Feeds
The Register Columnists

Shaun Dormon

Contact Mail Follow RSS feed
Synology DS414 4-bay NAS box

Get NAS-ty: Reg puts claws to eight four-bay data dumpsters

With the world and his dog increasingly looking to the cloud for storage needs, many are finding that maintaining stacks of spinning disks at home is no longer necessary. But those of us who sleep better in the presence of magnetic fields and wish to keep our bits (and bytes) closer to hand may still prefer to manage our own …
Shaun Dormon, 10 Oct 2014
Dr Adam Baker

So, rocket boffin Dr Adam Baker: Will we live long and prosper in SPACE?

Recently, El Reg gave you a rundown of the key players in the new commercial space race: companies like Armadillo, Bigelow, Mars One and Virgin Galactic, which are chasing the space-tourist dollar, and the likes of Excalibur Almaz, Masten Space Systems, Reaction Engines and SpaceX, which have more serious applications in mind. …
Shaun Dormon, 18 Sep 2013
SpaceX Grasshopper

From launch to orbit: The new commercial space pioneers

We all know that many 20th century prophecies of life in the new millennium never came to pass. Among them were flying cars, meals-in-a-pill and annihilation by Skynet, to name but a few. However, taking the crown of unfulfilled expectations has to be private spaceflight for business or pleasure. With all the rapid space tech …
Shaun Dormon, 16 Sep 2013
Space Shuttle Columbia debris

Space Shuttle Columbia disaster remembered 10 years on

On February 1st, 2003 at 08:00 CST residents of Texas witnessed the once mighty Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrate into a 12,000mph fireball. Almost 17 years to the day since the Challenger disaster, President G. W. Bush delivered the news to the world, “The Columbia is lost. There are no survivors.” Space Shuttle Columbia …
Shaun Dormon, 01 Feb 2013

How to launch people into space...

Last time, I explored how difficult it is for computer hardware to operate in the noisy - from an electromagnetic radiation perspective - environment of outer space. Today’s topic is people. Don’t worry, I won’t be boring you with life support systems. That’s the least of a spacer’s worries. Before you need to worry about …
Shaun Dormon, 28 Nov 2012
Synaptic Package Manager

Ten Linux apps you must install

Unless you are operating in the enterprise class, most Linux software is free, which is both a blessing and a hindrance. Sure, there are some truly fantastic apps out there, but all to often you have to wade through a mess of buggy unfinished projects with dependencies on other defunct code to get to what you want. To help with …
Shaun Dormon, 20 Nov 2012
Emoji Rocket

Chips in spaaaaace: old tech is in

I hate to say it, but most of what you think about space-age technology is a total fabrication. It’s the stuff of sci-fi. Perhaps the biggest misconception of all is that spacecraft are equipped with cutting-edge computing platforms that any self-respecting technophile would commit unspeakable acts to get their mitts on. …
Shaun Dormon, 19 Nov 2012
Buffalo LinkStation Pro Quad 4-bay NAS drive

Ten four-bay NAS boxes

The storage needs of home users are ever growing, such that the capacity of dual-layer DVDs appears miniscule, and backing up CD looks desperate. Many are now turning to network accessible storage systems that not only allow data storage in the home, but also provide HTTP, FTP and cloud services for when you’re on the go. The …
Shaun Dormon, 17 Nov 2012
Lenovo IdeaPad U410 Ultrabook

Lenovo IdeaPad U410 14in Ultrabook review

As a MacBook Pro owner, and yet a fan of the ThinkPad range since the early IBM days, it would be easy for me to assume Lenovo's new IdeaPad U410 Ultrabook fills the gap as the ultimate middle ground model. Indeed, it's a ThinkPad descendant that looks like Lenovo desperately wants an Apple lawsuit. Lenovo IdeaPad U410 …
Shaun Dormon, 25 Oct 2012
Haynes Build Your Own Computer

Haynes Build Your Own Computer book review

As a journalist, engineer and car nut enthusiast, I can easily find myself spending hours upon hours poring over technical documents and workshop manuals, among them tomes published by Haynes. This time, however, I’m looking at something less mechanical and more digital: the latest in Haynes’ Build Your Own Computer series, …
Shaun Dormon, 12 Sep 2012
SketchBook Express

