Pointless upgrades

For over two years I’ve had a nice set up at home for central file sharing – an old Linksys NSLU2, two 500GB drives attached, with our photos backed up to it and our iTunes library shared to the two laptops we have.

Apart from the odd bit of iTunes slowness, it’s worked well.

TV has been taken care of by the brilliant Western Digital WDTV, which reads movie files of a locally attached usb drive, manually sync’d with my Mac, when needed.

After one iTunes odd bit of slowness too many, I decided it was time for an upgrade. Technology has moved on, so I was able to get, for similar money to what I paid before, a Western Digital Sharespace – 4TB raw, 2.35 usable, gigabit ethernet. I also got the new WDTV Live that comes with a network connection.

The idea was to have what I wanted first time round, but which wasn’t affordable or possible – everything centrally shared, with enough power on the file server to stream films and video and get some decent response times when viewing centrally hosted photos.

Unfortunately, this upgrade has been a disaster. When it all works, it’s briliant, but the working part doesn’t last long. It turns out I’m suffering from what hundreds of other users of the WD Sharespace are suffering from – random disconnects. You simply lose your shares and everything you’re doing stops. You then have to restart the Sharespace manually.

It’s absolutely infuriating. Everything was so quick and easy to set up and migrating all those photos and videos was working well. I was very impressed at first. Sadly, WD seem to have released a product without any of their engineers actually bothering to find out if it worked or not.

I now have a dilemma – attempt to return the device under warranty, or wait for a firmware upgrade that allows the thing do what it’s supposed to for more than a few hours. Returning the device is not something I can face. Going back to the shop I bought it in in Bur Dubai will doubtless involve all the sales staff suddenly no longer being able to speak English, followed by an argument and, ultimately, me returning home with the wretched thing, my only option being some complex arrangement that will involve me paying for shipping to Canada, or something similar.

It looks like I’ll have to wait for the upgrade. Hopefully this will happen before Mrs Saul returns home at the end of August, so that my amazing home network upgrade actually looks amazing, as opposed to a case of Chris fiddling with technology and delivering a half-working, oh dear, restart it then it’ll work, oh bother, House has stopped just after we settled down on the sofa, why is Bryan Adams’ greatest hits ceased playing type of experience.

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