Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Not so long ago the phrase “simple personal cloud storage” was an oxymoron. Setup and use weren’t simple and prices were more premium than personal.
Allow me to explain… Personal cloud storage (also known as Network Attached Storage or NAS) means one or more hard or solid-state drives in a box that connects to your home/office network via Ethernet so you can access its files remotely or locally.
Personal cloud storage devices provide many of the same features as services like Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, and others, but with one delightful difference: No monthly charges.
For those with security concerns, there is a second delightful difference: Your data isn’t sitting on someone else’s server in some remote location. Rather, you store data on a device connected to your home or office network, accessible via wired or WiFi local area network or the Internet.
And now, a confession: While I do consider myself a geek, the older I get, the less patience and time for tweaking technology I have. In the past, I’d spend days (or weeks) tweaking a new app or hardware device until it worked exactly the way I wanted it to work. Also, I’m cheap, and most network-attached storage products are too expensive to suit my needs. While Dave Hamilton may love spending all day tweaking his Synology NAS, I just don’t have the time or patience anymore. I still enjoy a bit of tweaking, but these days I prefer things that, “just work.”
WD My Cloud Home Changes Everything
Then, My Cloud Home, a new personal storage device from Western Digital, came along and changed everything. It’s reasonably-priced, simple to set up and use, and yet, surprisingly full-featured.
I’m testing a 4TB My Cloud Home unit that costs $199 and I’m quite impressed so far.
There’s are macOS and iOS apps that make it easy to view and work with your data with any device from anywhere in the world. You can use an iPhone, iPad, or Mac (or an Android or Windows device, neither of which I own) and access your files from anywhere on earth. Or, if none of those are available, you can get at your stuff with just about any modern device that offers a web browser.
But Wait! There’s More!
But wait. There’s much more. In addition to allowing you to view and copy files to and from the device from anywhere in the world, using almost any computer or mobile device, it includes totally useful options including:
- Automatically back up photos and videos from your phone over Wi-Fi and/or cellular.
- Backup files from Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, and/or Facebook.
- Support for Plex media server: Stream photos, music, and/or video from My Cloud Home to almost any network-enabled device anywhere in the world (additional charges for Plex may apply).
- Support for IFTTT (IF This, Then That): Set up applets to save new Gmail attachments, tagged Facebook photos, new Instrgram photos and videos, and more.
Finally, everything I’ve tried so far — enabling Dropbox and Google Drive, Facebook backups, the Plex media server, and IFTTT — has been drop-dead simple.