Ten freeware gems for new Macs

It seems that Mac OS is forever moving further towards a closed computing model, especially with the introduction of Gatekeeper in Mountain Lion. Don’t despair just yet though, Mac users can still take advantage of an abundance of free and open-source applications available in the traditional way. We've put found ten top notch …
Shaun Dormon, 04 Aug 2012
HP Z1 all-in-one workstation

HP Z1 quad-core Xeon 27in PC

Extreme PC Week PC users who secretly covet their cubicle neighbour’s 27in iMac but don’t want to leave the Windows world can begin to feel rather smug these days. HP's Z1 is its take on the all-in-one concept, but has the heart of a workstation. It's a handsome beast too, with a 27in display which also houses a Xeon server- …
Shaun Dormon, 08 Jun 2012
Ten free apps for new PCs

Ten... freeware gems for new PCs

Reg Hardware PC Week If you’ve just purchased a spanking new Windows PC, what to slap on there often leaves pause for thought. The trial bloatware that inevitably came with your machine might keep you busy for a while until the payment nag screens start. Yet those costs and curses aside, there are plenty of free apps out …
Shaun Dormon, 11 May 2012
Ten Nas boxes

Ten... two-bay Nas boxes

Network attached storage is the panacea for many of today’s data excesses, especially you’ve developed a music and movie habit, need a backup server or fancy your own personal cloud. Two-bay nas drives are an affordable option for file sharing, supporting mixed platform environments in addition to web HTTP and FTP services. …
Shaun Dormon, 28 Apr 2012
Ten FireWire External Hard Drives

Ten... FireWire 800 hard drives

FireWire interfacing has been around since the mid-1990s and, as far as Apple is concerned, looks set to be ousted by its new Thunderbolt technology in due course. However, it still features on most new Macs, is available for PCs and remains popular in desktop audio and video environments. It's also a convenient option for …
Shaun Dormon, 14 Mar 2012
Netgear ReadyNas Duo v2 RND2100 network storage

Netgear ReadyNas Duo v2 network storage

Netgear’s ReadyNas Duo v2 appears to be identical to its predecessor from the outside, yet it actually represents a rather radical shift in hardware design for the company. This dual bay ReadyNas model does away with the Infrant Technologies IT3107 SPARC processor featured on earlier models and replaces it with a 1.6GHz ARM CPU …
Shaun Dormon, 18 Jan 2012
Lindy WPS-1 Wireless VGA Extender & Projector Server Pro

Lindy wireless extender and projection server

CES 2012 Week With the demise of the traditional overhead projector, conference rooms and the like are typically found equipped with a multitude of easily accessible and switchable AV inputs for hassle-free presentations. Yet not all facilities offer cabling contentment and for the poorly-wired projectionist, the Lindy …
Shaun Dormon, 12 Jan 2012
Acer Aspire 5749 15in notebook

Acer Aspire 5749 budget 15in laptop

Acer’s Aspire line has become synonymous with affordable computing power, providing an air of quality even towards the lowest end of the pricing scale. With an asking price of £399, the 15.6in Aspire 5749 isn’t going to break the bank and it certainly won’t be shattering records, but can so little money buy reasonable …
Shaun Dormon, 08 Dec 2011
Kingston Technology HyperX SSD

Kingston Technology HyperX 240GB SSD

Following OCZ’s great success with its SandForce SF2281-based Vertex 3 solid-state drive, it seems everyone is jumping on the SandForce bandwagon now. I recently tested Patriot Memory’s Wildfire SSD from, and today I have the latest addition to Kingston Technology’s HyperX product line. It too uses an SF2281 controller, which …
Shaun Dormon, 21 Sep 2011
Ten... USB 3.0 Desktop HDDs

Ten... Desktop USB 3.0 HDDs

Despite somewhat lacklustre adoption of the interface in the last 18 months, USB 3.0 is starting to gain a foothold in the consumer market as availability increases and prices fall down to more reasonable levels. The current offerings of USB 3.0 portable hard drives in our recent round-up turned out to be a pleasant surprise …
Shaun Dormon, 11 Aug 2011
Hauppauge Colossus

