Simpletech SimpleShare 160G drive

This NAS storage is one of the cheapest out there. There are many things to compliment it on, but it’s not without fault. As this review points out, it’s almost a cross-platform panacea. From unboxing this device, you can connect it easily to your network and set it up via a web interface. The hardware itself is pretty elegant and is in this hard metal case. The buttons and LEDs are well-placed and the two extra USB ports on the back are for external harddrives or USB printers.
Creating shares is actually pretty simple. The web interface is pretty intuitive as long as you’ve maneuvered around web interfaces. Windows shares are also very simple to create and access from a Windows computers. With a full Windows network, the SimpleShare is a great addition to your network for quick space. But MacOSX support is another story.

When I tried to access the SimpleShare via a Mac, it becomes a tremendous hassle. This is due to the way Tiger sets up shares, and requires passwords for many of the connections whereas in Windows, it’s pretty slack on passwords on connections. So connecting to a share takes a lot of work if you don’t do it similar to a linux share (via command line for nfs). Everything here was a major pain.
Linux shares are actually really simple if you know how to mount nfs shares. It’s the same for changing your /etc/hosts to automatically mount these nfs shares and works like a charm. Like above, MacOSX is only easily done if you do it via the command line (terminal). Otherwise, the point and click and auto-detect can be a true “pita”. But this isn’t even half of it.
Printer sharing. I had the bright idea of shifting my printers from my current print server to the NAS. That was a huge mistake. The current one I use (Gigafast) works fine for both Windows and it’s even semi-useful in MacOSX. But the same cannot be said for the SimpleShare USB print server support. For Windows, it worked like a charm. Sort of. It connected very easily, but when you print, it would lock out certain windows so that it wouldn’t print correctly. So sometimes, it would print the foreground of one window or not constrain the page to 8×11. MacOSX was even worse. I couldn’t get it to even connect to the printer even though it said it was there. You basically don’t expect this considering print server technology should be pretty much the same. So I wasn’t expecting anything worse than the current Gigafast print server. Boy was I wrong. Even the tech support from Simpletech wasn’t anymore useful, by giving me the “it works fine for us” even though the directions they have are for 10.3, and not MacOSX 10.4. I kept telling them that the directions don’t work for 10.4, but they never did give me an acceptable answer on how to get it to work.
In the end, I used the SimpleShare as a network attached storage only and put my print server back. For the price, I can’t complain and have two of them to show for it. But when it comes to all around usefulness, the print server and the support for multiple operating systems is sorely lacking. It’s actually better as a overall Windows network storage device, which defeats the purpose of what a NAS is supposed to do but I suppose depending on what type of network you’re on, it wouldn’t matter.
Outside of all the complaints, the hardware is well-built and just as an external harddrive there are no complaints. And on top of that, it’s cheap (around one hundred and fifty dollars). So get your SimpleTech 160GB SIMPLESHARE External Hard Drive( STI-NAS/160 ) [affiliate] if you’re looking for a bit of space but you’re looking to share it across different machines on your network.