Cool Tech wander project issue 3

I’ve played, in the past, with Wireless USB hubs. Where you can share multiple USB devices with multiple computers via a network connection rather than directly into the USB inputs of any one computer. They don’t work as well as you would think, but in thinking about what I expected I understand why they don’t work the way I expected. My goals for the system were wrong. Given the reality of bad goals, I think I was bound for failure regardless.

That said, I have been revisiting the fact of data capture, which was, by the way, the goal of the wireless USB hub I was using. In part because I find myself with an office that begs to be cleaned and in part because I am thinking about how we can move offices in general forward. Airplanes have what is commonly referred to as the black box. That box records everything that happens on a plane is flying. It is normally turned off when a plane is sitting on the tarmac but then turned on once the pilot begins moving the plane. Many cars are adding this recording feature. You can do this on your home computer as well (using Carbonite, my personal choice).

All of this to share assets. One of the reasons why I was originally looking at doing a wireless USB hub was trying to make it easier to load and view pictures as we were scanning them during the initial phases of the Family History project. I wanted to be able to view the pictures canned the day before so that I could see what was done etc. What I discovered is frankly the hubs don’t work as well as you would like. I ended up moving to a dedicated home NAS (, or Network attached storage) similar to what people get/use/have at work.

At my previous job, I was exposed to the Western Digital NAS solutions. I ended up having two different versions of their products (the advantage of getting a discount). The original solution I deployed was the home/small office Windows Storage Server iteration of the western digital solution. The advantage of that solution was it had an automated backup solution as well. That doesn’t work with Windows 10 devices, so I turned off the auto backup feature. But as a NAS Device, it works well

clip_image002The other device I use is the Western Digital Mycloud. It offers a remote access application once you connect the cloud to your network at home. Now the good news is you can see your files anywhere. As the Family History project progressed, I used that feature heavily to review pictures from the day before. It also, as you can see from the picture I’ve included allows you to share your music and video files also. It is a media server and quite useful. I have all our family movies including the recently converted old films of my grandfather on my home media server. The MyCloud solution will allow you to backup computers on your home network. Now, if you care to go to do that at home, you need to do some planning. One of the things that backups do is A slow down the computer you are using to backup the other computers, B slow down the computer being backed up, and most importantly backups are not built to understand that your network is also streaming Netflix so C, your backup solution may flood your network.

I talk about bandwidth a lot, in part because I know what it means to have to balance no bandwidth with bandwidth needs. That juggling act was what kept me up at nights for many years. I started out in my IT life working with companies that had Token Ring networks. Token Ring was developed as a model to connect computers to mainframe systems. It was slow (4 or 16 MB), and it was at times tricky to manage. If you had more than 144 devices on a single ring, the 145 devices would knock one of the other devices off. It was called Beaconing. It was truly painful to troubleshoot. Ethernet is much more flexible, but you still need to think, consider and layout your home network.

You see lying just over the horizon; there are 100’s of devices that want to come home with you, or your children or your roommate. Devices that are greedy and want to control your home network. So plan now before it is too late!