Storage and media throughout the house was enough to sell me on the myDitto. But the real fun starts when you leave home. Because you - and mates of your choice up to a total of 30 - can have secure access to the device over the internet from anywhere in the world. Your granny among them: Dane-Elec has managed to iron out the geeky intricacies of net access and firewall traversal, boiling the process down to the simple insertion of a standard USB stick.
Access keys for your chums
One stick per pal, each stick keyed to the individual user so they can't mess with each other's data. Without the stick no one gets to do anything with the myDitto, unless they've chosen to authenticate a machine for access - which also requires the individualised stick. The exception is a special provision for mobile phone access, which uses a long coded number.
The review sample came with a single 1TB hard drive and an empty caddy for a second drive. Other versions come with a pair of drives that can optionally be RAID 1 mirrored if you prefer your data to survive a disk crash.
The device comes with a pair of prepared USB sticks: a silver-grey one that gives you Admin access and a white one that's set up for an ordinary user. As well as the authentication mechanism - keyed to the serial number that's hard-wired into every standard USB stick - the Flash memory holds three versions - for Linux, Mac and Windows - of a simple MyDitto application. You can run this app directly from the stick, so it's usable with your average locked-down corporate notebook - unless USB access is locked down too, of course.
finally a cross-platform, cross-service NAS!
this is what I've been waiting for, something that will be accessible from all OS (I have xp, win7, ubuntu, OSX and occasionally other *nix) and serve audio and video to the consoles!
now all we need to know is...
can it run crysis?
Looks good, but...
...considering that it would be possible to buy a "good-name" 2Tb SATA hard drive and a Synology DS110j NAS enclosure (which would appear to offer a considerably greater choice of network services) for under £200, I'm not sure the myDitto offers enough over the Synology to merit consideration for me, especially at about 30% more expense (for the 2Tb model).
Granted, the "remote access via USB keys" option is interesting, but on the evidence of this review, I think I'd rather have all the extra Synology utilities (LAMP stack, mail server, etc.) and £100 extra in my pocket. But then again, to be fair, I'm not convinced I belong to the myDitto's target market, which I think it would probably serve well enough.
The concept of two-factor authentication has obviously gone straight over your head. It is intrinsically more secure to authenticate with something you have as well as something you know, and I'd far rather the inconvenience of carrying around the stick if it protects access properly.
Besides which, how are you going to make it plug and play without being able to run some software to do it? It's really gratifying that they have embraced Linux for this.
Would it have killed Reg to run some simple read/write tests on this thing? NAS boxes can be surprisingly slow. And it's not like it's trivial matter if you plan to actually use that storage.
If you take a look more closely at the 'Vital Statistics' table, then that says that DLNA is supported.