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Asus Launching a Wi-Fi Hard Drive

michael posted about 10 years ago | from the if-you-don't-have-wifi,-what-do-you-have? dept.

Wireless Networking 218

TheFoot writes "The Register reports that Asus is promising to 'change your perception on data storage'. They're talking up a hard drive enclosure capable of taking any 2.5in ATA-100 hard disk. It also contains an 802.11g adaptor and antenna, plus a pair of wired 10/100Mbps Ethernet ports. US $150 + the price of the hard drive. They've changed my perception--why did data storage just get more expensive?" Now now, this could actually be useful. tempest2i notes that there's a Macworld story as well.

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218 comments

the dirt (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687671)

What'll we do with the dirt from the tunnel?

ANd? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687673)

Blah Blah blah. Tell me more about Linux and gaming.

Re:ANd? (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#8687683)

Blah Blah blah. Tell me more about Linux and gaming.

Linux isn't everything. In fact, this is a situation which makes you wonder if your file server really needs to be running Linux. If all your file server is doing is connecting an HD to your network, then this device can do it in hardware alone.

Re:ANd? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687716)

I had a deja vu of some major insightful thought...
but I just lost it. Oh well.

Re:ANd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687727)

Yeah, but Embeded linux would also do a good job of this also...

Re:ANd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687906)

As could the hundreds of other embedded operating systems out there. Most of which won't even require you make your OS available in GPL.

Re:ANd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687975)

why does it matter if its GPL? who cares, the tech is in the hardware (man i feel like im IBM right now)

but seriosuly the design is hardware, any software can do it now. its the point of providing a nice tiny hardware based solution

Re:ANd? (1)

zmedico (565341) | about 10 years ago | (#8687758)

If there's no concern about security then maybe no software is needed. When it comes to securing it, Linux or other software may come in handy though.

question (0, Troll)

pvt_medic (715692) | about 10 years ago | (#8687674)

would it be possible to make a raid with these?

Re:question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687684)

What I'm more interested in is, could you have multiple computers drawing off of one hard drive? Put a big, fast drive on a switch and you've just made a cheap file server...

Re:question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687797)

Yes, you could.

Make your own network storage device... (4, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#8687675)

This is an interesting reminder about the "network data storage device" market. Cut those things open, and there's a standard HD plus the interface hardware it takes so that the drive can be reached over the network. In fact, cut open a USB 2.0 or Firewire HD and you'll find pretty much the same thing, and the same goes for external CD or DVD drives.

So, for $150 plus the cost of whatever HD you'd like to use you can build your own "network data storage device". If you just want a HD hanging on the network, without any need for the rest of the features of a full grown file server, then this is the part you want.

Re:Make your own network storage device... (5, Interesting)

Dok Fenderson (650034) | about 10 years ago | (#8687692)

$150 isn't really that bad considering that you need about $40 for a simple USB enclosure. If you're using three network adapters, one of which is wireless, and the controllers for each of those and the hard drive...it's not really that bad a deal. I can remember three years ago when Maxtor was selling 40 GB NAS units for upwards of a grand. $150 plus the drive deosn't seem that craptastic in those terms. Dok

Re:Make your own network storage device... (4, Insightful)

Babbster (107076) | about 10 years ago | (#8687764)

The price for the hardware isn't that bad, as you say. But what about the utility? How would this change my perception of storage? I've been sitting here trying hard to think of a utility for the wireless capability that isn't handled better wired. The only utility I can think of is in an already completely wireless setting where one is too cheap to dedicate a computer to file serving - a situation I would think is pretty rare. Of course, I have a hard time understanding why several computers in a fixed location would be connected via wireless in the first place when going wired is cheaper, faster and more secure. Maybe I'm losing my geekiness.

Re:Make your own network storage device... (5, Insightful)

Dok Fenderson (650034) | about 10 years ago | (#8687798)

As far as the wireless goes, I agree. But it also has the wired ethernet adapters on it which would come in handy. If you have a network of mainly older Pentiums or PIIs (they're still out there) that can't really handle a larger internal HDD and don't have USB 2.0 or IEEE 1394 then this would be a decent solution for large, shared storage. Dok

Re:Make your own network storage device... (4, Interesting)

Libraryman (721151) | about 10 years ago | (#8687815)

Of course, I have a hard time understanding why several computers in a fixed location would be connected via wireless in the first place when going wired is cheaper, faster and more secure.

