Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


EditShare Provides Shared Storage Integration for NewTek Customers

Posted by JenThorpe at 7:15 PM on April 15, 2014

EditShare logoEditShare is a leader in shared media storage and end-to-end tapeless workflow solutions for the post-production, TV, and film industries. They have announced their participation in the NewTek Developer Network. NewTek, as you may know, is the provider of the TriCaster multi-camera live video production solution and the 3Play slow-motion instant replay servers.

The new EditShare-NewTek workflow features EditShare shared storage (Xstream, Energy and Field 2). It also features Flow media asset management and Ark backup/archiving. All of this is integrated with NewTek live production systems.

This combined solution lets users capture media directly to central storage and immediately begin editing collaboratively on any industry-standard NLE with EditShare’s advanced project sharing capabilities. The integrated Flow MAM tools for tagging, managing, browsing, and retrieving video as well as non-video assets allow users to better organize and locate content for production.

EditShare shared storage provides industry-leading throughput and stream counts. A 16-drive EditShare shared storage system can sustain over 700 MB/second in any combination of reading or writing (when working in uncompressed HD or 2K).

Optional SSD and 15,000-RPM SAS drive configurations are available for even greater performance. This provides more than enough bandwidth to accommodate the live event captures from NewTek direct to EditShare central storage, while a number of NLE workstations simultaneously edit the material.

JMR Features BlueStor at NAB 2014

Posted by JenThorpe at 8:41 PM on April 8, 2014

JMR logoJMR is featuring its product of the month at this year’s NAB. It is the BlueStor Network Storage System. BlueStor is an enterprise-class networked storage server that is powered by euroNAS. It has been built for the film, AV or broadcast professional that needs to upgrade the performance and reliability of their current shared storage environment.

The enterprise-class BlueStor Networked Storage Server has 16 6Gb/s SAS/SATA disk drive bays. It also has four (N+1 configured) high-velocity cooling fans. Other features include dual 630W (N+1) hot-swappable power accessories, dual internal SAS Expanders, six 1Gb/s NIC ports or optional Dual/Quad 10Gb/s and a high performance motherboard with two 8-core Intel XEON CPU’s.

BlueStor is now available in three high performance configurations. They are: Business 64-bit, Premium Ultra, and HA Cluster 64-bit. The BlueStore Networked Storage Server is SES 2.0 compliant. It provides real-time disk activity/failure status for every drive bay and physical user interface controls and indicators for power and cooling status. There are visible and audible alarms, and front panel “on-off” and “reset” switches.

You can find JMR at booth SL12112 at NAB 2014.

Kingston DataTraveler microDuo Review

Posted by Andrew at 3:30 AM on March 18, 2014

Kingston Technology LogoThe Kingston DataTraveler microDuo is a solution to the problem many smartphone and tablet owners face when you have a pile of important files on your USB flash drive that really need to be on your device: your flash drive has a normal USB plug and your Android tablet has microUSB socket. Big into small isn’t going to go, and the USB to microUSB cable you have isn’t going to work as it’s plug to plug.

Kingston DataTraveler microDuo

Into this niche steps the Kingston DT microDuo. It’s a flash drive that has a USB plug on one end and a microUSB plug on the other. If you are using it with your PC, use the normal USB end; if you want to use it with your smartphone or tablet, flip the cap off and plug it in. It’s simple and brilliant.

Kingston DataTraveler microDuo Closed

As you’ll see from the pictures, the microDuo is pretty small – it’s under 3 cm long and isn’t much wider than the USB plug itself. A small lanyard is supplier to attach the microDuo to a keyring.

The other benefit is that it’s much faster than using wireless file transfers. Dropping a couple of GB of movies or music onto a tablet via 11n still takes minutes but copying over from the memory stick only takes seconds. Of course, you can play the media directly from the flash drive which is handy if your tablet is short on memory too.

In practice, the microDuo works as advertised – I was able to copy files onto the flash drive from my PC and then either copy or use directly from the microDuo to my tablet. What more can I say?

Kingston DataTraveler microDuo OpenHowever, there is a caveat with this solution and that’s the smartphone or tablet must support OTG (On The Go) where the port can act as a USB embedded host. Many recent devices support OTG, including the HTC One Max, Nexus 10 and Nexus 5, and even then sometimes additional software is required. There’s a list of OTG-supporting devices here and an online search will usually reveal other people’s experiences with your device.

The DT microDuo comes in a range of capacities (and RRP prices).