Hauppauge Colossus HD PCIe card

When I first looked at the box containing the Hauppauge Colossus I wasn’t quite sure as to what its exact purpose was. I saw the words “HD Video Recorder,” “PCI-Express,” and “HDMI” thinking I could use it to record almost anything and then I noticed the asterisks. Hauppauge Colossus Hauppauge's Colossus: break out the old VHS …
Shaun Dormon, 10 Aug 2011
Patriot Memory Wildfire SSD

Patriot Wildfire 120GB Sata 3 SSD

Patriot Memory’s latest Wildfire Sata 3 SSDs come with the promise of read and write speeds in excess of 500MB/s along with read and write IOPS in the 60K region. All of this blazing speed is available in 120GB (£240), 240GB (£420) and 480GB capacities – a 60GB version is in production, but not currently available in the UK. …
Shaun Dormon, 03 Aug 2011
PCTV Nanostick T2

PCTV NanoStick T2 USB TV tuner

Ten years ago, investing in a PC TV tuner seemed a neat way of watching while you work – integrating the gogglebox with laptop or desktop duties. Today, the idea is more questionable given access to on-line video streaming and download services from the likes of YouTube and the BBC iPlayer respectively. PCTV Nanostick T2 PCTV's …
Shaun Dormon, 02 Aug 2011
Ten... USB 3.0 Portable HDDs

Ten... Portable USB 3.0 HDDs

USB 3.0 has been with us for nearly two years now, not that you’d notice, as adoption and availability of peripherals has been somewhat slow. However, things are looking up now as more and more portable HDDs are coming to market featuring the not-so-new interface. Here at Reg Hardware, we've put together a round up of the …
Shaun Dormon, 20 Jul 2011
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420s

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420s 14in Core i5 laptop

I have always been a fan of ThinkPads, ever since my father brought home a beaten 560e featuring a 150MHz Pentium which was rejected from the corporate pool due to travel abuse. Even though half of its 1GB disk was bad sectors I ran it well into this century and with all the cheap tat that is flooding the market these days, I've …
Shaun Dormon, 07 Jul 2011
Samsung Series 470

Samsung Series 470 250GB 2.5in SSD

Reg Hardware first reviewed a Samsung SSD - the South Korean giant's first, and a device aimed at computer makers rather than upgrade-hungry punters - way back in March 2009. Rather keen we were on it too. But that was two years ago - how has Samsung managed to improve matters in the meantime? Samsung Series 470 Samsung's …
Shaun Dormon, 24 Jun 2011
Intel SSD510

Intel 510 250GB Sata 3 SSD

Having recently covered Crucial’s new M4 SSD, it seemed only natural to go further in-depth with it’s Intel counterpart, the 510 series. Both of these drives feature Marvell’s 88SS9174 controller, with the Intel drive using the BKK2 revision, and a SATA 6Gb/s interface. Intel SSD 510 Sata 3 performer: Intel's SSD 510 Intel …
Shaun Dormon, 14 Jun 2011
Crucial M4

Crucial M4 256GB Sata 3 SSD

Following on from its impressive debut in last month’s SSD roundup, it seems in order to look further into Crucial’s M4 SSD, specifically the 256GB version of this Sata 3 capable device. Crucial M4 Crucial's M4 really shows what SSDs can achieve thanks to its Sata 3 interfacing First off, the usual; Crucial has made the M4 …
Shaun Dormon, 12 May 2011
SSD teaser

Seven... SSD sizzlers

While there’s no escaping the fact that solid-state drives are still expensive, they are steadily getting cheaper and the capacities are increasing. For the average PC user to be convinced that it is a must-have upgrade, the performance benefits would really need to be experienced. Costs aside, no doubt concerns as to whether a …
Shaun Dormon, 07 Apr 2011
Synology DS411slim

Synology DS411slim Nas box

As technology progresses further into the twenty-first century, the most obvious trend is the miniaturisation of just about everything. While these changes have taken most aspects of new technology by storm, conventional storage however, has been left wanting. Synology DS411slim Synology's DS411slim four bay Nas relies on 2.5in …
Shaun Dormon, 23 Mar 2011
Plextor PX-L611U