Sometimes the speed/security/price advantages of wired in no way make up for the cable clutter. Imagine trying to hack two clusters of half a dozen e/iMacs into a small, school library. You can run wires over the floor (with channel if you are lucky) hubs in the center of each cluster, and presto, you ve ugly wires, trip wires, dozens of wires everywehere! Or one Airport base station, some access cards, and presto, every machine is on the net, nobody trips and calls OSHA on you.

Now you throw one of these HD enclosures in a corner and host disc images of all your reference cds on it. (although I recognize the wireless is not a clear advantage as long as you're tucking it into a corner anyway)

Not every application for a network requires speed, especially if all your network does is share internet access. 802.11b is still fast enough for web access, even streaming media.

Re:Make your own network storage device... (1)

goalive (729667) | about 10 years ago | (#8687722)

Yes I would agree that it makes for a great, tiny network storage device. Accessing the WiFi on the drive in promiscuous mode (the good 'ole Prism chipsets) anyone could get access. I am surprised that they only added USB 2.0, however. Previous versions had just 10/100 Ethernet, and adding Firewire would have been very useful instead of having to buy one of those cool Firewire/USB drive enclosures (some are sleek 2.5" aluminum, and powered the Firewire/USB bus). Either way, I'm checking tomorrow to see if I can buy one of these locally. :P)

Re:Make your own network storage device... (1)

SKPhoton (683703) | about 10 years ago | (#8687754)

What's next? I hope they never try to "Add more RAM over WiFi!"
Imagine the nightmare with bandwidth dropping from Gbps to 54mbps.

On a related note, imagine combining this with the recently mentioned WiFi backpack. "A warwalker walked down the street with me and copied all my data!"

Re:Make your own network storage device... (4, Interesting)

ottawanker (597020) | about 10 years ago | (#8687813)

In fact, cut open a USB 2.0 or Firewire HD and you'll find pretty much the same thing, and the same goes for external CD or DVD drives.

This is what's driving me crazy. I'm looking for a cheap Firewire IDE adapter so that I can make a nice fast external hard drive enclosure with about a Terabyte of space that I can connect using 1 Firewire connector. You can buy a whole external case for $40 or $50, but just a simple adapter with 2 Firewire ports so they can be chained together is $60 or $70.

actually a good idea (1, Interesting)

$n1per (322712) | about 10 years ago | (#8687677)

This actually could be very useful. Will we all carry around wifi miniHD's in the future so we can logon to our data anywhere?

All about the feces and blood! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687678)

Go gay niggers!

Rough sex makes the world go round!

GNAA for life!

And the Mac version.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687681)

...costs $300, even though it's the same. You know, just to keep the prices 'normal.'

Encryption? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687685)

I hope it supports WPA. Ohhh, but imagine the fun of an "open" media drive. RIAA and the MPAA will really hate life.

Re:Encryption? (3, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#8687706)

This brings up a very interesting question. People used to theorise about what would happen if somebody left a laptop full of WiFi-shared MP3s in a coffee shop... but who needs a full laptop to do that, this makes the theoretical cost of such a device close to $200...

Re:Encryption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687779)

Yup, it's a media mine. The price needs to come down though...say closer to the land kind.

Re:Encryption? (1)

PacoTaco (577292) | about 10 years ago | (#8687885)

I hope it supports WPA.

Yeah, this product "changed my perception" of other people's data quite considerably.

Thieving from computer stores? (5, Interesting)

Amiga Lover (708890) | about 10 years ago | (#8687687)

I remember when the iPod was first released a few people mentioned going into stores, plugging theirs into demo machines and taking copies of all the software they wanted in seconds.

Without the need to plug anything in, imagine what could be nicked with one of these!

Though I shouldn't post this... (4, Funny)

MacFury (659201) | about 10 years ago | (#8687804)

I remember going to a CompUSA...I had written a little shell script that would copy all the files I wanted to a hidden directory on my iPod. I launched the script and set it as a background task. The CompUSA employee came over to ask what I was doing with my iPod connected to the machine. I simply explained that I was testing out the new FCP with video clips on my iPod. He stood over my shoulder while everything copied, unbeknownst to him.

