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I’ve had remarkably good luck with the Buffalo Linkstation Pro 500GB. It’s a 500GB network attached drive. It supports 1GB ethernet and seems reasonably fast and most important very compatible. Works super well with Windows XP and even with Mac OS X which is amazing. The main issue is that 500GB fills up pretty fast these days, so time once again to look for the latest:

* “PC Magazine”:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1639544,00.asp did a review two years ago which selected the Buffalo, but they now have a great “NAS”:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1639544,00.asp section that goes over the basics. Right now they are recommending RAID configurations for reliability like the “Iomega SorCenter Pro NAS 150d”:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,2128034,00.asp. Its quite expensive at $800 for 1TB but has four 250GB drives in at RAID configuration. It’s small at 10″x7″x12″. It comes configured as RAID 5 which means you get 750GB usable, but you can have one disk fail and everything still works. My main conclusion is that this is great for a small business but maybe a little overkill for our network which only really needs this to backup the storage on personal computers. You can get 750GB for about half the price if you go lower end.
* “PC World”:http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,125072-page,1/article.html also keeps a review set and likes a completely different set of machines. The “Netgear ReadyNAS NV+”: for instance is more expensive at $1100, but it very fast so good for a real server setup. Another good compromise is the “Maxtor Shared Storage II”:http://www.pcworld.com/product/specs/id,29306-c,harddrives/specs.html also with 1TB and just $450. It is a single terabyte drive, so like the Buffalo Linkstation, not super redundant
* “Pricegrabber”:http://computers.pricegrabber.com/network-storage-devices/p/69/ is interesting because it shows what’s popular. It shows that SimpleTech STI-NAS 500GB is a best seller. It is an amazing $135 for a 500GB drive. Almost too good to believe. “Newegg”:http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N82E16822100016 reviews say it works, but isn’t very fast because it only has 100Mb Ethernet. If you want speed, you really need 1Gb Ethernet and computers that support it. For most laptop oriented installations like we have at work it will be fine though since laptops are either 100Mbps Ethernet or much slower 54Mbps shared channel Wifi. Not clear if it supports Macs. It is just $135 because the underlying 500GB drive is just $105 or so now and there is $35 of other hardware. Makes the $400 Buffalo Linkstation 750GB look pretty expensive doesn’t it? 500GB by the way seems to be the sweetspot for these devices. They are between $140 to $250 for that. Buffalo is at the high end at $275 or so.
* “Newegg”:http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2000240124%20115750974&bop=And&Order=RATING&Pagesize=100 is a big enough site now that its ratings are meaningful. Those users like the Thecus N2050UD which is $140 but where you need to install two hard drives in it, so you can built it yourself.

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Webcam

Cowboy Frank”. Here are his current best products:

* “Logitech Quickcam Fusion”: $99 list. His choice for the best overall camera. This uses USB 2.0 and has a 1.3 megapixel imager.
* “Logitech Quickcam for NOtebooks Pro. $99 list. His choice for best notebook. It is very compact with just a 640×480 imager, so its stills aren’t as clear as the fusion, but it is smaller. It is also very compact but did note it does get hot, so if you are completely portable it might run down the battery

“Cnet”:http://reviews.cnet.com/4566-6502_7-0.html also has a set of reviews of their typical (e.g., mediocre) quality. Here are the ones that they liked which interestly matches what cowboy frank thinks:

_I bought both the Quickcam Fusion and the Notebook Fusion. They are expensive, but they work great. The microphone on them is very good and the picture quality quite good. Skype has very jerky images, but that’s to be expected for a free service. I wouldn’t use for business, but for personal use it is great._

* “Logitech QuickCam Fusion”:http://reviews.cnet.com/Logitech_QuickCam_Fusion/4505-6502_7-31510555.html?tag=txt.  7.6/10. $80 street. It has a really neat look to it and it can fit on top of any LCD or laptop but they did find it kind of unstable. As with most of these products, it can do 1.3 megapixel stills but video is always 640x480x30 frames per second. It has a built in microphone too. “Pricegrabber”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/p__Logitech_QuickCam_Fusion_Webcam,__11717974/sort_type=bottomline has it for $76. “Newegg”:http://secure.newegg.com/NewVersion/Shopping/AddToCart.asp?Submit=ADD&ItemList=N82E16830108129 has it right now with a $20 mail in rebate so it is $55!
* “Logitech QuickCam for NOtebooks Deluxe”: . 7.3/10. It only works really on laptop or very think LCD monitors. Its built in mike works up to three feet away and works pretty well. “Pricegrabber”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/p__Logitech_Logitech_QuickCam_for_Notebooks_Pro_961398_0403,__11717973/sort_type=bottomline also has this for $75.
* “Creative Live Cam Voice”:http://reviews.cnet.com/Creative_Live_Cam_Voice/4505-6502_7-31884379.html?tag=pdtl-list. 7.2/10 stars. This thing is kind of huge, but it has nice auido features. The thing is really quite big but it has this Webcam center software and has a 1.3 mp imager. The big feature is a built-in Mike that can record normal conversation 20 feet away so it is really good for teleconferences as a result. Street is $90.
* “Logitech QuickCam Pro 5000”:http://reviews.cnet.com/Logitech_QuickCam_Pro_5000/4505-6502_7-31529173.html?tag=pdtl-list 7.0/10 which is clunkier looking than the QuickCam Fusion and has lower resolution. Main thing is that it is cheap at a $80 list, $50 street