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by Mike

AeroFS

December 4, 2012 in Software

Quite some time ago I was invited to the beta of this Dropbox-like program. I wasn’t sure how they found my email and truthfully, wasn’t looking for a Dropbox alternative, i would check it out. It seemed more of my duty than anything. The idea seemed the same only there was no storage limit! The catch was that everything was P2P. Unlike where Dropbox or Google Drive keep your files in the cloud, AeroFS allows you to sync unlimited amounts of data using all your own resources. This means no public folder, no restoring old copies of files and no possible way to get the sync files should your computer crash. On the bright side, if you need to sync 150GB of files between two computers, you can!

Personally, I did not. As a result I uninstalled it without even sending out my two invite codes! To my amazement, a few weeks later a friend had asked if I knew of an alternative to Microsofts Live Mesh sync since it has now been replaced with SkyDrive. Their service used to offer the best of both worlds. Unlimited sync with the ability to store 5GB to the cloud. With this service kicking the bucket, and SkyDrive only offering cloud storage with no sync, he needed an alternative and AeroFS jumped immediately to mind.

I asked my friend to comment on his experience with the software. Out of ten: “11” was honest opinion. It handled the file sync very well and isn’t even out of beta yet! Installation is as fast and smooth as DropBox or G-Drive and is fairly light weight. Software updates happen seamlessly in the background (for beta updates at least. You are able to share sync folders with other AeroFS users just like Dropbox. Release update may require new download). P2P reduces file sync down time too! History of file activities are kept in a log. At the end of the day its a great tool for backup or sync of any size or volume.

If you’re interested in joining the beta, head on over to AeroFS.com

[ AeroFS ]

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by Mike

ASUS RT-N56U Revisited

November 1, 2012 in Kwappy Weviews

I wanted to revisit this review. Earlier I had basically said in summery that the router was great, but the UI had some shortcomings. I have since come across some amazing firmware. Don’t get me wrong I think Asus did a great job, but I was getting a little frustrated. Curiosity got the best of me.

PLEASE, if you have this router or are thinking of buying it, make sure you check out ASUS RT-N56U custom firmware website. I have donated to these guys because I truly feel they over came all of the routers UI shortcomings and turned this thing into a total beast. It still has the same great speed and performance but now has shorter reboot and apply times – Applying settings usually now takes less than 5 seconds and reboots are under a minute. Firmware still takes about 3 minutes to install. It offers VPN access, Guest WiFi zone, the same great built in FTP access and all those little nitpicking features I wanted. Easy drop downs to reserve IP addresses for one! HUGE for me.

Resource monitoring of CPU and RAM with BEAUTIFUL graphcs for both resource monitoring and network traffic stats.

 

IPV6 is still a bit of a work in progress and there is no QOS, but there are frequent updates to this custom firmware and the community usually can help if you need any support. Trust me when I say its worth your time to check this out. Feel free to drop any questions in the comments.

ASUS RT-N56U custom firmware ]

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by Mike

Skype Changing to new ‘Opus’ audio codec

September 13, 2012 in Software

Anyone that uses an in game voice chat program like Vent, Mumble, Team Speak or even if you are using Skype, you should know by now the codec is everything. Any spike in latency can be frustrating and annoying and a good audio codec can make a huge difference. Mumble prides itself in a codec developed specifically for speech and promises low bandwidth with high quality!

Skype has been knocking this new Opus codec around since March 2009 intending to create a low bandwidth codec “designed for the internet.” This should mean full CD quality audio in full band stereo over Skype, regardless of internet connection. They are also bringing in new technologies to help with packet loss so your friends and family wont sound like some dubstep audio sample. Personally this makes me VERY hopeful to see Skype on the BlackBerry PlayBook.

There is no specific ETA but they expect it to become standard across all Skype platforms. Below is a video that likely has way more information than anyone would be interested in…

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by Mike

ASUS RT-N56U

August 7, 2012 in Kwappy Weviews

I haven’t had a chance to use this router very long but already I see a huge downfall in the DHCP reservation and port forwarding. Some of the biggest things I liked about my D-Link is that I didn’t have to type in very much. More drop down menus could improve the efficiency of a lot of options. Host name resolution on more pages would be useful too. Sorry Asus, but I’m not that badass enough to recognize my mac address in the list of 15 other devices…

On the positive side the router performs great under heavy load and with multiple devices. The QOS engine seems efficient and works well. The bandwidth monitor application is not only very neat and useful but graphically pleasing too. The device itself is susceptible to fingerprints and smudges but when its clean and left alone the lights are a great eye catcher and totally a device to be shown off. The cables out the back can be a bit of an eye sore if you are like me and have ethernet cables of every colour and length, running in every direction.

Wifi performance has been great. Despite it not having any external antennas, the 2.4 GHz band is able to reach the full apartment with strong signal even through several concrete walls. 5GHz isn’t perfect but has a far reach compatibly to other 5GHz devices.

Reboot times range from 5-10 seconds and 60 for a full reboot. Firmware updates take about 3 minutes, however no network traffic is impacted for the first 2 minutes. Overall I give the device an 8/10. It performs great and looks sexy, but some of the UI could have easily been improved to help administrative efficiency A LOT. A few strange failures randomly occurred but it seems they are still releasing firmware fixes on a fairly regular basis. Though I would like to be as objective as possible, comparability, every D-Link device I have used has a far more user friendly interface; not only dummy proof but efficient for any network admin.

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by Mike

D-Link DIR-825

August 7, 2012 in Kwappy Weviews

I used this router for about a year and I must say it was good till the end. By that I mean it worked great and by the end it was a pain in the ass. Out of the box the router worked great! As more firmware updates came out the device only improved, until suddenly I realized the device required reboots in order to access the UI. If I had an uptime of over 2 days I could not access the Web UI gateway… No other performance was impacted, just administration. Not sure if an Apache server, P2P or any other high traffic/connection protocols could be to blame for this or not.

On the positive side, when it worked I loved everything about the UI. Simple and detailed I found it easy to do common tasks, maintain stability with QOS and selective port blocking/filtering. This router made it very easy to keep a balanced web experience in a large home with many users and devices.

Wireless performance was not as good as I hoped. Though it has two external antennas, the wireless was almost useless outside of the house or on top floors in the home. Needless to say, being in the basement surrounded by ventilation ducts doesn’t help its case, however even inside the home some desktop computers were unable to connect at all with USB wifi adapters when interference was high – even while being the only SSID on channel 4 in the general vicinity. The 5GHz band was nearly useless I found. Weak signal even when one floor directly above the router.

Reboot times ranged from 15 seconds, 45 seconds and 75 seconds for a full reboot. Firmware updates seem few and far in between and can be a bit picky, sometimes requiring a reboot before starting and again after finishing. Overall rating 6/10

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