More hardware that I have to have: Drobo

Gizmodo wrote about Drobo. But, I saw it about a week ago and was asked to keep it quiet. Obviously someone else couldn’t keep it under wraps. So, what the heck.

What is it? Well, you know to keep your data on two seperate hard drives, or more, right?

How do you do that? RAID? Yep.

But this thing is RAID made simple. You just slide in a new SATA hard drive (Seagate is gonna love this) and it automatically senses it, and uses it.

Stick in only one drive (it has four slots) and it isn’t happy. It knows your stuff isn’t stored on two drives. So, it’s at risk. It’ll tell you. Warns you with a yellow light that your data isn’t safe.

Slide in a second drive. It takes a few seconds to reconfigure (it does this while live — you can even be copying, or storing, data to the first drive while you slide in a second drive). It will turn both lights green after it makes sure everything has a second drive.

Slide in a third drive. Same thing. It goes yellow while it reconfigures everything to share across three drives.

Take out the first drive. All your data is still there. But the lights go yellow while the drives reconfigure the data and make sure you’re safe.

Take out the second drive, leaving only the third (assuming all are the same size). Now things still work, but the lights don’t go back to green. Yellow all the way.

Along the bottom it tells you how much space is available.

This thing rocks. I can see buying quite a few of these for PodTech.

Won’t be on the market for another month or two. Can’t wait to be able to buy them. Here’s the official Web site.

Leo Laporte leaves Twitter for Jaiku

Leo Laporte just reported he’s leaving Twitter to go to competitor Jaiku instead. Here’s what he posted:

“I’ve asked Ev to delete my Twitter account. I’m concerned about confusion with TWiT. I’m moving to Jaiku: account is ChiefTWiT. CU there!”


“I should never have trademarked TWiT. Curse you Ev. Couldn’t you have called this Odeoer or something?”

I’ll follow the details and post more on my Twitter account.

UPDATE: we’re having dinner with Lisa Stone and Chris Carfi and Chris says Leo is the “Twitter quitter.” The reason Leo’s leaving Twitter is significant is because Leo kicked off the Twitter hype by talking about Twitter on his show, TWiT (This Week in Tech) about two weeks before SXSW.

UPDATE2: Jaiku is currently down. So, at least they have the same scalability problems that Twitter had three weeks ago.

UPDATE3: more on Leo’s blog about his decision.

UPDATE4: I’m on Jaiku too now at Personally I like the simplicity of Twitter better. But that might just be me.

Talking photography in SF’s Chinatown

I didn’t film this one, but demonstrates that Photowalking is a good idea. Eddie Codel is behind camera for this one and gets a group of photographers talking about equipment and shooting images in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Lots of fun.

Tomorrow I’m recording a Photowalking at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View at 11 a.m. I’ll be filming Mark Richards, who did a book of photos of old computers. No Thomas Hawk, though.

Next photowalking? On April 29. In Half Moon Bay. We’ll be at the “Dream Machines” show. I hear you have to get there early in the morning if you hope to park anywhere near the airport. So, we’ll probably arrive at 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. 2,000 machines will be there. I swear Thomas Hawk can spend four hours filming one tractor. So, who knows how many we’ll get.

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Tour of famous Swiss Watch maker

When Maryam I went to LIFT in Geneva, Switzerland, we got a great tour of the famous Swiss watch maker, Franck Muller. Some of these watches cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Anyway, my editor, Rocky Barbanica, went a bit crazy doing this video. I guess all those expensive watches got him a little more creative than when he’s editing the usual Web 2.0 thing. Heheh.

Thank you so much Laurent Haug for getting us this tour. Franck Muller’s USA Web site is here, if you have enough to buy one of their watches you’ll join Elton John and George Bush (they never give away watches to celebrities, they told us).

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Engadget’s AppleTV Review says “don’t buy for HD”

Key line in the lengthy AppleTV Review over on Engadget: “Simply put, if anyone is thinking about buying this to watch HD movies and videos: don’t.”

I already have a Media Center (running Vista) and an Xbox 360, so I wasn’t going to rely on it for HD stuff, but I have found the Apple TV to be pretty unsatisfying if you are trying to watch any of the shows off of ABC TV’s hot new video player (which, by the way, works just as well on MacOSX as it does on XP — a Vista version is coming soon).

Also, the hot new video thing is Joost. That can’t play on Apple TV either. Neither can my old show over on Microsoft’s Channel 9 (Apple TV can’t play WMV).

That said, for what the Apple TV does do it does pretty well. Works great with most of the stuff over on Blip.TV and my current show works pretty well on it (although it’s definitely not HD and on my big screen is about as blurry as standard TV albeit my stuff is in widescreen so is better than most of the standard TV stuff, which I find mostly unwatchable on my big screen).

The Apple TV is definitely putting pressure on videobloggers to deliver a higher resolution version of our shows, which will prove troubling to deliver for a variety of reasons (I record my shows on tape in HD, which looks glorious, but don’t currently capture those tapes into the Mac in a high res format cause I just can’t deal with the file sizes and, mostly, compression times). Thanks to my Seagate partnership I’m working on some HD tests, though, just to see if we can make the workflow work for, maybe, a show a week (most of my stuff really doesn’t need HD, but there definitely is some that would be fun to do).

Anyway, is the Apple TV a good purchase? Yeah, I’m happy with it. But that just might be the Steve Jobs’ distortion field! 🙂

The Engadget review is a must read for anyone who still hasn’t bought one and there’s definitely more media tests ahead in my house!

Blame DOJ for bad Vista startup experience

Walt Mossberg says his Vista startup experience was pretty horrid because of the tons of ads and other things that OEMs load onto the OS. They do that to try to make a few extra bucks on each machine sold. Microsoft can’t stop them because the DOJ made it impossible to push around the OEMs and keep them from ruining the startup experience.

Solution? Buy a Macintosh. Buy Parallels. Buy your own copy of Vista straight from Microsoft.

That’s what I did and I had none of that junk. I also paid a lot more than Walt did for his Sony.

I wish OEMs offered “Naked Vista” for, say, $50 more than if I took all the advertising. I would recommend such a machine to all my friends who can’t afford to go (or who don’t want to) go the Macintosh route.