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Remote Access

One of the nicest features about the GoFlex Home, as well as the Stora, is remote access.  When you set up your GoFlex Home, you give it a unique name.  If you enable sharing, all of the remote access "hard work" is done in the background.  You don't have to worry about port forwarding, static or dynamic IP addresses, or dynamic DNS.  It all just magically works. 

Although Seagate recommends that you enable UPnP on your router, I left it disabled on mine, and remote access still worked fine.  Without UPnP enabled, however, you'll have to manually forward ports on your router should you want to use FTP, or if you've upgraded to the optional features, secure FTP. 

To access your GoFlex Home, you merely go to www.seagateshare.com.  You'll be prompted for your GoFlex name as well as your login / password.  Once you've been authenticated, you land at the same home page as shown in Figure 6.

Sharing content is quite easy on the GoFlex Home.  First, you create a share by clicking on Share Selected Items.  A create share screen appears as shown in Figure 10.

Create share

Figure 10: Create share

On the right side of the screen you have lots of sharing options.  You can choose to share with other users who have logins on your GoFlex, share with "friends", share with everyone, share with the DLNA server and allow / disallow downloads of your content. 

If you share with "friends", you enter their email addresses, and they'll receive an email with a link.  If you share with everyone, a public link is created that you can paste into an email, into your blog or on one of the social networking sites.  You can optionally choose to password protect the share, or set an expiration date for the share.

As you've probably guessed by now, if you click on Shares from the Seagate Share home page, you'll be taken to a page that displays all of the shares that you created or are authorized to see.  Figure 11 shows both my shares as well as a share created by user Admin that was shared with me. 

Shares that logged in user 'cellison' is authorized to view

Figure 11: Shares that logged in user "cellison" is authorized to view

When you open the album, you can view a slide show, play music or play back video in your browser.  Filtering tools let you view all files in a share, or only images, videos, audio or files. 

The slide show is somewhat limited with only a single transition, but you can adjust the slide duration from between 3 and 10 seconds.  Unfortunately, due to some limitations of Flash, some video/audio files won't play in your browser.  I had problems with .WMV, .AVI and .m4a files.  Of course, I had no problems with .MP3, .FLV, .MOV and .MP4 formats.

Backup

Of course, no consumer NAS product would be complete without some kind of bundled backup software.  After all, backing up your data is one reason that you bought a NAS, right?  The Seagate GoFlex Home comes bundled with Memeo backup software.  Included in the purchase price, you get licenses to back up three computers total, Windows and MacOS.  Additional licenses are available, or you can upgrade to the Memeo premium backup from Application Store in the Seagate Dashboard. 

The Memeo backup software performs an automatic, continuous backup of files and folders.  You don't have to worry about full, or incremental or differential backups.  "Instant" backup is truly simple. Through advanced options, you can choose which directories you want to include if you don't want to accept the defaults.  Figure 12 shows the breakdown of the files Memeo was preparing to back up.

Memeo Instant backup

Figure 12: Memeo Instant backup

The GoFlex Home also comes with built in support for Apple's Time Machine.  Using the Time Machine setup wizard, I successfully configured my Mac to back up to the GoFlex Home as shown in Figures 13 and 14. 

Time Machine setup wizard

Figure 13: Time Machine setup wizard

My Mac has been successfully backing up to the GoFlex Home for the last 10 days without incident.

It took quite a while for the 82 GB initial Time Machine Backup

Figure 14: It took quite a while for the 82 GB initial Time Machine Backup

Upsell

Like the Netgear Stora, not all features are included in the basic price.  There's a $20 / year upgrade that adds more features.  Figure 15 shows a comparison between the basic features that the premium features.

Standard vs. Pro features for the GoFlex Home

Figure 15: Standard vs. Pro features for the GoFlex Home

Out of the box, the GoFlex is limited to 5 users (the Stora limits you to 3), but the upgrade gives you unlimited users.  As with the Stora, the premium subscription adds secure FTP access (regular FTP is free), remote access from a mobile phone, browser-based access to media libraries and links to Flickr and Facebook. 

The GoFlex Home comes with a 30 day free trial.  I activated it to try some of the advanced features.  I was disappointed that while I could connect to the GoFlex Home with both an iPhone and my Droid, there wasn't a slide show feature for my photos.  And, of course, you know that Flash movies won't play on your iPhone.

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