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October 4, 2006

The Buffalo Terastation Has Arrived!

So, I got my Buffalo Terastation just now. DHL guy showed up with this massive box at my door. I ordered it on Monday, and I was like...what took you so long? I opened box after box after box and, I was beginning to think there was nothing in the packaging. Just a series of empty babushka dolls. But, eventually, I found it. Much smaller than I had imagined. I took some photos of it so you can get an idea of the scale of the object.

Of course, because it can operate at gigabit/sec speeds, and my router only supports 100 Megabit/sec throughput, I'd like to upgrade my entire network. I have no qualms about this because my network sucks so bad that I normally sneakernet everything anyway. So, I need to get a router/hub with at least six ports that runs at 1 gigabit speeds. I'll also need to get a new card for my desktop so that it can operate at 1 gigabit speeds as well. This site does a decent job of explaining the difference between, hubs, switches, and routers.

But, after a quick scan of the internet, I'm not clear that there's anything out there that meets my needs yet. Apparently, the Gigabit technology is not quite ready for prime time. There's a few four port wireless home gaming router/switches out there, but that's not what I'm looking for. I'm not particularly enamored with the wireless setup. I just want something thats wired and fast. So, I'm not clear that anyone makes what I want for under $500 just yet. So, I may have to hold back on this for a bit.

OK. Ah...you're not going to believe this but...I got that silly thing up and running in like...30 minutes. Unbelievably simple. The directions were spot-on, to the letter. Mind-numbingly simple. And the thing is quiet as a mouse. It made a little noise at first, but when I touched the case, it got quiet, so I set a tape dispenser on top of it, and you can't even tell if it's on. It's perfectly silent.

I was reading the manual about the automatic backups and I was thinking...what a headache. Instead, it tells you how to map it as a drive in Windows Explorer and voila. I now have a new drive (T:) that is mapped to a 699.5 gigabyte RAID Level 5 array. I thought I was going to have to reconfigure it to run as RAID Level 5 also. Nope. It ships that way.

So, I just went to my Windows Explorer and drug all 21,700 photos that I shot this year from my C drive to my T drive, and it's copying them all over right now. Granted, it says it will take about 2-3 hours to copy them all over, but I'm OK with that. I'm in no rush. And, if I torqued up my network to operate at 1 gigabit/sec, it would take no time at all. This thing is sweet.

You figure that your cost per gig is roughly a dollar, which is high, but that's for NAS RAID Level 5 silent gigs where you don't even have to take the lid off your desktop. No hair-pulling Master/Slave/autodetect - SCSI/SATA/PATA/IDE issues to deal with. You're not flashing the BIOS on your motherboard or rebooting and going into the BIOS to try to get your stupid PC to see the new drives. You just turn it on and it works. Voila. :)

Plus, I also got 4 new high-speed USB 2.0 ports to boot, which is no small consideration. For whatever the front High Speed USB 2.0 port on my Dell Desktop has never worked properly. So now, when I'm ripping my photos off the 4 Gig memory stick I shoot with, I'll just stick it directly into the TeraStation.

Update: Well, I may have been slightly misled by the presence of the 4 USB ports. Apparently, they can be used for printers, or for external USB drives, but they can't be used for memory card readers. This, according to the instructions. I tried hooking up my memory card reader, and nothing magical happened. So, I'm guessing that it won't work. So, this just means that I'll have to hook the memory card reader somewhere else on my network, which isn't the end of the world, I suppose. But, it would have been nicer to plug it right into the Terastation. Ces't la vie.

Update 2: Well, one thing they didn't suggest was to assign a static IP address to the Buffalo TeraStation, which is something that I recommend. Why? Because if you turn it off and back on, then it may grab a different (dynamic) IP address, which means your bookmark into the TeraStation Configuration won't work. So, I went back in, assigned it a static IP address, and updated my bookmark. ;)

Update 3: Moved the LAN printer to my TeraStation and mapped the printer to my network.

Update 4: Reset the ID/password for the administrator on the TeraStation.

Update 5: Turned on the FTP, restricted access to administrator only, and reconfigured my router to redirect incoming FTP requests from a different port using port triggering (and no, I'm not telling you which one.)

Posted by Peenie Wallie on October 4, 2006 at 11:08 AM


So, I just went to my Windows Explorer and drug all 21,700 photos that I shot this year from my C drive to my T drive, and it's copying them all over right now.

I assume that you're copying over the directory structure, too?

If not, be careful that photos don't overwrite other photos with the same filename.

Example: If you have several pictures with the filename "PICT001.jpg" or "DCP001.jp" or whatever, the first one copied will be overwritten by the later one.

A good way to avoid this problem is to use a utility which reads the date/time stamp in the EXIF data, and renames the picture, usually in the ISO 8601 format of YYYY-MM-DD-HH-MM-SS (Year-Month-Day-Hour-Minute-Second). This ensures that (1) every photo file has a unique name, and (2) you can sort the photo files in chronological order.

Usually, the software that comes with digital cameras will do this. If not, Irfanview for Windows and ExifRenamer for Mac are free.

There may be others I'm not aware of. Irfanview works, but is a bit clunky to use because it has a lot of other features. ExifRenamer works great with my photo files, but not so with the videos taken by my camera.

Posted by: Robert R. on October 4, 2006 at 2:43 PM

This is a valid point. However, I think I'm OK on this, as I created a different folder for each year, and then, for 2006, so far, my folders are numbered 100CANON through 318CANON. So, so long as the folders are named uniquely within the year, I'm OK. The only time I have problems is when I return my camera to be serviced, and they ship it back with a new numbering sequence. This does play h3ll with my folder/numbering scheme, so I had to create new high-level folders each time I returned it.

Posted by: Peenie Wallie on October 5, 2006 at 3:41 PM

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