Seagate Technology has taken the wraps off a new storage adapter that promises to let individuals access their digital content from any location worldwide where Internet access is available. Called the FreeAgent DockStar, the device is designed to make it a snap for users to create their own personal storage "clouds" without having to place their content on a server hosted by others.
"DockStar is an easy-to-use network attached storage device that enables users to access and share everything on the drive," said Seagate spokesperson Nathan Papadopulos. "It is compatible with all types of multimedia files as well as all other computer file formats."
Plug and Play
The installation requirements for the DockStar are straightforward. Plug the device's power cord into an AC receptacle, use an Ethernet cable to connect the DockStar to a wireless router, and slide Seagate's external FreeAgent Go hard drive into the adapter's docking port. The FreeAgent DockStar can be used in tandem with up to three USB storage devices.
Once users have logged on to the service and registered, their content immediately becomes accessible from any Web browser -- whether in a home or across the world.
"The sign-up process activates your DockStar and puts it on the network without any additional input from you," said Seagate Product Marketing Director Jon van Bronkhorst. "No router issues, no firewall issues -- it really is that simple."
The DockStar's Web-based interface has been designed to work equally well on Windows PCs, Macs and computers running Linux. Moreover, a free Pogoplug app provides DockStar users with direct access to content from their iPhones, together with the ability to send pictures straight from an iPhone to a folder on the network adapter.
"You are only limited by the available bandwidth," Papadopulos said. "We have been doing demos from an iPhone to a MacBook Air over a 3G connection. When you get to a larger media file you may see some buffering, but then you also have the option of downloading the file."
With DockStar, any Web browser can be used to display thumbnail images of the content on all the drives the user has connected to the adapter. "The Web interface is a way to make it easier to access the drives," Papadopulos said. "But everything is still stored on the drive wherever it is located."
Sharing files with others is also a breeze. "Just type in the person's e-mail address to provide them with easy access to the folder, either in read-only or read/write modes," Papadopulos said.
DockStar also integrates social-networking capabilities. For example, the user can copy and paste a real simple syndication (RSS) link on a personal page on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Then anytime a new image, video or music files is added to a designated folder residing on the FreeAgent DockStar, the additions will be automatically uploaded to the user's personal pages.
"The beauty of this is you still have total control over your content," van Bronkhorst noted. "If you ever decide you don't want that picture on Facebook anymore, simply cancel the link or remove the drive from your DockStar."
Priced at $99.99, the FreeAgent DockStar is available now through Seagate and other online retailers. The adapter ships inclusive of a one-year subscription to the enabling Pogoplug service for unlimited remote access and sharing.