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Western Digital My Book World Edition II
I’m thinking about buying a Western Digital My Book World Edition II. This is basically a file server appliance with integrated RAID, just plug into your network and off you go. This is very attractive because it means I don’t have to set up a machine just to do file serving, Samba, RAID, etc.

But there are some issues holding me back.

According to the instructions (warning: pdf) you have to install special “WD Anywhere Access” software (a custom version of MioNet) in order to access data from outside your network. I don’t like this for two reasons: 1) the software is not Mac or Linux compatible, and 2) It’s not standardized; I probably cannot use my LDAP directory and will have to set up special device-specific users just for it.

I’d be happy just to have sftp access to it, actually, then I can just use Fuse or MacFuse. Does anyone know if I can simply sftp to this device, and how the user setup and such would work? Best if it can somehow talk to my LDAP directory, although this might be asking a lot.

Does anyone know of similar file server appliances, with integrated RAID, that relies on standards rather than proprietary software?

Or any recommendations on an easy way to set up what is basically a shared file server that can be accessed outside your network, without setting up a linux machine/Samba/RAID/etc?

Update: Apparently there is a Knowledge Base article on how to access the disk without using WD Anywhere Access. I’ll have to study it further.

In addition, it appears the device runs on Linux, so it’s only a matter of time before some hackers extend its functionality. Cool.

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Contactboxen

I totally need one of these. Basically it’s a box that holds the transformers from all of your little electronic toys and hides them away, exposing only the dongles. You just hang the box up near your front door, snap your devices in with the elastic bands, hook up the power, and they’ll be all charged up and ready for you when you leave in the morning.

From a geeky point of view, it’s sort of like how we hide information when practicing good software engineering. “I don’t care about how it’s implemented, just show me the interfaces.”

I have often thought about building a wooden box to do exactly what the Contactboxen does, but for some reason it did not occur to me to turn it into a product. Sometimes, I think the secret to entrepreneurship is just being able to act on common sense! It also reminds me that there is pain around us every day, very obvious pain, just waiting to be solved. So, open your eyes, budding entrepreneur, and go solve a problem!

Thanks to Francis of fsbrainstorm for posting about this neat contraption.