Today I bought a Seagate GoFlex 500 GB USB drive.
That was a mistake.
One I’ll not make again.
First off, it claims to work on a Macintosh. It doesn’t. At least not on MY Macintosh. There is a bundle of backup software on the disk that is in a disk image inside the actual disk. This does mount, but when I click on the MacInstall, nothing happens. OK, I’ve double checked the release level of the OS and every thing matches what is on the wrapper as requirements. It says 10.4.11 and I’m running 10.4.11 so it ought to run.
So I drop down into a command line interface (where Unix guys like me like to live) and migrate into the appropriate directory in the disk and try running the scrip directly, rather than via a click on a pretty picture.
Now, at least, I get the diagnostic message that I have the “wrong processor sub type”.
OK, can’t change the CPU, so I guess I’m just screwed on running their software. But at least I have a 500 GB disk and I can just drag and drop what I want to put on it.
The disk is mounted ‘read only’ and will only mount read only. Perhaps with enough effort I could find a way to mount it read/write, but frankly putting $400 of time into fixing a $70 disk is a fools errand.
So, as far as the Mac is concerned, this disk is a worthless piece of brown smelly fertilizer.
So off to the PC. (No, I’ve not tried it on the Linux box. Frankly, I don’t see any reason to even try…)
I plug it in and… up pops a “Registration” window.
No, there is no ‘exit’ or ‘register later’ or anything other than REGISTER NOW (or the brown shirts will come and…).
I’m not connected to the internet at the time, so I can’t do anything.
Time passes…. and I get the internet connection up.
Now it wants to know all about my bodily functions and political life. (Well, almost…)
You MUST tell it your name, location, serial number, where you bought the device, email address, and a few dozen other things. All this to use the product you have already bought.
I don’t particularly like having Marketing stick their tongue so far down my throat that they can wipe the anal sphincter with it, AND I’ve been at enough remote sites trying to bring up connectivity that does not work and NEEDING the thing I bought to ‘just go’ so I can complete the contract, AND it’s just offensive to buy something only to find out that all I’ve bought is a good financial hole in the ground; that I’m a little bit peeved by now… So Seagate now has a customer registered with “firstname.lastname@example.org” (well, not really, but close) as the email address and with the name of “No F..riendly Way” as the name and “Never Buying Seagate Ever Again” as the address.
Eventually It Works
After a good 15 minutes or so of screwing around, I get the thing to start installing the “software”. At this point I discover that my 500 GB drive is really a 460 (ish) GB drive. OK, 10% of the capacity (more or less) is vanishing in a cloud of “sellers puff”… Next it proceeds to install a few hundred MB of software. Never mind that the disk might, just might have been bought by someone because they were OUT OF SPACE and needed to have the space before they could use another 350 MB of it… Visual C++ and .NET get installed (why? don’t ask why…) and eventually a backup package.
OK, what next?
I run the package.
The Backup Software
This is a damned near trivial bit of software. It will make a copy of your “C” drive onto the USB drive. Future changes will be copied over too.
What about your other drives? So sorry… Not a configurable choice as near as I can tell. Just one, and only THAT one, and must be named “C”.
OK, that’s about 3 lines of Unix / Linux scripting. So why the F…rustrated do you need to suck up 360 MB for that? I can put a whole tiny linux on a bootable business card in less than that…
But ok, it’s bloated beyond belief, but it does run.
So I explore the options. You get one. You can encrypt the backup copy (with the admonition that it can never be read again if you forget the password) or not. That’s pretty much IT. No exclusion of executables or selection of directories or selection of time to run or…
For this it takes 1/3 of a GB? What a load of crap.
But it did run to completion in several hours. Yes, several hours. I think I had about 20 GB all told to ‘backup’ and it started about 1 pm and finished near 4 pm ( I think, by then I was off to the Brandy bottle as it was not making my day…)
So now I have a disk that was intended to be for 2 or 3 machines, that I can sort of run on one machine, and that has bloated crappy software on it. Software that will automatically track any changes made to files and copy them over to the disk for me and that will do restores (or at least has a button that claims to do that). AND I have a very nicely polished sphincter.
Well, it’s cheap.
At $70 (got it at Costco – which, BTW, you MUST tell the registration software or it wont let you use the product. If you say ‘bought at retail’ it demands that you pick a store from a dropdown to continue) it’s not very pricey. It rings up at $90, then they apply a $20 “coupon” that I never saw (nor was it listed on the price at the rack). So it’s cheap. That’s a good point isn’t it?
Slow. Painful to install. Full of bloated backup software with limited abilities. Only usable on a PC (at leat in my experience on my Mac) processor and demanding that you “drop trousers” for a good tonging before you can use the product you bought.
Yeah, that’s the way to make the customer love you… sarcoff>
Did I mention that it’s cheap?
Made In China
And it is made in China. One can only hope that it isn’t leaking toxic whatever, will last more than a month, and / or is not pre-installed with virus software.
(No, that’s not prejudice. There have been ‘electronic picture frames’ found to have been pre-installed with a virus in China such that when you downloaded a picture it put the virus on your PC, then opened your machine to Chinese intelligence agencies. There have been dozens of cases of chemical toxins, from toys with lead paint to food with poisons in it. And I’ve had several things made in China that just died way too soon, including some CFL bulbs that were supposed to be good for 5 years that lasted more like 5 minutes. Actual experiences is NOT prejudice, though it can be prejudicial…)
So I had bought a Western Digital USB drive a couple of years ago at Costco (and like it… still working fine with no issues). So I guess I’ve learned my lesson. Next time I’ll get the WD again. They were one shelf over at Costco.
For folks not familiar with it, Costco is a ‘big box’ retailer with a discount warehouse atmosphere.
I’m still trying to decide if I want to spend $200 of time to return this (after scrubbing my data off of it) or just want to put it on the PC and forget about it…. I’ll probably just put it on the PC and archive old copies of GHCN and USHCN data sets onto it. A match made in heaven…
Back about 1990, I bought and installed a 1 TB storage device from STK on a Cray supercomputer. It cost $500,000 and used about 4000 IBM tape cartridges, IIRC. The transfer rate was 4 MB / second / drive and I think we had 2 drives to start. (Though you did get a few seconds of latency as it found and loaded the tape).
Now, 20 years later more or less, you can get a Western Digital USB drive at COSTCO for $119 for 1 TB. I’m not sure exactly what the transfer rate is, but I’m willing to speculate that it will be competitive…
So I guess the good news is that instead of spending $250,000 for my storage, it was cheaper than the coffee bill for the negotiations on the tape robot… but at least the old one worked well, constantly, and with simple reliable software.