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Dane-Elec my Ditto network server

Price: $183.46
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Review of the my Ditto network server, made by Dane-Elec

(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)


So, what is this product exactly? It's a file server that allows you to provide a central repository of your files. You can them access them from your local wireless devices via your wireless router, and/or from any laptop or workstation over the Internet if you are in a remote location. Remote users simply insert their my-Ditto Key into a laptop or PC and they gain access.

This solution is perfect for a multi-computer family, or in situations where you want to be able to use your laptop anyplace in the wireless network without needing to do file synch before and after. In effect, it gives your network a situation in which the data files are in your own network cloud. Pretty cool. And that also means you get remote cloud to client ability without paying a monthly fee.

This product fits well into both the consumer and small business markets. And while it holds potential for some seriously geeky applications, it does not require a computer expert to set up or use.

I reviewed the 1TB version. It's expandable to 4TB, by replacing the 1TB drive with a 2TB one and adding another 2TB drive. I think one good way to use this is to have data on one drive and then run a backup program to the other. Because the drives are removable, you can do all kinds of interesting things with this approach. You could even RAID it, if you were so inclined.

The unit is meant to be a desktop device, similar to the now ubiquitous external drive backup units smart computer users have. My workstation uses two SATA external drive backups, and part of my review perspective is based on my experience with those.

This unit has a nice appearance. The various status lights are an attractive blue, while the case is white. The case is made from a hard plastic resembling the black phenolic once used in analog voltmeters.

It fits snugly and securely in its cradle (not shown in the photo). When it's placed in its cradle, the arrangement acts as a natural muffler for the exhaust fan. The unit is cooled by a bottom-mounted fan. Another reviewer says the unit is noisy. Hearing tests show my hearing extends beyond the normal human range (and I am a huge proponent of hearing protection), but I do not hear this "loud fan" the other person hears. I suggest using the cradle, or returning the unit for a warranty exchange. I suspect the user is hearing the hard drive whir, not the fan. The hard drive is audible, as are all hard drives. The solution is to place the unit where the noise may be baffled by another object or where it diminishes with distance.

As with the external backup drives, the my Ditto server is easy to set up. I'm very pleased that it uses text labels instead of mysterious and undecipherable icons. The master key and regular user key are labeled, amazingly enough, Master Key and Key (respectively).

The unit comes with a Quick User Guide. It does not come with a manual, which is disappointing. I'd rather have a manual and no QSG, than the other way around. In any case, the USG is clear and easy to follow. It makes extensive use of drawings to show you what's what. Maybe Dana-Elec calls this "quick" because the actual setup is quick. Basically, you hook it up, plug it in, and turn it on. You also need to authenticate the keys, and that's an easy five-step process.

I mentioned the removable drives, earlier. This feature is well-implemented on this device, with trays that are easy to pull out but are also secure when inserted. You could use one bay to hold backup drives, only. Then buy a spare rack or two and rotate the backups.


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