I thanked him for his time, and left with what I wanted. :-)

Could be useful for... (4, Interesting)

dj245 (732906) | about 10 years ago | (#8687693)

erm, uh, toting that hard drive around in your backpack so you can have portable fileserver without a laptop? Thats my only idea, and a poor one at that. 2.5" disks are more rugged than their 3.5" counterparts, but not *much* more. I wouldn't want to be bouncing around everywhere with $250+ worth of fileserver plus NiMH batteries in my pocket. If you really want portable storage, a laptop isn't a whole lot bigger, and a lot more useful. Actually, now that I've read the article, the thing isn't even really portable, unless you hack a battery pack together yourself. Kinda silly premise for a product actually. Why not just make a full-blown router with hard drive? Certainly hybriding a $40 router to a $150 hard drive widget with wireless already can't be all that much more expensive. Just my $.02 Canadian.

Re:Could be useful for... (5, Interesting)

JPriest (547211) | about 10 years ago | (#8687844)

I wish I could install one in my car, that way I could just drag and drop mp3's over to my car without having to burn them all to CD.

Re:Could be useful for... (0)

thrash242 (697169) | about 10 years ago | (#8687953)

Some company, I forgot which, is working on something like this. Something that will let you copy things (music, specifically) from your home computer to your car stereo easily.

Sounds cool to me.

Re:Could be useful for... (2, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | about 10 years ago | (#8687914)

Area storage! I would imagine that walking around a physical building and having file sharing available for the location you are at would be kind of neat. The library could serve up interesting articles, while the student center might have PDF files of paperwork. You should still be able to connect remotely, but for simple Samba it would be great.

Re:Could be useful for... (2, Funny)

Belsical (238668) | about 10 years ago | (#8688000)

Actually, now that I've read the article...
Score:-1, Read Article

Psh, someone cancel parent's account...he's obviously not a real /. reader.

Networked, but which protocols? (4, Interesting)

MavEtJu (241979) | about 10 years ago | (#8687694)

It might be a NAS, but which protocols does it speak? NFS? Samba? FTP? DAV? Which authentication methods is it capable of? Can it authenticate against my (insert your favourite authentication service).

Anybody has any ideas?

Re:Networked, but which protocols? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687791)

It's probably just a little linux box, so all of the above.

Re:Networked, but which protocols? (4, Informative)

richard_za (236823) | about 10 years ago | (#8687850)

It supports NFS [ohio-state.edu] and CIFS [samba.org] (which is basically the latest iteration of SMB) so it should so you can network with NFS or Samba, Windows/Linux.

Re:Networked, but which protocols? (2, Informative)

jfbus (584847) | about 10 years ago | (#8687867)

Could be iSCSI (scsi over TCP). I dont't see any other protocol that is standard/open/... that could be used.

iSCSI works on Linux & Windows. All the traditionel NAS (Network Attached Storage) vendors use iSCSI to access block devices over the network.

The other protocols are too much OS/application dependant, and I think it would be a bad idea for a vendor to use only one of them. Using both NFS (for Linux) & CiFS (for Windows) wouldn't be cost-effective. Plus not all apps work on such protocols (especially with CiFS : ie you can't put a SQL db on a CiFS drive, but you can put an Oracle db on a NFS drive).

Cheap non-wireless Ethernet enclosures? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687697)

What's the cheapest non-wireless Ethernet hard drive enclosure available? Anything less than USB 2.0 or FireWire enclosures?

This wouldn't be bad at all (2, Informative)

Dan Farina (711066) | about 10 years ago | (#8687698)

It'd be pretty useful to just carry around a storage tablet from place to place, although large transfers would just kill some of the usability for regular users of the networks, since last I checked bandwidth was split N ways between N clients.

Other interesting Wi-Fi Storage (5, Interesting)

Revvy (617529) | about 10 years ago | (#8687707)

While the idea of an enclosure is nice, I think I'd rather spend the same amount of money on something that could be an access point, too. Netgear surprised me with their new router, the WGT634U [netgear.com] , which offers a USB 2.0 port for attaching storage devices in addition to 108Mb turbo wi-fi. This is a trend I like.