Plextor PX-L611U portable DVD writer

As Blu-Ray climbs to the top of the optical storage ladder, one might assume that manufacturers of optical drives would cease production of anything that doesn’t feature this technology. However, Plextor has seen fit to launch the PX-L611U, a smart external DVD writer. Plextor PX-L611U Etching ahead: Plextor's PX-L611U While …
Shaun Dormon, 23 Feb 2011
Xtreamer iXtreamer

iXtreamer dock with IPTV

If you’re an iDevice owner and fancy hooking it up to your telly – but would rather not pay £80 for the rather basic combination of Apple’s Universal Dock equipped with component or composite cables – then the iXtreamer is one option that stands out from the multitude of iThing third party docking systems. Xtreamer iXtreamer …
Shaun Dormon, 16 Feb 2011
Iomega SSD USB 3.0

Iomega SSD 128GB USB 3.0 drive

Kingston Tech is not the only SSD manufacturer now bringing out USB 3.0 external drives. Iomega’s unimaginatively named SSD Flash Drive comes in three capacities: 64GB, 128GB and 256GB. With the latter costing £624, it's a purchase that demands a significant leap of faith. iomega SSD Iomega's SSD Flash Drive joins the …
Shaun Dormon, 28 Jan 2011
Aavara PCE122

Aavara PCE122 HDMI extender

Ever fancied watching a Blu-ray movie in the garden? Always wondered what it would be like to isolate your Xbox 360 so you could hear the gameplay over the sound of the jet engine Microsoft calls a DVD drive? Many of us would probably like to, but 50 metre HDMI cables tend to go for £300 apiece – not exactly what you'd describe …
Shaun Dormon, 21 Jan 2011
Buffalo Linkstation Pro Duo

Buffalo Linkstation Pro Duo 2TB Nas

Apart from the silver-on-red “V” sticker, Buffalo's V-Series Linkstation Pro appears identical to the original LinkStation Duo Nas box. Even on the inside there are many similarities, such as Buffalo’s remote WebAccess, DLNA and iTunes DAAP media streaming along with a BitTorrent client and are standard. Likewise, the V-Series …
Shaun Dormon, 20 Jan 2011
Samsung SH-B123

Samsung SH-B123 internal 12x BD-Rom drive

Some feel that optical media is dying in favour of digital distribution, however, in this world of high definition content there are still those who'd rather not abandon shiny plastic discs and hence, we have Blu-ray. This is not to say that Blu-Ray is not an important development in digital optical media technology, a 50GB dual …
Shaun Dormon, 05 Jan 2011
Western Digital My Book Live

Western Digital My Book Live Nas box

Western Digital’s My Book line of drives spans nearly all areas of external storage, supporting fast modern interfaces from FireWire 800 and eSATA to USB 3.0. Yet the My Book Live is network drive and, in terms of connectivity, sports nothing more than a DC input and a gigabit Ethernet port. Western Digital My Book Live Silent …
Shaun Dormon, 31 Dec 2010
Kingston HyperX Max

Kingston HyperX Max USB 3.0 128GB external drive

Kingston Technology's HyperX Max is the company's latest SSD offering that will be hitting the shelves next month. Packaged as an external drive, it's available in capacities from 64GB to 256GB. Kingston HyperX Max SuperSpeed storekeeper: Kingston Technology's HyperX Max Entirely bus-powered and measuring in at 74 x 119 x …
Shaun Dormon, 23 Nov 2010
Synology DS411+ with DSM Beta 3

Synology DiskStation DS411+ Nas box

From the outside, the Synology DiskStation DS411+ appears pretty much identical to the DS410n – a fairly heavy duty home and small business four-bay Nas box, reviewed recently. However, internally, the DS411+ is is quite a different beast, aimed at the small and medium business sector. Synology DS411+ For business and demanding …
Shaun Dormon, 17 Nov 2010
Buffalo ExpressCard IFC-EC2U3/UC

Buffalo USB 3.0 ExpressCard 34

With USB 3 storage now gathering momentum, fitting a SuperSpeed interface to your computer seems like an option worth investing in now. Even laptop users aren’t left out of this buss ride, if there’s an ExpressCard 34 slot available. Such cards are still quite a rarity, with Buffalo’s IFC-EC2U3UC dual-port adapter being among …
Shaun Dormon, 15 Nov 2010
Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0

