The Transporter Sync
#287 Henry, Sunday, 04 October 2015 4:19 PM (Category: Gadgets)
(Tags: drobo transporter)

Earlier this year, my brother Chris bought a Transporter Sync made by ConnectedData.com. They had a two-for-one deal so he bought two. One came here to me, the other went home to Australia. It took me a long time to get around to pulling it out and installing it and setting it up for him here, sorry Chris.

ConnectedData has since been bought by Drobo. The ConnectedData website no longer shows the Transporter Sync as an active product, they appear to be aiming at bigger markets now.

So what you get is a small round device.

Transporter Sync

You attach an external USB drive to this device, add a network cable to get it on your network, and then turn it on.

Transporter Sync Connections

The first time you turn it on, it will sit there and blink lights at you while it formats the hard disk and puts a filesystem on it. If you had anything on that drive before, it's gone now. I believe it puts a Linux ext4 filesystem on the drive. The ring of lights around the Transporter alternate between blue and green while this is happening.

Once the lights go steady blue (or in my case, once you hear the grinding noises from the USB drive, remove that disk and throw it away and put another one on and start again, and then wait for the lights to go steady blue), the Transporter Sync is ready for action.

You aim your browser at their website and you create an account with them. They want an email address. I gave them an email address and they sent me a confirmation email which was rejected. It was one of my addresses handled by my mailserver, but it got rejected every time. The email was constructed so it was addressed to sitemail.connecteddata.com, with my address somewhere in there, it was seen as being a relay email so sendmail rejected it. I couldn't fix this, so I had to swith and use my GMail address to get the confirmation message.

Once the account is set up and confirmed, you get to manage your transporters. At this point, I would guess that the Transporter Sync has already connected back to them, and supplied the serial number and Mac Address and they get the IP address you are conneting from, correlate that with the IP address you are browsing from, and then they show you your transporter. You can claim it. That takes it off the market and you can then start to use it.

As it's a Drobo product, there is no Linux support. It might be Linux inside, but they don't support Linux. You need a Mac or a Windows box.

What you do is set up a directory on your local computer. Then you download the Transporter Desktop and tell it what directory is to be synced to what Transporter. And then it keeps them in sync. If it's in that directory, it's on the Transporter. And they have an iOS app so you can access your files on your iPhone or iPad.

So it's like Dropbox or ownCloud. Except you manage the data yourself on a physical hard disk.

As there's no Linux client for it, it's no use to me. So what we are going to do is leave it there for Chris, and he can sync his data to it. That's called offsite backup. Really offsite, like backing up your data in the USA from Australia. I played with it a little, and it does what it is supposed to do.

The ring of lights around it are so bright, they light up the room at night. If you go to the management website, you can dim those lights (they reduce, but still light up the room all night), or you can turn the lights off (which means the lights at front go off, but the lights at the back still stay on which continues to light up the room as the Transporter has the back facing out so I can access the cables). I have noticed a tendency for gadgets these days to have lights so strong you can use them as lighthouses. That's what duct tape is for - cover the bloody lights on gadgets.

There is one other big problem I have with the Transporter - the Transporter Desktop on the Mac. I installed it and played with it and it all works. No problems there. But when I tried to delete the Desktop, I found I can't. It installed low level drivers that are in use. As they are in use, I can't delete the Desktop. I went to their support website and read about this, and they have a small Uninstall app you can download. I downloaded it, it can't run. Maybe it's for an earlier version of Mac OS X? I'm running Yosemite. I've hunted down lowlevel files per their website and removed them. I've removed autostart settings, I've done everything I can do and I can't get rid of it. Looks like the only way to get rid of the Transporter Desktop is to do a fresh install of Mac OS X. I am pretty pissed about this. Not happy at all. If you install something, it should be able to be cleanly uninstalled. This just shows shoddy work with the software.

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