It's not the gear, it's the functionality.

Re:Other interesting Wi-Fi Storage (4, Informative)

-tji (139690) | about 10 years ago | (#8687987)

Or, if you've already got an access point, the USR 8200 [usr.com] firewall/vpn/router has firewire and USB 2.0 ports for network storage use.

This device is quite cool.. it's based on an Intel Network Processor with crypto acceleration. So, it can support line speed routing on the 100Mbps interfaces, and also high speec IPSec.

Add to an iPod or other music player (4, Interesting)

Sean Clifford (322444) | about 10 years ago | (#8687711)

Add the WiFi capability to an mp3 player with a hard drive like the iPod and all sorts of fun comes to mind. With 802.11g it wouldn't be as fast as firewire or usb 2.0, but it would be fast enough to suit most folks. Wirelessly update your music, or share it. Use it as a wireless hard drive, a personal backup device, storage for a wearable, and etc. etc. Bluetooth for wireless headphones and mike, integration with phone (to capture conversations, video or pictures from your phone's mexapixel camera).

Then there's all the iPod cracking fun. "Let's see what that jogger has on his iPod..."

Re:Add to an iPod or other music player (1)

nametaken (610866) | about 10 years ago | (#8687854)

Then there's all the iPod cracking fun. "Let's see what that jogger has on his iPod..."

All you have to do is keep up.

How is it better than USB or FireWire? (2, Informative)

tftp (111690) | about 10 years ago | (#8687713)

The RF bandwidth is 2 or 10 Mbps, but really less, and not even guaranteed. Compare to 480 or 800 Mbps achieved over the wire, or Gbps over SATA. I see absolutely no reason to use such a device, except maybe in some obscure situations - such as when you have all-wireless network and need a portable network storage. But even then this would be a poor choice - you'd want RAID.

Re:How is it better than USB or FireWire? (3, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#8687731)

Network storage drives aren't as much about performance as much as simplicity. Afterall, if speed really matters to you, the data should already be local to your PC if possible.

This is just a way to eliminate the needless parts from a low-end simple file server. Who needs to use a full-blown OS for that? Simpler software is often the most secure and faster.

Re:How is it better than USB or FireWire? (2, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | about 10 years ago | (#8687788)

This device is a strange mix of "simple user" mentality with much more advanced "wireless" and "server" concepts. I don't think there is a customer that fits.

A simple, single user stores everything on his own HDD, locally. With modern HDDs starting at 80 GB it is not a surprise. Most users won't fill that HDD in whole usable life of the computer, and they don't need the server.

A little more advanced user has several computers (a family, for example.) They may need a server to store shared files on. But such a setup most definitely involves Ethernet, at least near the router. So they would plug NAS right there, and be done with it. But even this scenario looks contrived, because how many families *need* a common file server?

Businesses really need the server because of multiple employees accessing shared files. But a business needs a real NAS, with RAID and on a UPS, not just a single HDD. It would be stupid otherwise. The server is needed anyway to do other things, such as authentication, mail, DHCP, NAT, etc. This device does not fit anywhere in a business environment (or anywhere else.)

Re:How is it better than USB or FireWire? (2, Interesting)

Forgotten (225254) | about 10 years ago | (#8687799)

Actually I've gotten appallingly bad performance when I try to copy from one 802.11 client to another over a base station (any brand). I'm not sure why, but I suspect the collision rate goes through the roof as the device being copied from saturates the link on the way to the base station, and then the base station competes with it to forward packets to the device being copied to. Either that or I'm just doing something wrong.

Anyone else successfully copied large files this way - wireless to wireless across a basic service set - with reasonable performance? I don't get anywhere near 11 Mbps, or even 2 Mbps. By contrast I get great performance between a wired peer (or the Internet) and a wireless one.

If it's the same for this hard drive kit, I can't see it working well.

Re:How is it better than USB or FireWire? (2, Informative)

tftp (111690) | about 10 years ago | (#8687812)

When you plug a USB cable, the whole bandwidth of the cable is yours alone. When you use 802.11 you share this "cable" with everyone in radius of 500 ft. around you.