  • 8GB - £3.85
  • 16GB - £6.22
  • 32GB - £11.65
  • 64GB – £TBC

Those prices are competitive against standard flash drives – there’s only a pound or two in it – so if you are looking for a new flash drive and you have an Android device with OTG, it’s a “no brainer”, as they say.

Thanks to Kingston for the Data Traveler microDuo flash drive provided for review.

G-Technology G-RAID Mini Review

Posted by Andrew at 6:34 AM on February 4, 2014

External USB 3 hard drives are pretty common these days and GNC has reviewed several models in the past. However, this is the first portable RAID unit that I’ve had on my desk. On show here is the G-Technology G-RAID mini and with a pair of 2.5″ drives, the G-RAID mini offers a choice of RAID 0 or RAID 1 in a very attractive silvery metal case.  Let’s take a look.

G-RAID mini Shadow

The G-RAID mini comes in the usual blue and white G-Technology packaging and in the box is the unit itself, a power supply, a travel case, a Firewire 400-to-800 cable, a Firewire 800 cable  and a USB3 cable. The travel case isn’t anything to write home about but it’s good to have the full range of cables. The G-RAID mini weighs in at just under a 1 kg so it’s pretty hefty but this an all metal case – there’s no cheap plastic here. It’s also surprisingly small at only 149 x 83 x 38 mm, as you’ll see from the ruler below. Overall, it’s a solid, well-built unit.

G-RAID mini Front

Looking over the unit, round the back are a USB 3 port, two Firewire 800 ports and the DC in jack. On the underside, there’s a cooling fan and on the front, there’s white LED in the G-Technology logo, which flashes with disk access. There’s a hidden “drive failure” LED which goes red if a drive dies, but you’ll see the LED flicker when the mini powers up. The G-RAID mini needs supplementary power from the PSU when connected up via USB, but it’s not need when the Firewire ports are used.

G-RAID mini Rear

RAID ConfigThe G-RAID mini can be configured either as RAID 0 with both drives contributing to one large logical volume or else as RAID 1 with the drives mirroring each other. There’s a simple configuration tool that let’s you chose which it’s going to be. Changing the RAID level completely erases the drive so it’s best to decide early what configuration you want.

The utility is available for Windows and Mac, but once the G-RAID mini is setup, it works as any device that understands USB storage, e.g. Linux boxes or Chromebooks.

So that’s the basics out the way. What’s the performance like? I ran through my usual selection of tests with hdparm, dd and bonnie++ in both RAID 0 and RAID 1 configurations. Remember, while these tests are indicative of performance, they are for my setup only.

RAID 0 USB 3 USB 2 FW 400
hdparm (read)  155 MB/s  33 MB/s 39 MB/s
dd (write)  178 MB/s  37 MB/s 22 MB/s
bonnie++ (write)  173 MB/s  37 MB/s 21 MB/s
bonnie++ (read)  171 MB/s  49 MB/s 55 MB/s

 

RAID 1 USB 3 USB 2 FW 400
hdparm (read) 126 MB/s 32 MB/s 39 MB/s
dd (write) 117 MB/s 38 MB/s 21 MB/s
bonnie++ (write) 114 MB/s 37 MB/s 21 MB/s
bonnie++ (read) 154 MB/s 51 MB/s 53 MB/s

In either configuration, the G-RAID mini is fast, especially when connected up via USB 3 in RAID 0. Looking at the data, it’s clear that at USB2 and Firewire 400 speeds, there’s no performance difference between RAID 0 and RAID 1. Simplistically the data connection rate is the limiting factor.

However, with USB3 bonnie shows that write speeds fall by a third in the RAID 1 configuration, with reading affected by only a 10% fall. This is not unexpected as extra work is required to write the data in a mirror setup. Regardless, it’s still 3 times faster than USB2.

In summary, the G-RAID mini is an ideal companion for power users with the latest ultrabooks or MacBook Pros where performance is matched to good looks. It’s not cheap with an on-line price of around £275 for the 2 TB version but the protection against single drive failure will be important to those with high profile or travelling roles where having the data available is crucial. The G-RAID mini is an attractive and well-built unit with great performance and it will appeal to both those who need either high-performance or protection against drive failure.

