Sunday, June 05, 2011

Western Digital My Book Essential 3 TB USB 3.0/2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive

My Book Essential 3 TB
I've been working with computers since 1994, back when there were no personal or micro-computers. Back when a 300 baud modem was hot stuff. My first 60MB hard drive cost $600 (back when $600 actually meant something) and measured about a foot long or more, about 8 inches high and six inches wide. So you can imagine my delight when this little 2TB drive showed up. It's no more than a tenth of the size of that first 60MB hard drive. Imagine, two thousand gigabytes.

There's an old saying in computing (or at least those old enough to remember it) that, no matter the size of your hard drive, you'd only have about 1MB of free space. Well, not no more. Given the performance of our other Western Digital drives, I'm pretty confident that the My Book drive will last until, well, until we don't need to preserve our professional, historical files anymore.

Now, before I buy things like terabyte drives or printers or laptops, I always check PC Magazine's Editor's Choice collection, and this one was highly recommended. Its speed, size, and simplicity make it a real standout. Furthermore, we've been using Western Digital's drives for over ten years and have been very pleased with them.

Unfortunately, though, Robin's Rule #2 is: all drives fail eventually, as do computers. (Robin's Rule #1 is: never pass a law you can't enforce, but we'll skip that one here.) My sturdy old Pentium 4 Micron computer is finally dying, after putting in several years of hard service, so it's time to move on to the laptops, especially now that we're retired and I'm no longer doing interface or other design work that really does need a large monitor. And moving to the laptops means it's time to transfer all our historical, professional data off the old machines, which is why I bought the My Book drive.

The real beauty of the Western Digital My Book isn't just its thundering capacity, it's the size and portability. Using a simple USB cable, I can move my main development data from one computer to the next in less than five minutes (Gee, just like the old days of moving SCSI drives on the Macs). So now every one of our computers with a USB port can become my main development and writing computer. Just as soon as I transfer that 1.5GB of old emails from clients and contact information for everyone I know (I used to use Outlook Express, but now I just let Yahoo take care of the mail), and things like my book-selling database files. The total data transfers have now taken up barely a fraction of the My Book's space. Out of a readable 1.81TB, I still have 1.78TB left. And that represents over fifteen years of developing database applications for clients like California state agencies and medical research projects.

Meanwhile, the My Book drive just sits quietly in the background, taking up almost no space and storing our entire professional history of database development. Yes, it's a ridiculously huge drive for a small company, but all those historical files are critical and, what with the recent tornado warnings (tornadoes in California? Really? Weird.), it's nice to know that all I need to do is unplug this one little drive and our critical data is safe. Or, at least, it will be safe just as soon as I finish transferring the data from the other computers sitting around here. That's an awful lot of reassurance for about $130.

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