Month: December 2008

Review: Linksys NAS200

Posted by – December 6, 2008

Linksys Network Storage System with 2 Bays (NAS200)

Linksys Network Storage System with 2 Bays (NAS200)

while ago but only a few posts ago I discussed how I had ordered a Linksys NAS200, and I had high hopes, which were a bit downed by poor reviews by others but I was pleasantly surprised with it’s performance.  The price is a bit more than an external USB encloser but I wanted storage that would be network-wide and easily upgradable.  The NAS200 is just that, it supports two drive bays, with SATA2 and SATA backwards compatibility (be sure to move the jumper on your harddrive, as most are set for just plain SATA out of the box).

Some Cool Features (The Good):

  • Network attached, so you don’t need to find some crazy way to hookup a USB network or filesharing through another PC that has to stay on in order for your storage to work.
  • Supports the addition of USB2 drives, for additional storage to be added to your network.
  • Supports FTP and HTTP protocols over the network and Internet for easy off-site filesharing.
  • Built in media server, so you can share media to UPnP AV digital media adapters  (like the Xbox 360, so I can access my movies, music and pictures).
  • Web based management for easy setup and the less technically inclined.  Also worth noting this can be managed off-site, great if you need to add storage to your parents network that you can safely watch over and backup.
  • Price is very competitive.
  • Supports individual, JBOD, RAID 0 and RAID 1.
  • Comes with client backup software.

The Bad:

  • Seems slow to wake-up, when opening windows explorer it’ll hang for about 5 seconds while the NAS’s drive spins up.
  • Slower data transfer rate than I expected from Linksys.  People have clocked it at 3.9mb/s at best.  It’s never really been an issue for me though, but just FYI.
  • During disk scans and power up the NAS will be unresponsive for several minutes.  Not a big deal if you don’t power it off regularly, or schedule disk scans at bad times.
  • Additional USB disks need to be reformatted before they can be mounted.

That’s about it.  Overall I’m quite happy with my purchase, I do feel Linksys dropped the ball though on not adding polish and fixing that data transfer rate.  I use to think Linksys was a good name for quality consumer networking appliances but since their apparently lack of effort on the NAS200 and their failure to update the Linksys router firmware which lead me to using Tomato firmware I’ve changed my mind.  I’ve never had issues with my D-Link hardware.

But I digress.  If you need an affordable backup NAS and don’t mind the slower speed of the transfer rate and the minor kinks, you really can’t go wrong with using the Linksys NAS200.  If you have extra cash to burn for no other reaosn than to get something shiny, or you need quick write-speeds then maybe it isn’t for you.

More Images:

Linksys NAS200 Front Panel.

Linksys NAS200 Front Panel.

Linksys NAS200 Back Panel.

Linksys NAS200 Back Panel.

Review: DD-WRT Vs Tomato

Posted by – December 5, 2008

Linksys WRT54GL: New Heart of My Network

Linksys WRT54GL: The new heart of my network.

Since I bought my new Linksys WRT-54GL router (one of the three new goodies I picked up, reviews and news coming soon) I’ve been using DD-WRT. Originally I was a bit worried about mucking around in the firmware, since the router was working quite well. That was until I tried to grab some stuff off bittorrent, and noticed the speed was incredibly slow, which turns out to be a linksys firmware bug they never fixed. Instant courage.

I was quite overwhelmed with all the cool new features of my router, and was even thinking about setting up an free (possibly ad-sponsored) wifi hotspot. However I was still disappointed in the performance of the router, and DD-WRT seemed large and bulky.  However I had it working to the point where I rarely had an issue, and was pretty happy with DD-WRT unless I thought about it too much.

A few weeks ago though, I’ve found Tomato.  It was in some unrelated Reddit discussion about bittorrent destroying the Internet because they’re using UDP instead of TCP now, you know, garbage.  Upon reading up on Tomato firmware though it seemed to be much more sleek and performance orientated than it’s DD-WRT cousin.  It contained all the basic features you’d need to run a nice personal network or even a small business network (depending on your needs) and not really any useless filler.  This was precisely what I wanted, I’ve always been a performance over features sort of guy anyway.  So I downloaded the firmware AFTER reading the manual and FAQ which is a good idea if you’re upgrading from DD-WRT, it’ll save you a headache when you attempt to login for the first time.

Tomato's basic network settings.

Tomato's Basic Network Settings

Tomato's Bandwidth Monitor (Realtime view)

Tomato's Bandwidth Monitor (Realtime)

As you can see, bittorrent is working.

As you can see, bittorrent is working.

So after installing the Tomato firmware (which was extremely painless, just a straight firmware upgrade through the web GUI) and a reset to default settings then  I was up and running.  I was giddy at this point, scrambling through all the pages admiring the awesomeness of the power I had (I’m sure any geek who gets a new gadget knows what I mean; never lingering on any one feature till you’ve seen them all).  After I calmed down a little I started configuring options, including Quality of Service (Qos), Port Forwarding, DNS addresses and Access Restrictions (to block sites I waste time on when I should be working) etc.  Then I was done.

I’ve now been running Tomato firmware for a few weeks, I have yet to have any issue.  I’ve setup a samba share for it to save it’s bandwidth logs, because I love graphs and it has a built in Common Internet File System Client (CIFS) built-in making it easy.  I’m in love with this firmware, and anybody using anything else really has to give it at least a shot, and if you like it donate to them.

Download Tomato Firmware.

More screenshots:

Tomato's Wireless Survey Tool.

Tomato's Wireless Survey Tool.

Tomato's Qos Graphs. Mmmm...

Tomato's Qos Graphs. Mmmm...

Tomato's QoS Classification Settings

Tomato's QoS Classification Settings.

It’s Highly Improbable You Should Be Alive!

Posted by – December 3, 2008

I’ve had many discussions with theists who’s biggest argument for the existence of a deity (not only a deity, but their chosen and very specific deity) is that the universe as we know it is incredibly improbable.  If it took just one billionth of a second more for gravity to be created during the big bang, the universe would be a VERY different place.  This is entirely correct, the variables involved in the creation of the universe are of  (although this could change, ) which brings to mind Chaos Theory which is in fact completely relevant.

Anyway, getting back on track, I’d like you to imagine just how improbable it is that YOU, just YOU are alive on this planet right now.  Every single one of your ancestors was able to escape any predator, whether it be lion, tiger, bear or even dinosaur (we evolved after all)!  They then proceeded to work all their lives to attain food, and procure mates, both as animals till they developed into early humans, then modern, through the stone age, bronze age, iron, dark, every portion in human history.  All along the way living lives, both happy, probably some horribly depressing, but either way successful enough to pass on their genes.  This goes for both sides of your family, without the other who knows if you would exist.

The amount of variables involved in just the creation of you, one individual person is pretty much unimaginable.  If even one of your ancestors died prematurely, or decided upon a different career, or stepped off a curve at the wrong time, you wouldn’t exist.

However the fact that you exist, doesn’t mean that it’s a divine miracle.  It’s simply the fact that if it happened any other way, you wouldn’t be here to complain or even think about it.  Think of all the people who ARE NOT here because their ancestors failed.  I’d imagine the number to be MUCH larger than those who are here.

Just something I’ve been thinking about lately.