Seagate just introduced the most fascinating new product I have seen in a very long time – FreeAgent DockStar. Docks for FreeAgent Go drives are nothing new for Seagate – they have the FreeAgent Go Dock, FreeAgent Go Dock+, FreeAgent Theater and the new FreeAgent Theater+. The Go Docks are simple to understand – they plug into the USB ports on your computer. The Theater-class products are easy to understand also – they plug into your Television and you use your FreeAgent Go to provide the content that you want to enjoy.
But this dock – DockStar – is completely different. This doesn’t plug into your USB port. This doesn’t attach to your television. No. This is different. This dock plugs into your router. Yes, your router.
Why? Good question.
Let me put it this way – this is the absolute easiest way to take any and all content that you may have on your FreeAgent Go (or any other USB connected mass storage device) and make it available to all the computers on your network. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Well…. That’s just the beginning.
With DockStar, all that content is not only available on your network, but it is also available to you from any computer with a web browser and internet access anywhere in the world!
Sound interesting yet? I’m not done – there’s more!
DockStar also allows you to share any storage device that is attached to it, or any folder located on any storage device attached to it, with anyone, anywhere, any time, all through the same interface, and all with just a simple email address.
Yes…. It’s really that simple. Choose to share a folder with your best friend. Type in their email address, and they will get an email invitation to view your content. You even get to choose whether to give them read-only or read-write access.
The web-based interface for your DockStar is full of simple and powerful capabilities. It works on PC’s, Mac’s, and even on Linux systems. I have used it with Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari. And it’s the same on each and every one of them. The browser interface gives you access to thumbnails of images, including the ability to scrape and present the first frame of supported video files. It allows you to generate a web-browser-based slideshow of all images located in the folder. It lets you play music files from the shared folder right there in your web browser. And it even lets you stream video content in your browser window (provided the file type is supported, and there is sufficient bandwidth on both ends to stream the content faster than playback speed).
There are small client apps for Windows, Mac and Linux that let you mount your Dockstar drives and all associated shares you have from others as local desktop disk drives, making drag and drop possible, as well as using them as a possible target for backup applications of other functions.
And there is even a free iPhone app (called Pogoplug) that gives you access from your iPhone (other phone apps are in development). Imagine the ability to have iPhone access to your entire photo library that is located on the FreeAgent Go sitting at home, and also the ability to upload your iPhone taken pictures directly up to your DockStar for instant sharing with friends and family.
All shares come with the ability to set them up as RSS feeds, giving people instant notifications of changes to the files or content in the shared folders.
And then there’s the ability to use DockStar to host the content for the pictures and videos and music files that you want posted on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter! The beauty of this is you still have total control over your content – if you ever decide you don’t want that picture on Facebook anymore, simply cancel the link, or remove the drive from your DockStar.
By now you’re likely asking yourself ‘Sure… sounds great. But I bet it’s hard to install!’
Well… That’s the other amazing thing about this product. You simply plug it into your router, plug in the power, connect a FreeAgent Go (or other USB storage device) to it, and then go to the activation website and create an account, The signup process activates your DockStar and puts it on the network without any additional input from you. No router issues. No firewall issues. It really is that simple! And, if you really want to, you can have multiple DockStars on a single account, giving access to even more stuff.
We all know what the ‘cloud’ is – that great unknown out there that we are supposed to trust as a hosting spot for all of our digital stuff. But that’s the point – we don’t know where it is, or what it is, or who has access to it. So now, with DockStar, you can have the same access at all times and from all places as you do with cloud-based storage, but that storage is now located in a place you completely trust – your own home.
This has the potential to change how we all access and share the stuff we have collected on our computers. No longer do I have to email individual photos to my Mom when I want her to see the latest pictures of the kids – I simply put them on my DockStar in a folder that I have already shared with her, and she gets notified that there are new images to view.
And now, when I’m clear across the country, and I want to show someone one of my latest pictures, I can just pull out my iPhone, navigate to the image location, and then display the picture right on my iPhone.
Seagate FreeAgent DockStar. Get it now at www.seagate.com/dockstar