It’s been a busy few days for the whole idea of networked hard drives that provide direct Internet connections so you can get to them from everywhere. Last week, Seagate introduced DockStar, a $99 add-on for its FreeAgent Go drives that provides browser-based access to their contents. And today Netgear launched Stora, an all-in-one network drive with Web access.
Stories by Harry McCracken
I’m still in the audience at the DEMOFall conference, and still taking in demonstrations of new products and services. One of the cooler ideas this morning is Symform, a small-business remote-backup service. Technically, it’s utterly unlike services such as Mozy and Carbonite: Those services store everything in massive server farms, but Symform is farm-free–it uses peer-to-peer technology to store backups on the PCs of other Symform users. If you wanna back up 10GB of data, for instance, you agree to devote 10GB of disk space to other folks’ backups–and to leave your computer on 80 percent of the time.
What if a new version of Windows didn't try to dazzle you? What if, instead, it tried to disappear except when you needed it? Such an operating system would dispense with glitzy effects in favor of low-key, useful new features. Rather than pelting you with alerts, warnings, and requests, it would try to stay out of your face. And if any bundled applications weren't essential, it would dump 'em.
A few months ago I reviewed Pogoplug, a gizmo that lets you connect USB drives directly to the Internet for access from anywhere. I said the best thing about it was the slick, simple service that let you get to your files from any browser. Seagate seems to like the Pogoplug service, too!
For most people who are considering moving to Windows 7, October 22 is D-Day. On that date Microsoft's newest operating system lands on store shelves, both as a shrinkwrapped upgrade and preinstalled on new PCs. For some folks, though, D-Day has already arrived. Microsoft has issued the final RTM (release to manufacturing) version of Windows 7 to large companies that buy Windows via volume licenses, as well as to IT pros who belong to its Technet service. The Windows Vista era is officially drawing to a close--although you could argue that it never really quite started--and the Windows 7 one is under way.
Does the world need another smartphone operating system? Apple's iPhone OS is still booming; Google's Android is increasingly promising; and three longtime contenders--Microsoft's Windows Mobile, RIM's BlackBerry OS, and Symbian's S60--are undergoing serious renovation to keep up with the times.
Let's just say it: For the vast majority of computer shoppers, buying a Windows PC doesn't quite qualify as a decision. Around nine out of ten computers run one version of Windows or another, making it the world's default option in operating systems. It's opting for something else, like a Mac, that always represents a conscious choice.
First, a disclaimer, just in case you weren't sure: I'm not Steve Jobs's doctor. And I believe that all of us who aren't responsible for his medical well-being are in no position to have an informed opinion about it--and that to deal in rumor on the topic is just plain rude. (Even the most famous CEO on the planet is entitled to some privacy.) So I'm not going to make any guesses about the present or future of the man's health. Or say much of anything about it other than that I wish him a full and speedy recovery from the issues that so many people have speculated about in such detail based on so little hard information.