Generally, performance-wise, wire is better than radio. You can't even compare the two, so different they are in terms of reliability. Given that modern USB and FireWire drives are 100% plug-and-play right out of the box, the wire definitely wins.

Re:How is it better than USB or FireWire? (1)

ender81b (520454) | about 10 years ago | (#8687882)

if you think about it, 2-10mbps is fine for certain application (also note it's 802.11g, which is roughly 60some mbps iirc). For example, if you want to stream music or video to a pc in your living room that much bandwith is plenty. Not everybody wants to run wires all over the place :).

Re:How is it better than USB or FireWire? (2, Informative)

bakawally (637407) | about 10 years ago | (#8687982)

RTFA: The enclosure also contains an 802.11g adaptor and antenna, plus a pair of wired 10/100Mbps Ethernet ports.

Re:How is it better than USB or FireWire? (4, Interesting)

TummyX (84871) | about 10 years ago | (#8688002)

I've been waiting for one of these things for a while.

It'll let me use my pocket pc as my car MP3 player. I can have massive *wireless* storage in the boot or glove box. The bandwidth is fine for MP3 & video playback and the simplicity and tidyness of the setup makes up for the price.

Overkill? (3, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#8687714)

Why does this device need to be both wired and wireless? Most users will use the device either by the wire, or as part of a purely WiFi network... who would use both interfaces? Seems like this device could be cheaper if it came in two different versions, one with the wired ports and the other with the WiFi parts.

Re:Overkill? (4, Insightful)

MavEtJu (241979) | about 10 years ago | (#8687728)

Why does this device need to be both wired and wireless?

It's probably cheaper to produce one unit which can do both than to make the two additional units (with all support/documentation/troubleshooting).

Re:Overkill? (2, Interesting)

caitsith01 (606117) | about 10 years ago | (#8687751)

Um... presumably because, being external, part of the point of this is to move data between different PCs at will. Not all PCs have wireless, ergo, it is a good idea to have both options.

Re:Overkill? (5, Interesting)

blowdart (31458) | about 10 years ago | (#8687787)

Setup reasons for a start. If it only has WiFi, and your access point has WEP enabled (and if it doesn't, why the hell not?), how is the enclosure going to get the key to connect? You're going to have to plug it into a wired LAN (or crossover cable) to allow it to get an initial IP, fire up your web browser, browse to it, set the WEP key, let it connect then remove it from the wireless LAN.

As an aside, whilst this is funky, no RAID is a drawback for me. That and my firewall at home is in transparent mode as I had a nice block of routable IP addresses that seemed more than enough 2 years ago when I just had 3 servers and a desktop. Now I have 3 servers, the xbox, the firewall, the wireless access point, 3 laptops in day to day use, another laptop which gets used by guests and if I add a NAS whammo, one IP left. It's going to be a pain to setup NAT *sigh*

Re:Overkill? (2, Insightful)

bonhomme_de_neige (711691) | about 10 years ago | (#8687837)

Why does this device need to be both wired and wireless? Most users will use the device either by the wire, or as part of a purely WiFi network... who would use both interfaces? Seems like this device could be cheaper if it came in two different versions, one with the wired ports and the other with the WiFi parts.

Maybe so you can get the convenience of wireless access for small files, but can wire it up if you need to quickly copy across several dozen gb?

Interesting.. Hide your stuff.. (5, Interesting)

Moocowsia (589092) | about 10 years ago | (#8687720)

If you had one of these stashed in say a neighbors house with some illegal stuff on it and you got raided you could probably get away with it.. This could also be good for a close range offsite back up. Just have an agreement with a neighbor to keep a harddrive of eachothers at eachothers house in case of fire or some other disaster.

Re:Interesting.. Hide your stuff.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687909)

Better idea. If you think you're going to be raided (or are doing anything worth being "raided"), take the cost of this device, and buy a bus ticket somewhere else...

Made it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687730)

On, front, page.

vulnerable (4, Funny)

dirvish (574948) | about 10 years ago | (#8687732)

I think I have made my hard drive sufficiently vulnerable by installing Windows on it. Adding a Wi-Fi adapter directly to it seems a little over the top.

This is awesome. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687745)

The $150 price tag is steep, so hopefully that will go down.

