If you are running out of disk space on your computer’s hard drive you are not alone. Recently I found myself in this predicament due to my over zealous photography habit. My music collection was also part of the problem. I explored a number of different options including USB and Firewire connected devices. I found some new devices marked with the USB 3.0 designation but I’m pretty sure my computer has USB 2.0 seeing as it was built in 2007. According to Wikipedia USB 3.0 is 10 times faster than 2.0. That would have been a nice option but alas was not meant to be.

Some new Mac and Intel based computers had been shipping with thunderbolt which is an extremely fast data transfer method from what I understand. According to Macworld, “Thunderbolt is many times faster than FireWire 800 and USB 3.0. It’s also significantly faster than the eSATA connections available on many Windows PCs. A Thunderbolt channel can provide up to 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) of data throughput—and each Thunderbolt port includes two channels. Thunderbolt is also bi-directional, meaning it can transmit and receive data at the same time.” Switch to daydream mode: if I had a Thunderbolt device and external Thunderbolt drive that would solve all of my storage problems. But alas, my bank account and credit line, not to mention my wife, would hear nothing of this expenditure.

So back to the drawing board and the real world. I think it’s time that I cut to the chase. I bought the Western Digital “MyBookLive” Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. It was about $160. The unit simply connects into a free port on your router which is nice because it doesn’t have to occupy a space on your USB panel. Plus its fast, “built with an 800 MHz CPU for maximum performance to power all your applications from streaming to remote access. Designed around the most recent advances in Ethernet chip technology, this product delivers best-in-class read speeds faster than traditional USB 2.0 drives.” [Amazon]

Not only is it fast, I can also access this drive anywhere I am from my smartphone using the two free apps that are available: WD 2go and WD Photos. You may have heard of cloud computing, well this device basically creates a private cloud right in your own home. As far as the set up went I didn’t have any issues. It was fairly quick to set up and the web console was easy to navigate. There are some firmware upgrades available for streaming content via DLNA to the Playstation 3 so I’ll be looking at that over the next day or two. From what I understand the firmware upgrades resolve most of the existing issues.

So far I’ve moved my photo library and my music library off my computer’s hard drive and freed up over 200GB in the process. The MyBookLive has really taken a load off my mind.

Jay Kenobi

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