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Don Watkins

A Look Back - My Favorite Technology of 2006

By Don Watkins



Again I continue to keep my promise to no longer go too far out on a limb. I expect that I'm now so far behind the curve that by the end of the year I'll only be cursing half the junk I bought in 2006.

Network Attached Storage

Last year I was all hot over SATA and it continues this year using SATA drives in reasonably cheap and reasonably fast Network Attached Storage. A terabyte NAS box with SATA drives is getting pretty cheap. I've been playing around with one with only a bit less than a terabyte that "only" cost $600 which ain't' chicken feed but considering that I once paid $5k for a 10Mb drive I once again prove I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed.

It's not as fast as I would like but then again it was only $600 and it's a great place for backups and storing those big honking video files. With the NAS always on they're available to anyone on the network. I'm not yet prepared to recommend the particular box I have, it has some flaws, but NAS is very close to being prime time ready for the rest of us.

Munged Drive Voodoo

I run into more dead drives than pretty much anything else other than spyware/malware infections that pretty much render a computer unbootable. Naturally there is never a backup of critical files. I even had a case of this with a lawyer who didn't have backups of any of his docs. Pity his clients.

Selkie (nee Lifeboat) is one amazing piece of software. You boot the dead machine from the Selkie CD-ROM and it become a file server. Another computer on the network can access the hard drive if there are any areas accessible (obviously it doesn't work if the drive won't spin) and pull off any files that haven't been backed up. Amazing stuff. My full review here.

Not new in 2006 but a new release of File Scavenger. The best doggone file recovery program I've ever seen and I've seen a lot of them. The new version now handles more than just NTFS drives; in fact it'll handle just about anything along with broken RAIDs. My full review here.

My recommendation; get both of the above BEFORE you need them. It's a small investment as when you need them they'll be priceless.

Internet Media

Okay, it's been around before 2006 but Pandora has really come into it's own as far as I'm concerned. It never fails to amaze me with songs I like after I've given it like it/don't like it info on my various "stations". A tip of the hat to the folks at Pandora. FM.

The ultimate Pandora (or for any streaming audio for that matter) add on is Replay Music which is a "DVR" for any streaming audio. In fact it'll capture and save as an MP3 file anything that plays through your sound card including grabbing MP3 tag info. More info/download a demo (limited to capturing 25 tracks) here. FM.

I probably forgot something but there are lots of toys to get back to so feel free to drop by the message area and share your 2006 favorites.

-- Don Watkins




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