Being a photographer is great. But having to move my entire life and mind set from film to digital...well, not so great. After years of shooting film, I have turned to the dark side. I am now fully digital in all my creative endeavors. I did keep a few of my vintage twin lens reflex cameras, but otherwise, my Nikon D300 is IT for me. Once I purchased this work horse, I had to update my computer. Expensive is an understatement. I have no idea how people do it. Being a photographer costs a fortune! Anyhoo, I now own an Apple 24 inch imac. It's the best. Holds a lot of stuff, but I still need to consider the fact that I have to back up my EVERYTHING. I'd been dragging my feet when it came time to purchase an external hard drive. My computer has a really great back up device called "time machine", but I know in my heart, it's just not enough. So when I got an email from my amazing editor at Boston Mamas to review a Free Agent GO, by Seagate, I couldn't say no.
The FIRST thing I noticed was how compact and sleek the hard drive was. Super small, thin, silver and modern looking. It actually matched up perfectly with my Imac. The second thing I noticed, when reading the instructions, was it came "Time Machine" ready. This was a good thing because I had just learned that my time machine wasn't working at all because I needed an external hard drive to make it work. Whew. Guess I needed this more than I thought. It took me what seemed like an hour to open the package, which was a total drag. Why do they package things in plastic so that NO ONE is able to pry them open without an fucking machete? Ugh. Anyway, once opened, I was presented with 4 separate cables, a docking station and the actual hard drive, which, by the way, is portable. (That is a nice feature) The instructions were in picture form (Ikea style) with examples for installing in either a lap top with an 800 firewire, a 400 firewire, a USB cable or the 800 firewire and docking station. The problem with this is, if you don't know shit about firewire, USB, 400 or 800 cables, you are up the creek. Fortunately for me, and you, you only have 4 chances to get it right. I chose the docking station which already has an 800 firewire cable attached. Bingo!
I'm actually writing this review as I install and hook things up for a trial run. Call it a real time if you will. So I plug in the docking station and all I need to do now is connect the Seagate Free Agent drive into the station. Nothing. No lights, no sounds, so I start to worry. But as I begin to close down all of my windows to check out what's on my desk top, low and behold, a notification pops up! "Do you want to use "Free Agent Drive" to back up with Time Machine?" HELL YES. That was easy. So I click "use as a back up disk". Another screen pops up, automatically turns my Time Machine to ON, and begins to back up everything. It also informs me that it will back up my stuff every 30 minutes! NICE. But I don't hear anything or see anything. Although I do hear a very very faint sound which, for the life of me, I can't explain in words. I guess you could say it was a quiet science fiction-like whirring noise. But so low, if I wasn't looking for it, I would have missed it. I decide to dig deeper into the Time Machine "help" menu. It turns out that it can take a few hours for the first initial back up to happen. The lights on the Free Agent are still on and it's been about 20 minutes or so. I decide to walk away and see what happens in the morning.
The following morning, I turn on my computer and my screen looks like it does on any other give day. Hmmm...did it back up my stuff? I click on Time Machine, and there it is, all of my photos, music and documents stored this little itty bitty silver box. Fantastic!
So here are the specs for this little miracle of miracles. The Free Agent Go is available in in 160GB, 250GB, 320GB, 500GB or 640GB capacity. It's the thinnest portable drive on the market. You can sync data between computers by simply plugging in and updating. It comes in a variety of colors and is available for under $200 dollars. That's a hell of a lot less than a new computer if yours tanks. But because the Free Agent is for Macs only, the chances of that happening are pretty slim. Sorry PC users!