I don't know about you, but at some point I became solely responsible for my family's entire IT operation.
I am the Home IT Guy.
I don't remember signing up for this job, but it's mine all the same.
It started small enough way back when -- all I had to do was to keep a modest desktop and a modem line going. But every year, it seems that there's more household and personal tech that I'm responsible for.
And there's no apparent end in sight.
As I look at Iomega's recent announcements at CES, I can see myself probably using each and every one of them. Not because they're cool gadgets (which they are), but because I see the opportunity to make my life just a little bit simpler.
Who Put Me In Charge?
My wife and I have three children: ages 20, 17 and 15. Everyone in my family uses great gobs of personal technology, and somehow they all expect it to work flawlessly with no effort on their part.
From desktops and laptops, to smartphones, to the home media stuff and all the network connectivity -- I'm expected to keep it all running smoothly.
When something isn't working properly, the call goes out: "DAAAD!"
I suppose I only have myself to blame. After all, I'm the one who keeps bringing these doodads into the house. As a result, I'm always on the lookout for any widget or gizmo that can reduce the unexpected and unwanted support calls.
For example, the Apple Macs in my household generate far fewer support calls than the equivalent PCs. Guess what I'm buying more of as a result? And, so far, the iPads haven't generated a single problem that has required my immediate attention :-)
With that in mind, see what you think of these ...
The Iomega SuperHero Backup and Charger for iPhone
We have a fleet of three iPhones in the household, the rest being blackberries. No 'droids yet -- I'm sure they're coming, though -- it's only a matter of time ...
I wouldn't have had any appreciation for this device, except for that Really Bad Day a while back when my wife lost over a hundred of her contacts, not to mention a bunch of photos.
The circumstances are typical -- her iPhone hadn't seen a computer in many, many months. Sure, al the Apple licensed content was recoverable, but none of her personal stuff had been backed up.
When the inevitable happened, the look on her face said it all -- that I was somehow to blame for the tragedy. Sure, I could argue the facts, but --- in these circumstances -- facts don't matter a lot, do they? Check out this short video if you're interested.
The idea of iPhones getting backed up each and every time they get charged -- absolutely brilliant, IMHO. Sign me up for at least one, maybe two. I am told that -- with the right extension cable for the dock -- it should work the same for my growing fleet of iPads as well.
You never can have enough chargers in my household, it seems. And if data got backed up each and every time they were used, well -- that'd be brilliant.
The Iomega Home Media Server With Boxee
My home media situation is getting out of control. It can best be described as a "many to many" problem.
Between the big screens and the small screens (computers), there are about 8 or so places where my family wants to view content. And the content itself is coming from more places: the internet (via various services), the DVRs, the file server with all the ripped DVDs, and so on.
My wife has a perfectly logical view to this -- why can she watch anything from anything? Er, well, ….
I've been playing with Boxee, and I like what I see. Basically, it's a nice software front end to all the content sources you could imagine, with likely many more coming. Combine it with the Iomega hardware and software, and I've got the potential for a nice platform for both stored and streamed content.
My plan will be to get a few of them -- one with storage, others without -- and see if I can network the big-screen TVs together in a useful manner.
The trick for me will be the integration with the almighty Harmony remote.
Nothing media-related gets used much in our house unless there's single-button access from the integrated remote. I'll have to do some investigating here. I'll let you know how it goes.
The Iomega Personal Cloud
This one really does it for me. I like the idea of controlled sharing where I own the data and I make the calls. All sorts of personal use cases come to mind here. I'm just going to have to try it.
Maybe you remember my rant on this topic a long time ago? Well, maybe someone was listening ...
For starters, all of my family seems to be pretty mobile. It'd be great to get access to a personal file, document, photo, song, video, etc. from any location or any device.
As an example, all my kids do rather involved homework assignments using the home machines -- no more need to scurry around for spare memory sticks at 6:45 in the morning -- just email the link!
Closer to my personal interests, it'd be wonderful to have all of my band and music stuff -- lyrics, chords, arrangements, patches, samples, recordings, etc. -- in one controlled place and only accessible to the people I'm working with. Multiple bands, multiple clouds. And accessible on any internet-connected device :-)
One daughter is very much into photography -- but she doesn't want to share everything with everyone. Another daughter draws great stuff -- she wants to share as well. Same general story for my wife and son -- everyone in my family seems to have content they generate and they all want to share in a controlled fashion.
Yep, lots of uses for that personal cloud feature -- several that I can see now, and lots more in the future. I can't wait to try it.
Sure, I could use one of the dozens of sharing services that are out there, but I am strongly drawn to a model that combines a very high degree of personal control with ultimate freedom of choice with regards to file formats, devices, etc.
It's my data, after all :-)
I've tried a bunch of the services that are out there -- and they always end up coming up short in one important regard or another. Fundamentally, my interests and their interests aren't always aligned.
Besides, I feel better knowing that one of the service providers having a bad day doesn't translate into me having a bad day as well.
Does More Stuff Make Your Life Easier, Or More Complex?
Several vendors -- Apple, Google, Microsoft, et. al. -- are all pursuing a vision of a nicely integrated home technology ecosystem that makes everything simpler and more accessible.
Live in their world, and life should become somewhat easier. Or that's the pitch, anyway.
However, I"m not willing to commit to any one of theirs to the exclusion of most others -- at least, not yet.
As a result, I'll continue to be on the lookout for devices that make my family IT landscape more integrated, more powerful -- and, hopefully, just a little bit easer to support.
After all, I'm the Home IT Guy :-)