Editors’ Picks: Digital Discoveries
Tuan Nguyen, editor-in-chief, and Alan Dexter, executive editor, reveal their latest tech loves
In the world of storage, more is better. There was a time when I thought a 1GB hard drive was substantial. I also remembering paying $300 for one when they’d just come out. These days, 1GB is absolutely puny.
Enter the Asustor AS6208T. I’ve been testing this unit for a while, fully loaded with eight Western Digital Red 6TB NAS drives. The Asustor is a business-class network attached storage device that has everything an enthusiast or home user would want: multiple Ethernet ports, USB 3.0, eSATA, and even HDMI and SPDIF output. Equipped with an Intel 1.6GHz quad-core Celeron and 4GB of RAM, the AS6208T can even act as a standalone PC. That’s not to say you should use it as one, but if you’re looking for a beefy home-theater machine, a NAS such as this might just be worth it.
Asustor has NASes that support 10-gigabit speeds, but the AS6208T tops out at 1Gb Ethernet. For most users, this is enough, especially if the unit is serving up movies to your home theater machine directly.
Performance has been good so far, and I haven’t ever experienced slowdowns. The only nitpick is Asustor’s ADM software. It’s horrible, and Asustor could learn a thing or two from Synology or QNAP. $1,100, www.asustor.com Not long after introducing direct streaming to Beam in Windows 10, Microsoft changed the service’s name to Mixer. It now supports co-streaming, and has better cell phone support. The service is trundling along smoothly enough, but it still has the same problem that it did when we first saw it— there just aren’t enough people using it.
In case you didn’t know, the big two streaming services are YouTube and Twitch, and it’s the latter that rules the roost for dayto-day streaming. This is where you’ll find gaming celebrities plying their trade, and where you can easily watch gamers playing games. If you’re struggling to understand why you’d want to watch someone else play a game, the parallels to sports are obvious, and there are plenty of streamers who are just downright entertaining, making the whole thing feel like a whacky radio station.
Twitch isn’t without foibles (the chat that accompanies a stream can be frustrating, to say the least), and with more viewers, the chance of interacting with the streamer becomes harder. So, in theory, Mixer could be the place to be, but with fewer watchers, you have fewer streamers, then it feels you don’t have the choice that you do on Twitch. It’s tough to make it in the tech world. Free, www.mixer.com