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Networking Data Storage Media Your Rights Online

Western Digital Service Restricts Use of Network Drives 315

sehlat writes "Via BoingBoing comes the news that Western Digital's My Book(TM) World Edition(TM) II, sold with promises of internet-accessible drive space, is now restricting the types of files the drive will serve up. 'Western Digital is disabling sharing of any avi, divx, mp3, mpeg, and many other files on its network connected devices; due to unverifiable media license authentication. Just wondering -- who needs a 1 Terabyte network-connected hard drive that is prohibited from serving most media files? Perhaps somebody with 220 million pages of .txt files they need to share?'" Update: 12/07 03:28 GMT by Z : To clarify, it actually seems as though this is a bad summary. The MioNET service that WD packages with the networked drives is responsible for the rights of users via the network. There are a few (obvious) ways to get around that.
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Western Digital Service Restricts Use of Network Drives

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  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @06:25PM (#21604599)
    All of the WD My Books that i own are flakey in one way or another. I personally like Seagate far better as a company.
  • by lsllll ( 830002 ) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @06:29PM (#21604667)
    Here [] (
  • I believe (Score:5, Informative)

    by sdsucks ( 1161899 ) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @06:31PM (#21604709)
    Sounds more to me like they just can't be shared via "WD Anywhere". Not that they can't be stored on the drive. I may misunderstand though.

    *Due to unverifiable media license authentication, the most common audio and video file types cannot be shared with different users using WD Anywhere Access. A list of the non shareable file types can be found here.
  • by Mononoke ( 88668 ) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @06:32PM (#21604721) Homepage Journal
    Or just never install MioNET in the first place. Either way, here's how. []
  • by John3 ( 85454 ) <`moc.sllenroc' `ta' `3nhoj'> on Thursday December 06, 2007 @06:34PM (#21604759) Homepage Journal
    The limitation on the media files is when using the WD Anywhere Access. You can still backup and share your music files within your own network and even remotely. Not being totally familiar with the product, but I assume they have "guest" or anonymous sharing folders where you can "Offer your clients an easy way to access business documents, designs, and artwork." They probably also include some proprietary WD client program that lets you access your media files from remote locations so you can play your MP3's while at some hotel in Aruba. So the drive isn't an anchor, but it can't be popped on to the net and easily used to share MP3's with the world. Seems simple enough.

    Comcast would likely throttle down your Internet connection anyway once they saw all those MP3's being streamed. :)
  • by the_humeister ( 922869 ) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @06:36PM (#21604807)
    With regard to option 1, here's a good site []
  • It's irrelevant (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @06:38PM (#21604833) Homepage
    The mybook we II runs Linux, and it's trivial to get shell on it. You can make it do whatever you want.

    If you really want to know the travesty about the internet access to it, read up on the web. It's a java-based system called Mionet which requires a special client on your windows machine that you'll use to access it remotely. Did I mention the $50/year that you pay a 3rd party to access your own files? Mionet inexplicably forces you to go through their server to get to your files. Do a google search to find horror stories of Mionet being down and people being unable to reach their own files for more than a day. I'm a programmer - I know of no reason to create it this way other than to extract ongoing revenue from those who don't know better. Using dyndns and an open port will let you get to your files reliably from anywhere.

    As for mine, I got shell, disabled the mionet stuff, made sure sshd was coming up every time, and I use it as a really slow Linux machine with a large disk. Be forewarned, it's dog slow. It has a gigabit ethernet port on it that typically pumps out about 50Mbits/sec. Seriously, a 100Mbit port would be half-wasted. Let's not even talk about write speeds.

    If you buy one, note that you also don't need to use their windows setup utility, it has a complete web interface.

    I paid $300 for a 1TB drive, which, frankly, was little more than I would have paid for a plain external drive at the time. Bonus is that I can connect another usb drive into it and share it on the network.

    And one other bonus - it comes with a complete toolchain on its 3GB linux partition, so you can build software on it without having to install other toolchains on another linux machine. The 200MHz processor isn't the fastest at building, but it does fine.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2007 @06:40PM (#21604881)
    Just FYI, Win NT/2K/XP/Vista doesn't restrict you to 3 character extensions anymore, and therefore sees .removethis as different than .rem.

    You would have to associate .removethis to get it to work.
  • Wtf? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2007 @06:55PM (#21605063)
    Wtf is a hard drive company doing in deciding which files you can serve? Me thinks a boycott is called for...
  • QNAP (Score:4, Informative)

    by michrech ( 468134 ) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @06:59PM (#21605109)
    I think the QNAP devices are far nicer, though they will be more expensive in the long run. They even run linux and are customizable (people run all sorts of different server services from them).

    Here [] is a bunch of their different devices ( link).