But right now, I've got an almost fully wireless setup going with my 12" power book. Bluetooth mouse/keyboard, SE T610 phone for controlling iTunes, and an AirPort base station.

This could be really usefull for storing iTunes music, bittorrents, etc, and sharing it across multiple computers easily.

Re:This is awesome. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687949)

The $150 price tag is steep, so hopefully that will go down.

Well if you're paying $150 you'd want it to at least go down.

modder's airflow paradise! (1)

spazoid12 (525450) | about 10 years ago | (#8687746)

I had this idea a few months back that is fairly similar to this Asus thing.

First there are big ribbon cables inside PCs
Then, there are rounded cables for better airflow

But, I suggest... how about wireless. Working with standard mobo and HD and CD parts, you plug special new little wifi adapters into the standard connectors (a pair of rx/tx happiness for each component).

Of course... just for fun. To be wacky. Therefore, never gonna happen. Right?

Well, maybe.

Or there might be mobo with this in mind, no adapters necessary. Same for the components, for that legacy-free fresh scent.

Re:modder's airflow paradise! (1)

Moocowsia (589092) | about 10 years ago | (#8687801)

I dobut it.. Most modders also want high performance, right? I dobut this will be nearly as fast as a SATA HD.

Re:modder's airflow paradise! (1)

spazoid12 (525450) | about 10 years ago | (#8687879)

Dude... I said for fun! Not for speed.

Btw... dobut??? lol

Re:modder's airflow paradise! (1)

Moofie (22272) | about 10 years ago | (#8687922)

Yeah, because your computer works great when you cut the bandwidth to the primary storage system by a factor of 100.

Heh. Don't hit the swap file. You'll be gone for a week.

Re:modder's airflow paradise! (1)

OC_Wanderer (729511) | about 10 years ago | (#8687899)

Forget airflow. I just want the tangled mess out of my case. If I had high-speed wireless with a range of only about 24 inches, it would be fast and secure. No fuss, no muss, and I wouldn't be pinching my fingers trying to get a cable in place or removed!

Re:modder's airflow paradise! (1)

nametaken (610866) | about 10 years ago | (#8687910)

A neat idea, but you'd need a faster, close proximity, wireless technology. You'd also need neato hardware-level security. Perhaps such a thing exists, but I don't know. I'd also probably build a mesh transmission barrier (there's a proper name for this?) into or around the case. At this point maybe it's just easier, cheaper, and more effective to use existing techniques. A good convo for a modding site though!

Re:modder's airflow paradise! (1)

c.emmertfoster (577356) | about 10 years ago | (#8687946)

mesh transmission barrier

Like a Faraday Cage? That's quite clever, if it would work. I'm no electrical engineer, though.

Re:modder's airflow paradise! (1)

Hanzie (16075) | about 10 years ago | (#8688009)

They work. They've been used for many years in high security areas.

Generally, when something very sensitive was going to be discussed, folks would say "Let's talk about that behind the screen door"

Howz it wireless if it needs to be plugged in? (2, Insightful)

gum2me (723529) | about 10 years ago | (#8687750)

Am i the only one who's initial reaction was "it still needs to be plugged into an outlet." It's not as if hard-drives are these hulking eyesores that we all wish we could hide under the kitchen sink.

If their target is the home market, i don't know many people who go around thinking "gee, i wish i could have a hard drive sitting around hidden away, but not inside my computer case."

If its a corporate market, i doubt any company would want their access being cut-off by some employee using a microwave to heat his lunch.

just my thoughts. :)

Re:Howz it wireless if it needs to be plugged in? (5, Interesting)

Libraryman (721151) | about 10 years ago | (#8687843)

If their target is the home market, i don't know many people who go around thinking "gee, i wish i could have a hard drive sitting around hidden away, but not inside my computer case."

That's not so unlikley. If you do most of your computing on a laptop, or a tablet, or if you have a mythTV box, network attached storage that was always available would let you shut down your big desktop for a significant energy/noise savings.

I'd love to have my a firewire-to-ethernet bridge to let my external FW drive beaccessible (albeit slowly) without crossing the room and plugging in. Plugging in the FW is still an option when copying DVD images or making backups, but if I just want to pull A file out of a backup, or access the gigs of mp3s that I moved off my laptop because I was running out of storage, why should I have to plug anything in, let alone leave an entire PC running turning money and electricity into heat while it does nothing.

