Two Guys Trashing Photography
Friday December 15th 2017

PHOTO TRASH TALK REVIEW :: Western Digital My Cloud Home

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Review of Western Digital My Cloud Home

WHAT IS THIS DEVICE’S REASON TO BE?

If you’re a Dropbox user (or use another cloud based storage solution), you already know how wonderfully convenient it is to park your files on a remote server where you can access them from any device, from anywhere in the world. Now imagine that you can have that very same convenience, not via a pay-as-you-go plan (or a free service that limits your space and/or bandwidth), but under your direct control, right on your own desktop. It’s an attractive concept, isn’t it? And this, my friends, is what the Western Digital My Cloud Home is all about.

But wait, it gets better. What if every photo you shoot with your iPhone or Android were automatically backed up to that same box-on-your-desk, with no need to manage or otherwise complicate the process? And again, this magical backup can take place with any WiFi connection, anywhere. Yep, that’s the package of ease and confidence that the My Cloud Home offers.

THREE WAYS TO VIEW AND MANAGE FILES

Western Digital really paid attention to how we like to view and manage files on the cloud. With three ways to work with your my Cloud Home, you’ll never be without a file management solution:

  1. Finder (or Windows) integration
  2. iOS or Android App
  3. Web-based interface

These three methods differ a bit in functionality so let’s take a look.

USING THE DESKTOP APP WITH FINDER INTEGRATION

WD gives you a desktop application to make your data storing/sharing life easier yet, giving you a familiar approach to managing your files. Better yet, you can share files (or folders) via a right-click; unsharing is equally direct and easy (figure 01).

(Figure 1. Sharing a My Cloud Home folder via Finder)

In fact, when sharing large podcast sound recordings with Elmo Sapwater, it was delightfully straightforward to create a link this way and past it into a message to Elmo. I actually found it easier than using Dropbox.

USING THE MOBILE APP

FIRST TIMER PROBLEMS

OK, it’s no secret that I’m a slow learner. This time, my mental fog manifested when I tried to use the wrong app to setup the My Cloud Home. In all fairness, you must admit the two different Western Digital Apps (figure 02) have similarities with their shared, blue-white color scheme (and they were even more similar in design when I first put the My Cloud Home into operation; thank you Western Digital for changing the app cosmetics, making them easier to differentiate).

 

 

 

(Figure 2. Dan finds it easy to confuse WD’s two different apps)

Once the app confusion was put to rest, my mobile life returned to the bright side. Proudly occupying a space on my iPhone’s home screen (figure 03), this gateway makes it easy to view, share and manage your My Cloud Home files, right from your phone or tablet. The red badge number on the My Cloud Home icon represents the number of files (in this case, photos) that are in the cue to be synched to the My Cloud Home device on my desk. Obviously, transferring this many photos and videos is going to consume some data, a tragic (read: expensive) event were this to happen via cellular connectivity. Fortunately, WD has elegantly provided settings to address such concerns; WD has obviously put some effort into designing an interface that will get your data moving in a hassle free way.  

(Figure 3. WD’s iOS App)

WEB INTERFACE LIMITATIONS

If you’re without your phone, tablet or laptop, you can login to your My Cloud Home from any computer with Internet access. Though overall adequate, there are a few irregularities that might make you wish you were using one of the other two management methods.

Though delightfully easy to drag a single file into My Cloud Home via the web interface window, my smile slid into a sad face when trying to drag a folder of files. It wasn’t possible, instead offering the message in figure 04.

(Figure 4. No dragging of folders via web interface)

Fortunately, there is a workaround via a Create Folder button at the top-right of the web page.

Likely, you’ll only use the web interface when you can’t use your own computer or mobile device. Remember, like Dropbox, the benefit of having access to your My Cloud Home device is that you can use any computer in the world, assuming you know your username and password.

OTHER GOODIES

Adding to the list of features is Plex integration, turning your My Cloud Home into a media server with photos, videos, music and movies accessible anywhere. And if you like your My Cloud Home enough to abandon Dropbox, WD makes it easy to synchronize your files from Dropbox to My Cloud Home.

One of my favorite features is shown in figure 05: you can share some of your My Cloud Home space with family or friends. Heck, I guess you could even charge them for the courtesy if you’re an enterprising sort.

(Figure 5. Using App Settings to Give Space to Others

BOTTOM LINE OBSERVATIONS

The My Cloud Home is an easy to configure storage solution that will let you store or backup multiple devices so you can access the data from anywhere. If you can live with a somewhat rigid set of interface protocols (and I can), you’ll be rewarded with both ready access to your files and a feeling of security. For most users, the WD My Cloud Home will be an excellent addition to any home or business. We at Photo Trash Talk are pleased to grant our Coveted “Howdy Doodad” award to this connectivity-problem-solving solution from Western Digital.

Positives:

  • Easy backup of mobile photos and videos
  • No hassle setup from your phone
  • Access from app, desktop app (with Mac Finder integration) or web interface
  • You can designate the My Cloud Home as a Time Machine backup destination
  • Easy to search files from mobile app
  • It’s even possible to share your My Cloud Home space with others

Cons:

  • Dimwits might try to use the wrong My Cloud app (sheesh!)
  • No automatic redundancy unless you purchase the dual drive version of the My Cloud Home

Price: from $159 for 2TB to $699.99 for a Dual Drive 16TB version

More info here: https://refoc.us/2hs1xxS