Monday, September 06, 2004

Lessons from the abortive OS X external firewire enclosure debacle

Quick Notes Blog: September 2004

So, what did I learn? Or, in the first two instances, learn again?

1. Don't confuse cost of purchase with cost of ownership.

The $50 enclosure was about $100 too expensive -- and that's only because the probems showed up immediately. In other words, if they paid me $50 to take it it would still be too expensive.

2. Pay in proportion to importance.

The main utility of an external Firewire device would be to hold all my images -- which have swamped my 15GB internal iBook drive. Those images are very valuable. Even with the redundant backup methods I use (optical, off-site, on-site) I shouldn't have risked them with a low-end primary storage device.

3. Firewire is a problem.

Firewire is primarily a Mac solution. It's been around for over five years. There have been problems with every release of OS X. There have never been consumer oriented true firewire devices -- only ATA devices with 1394 bridges. There have been several cycles of firmware updates.

After a while, one should catch on that there's something wrong with this picture -- especially when implemented on a laptop. Maybe Firewire is just not suited to the consumer marketplace. Maybe USB 2 really is the better solution (too bad my iBook is USB 1!).

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