DIY: my bamboo USB SSD disk bay

This is the story of how I made my own pretty bamboo USB SSD disk expansion support for my laptop, hereby possibly inventing the gadget category “disk expansion laptop coaster

2017 Peter Forret

As a photographer, I need a lot of storage space. As a travelling photographer, I also need it on my laptop. My current 13″ MacBook Pro is plenty fast, but it only has a 512GB SSD drive. I quickly found out that is way too small. So I bought an external SSD disk. The Samsung Portable 500GB version is affordable and it’s almost as fast as the internal drive. But it’s only 500GB. So I bought a second and a third. Now, travelling with 3 USB disks and a USB hub (since my MBP only has 2 USB ports, and I need one for reading CompactFlash cards) is quite a hassle. There’s cables everywhere, you’re always afraid you’ll drop one, or forget one. So I decided to kind of tape them together.

2017 Peter Forret

After travelling for months with this beta version (made out of a plastic table cover and lots of tape), I decided to make a real one, a version 1.0. Here’s what happened:

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AC adaptors: standardize, please

I was just cleaning up around my computer and I got annoyed again because of the utter lack of common sense hardware vendors seem to have in their choice of AC adapters (I’m not the only one, Douglas Adams wrote about it before).  I made a list of all the devices in a radius of 3m around me:

Brand Product Plug Volt Ampere Watt
Apple Airport Extreme (proprietary) 12 V 1.8 A 22 W
Apple Mac Mini (proprietary) 18.5 V 4.6 A 85 W
Apple iPhone charger USB + mini USB 5 V 1.0 A 5.0 W
Asus EeePC 1000H Coax 12 V 3.0 A 36 W
Canon Selphy ES1 Photo printer Coax 24 V 2.3 A 55 W
Dell Latitude laptop (old) (proprietary) 20 V 2.0 A 40 W
Iomega External USB disk Power DIN 12 V 1.5 A 18 W
Jabra Bluetooth Jawbone headphones (proprietary) 5 V 550 mA 2.8 W
Jabra Bluetooth headphones mini USB 5 V 180 mA 0.9 W
Logitech Bluetooth headphones Coax 6.5 V 250 mA 1.6 W
Netgear Cable router Coax 15 V 1.2 A 18 W
Netgear External network disk Coax 12 V 5.0 A 60 W
Nintendo Gameboy (proprietary) 5.2 V 320 mA 1.7 W
Nokia GSM Charger N-series Nokia plug small 5 V 890 mA 4.5 W
Nokia GSM Charger pre-N-series Nokia plug big 3.7 V 355 mA 1.3 W
QPS Digital photo frame Coax 12 V 3.0 A 36 W
Trekstor External USB disk Coax 12 V 2.0 A 24 W
Tulip Laptop Coax 19 V 3.4 A 65 W

Continue reading AC adaptors: standardize, please

Netgear SC101: crappy storage

UPDATE: also read my post about testing the Netgear ReadyNAS (it doesn’t suck)
Storage porn

In my continuing quest for more and better storage, I have taken the following path:

  • Maxtor 5000DV, 120GB USB/Firewire, bought in 2003. Was dependable for 3 years (warranty period: 2 years) but has crashed a couple of times since (with data loss)
  • LaCie Porsche, 160GB USB, bought in 2004. Worked OK for 2 years (warranty period: 2 years) but has crashed a couple of times since (with data loss)
  • Iomega Desktop hard drive, 250GB 100Mb Ethernet, bought in 2005. Hasn’t broken down yet, but makes way too much noise (loud ventilator, running continuously).
  • Netgear SC-101, 2x300GB Ethernet, bought in 2006. Supports RAID-1 mirroring, which I needed after all my hard disk crashes. For my less-than-optimal experience, read on.

Continue reading Netgear SC101: crappy storage