Drobo Mini – the world’s smallest and most portable full-featured storage array

Drobo Mini

Here’s an impressive little device for anybody who understands the importance of backing up their data – the Drobo Mini. Launched last Summer, it’s marketed by Drobo as the world’s smallest and most portable full-featured storage array.

You can install up to four 2.5-inch drives in the Mini, which can be both different brands and capacities – offering a maximum of 3TB of storage space from 4 x ITB drives. In case you are wondering why 4GB isn’t the maximum, that’s because the Drobo needs some space for redundancy – and that’s one of its best features.

The Drobo mini offers single or dual drive redundancy – which ultimately means that if the worst happens, and one or even two of your drives die, your data is still safe. In addition, a battery offers protection against data loss during a power outage.

Speed freaks can of course outfit the Mini with four SSD drives, plus the device has a fifth bay for an mSATA SSD which can be used to increase the performance of the array.

With regards to connectivity, the Drobo Mini has a single USB 3.0 port and two Thunderbolt ports – which make it a great choice for Mac owners. Besides the speed benefits, Thunderbolt allows up to six other Thunderbolt devices to be daisy chained together.

All of the Mini’s drive bays are hot-swappable, so you don’t need to worry about messing about with screws or carriages every time you need to insert or take out a drive.

Four LED lights placed around the front of the Drobo Mini indicate the status of installed drives, and for more detailed diagnostics you can use Drobo’s Dashboard software which is Mac and PC compatible.

As you can see from the photo above, the Drobo Mini is also a good looking device. The outer casing is constructed from metallic carbon fiber, which also makes it pretty durable.

If you like the sound of the Drobo Mini you can pick one up for around £550 ($649), though do bear in mind that it doesn’t come with any drives.

And if you want more information, check out this awesome Drobo Mini review.

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Charlie Bit Me, Charlie Bit My Finger Again!

An experiment to see how a page based on the popular viral video “Charlie Bit Me” featuring Charlie and his older brother Harry will rank. In the unlikely event that you haven’t seen the video, you can watch it below.

Wikipedia has extensive information about the Charlie Bit Me video, also known as “Charlie Bit My Finger” & “Charlie Bit My Finger Again!”

Also worth mentioning is the blog created by the parents of Harry & Charlie.

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Zhu Zhu Hamsters 2010

Last year the UK went Go Go Hamsters crazy! The furry electronic rodents now known as Zhu Zhu Hamsters were the must have toys. Many of the big retailers such as Toys R Us & Argos struggled to match demand, new stock sold out within minutes both online and in stores. Many desperate parents even ended up paying 2-3 times the retail price on eBay where inviduals took advantage of the popularity of the toys.

Thanks the introduction of lots of new Zhu Zhu Hamsters, including four rock star hamsters with long hair, the range has continued to be popular throughout the year. The Toy Retailer’s Association even picked one of the new playsets in the range – the Zhu Zhu Pets Grooming Salon as part of their 2010 Dream Toys List. November saw the introduction of Princess themed Hamsters and playsets, which include a castle, ballroom and carriage.

While it would seem unlikely that Zhu Zhu Hamsters are going to be as popular this year, it wouldn’t be surprising for specific hamsters and playsets such as the Princess Castle & Grooming Salon to be harder to get hold of come December!

The hamsters retail for around £9.99 each, and the playsets vary between £9.99 – £19.99.

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Dave The Funky Shoulder Monkey

I’ll be honest, the first time I saw this product mentioned on a news website I thought it was a wind up! But not only is Dave The Funky Shoulder Monkey a real product, it’s also tipped to be a world-wide best seller! All credit to the inventor Nick Donaldson, he certainly seems to have created a toy that has caught the imagination of retailers and the media.

At first there was a bit of confusion regarding it’s name, a few months ago it was being called Dave The Funky Monkey and Dave The Cheeky Monkey. But a couple of weeks ago the company distributing the toy (Wow Stuff!) sent out a press release which included the official name of Dave the Funky Shoulder Monkey, and if you go to the official site you can actually see the name is used in the logo.

Dave is a small plush style monkey who can move his head and arms via a wireless controller. With four different modes and lots of different individual actions it’s possible to make him interact with people. Wondering about the shoulder reference in his name? Dave can sit on your shoulder, allowing you to create the illusion that he is alive! Really you want to keep the controller hidden in your pocket, because the main buttons are different shapes you don’t have to be looking at them to switch modes.

Aside from the fact that Dave The Funky Shoulder Monkey is a cool toy, I can see two main factors that will make him a best seller -

1. Mass appeal, it’s the kind of product you could buy boys or girls (aged 8 and upwards) plus I can also see it being a popular choice for adults as a novelty/fun gift.

2. The price – at £25 it’s affordable and I can see the price dropping to around £20 as companies try to out do each other.

The launch date is supposed to be October but sites like Play.com seem to be taking pre-orders now!