Kingston Technology DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 32GB

The DataTraveler Ultimate is the a natural progression in Kingston’s pocketable USB flash drive range. Featuring SuperSpeed USB 3.0 support devices are available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities. For something likely to live on a keyring, the Ultimate has an impressive performance, which, according to Kingston Technology, will …
Shaun Dormon, 09 Nov 2010
Apple Macbook Pro 17in

Apple MacBook Pro 17in Core i7 BTO notebook

Apple refreshed the MacBook Pro line earlier this year with Intel's Core i CPUs. While the glossy screens and unibody construction are now a familiar sight, Apple does offer several build-to-order tweaks that aren’t likely to appear on the shop floor. Ram and SSDs upgrades aside, MacBook Pro 15in and 17in users can opt for an …
Shaun Dormon, 04 Nov 2010
Freecom CLS

Freecom Mobile Drive CLS storage

The turn of the century spelled the death of VHS and cassette tapes, along with the plastic cases they came in. Fast-forward to 2010, and you can once again store your data in a translucent case with a paper label adorned with an indecipherable scrawl. Freecom CLS The new tape? Freecom's Mobile Drive CLS Indeed, the …
Shaun Dormon, 01 Nov 2010
Acer Aspire 8942G

Acer Aspire 5940G 15.6in notebook

If you’re after a well-crafted machine, adorned with a range of features from a media controlling touch panel to the old favourites eSATA and ExpressCard/54, then Acer’s Aspire 5940G could well fit the bill. There’s even a fingerprint reader, a 4-pin FireWire 400 port and a whopping sub-woofer. Aspire 5940G Home entertainer: …
Shaun Dormon, 30 Sep 2010
Buffalo USB 3.0 Card

Buffalo USB 3.0 PCI Express card

In an age where the latest SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface has yet to be officially supported by Intel, storage vendors in particular, are keen to build the best add-on PCI Express adapter card to take advantage of this fast connectivity. Buffalo USB 3.0 Card SuperSpeed upgrade, anyone? Buffalo Tech's IFC-PCIE2U3 Currently, NEC’ …
Shaun Dormon, 22 Jul 2010
Kingston SSDNow V+ 512GB

Kingston SSDNow V+ 512GB solid-state drive

Reg Hardware has covered plenty of solid-state disks before, but never anything to match the capacity of Kingston’s latest high density SSD. Back in January, Kingston announced the SSDNow V+ series, the higher spec members of its family of “value” drives with capacities ranging from 64GB to 512GB. Kingston SSDNow V+ 512GB …
Shaun Dormon, 14 Jul 2010
Iomega eGo Desktop USB 3.0

Iomega eGo Desktop USB 3.0 external HDD

As USB 3.0 emerges from its infancy and begins to take strides towards industry standardisation in 2011, more and more manufacturers are keen to launch products which demonstrate their ability to utilise the benefits of the newly revised interface. Iomega eGo Desktop USB 3.0 Iomega's eGo Desktop USB 3.0: nippy Today’s …
Shaun Dormon, 12 Jul 2010
Synology DS410

Synology DiskStation DS410 Nas box

Synology’s DS410 is a four drive Nas aimed at the small business market – or home use if overkill is your thing – with claimed read speeds of up to 110MB/s in RAID 5 whilst keeping power consumption down to 56W. Synology DS410 Synology's DiskStation DS410 four-bay Nas Initial impressions are as expected, a high build quality …
Shaun Dormon, 15 Jun 2010
Synology DS210j NAS

Synology DiskStation DS210j Nas box

Synology’s Disk Station 409 Slim was one of Reg Hardware’s favourite Nas boxes of 2009. With the DiskStation DS210j, the company addresses the needs of home users for around half the price of the Slim. An unpopulated device, the DS210j has two Sata drive bays with RAID support and more features than any hi-tech household could …
Shaun Dormon, 02 Jun 2010
LaCie Rugged USB 3.0

LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 portable hard drive

Although it has been said that it won't become mainstream until it is officially adopted by Intel in 2011, USB 3.0 - aka SuperSpeed USB - is steadily emerging from the shadows with more and more manufacturers bringing support for the protocol to the eager masses. LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 Shock and awe: LaCie's Rugged USB 3.0 has …
Shaun Dormon, 19 May 2010