    I'm considering getting the TS-209 (or the PRO, haven't made up my mind), personally. I have two 320gb SATAII drives sitting around not doing anything since I've stopped running WHS and could really use a nice low power device to replace the computer I was using for this task. :)
  • by Master of Transhuman ( 597628 ) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @07:02PM (#21605159) Homepage
    This is true. I have a client who uses a number of external MyBooks - and their clients send them MyBooks too (they convert film and video to digital and store them on the customers drives). These things are flaky in terms of not initially being seen by Windows when you plug them in. You have to do it a certain way to get them to work initially, then they're OK - until they break. The key to using an external is - never move them. Plop them down and leave them there. They aren't ruggedized enough to be constantly shifted around.

    Seagates are generally better, BUT I've seen retail customer reviews of the Free Agent series that indicate the things die within a month to a few months, due to poor heat control.

    Bottom line: never mind the noise, get a case with a fan in it, or at least a lot of vents.

  • by Zymergy ( 803632 ) * on Thursday December 06, 2007 @07:07PM (#21605221)
    Gmail currently does not restrict *.rar files (nor does Gmail scream at you for what file types your compressed RAR volume might contain). Use WinRAR for free. []
    It works in: Pocket PC, Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, and MS DOS. I love it so much I *GLADLY* PURCHASED IT! ($29) So call me a WinRAR fanboy.
    It is a superior replacement to WinZIP (and other zip clones) with better compression algorithms (and you can also encrypt your compressed files AND their filenames WITH authenticity verification plus it handles everything WinZIP does).
  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @07:14PM (#21605325)
    Why is everyone willing to write long essays without even spending a few seconds confirming that the story is correct? BoingBoing and Slashdot have it wrong. The drive stores and retrieves whatever files you put on it. It has one particular feature, optionally installed, that allows access to your drive from the Internet at large, and this one feature limits the filetypes you can share.

    Please stop the spread of bullshit on the web, do at least a few seconds of research before assuming everything you read is true.
  • Re:More like... (Score:2, Informative)

    by oatworm ( 969674 ) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @07:52PM (#21605851) Homepage
    I can't wait to hear about all the noobs out there that don't realize that Notepad checks file size before opening anything and, if the file size is over a certain limit (64 kB, I think), will refuse to open the file.

    (Yes, I'm being snarky.)
  • Re:It's irrelevant (Score:3, Informative)

    by IronChef ( 164482 ) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @08:13PM (#21606097)
    ...I know of no reason to create it this way other than to extract ongoing revenue from those who don't know better.

    Making something easy for someone and charging them for the privilege isn't evil.

    Using dyndns and an open port will let you get to your files reliably from anywhere.

    Some people do not know what those things are. Fortunately, there is a service they can choose to purchase.

    Too bad it sucks, but that's another issue.
  • Re:More like... (Score:3, Informative)

    by oatworm ( 969674 ) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @08:45PM (#21606433) Homepage
    Hmm... now you make me look. Tried an 85 MB ISO with Notepad 5.2 (Win 2003) - yep, it's taking a while, but it's trying. Tried a 400 MB ISO and it didn't hang at all - it said "The %path of file% file is too large for Notepad. Use another editor to edit the file." So, the limit must be somewhere between the two.

    (Note: Yes, I'm abusing my work's terminal server.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2007 @09:00PM (#21606591)
    If you're using the same user name & password then you can access your files anywhere - it's only when you try using a different user name that it fails. So you can access them but not share them.
  • by petepac ( 194110 ) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @09:19PM (#21606773) [] ...You know you want to anyway.
  • Re:I believe (Score:2, Informative)

    by bcoff12 ( 584459 ) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @09:41PM (#21607023)
    "Due to unverifiable media license authentication"

    Read: guilty until proven innocent.

    Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.
  • by Erris ( 531066 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @02:48AM (#21609279) Homepage Journal

    Partial restrictions some people can get around are no less odious. The intent is the same and they are designed to get you used to a restricted world.

    It's clear that WD was advertising the device people want but delivering something else. This WD page [] promisses:

    WD Anywhere Access - This storage system and all the files on it are always accessible when you need them, even when your local computer is turned off.

    It even has pictures of music on the beach and images flowing to multiple houses, but this page [] lets you know that you can't share anything with "unverifiable media license authentication" and lists every media type but text and still images. Copyright warriors want to know why WD hates poets, the press and photographers. Normal people are feel ripped off because getting around this dissapointment is beyond the average user []. Other people have voiced their anger at the restrictions as described [] and described in detail how they suck beyond the description [].

    Anyone who thinks restrictions like this are OK needs to take a step back and ask themselves why a hard disk should not give you back your media on demand. If it does less than that, it's defective. Media propaganda continues to market restrictions as necessary and enabling. They are nothing of the sort. Digital media and networks are enabling. Restrictions just suck.

Make it myself? But I'm a physical organic chemist!