Beyond Saving My Life And Into The World Of ReadyNAS!

My New Netgear ReadyNAS!

I had a vision, last Sunday.  As I was inching my way, through a huge crowd of people, inside the air-conditioned subterranean shopping mall, that connects where the IT Show was held, to where I parked my car, I saw grey sky and the heavy rain, through the huge glass windows.  Travelling at point zero zero zero zero one kilometer per hour, smelling the humidity of sweat and rain, at one vintage point, on top of an escalator, four meters above the crowd, I saw faces.  Lots of faces.  So many faces looking at my direction.  At that point, I had a vision.  I want to be a rock star.  And these are my audience, with the faces of anticipation.  My friends and I were looking at each other, shook our heads and said: They have no idea what they are getting themselves into.

But such is the price of attending an IT Show.  I have not seen that many people in our convention and exhibition center.  Not even for the Motor Show when there are usually a lot of hot babes inside.  I got scared coming down by escalators.  What if there was a – touch wood – piled up at the bottom?  Sardine heading into the cans like the non-stop production line.  Where is that bloody emergency stop button?  None.

Sunday morning, I woke up relatively early, wanted to pay Azeroth a visit.  Bam!  My hard disk crashed.  It crashed on the last day of IT Show.  Panic!  I called my friends at the last minute to see who could accompany me.  Phew!  Those Maxtor hot backup devices do save my life as advertised.  My data is all saved.  I wish Bill Gate has the brain size of Steve Jobs and gave us PC users a Time Machine, like Apple has.  Time to replace my crashed 500GB hard disk and reinstall the Operating System.  Fun time.

Not.

Maybe this is a sign.  Maybe I shall go beyond saving my life.  I need my own home network storage, with an industrial standard that I can pull out or jam in any hard disk any time and all my data will still be intact.  Happy for me, TK and my photography buddy Mat could make it.  Time for shopping!

Except, it was not too much of a shopping with them.  They knew exactly what they wanted, they knew the strike price, and they just needed to find the exact location of the booth, buy the item, and go.  I had no idea what to buy, exactly.  Exactly!  I had a concept, like most things in my life, that’s all.  Yes, Mat has used Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ for years and he loves it.  TK is going to get the little brother version and he said: Since you have tons of CDs like me, you will need a Squeezebox and this.  OK sold.  If I am stuck don’t know how to use that device, I have some numbers to call.

Wait … what the heck is a Squeezebox?!

Imagine this: all my 800 CDs can now be digitalized, in the free lossless audio codex (a.k.a. flac) format, ready to be streamed into a Squeezebox (?!), that connects directly to my Hi-fi.  Any song from my CD collection available with a touch of a remote control.  Hi-fi sound quality.  My new toy (as seen in picture above) can hold up to 4 hard disks.  Right now, I have installed three 1TB Western Digital green power hard disks.  With the data redundancy built-in function, I have a total of 1.8TB of space accessible from within my home network.  Gadgets these days are going green.  So is the new D-Link switch I’ve bought that day.

I could have bought two of the latest version of Nikon 50mm with the money that I’ve spent.  Oh well, there is a price to pay for the world of ReadyNAS.  TK and Mat told me that I could do a lot more with that.  We shall see.

31 thoughts on “Beyond Saving My Life And Into The World Of ReadyNAS!”

  1. Chuang Shyue Chou – You know buddy, I have no clue. My friend TK knows a friend who has a machine with a robotic arm. So you just need to dump the pile of CDs into it and the robotic arm will then pick the discs out one and one and encode them automatically. I don’t have that luxury of course.

    More the reason why if I wish to invest that kind of time, I need a format that last.

    800 albums if I encode each realistically in 5 minutes including the cleaning up of dirts and etc., that is about 70 hours of work. Or if I want to get it done within a year, it is 11 minutes per day …

  2. Hi Wilfird,

    That netgear box actually had a vintage look! 🙂 With the decorations around it, the box looks pretty small… like a small Rediffusion box from the yesteryears!! 🙂 Cool!

  3. Kltham – Depending on your usage I suppose. If you need 4 bays and raid, you can choose between Netgear and Western Digital. WD is about 25% cheaper. But I think Netgear comes with tons of software including Retrospect that I am testing right now. It backs up my local drive in an industrial manner. Very interesting stuff. And if you intend to stream flac format, I think Netgear is one to go for. My friend Mat is an avid photographer and he loves Netgear NAS.

    Cisco does have the Media Hub too. But that is more for general entertainmet with 2 bays.