*gasp* *drool* (1)

NilObject (522433) | about 10 years ago | (#8687752)

The tinkerer side of me sees some really cool and, well, "shady" uses for this. Imagine, have the drive in your pocket and walk to the demo computers at computer stores and grab some free programs, walk up to a coworkers computer and discretely copy a few, uhh... Oh nevermind.

But honestly! How cool is this! Put hearing-aid headphones on with voice command, and put the hard drive in your pocket - bam - the new iPod- 60GB in your pocket, voice controlled, no wires.

Alternatives? (1)

caitsith01 (606117) | about 10 years ago | (#8687757)

This is what I've always wanted for my less... um... public files. I would love to have one of these things stashed discreetly around my house, with the power switch easily accessible. That way, if there are any issues it's simply a matter of flicking a switch and anything incriminating/sensitive disappears from the network.

I would like to know what security this thing has, though. Would it be possible to use PGP or similar to encrypt the contents and thereby limit access only to certain physical computers with the appropriate keys?

Is anyone aware of any similar alternatives, other than laptops?

Useful? (1, Insightful)

cmallinson (538852) | about 10 years ago | (#8687763)

I don't think this will be useful for many people. If you have a WIFI network, then I would assume you have a computer on the network that could hold a shareable hard drive, should you wish to have more disk space. Sure, the cool factor is there, but is it very practical?

Re:Useful? (2, Interesting)

absurdhero (614828) | about 10 years ago | (#8687956)

Yes. It is. The fact that someone marked such a stupid question insightful is idiotic. Questions rarely provide insight and obvious questions like that never do. Anyway, enough ranting. To answer your question, I would really like one of these because I have a wireless laptop that I only plug in when i need it at my desk. Like, to plug in my ipod or my current firewire external drive. I plug it into an ethernet network in this case. But if I am on a my couch wireless, I cannot access that drive. "But wireless has such low bandwidth!", you say. I would not want to do large backups wirelessly, but lets say I want to stream a video file over it. Or perhaps have my iTunes playlist and songs on it. Its perfect for these uses. Not to mention as a central sharing point. Alas, this device is useful.

Cheap wired version? (0)

isny (681711) | about 10 years ago | (#8687772)

Somewhat offtopic, but does anybody know of a cheap wired NAS device? What would be great would be a hard drive that I can plug into my router. With this, I can leave the hard drive on all the time, and access it from across the network, without leaving a pc/server on. The only one I found didn't use DHCP at all, but required some special Windows drivers. :-(

offsite data backup (5, Interesting)

SKPhoton (683703) | about 10 years ago | (#8687785)

Actually, this might be a fun solution for off-site data backup. Go hide one outside somewhere (preferrably in a locked, powered container) and mount a pringles can off of the antenna. Assuming no one walks off with your new drive, you've got offsite storage!

Wow, this thing is amazing (5, Insightful)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | about 10 years ago | (#8687794)

With no doubt, this must be the biggest security hole I have seen lately. 802.11g [schneier.com] directly to the hard drive. Bravo. Is this an April Fool's joke posted prematurely or are they really out of their minds thinking that anyone would be so stupid to buy such a hard drive, which is basically asking to be cracked? I find it insulting. I hope script kiddies will [shmoo.com] have [signaltonoise.net] lots [drizzle.com] of [schneier.com] fun [nist.gov] .

Re:Wow, this thing is amazing (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687827)

You're a cocky motherfucker aren't you? Now how about wiping the grease off your face, changing your t-shirt, and finding a friend or two. It's not too late!

Re:Wow, this thing is amazing (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687848)

Why is it that I don't have a date, and it's a Friday night? Shit, I'm not even going out with some buddies to shoot some pool or hell, watch a movie. Nope, I'm sittin' here reading posts from high schoolers on Slashdot. God damn I'm a loser. FUCK THE WORLD! I HATE ALL OF YOU!

Okay, calm down. I'm smart, I'm doing well in my classes, and I made a friend last semester. A real friend, not an online one. Sure, he's out doing something else right now, but at least I have someone to eat lunch with. I hate being such a big anti-social loser. God, if only I weren't so freaking shy. I'm nice! Why don't people want to be my friend?