Save Screenshots in Your Dropbox

Posted by JenThorpe at 3:45 PM on October 1, 2013

DropboxDropbox introduced something new that went into effect September 30, 2013. According to their blog, “all the screenshots you take can automatically be saved straight to your Dropbox”. It appears that the purpose is to give people a way to keep their computers a bit more organized. Instead of having screenshots on your desktop, for example, they can be stored in your Dropbox. It also gives people an easy way to share their screenshots.

There is a step-by-step explanation that people can follow if they would like to begin storing screenshots in their Dropbox. I linked to the instructions for Mac. You can also get a “how-to” for WinXP or Vista/Win7.

In short, you take a screenshot, then select to save that screenshot to your Dropbox. A window will pop up that gives you the option of saving that screenshot to your dropbox. (If you changed your mind, there is a “No, Thanks” button). Choose wisely:

From now on, whenever you take a screenshot, the application will automatically save it to a folder named Screenshots in your Dropbox folder. It will also copy a link to the screenshot that you can immediately paste anywhere, such as an email message or Facebook post. Anyone who clicks on the link will see your screenshot on a preview page on the Dropbox website.

In the same post, Dropbox also gives instructions about how to turn off the automatic saving of screenshots to your Dropbox folder. You can opt-out whenever you choose. In addition to using your Dropbox to store, and share, screenshots, there is another new feature for Mac users. You can now copy your entire iPhoto contents to your Dropbox. A new folder will be created for each of your iPhoto events.

Buffalo Claim Fastest USB 3 Drive

Posted by Andrew at 4:34 PM on July 22, 2013

Buffalo LogoThe folks over at Buffalo Technology have announced a screamingly fast external drive, the DriveStation DDR. By adding a 1 GB DDR3 cache to a standard SATA drive, they’ve created a USB3 hard drive with SSD transfer rates. Write speeds are doubled from around 170 MB/s to over 400 MB/s, which is pretty nippy in anyone’s book, and read speeds are similarly improved.

DriveStationDDR

 

Obviously, the benefits of the cache aren’t so clear with large data transfers but the greatest use of external hard drives is storing photos or music files and these are typically MBs rather than GBs in size. Consequently, these kinds of files are ideal for the fast data transfer rate of the DriveStation DDR. Think about transferring your latest photos from your camera to the DriveStation DDR – it’s ideal.

Prices are on a par with standard external hard drives with MSRPs of £129 for the 2 TB version and £169 for 3 TB, which isn’t bad. Compatible with all OSes that support USB 3 and there’s no need for any special drivers. The full specs are here.

Geek News Central expects to get a review unit soon, so I’ll be putting the DriveStation DDR through its paces shortly.

Flickr Offers a Free Terabyte of Space

Posted by JenThorpe at 6:44 PM on May 20, 2013

Flickr LogoFlickr looks a lot different today than how it used to. Yahoo! (which owns Flickr) has given Flickr a makeover that includes a brand new design. What once showed you small thumbnails of photos, with a lot of white, empty, space surrounding them, now features the photos much more prominently.

To me, it seems like Flickr’s new look resembles that of Facebook, or perhaps Pinterest. The photos are bigger, filling up the screen. Users now have a homepage that includes an activity feed that combines your friends’ recent uploads with the activity on the photos that you have uploaded. I wasn’t thrilled with the new design at first, because it takes me a long time to “re-learn” how to use social media when it visually changes. Eventually, I figure the new design will grow on me.

In addition to the very obvious design change, Flickr also announced that users will get a free terabyte of space. Their blog says:

At Flickr, we believe you should share all your images in full resolution, so life’s moments can be relived in their original quality. No limited pixels, no cramped formats, no memories that fall flat. We’re giving your photos room to breathe, and you the space to upload a dizzying number of photos and videos, for free. Just how big is a terabyte? Well, you could take a photo every hour for forty years without filling one.

In December of 2012, Flickr released a Flickr iPhone app. Today, it announces the release of the Flickr app for Android users, which can be found at the Google Play store.

Copy: Cloud Storage for All Your Files

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 5:49 PM on May 17, 2013

CopyCopy a competitor to Dropbox became available to the public today. It allows you to upload your files to the Barracuda Network cloud, where you can access them from any device that you have installed the Copy application on. It will work on most platforms including Macs, Windows, Linux, iOs and Android. According to their press release Windows Mobile is coming soon. Files can either be shared publicly or privately thru an invite. The person sharing the files controls what the person receiving the shared file can do with them, whether they can just view them or actually edit to the files.