  4. Squeezebox is an audiophile quality streaming device. ReadyNas is where you can rip all your songs into, and it has a SqueezeCentre software included in ReadyNas to “serve” the music to the Squeezeboxes. (http://www.slimdevices.com)

    I’ve about 15,000+ songs and 1,000 over CDs ripped over some months into the ReadyNas. Never turned back. Make my search of particular music or CD so much easier! Its like Music-On-Demand. The initial “pain” of ripping is quite daunting. But only have to do it once.

    There is a big difference with using Squeezebox then other stream players. It plays FLAC format. Its one of the best Loseless format out there and most use this to achieve CDs. (BTW, you can covert to any format from FLAC using MediaMonkey or other free publicly available software)

    And the ReadyNas serves as an achieve for all my Raw files as well..

    Lastly, this Nas is upgrade on demand as well. You can change all harddisk (one at a time for it to sync) to a larger one and when the last one is added, your NAS will upgrade to the new sized HDD you’ve changed, without re-copying all your files.

    Wilfrid, enjoy your NV+!

  5. Mathew – Hey dude, thanks again for coming by in such a short notice! Your sharing of experience is much, much appreciated!

    I am OK to rip the CDs, maybe I am kind of obsessive compulsive. What I dread is the constant changing of codex and format. And of course, what I also dread is to clean up the CD because of the humidity in Singapore. But if FLAC is the way to go, flac it as it is then …

  6. Wilfrid: I had issues as well on the format. Basically, the best format is one that has the best CD quality and best compression. (which is not possible!)

    MP3 is most compatible, AAC (open format, not Apple formatted) has one of the best quality from low bitrate conversion. Hmmmm…. hard decision to make..

  7. wilfrid: now you pressurizing me.. haha. I too hope I’m not wrong. What I do understand that most audiophile stream players like Soloos and Sonus also understand FLAC.
    Given that FLAC can be decoded natively on these devices gave me the hint that this format has some weight as well.
    What you can do is to test. Download MediaMonkey from http://www.mediamonkey.com/
    Rip your CD and use a standard A/B test. Play your CD and play your ripped FLAC. FLAC has a few compression ratio standard. I almost always use 5 (mid point). Seriously, I could not really hear much of a diff.

  8. Chuang Shyue Chou – Absolutely. Somehow the database for classical music is not that accurate. Also, what I find to do a lot is that iTune at times classify albums under “Compilation”. And it is a pain to tag it to artists and album titles.

    Oh, another thing I re-do a lot is the artist names for the collaborated track titles. To be honest, I am only interested in the main artists.

  9. wilfrid : sooloos, sonus and Squeezebox are a few audiophile streamers brand. From very ex, to affordable. Squeezebox been the most affordable and better quality.

    Sooloos is very nice, touch screen..etc. Cost up to 20k SGD. 😀

    Sonus is in between 1-2k depending on setup.

    Squeezebox is from 400+ to 2k. Depending streamers.

    Hopefully we did not further confuse u

  10. Mathew – Ah, thanks for the info. 20k SGD high end models are more from affluent friends of ours like Kiat …

    … for me, I just need something to play music with reasonable quality.

    Ha ha ha …

  11. I was there with a friend who wanted to buy a laptop!
    I wanted to buy a new external HDD too but in the end I decided against a frivolous purchase 😛

  12. Thanks Wilfrid Wong for this article. I was looking into a NAS for keeping some movies, photos and ‘digitalizing’ my CDs – your basic audio/ video stuff. I’ll definitely consider this NAS brand- Netgear – when the next IT show rolls around – sometime in end 2011? Any recommendation or updates or insights to your project – since your post was written in Mar 16, 2009 and it is now Sep 26, 2011? Thanks again for sharing!

    1. Richard – Hi there. I am still using the Netgear NAS. It did break down once. But more like multiple hard disk failure that somehow was not reported for me to take preemptive measure. Through the Netgear support, I got that sorted.

      If I am to buy a NAS today, I will take consideration of other top brands as well. Having said it, it is likely that I will stick with Netgear. Or even get another NAS to backup this old NAS of mine.

      I know. Paranoid right? 🙂

      1. Paranoid? Not at all, seems more of customer loyalty to the brand. When you feel comfortable with a brand, you tend to stick to it – at till it disappoints you!
        Anyway, I’m still saving up to buy the hardware (NAS + HD) and was wondering how do you go about converting your CDs to the FLAC format – do you have a guide or website that you goto?
        I am a family man and with time restrictions, I cannot go and ‘experiment’ on the settings, etc for FLAC conversion.
        My project involves converting my Teresa Teng CDs (yes, i belong to the baby boomers category) before the CDs all grow ‘mouldy’ on me.
        Thanks for replying to my mail and do keep your blog going – it makes for interesting reading and helps me know what trends the X or Y – generation are talking/ blogging/ facebooking! 😉

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