Fuck, I'm like 21 years old and I've never even kissed a girl. I've never even seen a real girl naked. My only "girlfriend" was in the summer between eigth and ninth grades and it lasted a whopping 3 months, I was so stupid then, I didn't even kiss her, I was so scared. What a fucking loser I am.

Re:Wow, this thing is amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687880)

You don't get it.

Does this small 'computer' run Linux? (1)

clusterix (606570) | about 10 years ago | (#8687828)

Not that I read the article, but this sounds like an access point with a hard drive slot. Sounds good for the price, but what OS is it running and can we hack it to do our bidding? If so, then it is really cool.

Re:Does this small 'computer' run Linux? (2, Informative)

absurdhero (614828) | about 10 years ago | (#8687969)

There is likely no operating system on it. Once upon a time, software did not drive hardware. Hardware is perfectly capable of tasks like this all alone. Now, if there is an authentication system and such, there may be a small embedded bit of code on a chip that runs through a tiny thing that resembles the processor that you are familiar with. This code would monitor the state of the system and would trigger various hardware events when necessary, and would store network data. an operating system in the modern sense might be almost a waste.

Think LAN/pr0n PARTY!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8687838)

Think LAN/pr0n PARTY!!!!!

Everyone knows that the real reason many ppl go to LAN parties is to get the latest software/music/pr0n at 100mb full duplex speeds....

Some possible uses (4, Informative)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 10 years ago | (#8687920)

Say that the only PC you got is a laptop you use both at home and at work. Now a decent laptop has got a fair bid of storage so unless you have specific needs having one of the firewire/usb external drives is probably obsolete for office use. Anyway there are heavy duty laptops with dual HD's.

But when you add home use people might want to store movies and music and ehehm nature programs on their laptop but not actually have it present on the laptop. Sure you could then at your desk at home have a usb/firewire external drive but that means you loose the mobility of a laptop. It can be fun working on the floor or sofa. Some laptops have tv outs so put the laptop on the tv and watch your downloads on the big screen.

This wifi drive would then allow you to access your own files at home without any need for plugging in cables. Just put the thing somewhere central and your laptop is hooked up just like you use a wifi network station to allow you to use the laptop without cat5 cables.

Frankly this is the only real use I can see. The WIFI-HD needs to be powered by a powercord and that means it ain't all that mobile. So it can't be used to give you PDA a storage boost. Using it in the office is pretty lame as it ads another security risk, an other piece of software to admin and its function can be easily duplicated with the existing file server.

But for people with only laptops at home it could make sense.

Only other possible use might be people with a PDA who are not close to a PC like setup but who are closed to something like a car. But it would have to be small operations as something like the Police Ambulance would have access to far better solutions. Maybe something for a mechanic? Store all the schematics and data on the WIFI-HD. Give him a pda and as long as he is within range of his car he got all the data in the world. Cheaper then pulling data over mobile phone lines.

Mmmm, might not be such a bad gadget after all.

Light Storage (2, Interesting)

nfotxn (519715) | about 10 years ago | (#8687937)

I guess bluetooth isn't fast enough. But it would rule to see small form factor, low power consuming hdd's with battery built in. Then whatever devices utilizing the media off the hdd can be smaller and you can stow your mp3s, video, pictures etc. in your backpack or back pocket or something. We're not talking high performance here. I'm sure you could stream an mp3 over bluetooth with the right sized buffer. 802.11b/g seems like overkiller for a portable application.

And my perception of hacking too (3, Interesting)

tigersha (151319) | about 10 years ago | (#8687945)

Firewall, what firewall?? (Unless, of course, its made of lead).

You just need to get close!

slam two pieces of technology, you get crap (2, Insightful)

Wellmont (737226) | about 10 years ago | (#8687980)

"they've changed my perception--why did data storage just get more expensive?"

-and complicated (obviously not for the likes of us, but needless to say the likes of us can figure something less expensive and far more useful out.)

I fail to understand why the industry is trying to decentralize the elements of computers and electronics. At the same time it's still just as easy and less expensive to put it in a computer or share a hard drive on the network.

EVEN plugging an existing external hard drive into a computer with wireless capabilities is probably simpler and cheeper.
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