Track all the latest changes to the App Store: price drops, updates, and new apps.
  • Wish List: Add any app to your own personal Wish List and get notified of price changes or updates by email. With Push Notifications, you can get the latest updates sent directly to your device.
  • My Apps: Keep track of the apps you already own. With Push Notifications, you can get the latest updates sent directly to your device.
  • Syncs with AppShopper.com: Wish List and My Apps automatically sync with AppShopper.com so you can manage your lists in a web browser.

A universal application (iPhone/Touch/iPad), AppShopper is a rather cool addition to my app surfing addiction.

Which is great if you’ve got an iDevice…but many reading this could care less because they’ve got an Android or BlackBerrry or Other…so, what exists for those platforms? iOS can’t be the only device with dedicated recommendation services. Time to ask for help…from you! Help us out and leave your favourite ‘other’ device app-finder app or service details in the comments. It’s appreciated!



This post of is one of many I publish weekly at the Future Shop Techblog. Read more of my stuff here.