Currently you receive fifteen GB of free storage by signing up and another five GB when you down load a desktop version of the application. You can also get another two GB by sharing on Twitter. For $9.99/month or $14.99 a month you can buy two hundred and fifty GB or five hundred GB of cloud storage. They also have options specifically created for businesses. You can upload any type of file you want, text, audio and even 1080 videos. You simply drag the file or folder into the Copy of Folder or any of it’s subfolders you create. On my iPad and Android phone Copy organizes your recently modified files into different categories, so you can view just image files,  just text files or just video files. If you share a file publicly from Copy and it is in violation of the DCMA, Barracuda Network will respond to any DCMA takedown.

On an Android device I was able to upload any file, however on the iPad I could only upload images . I expect this was because of Apple’s sandboxing policy. I was able to upload a text file from the application Draft by using the open with option. Other applications do not have this option and they will have to allow Copy to have access to them like they do Dropbox. Copy does have API documentation available for developer who want to build applications that integrate with the Copy platform, it is currently in beta. Another problem is the only way to lockdown Copy is to log out of the account. There needs to be a pin to lock it down without having to log out. This addition would be especially important if Copy is to be used to store sensitive information.  Despite these complaints I do recommend trying Copy, especially if you are looking for some more free cloud storage.

 

If you are not familiar with VidaBox, the company makes some of the best media center computers, extenders and servers in the business. Today the hardware maker announces its latest version of the LiivNAS — this one co-branded with Dune Player. “LiivNAS: Dune Edition is highly unique as the only archiving and storage solution with official external/NAS storage device support, plus integration with popular control systems,” states Steven Cheung, President of VidaBox.

The new LiivNAS is intended to streamline library creation. The LiivNAS: Dune Edition features a Blu-ray/DVD/CD drive, internal 500GB hard disk drive and expandable storage capacity with USB or NAS external hard disk drives. It is also energy efficient, using as little as 15-25 watts of energy during peak usage, which allows for an always on instant response user experience.

liivnas

The box also promises lossless video recording of DVD and Blu-ray discs with no compression, and automatic meta-tagging of both music and movies.

All of this functionality does not come cheap — the LiivNAS: Dune Edition is on sale by Dune Player for a price of $1,699.95. You can visit VidaBox to check out their other products, but be prepared for sticker shock.

G-Technology G-Drive Mobile Review

Posted by Andrew at 5:05 PM on March 17, 2013

On review today is the G-Technology G-Drive Mobile, a 1 TB mobile external hard drive. Aimed squarely at the Apple MacBook crowd, the brushed aluminium finish and white LED compliments the host machine, and the combination of both USB3 and FireWire 800 show its Mac heritage. Of course the drive can be formatted for Windows or Linux use but the G-Drive is pre-formatted for HFS+ and is TimeMachine-compatible. As expected, the G-Drive is bus powered so there’s no power adaptor.

G-Drive Mobile

 

G-Drive Mobile Ports

The G-Drive Mobile has a couple of touches that set it apart from the other mobile drive offerings. To start with, it comes with all the cables that might be needed, so in the box there’s a USB3 cable, a FireWire 800 cable and a FireWire 400 to 800 cable. There’s no getting the box home only to find the cable need for your setup is missing.

G Drive Mobile Cables

Second, the packaging presents the G-Drive to best effect and the “Getting Started” instructions are printed on the inside  lid of the box. Again, it comes back to appealing to the Apple crowd who expect good design.

G-Drive Package

But enough of how it looks. How does it go? Pretty well actually. Connected up to USB 3, the G-Drive Mobile recorded the following data rates:

hdparm gave 107 MB/s for buffered disk reads.
dd gave write speeds around 105 MB/s.
- bonnie++ gave 104 MB/s for writes and 141 MB/s for reads.

I’m fairly sure that those figures make G-Drive Mobile the fastest USB3 unit tested, beating the previous holder by a considerable margin. Under FireWire 400, the figures were obviously slower, but are provided here for comparison.

- hdparm gave 36 MB/s for buffered disk reads.
- dd gave write speeds around 22 MB/s.
- bonnie++ gave 22 MB/s for writes and 55 MB/s for reads.

Price-wise, the model here costs £129.95 but if you want USB3 only, there’s a much sleeker and cheaper version at £109.95 in the Apple store. However, if you need FireWire with USB3, the model viewed above is hard to beat, giving historical compatibility with older gear while also offering fast data transfers on newer kit.

Thanks to G-Technology for providing the G-Drive Mobile to review.