Tuesday 8th July, 2014
It would really churlish to go through the minor niggles with Connected Data’s latest offering, the Transporter Sync. “Churlish” however turns out to be one of my middle names, so here goes.
I don’t like the UI graphics. Oh, and I’d prefer USB 3.0 support.
Apart from which, Transporter Sync turns out to be pretty much a no-brainer addition on the kit-that-pays-for-itself list.
The appliance itself is a small, black, conical frustrum, with a wrap-around cylon-esque LED. You plug it in to an external USB hard drive and your ADSL router or ethernet network, and wait ten or so minutes whilst it does its thing. During this time, you can visit the website, create an account, and download the appropriate software for your weapon of choice (Mac, Windows, iOS or Android device). Once the LED has settled to a steady blue line, you nip back to account and ‘claim’ the Transporter by giving it a name and clicking ‘Next’ a few times. You now have your own personal, and above all private version of Dropbox. Simples.
For Mac users, it’s almost exactly the Dropbox experience - there’s a Transporter folder into which you can shovel whatever data you’d usually keep on Dropbox - files, pdfs, 1Password keychains, photos, etc. With the correct login, and the software installed on another Mac, your Transporter will sync your files in the background. The files are stored on the transporter, NOT IN THE CLOUD, and encrypted during transfer.
For iOS users it’s almost a Dropbox experience: Transporter lacks the deep integration with 3rd party iDevice apps that the Dropbox API offers. Instead of being able to open a text file in say Byword directly from the Dropbox folder, you find the file in the Transport app, use ‘Open In…’ to open it in Byword, edit it, and then use ‘Share…’ & ‘Open In…’ to upload it via the Transporter app. Slickness it isn’t, but it works.
Q: if it’s private, why do you need an online account? The Transporter account handles the network shenanigans the same way as FaceTime does, and manages the shared folder function with other Transport users.
There’s another trick up its sleeve. Anything stored in the Transporter Library sub-folder is stored on the Transporter device, but not on the client. So larger files can remain accessible, without taking up valuable space up on your precious iDevices.