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Stinky The Garbage Truck

In case you haven’t already heard, Stinky The Garbage Truck is a fantastic new toy truck from Matchbox – the same people who brought us one of last years most popular Christmas toys, Rocky The Robot Truck. Stinky The Garbage Truck is a garbage truck with a difference, and he’s already tipped by Hamleys to be one of Christmas 2010s best selling toys!

He retails for around £65, so he’s quite an expensive purchase. But he packs some impressive technology which allows him to talk, dance, eat toy cars, burp and even break wind! Unlike most toy trucks he can also stand up on four of his wheels.

If you are looking for a toy to promote this Christmas we think Stinky should be on your hit list.

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Great Way To Make Money With eBay

A Great Way To Make Money With eBay

When you hear “eBay” and “money” in the same sentence you probably think of becoming an eBay seller.

Well I have a surprise for you because it’s the eBay affiliate program that’s taking the web by storm at the moment and a great program called “Build A Niche Store” (or BANS as it’s nicknamed) which enables you to really dig into and profit from this hugely under-exploited money making opportunity by building super targeted, traffic pulling, money making eBay affiliate websites at a few clicks of a button.

I’m not going to drown you in the details as the BANS site covers everything you need to know but suffice to say that this is going to BIG over the next 12 months and now is the perfect time to put the groundwork into your own portfolio of money making eBay affiliate websites.

It’s only now and then that a really great product comes along and this one is getting rave reviews. Check it out!

Click Here To Read More About Build A Niche Store

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New flyer added for Save The Pixel

Save The PixelWeb design isn’t just a career for me, it’s also a passion. I like to keep up to speed with all the latest developments and techniques by visiting various sites, and If I want to learn more about a specific area I buy books.

What I don’t usually do is buy ebooks – up until very recently the only ebook I had ever paid for was Aaron Wall’s SEO book. But when I heard that renowned web design & usability pro, Ben Hunt had created an ebook called ‘Save The Pixel’ I was keen to find out more. I have been following Ben’s work for a few years and I visit his ‘web design from scratch’ website on a regular basis (It’s also featured on the wall).

Save The Pixel is a 100 page guide to designing simple, effective websites. It features over 20 real world examples presenting before and after screen shots, and explains in each case the problems with the old design and how the redesign was approached.

Ben’s design philosophy and indeed Save The Pixel has a clear and straight-forward message, the strive for efficiency and simplicity, In Ben’s own words – “When crafting a web page, I aim to use as few “things” as I need to achieve the purpose.”

Whether you are a web designer or a company looking to enhance your web presence, Save The Pixel is a must read.

Visit the Save The Pixel mini-site for more information…

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New flyer added for PetStreet

PetStreetPetStreet.co.uk is a social networking website, but unlike MySpace or FaceBook, PetStreet has a specific purpose – its members have a passion for the animals that share our lives. It’s free to use, every owner has a page and then can open pages, and upload photos, for all their pets. Once signed up, people can talk to people and pets can talk to pets and so ideas, information and experiences can be shared.

PetStreet was set up in January 2007 by Maurice Melzak. He has wanted it to evolve slowly, developing its own tone and ethos, whilst building its user base. With no advertising or promotion there over 2000 members, (90% female), over 4000 pets and over 60K unique visitors a month, so it is picking up. And there is a clear ethos of responsible pet ownership, anti any exploitation of animals and a real concern about the abandoned pets in re-homing centres. Gradually he does want the site to become more commercialised but only by associating with products that are ethical, organic, environmentally friendly etc.

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You Cubez – advertise your website with a cube

You CubezI must admit that on my first visit to You Cubez I wasn’t to sure about the concept.

Advertisers buy a link to their website in the form of a colorful but otherwise generic looking cube which is then displayed alongside another few hundred similar looking cubes.

Nothing really compels a user to click on an individual cube as they have no visual clue as to what kind of site is behind the link, and as some of the cubes appear on separate pages (not the homepage) it is difficult to see the value.

However once I started to read more into how the site works I began to realize that there is actually a very clever concept behind it –

Advertisers can improve the value of their cube by linking to www.you-cubez.com from their websites, for each referrer more value is added to the cube – the higher the value, the better position the cube gets, which in turn improves the chance that the cube will be clicked on.

Cubes can also be sold on, so when you consider it only costs £1.00 to buy a standard cube the whole idea suddenly becomes much more appealing.

As people try to improve the value of their cube this in turn brings more traffic to the You Cubez website improving it’s visibility and adding value to other advertisers.

The design of the site is very good, it has a web 2.0 feel to it which is reinforced by the fact there is a certain amount of user interaction – when you buy a cube you become a member and there is also a forum where various topics can be discussed.

Please feel free to add comments on this website, I would be also be interested to hear from anyone who currently has a cube.

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For the love of all things Apple

Apple BlogToday I added a couple of new flyers for Apple related sites to the wall -

Woz.org is the personal site of Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak.

And the Apple Blog is one of the best and most frequently updated Apple/Mac blogs out there.

Please share your favourite Apple related sites with me.

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