Monday, August 1, 2011

My New MyBook Live 3TB NAS Device / WD 2go

So I guess I'm kind've a nut about the MyBook Live. As reported earlier, I recently acquired another one, this one being 3TB, and I'm going to use it to back up my 2TB drive.

I kinda got off to a rough start with this new drive: without going into details, it gets hot. Real hot. Make sure you've got lots of free air-space around it.

I didn't realize it when I bought the device, but there are a couple of iOS / Android apps that will work with it: the WD Photo (a photo viewer that I don't have much use for) and WD 2go (which is pretty nifty). WD 2go allows you to access one or more of your MyBook Live devices from inside and outside of your local network. It's a little rusty: the interface could use some polish, I had problems with the PDF viewer, a few other minor things. But it's a good start and also it's free. Using WD 2go requires a firmware upgrade that wipes out the previous MioNet access method, so if you like MioNet (I never used it), it looks like you're stuck at the 1.05.07 firmware level forever. But I like WD 2go and I'm hoping WD will continue to improve it (and, for better or for worse, one of their people wrote that there might be a for-pay version with enhanced capabilities in the near future).

Anyhow -- WD 2go supports a fair number of filetypes: it will stream .MP3, .M4V, .MP4, .MOV, and it'll take a shot at displaying PDF, HTML, MS WORD, PPT, Apple Keynote, and just plain .TXT files. Oh, and the usual image formats. I wasn't crazy about the PDF support; maybe they'll integrate with GoodReader in a future release. The audio and video streaming worked flawlessly at home on my local network. When I tested at the local Tea Lounge, I could still stream MP3s but smooth video just wasn't happening. Natch, this is the kind of thing that depends a lot on one's home ISP connection, the wifi connection at the external location, general Internet topology, and just random luck in general.

I installed the firmware upgrade to both of my MyBook Lives, and doing so wiped out all of the changes I'd made to TwonkyServer. To some extent this is no great loss, since I've got the whole family set up with WD 2go and they can watch video on their iPads without Twonky. But whatever the WD people are using to stream video, it isn't the DLNA protocol, so we still need Twonky to stream to our XBOX 360 and onto the bigscreen teevee. So I'll have to make those mods again.

One (kind've annoying) thing I discovered about the MyBook Live (both versions) is that it continuously runs a little process called "miocrawler", which looks for photos and pre-reduces them in size for mobile device display. I've got less than no need for such a thing, so I (rather inelegantly) disabled it: ssh in and find the file 'miocrawlerd' and make the first two lines read

exit 1

And then reboot the drive. Problem solved! (note that the process is different if you haven't upgraded to the 2.00.* version of firmware). (Also, note that miocrawler may be necessary if you want to use the WD Photo app -- I don't know if it's a requirement or not, but it's something to be aware of).

One other thing that comes with the 2.00.* firmware is an auto-backup feature that allows one to backup one MyBook Live to another. I looked at the process tree and yes, this is based on rsync as you might expect, but it has a nice control panel interface. Seems to work okay, although it's not especially fast -- it claims it will take 2+ days to backup my approx 1.2TB of data. It will also automatically keep the backup up-to-date, and I'll give that a try once I get an initial full backup.

All in all, I give it a pretty solid thumbs-up. I'll sleep somewhat better at night knowing that I've got a nice full backup of all of our audio/photo/video data. And did I mention that this 3TB NAS cost less than the 2TB NAS? How low can these prices go?

No comments:

Post a Comment