Apple Time Capsule – cheap at the price
I won’t do a full review of my new Apple Time Capsule here because there are millions of reviews all over the place which you can read, but I want to address perhaps the only problem which most of the reviews bring up: the price.
All I’d say is: “Have you ever set up a wireless network at home …and do you put a cost on your time?”
I had a wireless network at home which allowed my laptop to go online, and the “router” also acted as a hub which connected my desktop Mac to the cable modem directly, and to my printer. Not that complex, although I remember spending hours setting it up a few years ago. For some people, I know “hours” reads “days”, much of it on the phone to people in India. The wireless router I’d bought was a Linksys WRT54G, which has been the “industry standard”, in all but name. To say the setup is geeky is an understatement. There are screens and screens of cryptic information about subnet masks and MAC numbers and goodness knows what. I wonder if anyone actually understands it all – certainly your average IT technician doesn’t. No normal human being should be expected to go near this stuff, and yet – even if you’re barely IT-literate – you’re expected to set all this up yourself. It’s the price you pay for cheap internet access.
Anyway, on Friday my internet access just stopped working. I plugged the laptop into the cable modem directly, and it was fine. The problem was the network, or the router. I started to diagnose things, with the help of some great forum threads I found. After two hours of unplugging, rebooting and typing in arcane commands to try to reset and restart the wireless router, I thought: “This is stupid. I’m self-employed. My work time is worth a minimum of £50 an hour to me. What am I doing?”
I’d read that Apple’s wireless network system (the “Airport”) just worked. And we have an Apple Store a bus-ride away. Even allowing for Cambridge’s traffic, I was back at home in an hour or so. At the shop, they’d shown me the Time Capsule, which is the Airport with a hard drive built in for about another £80, making a total of £229 for the whole unit. I was sold, as I knew that Apple’s “Time Machine” is an excellent (install and forget) backup program, and it would apparently backup both my Macs to the Time Capsule over the network without me needing to do anything.
And guess what? The whole thing did indeed Just Work.
I plugged in my my cable modem, my Mac, my old PC and my printer. I ran Apple’s pretty-well-automatic setup program. And everything was working how I wanted it to. The Apple Time Capsule sits on my desk, distributing the internet around my computers, connecting them, and making automatic backups of my data. And I didn’t have to waste one more minute of my life on geeky stuff I don’t understand and have no wish to understand. End of story.