Time (Saver) Capsule

Ok. A lot of time has been spent in this column over the last couple of years singing the praises of Apple, Inc. One day we’ll have to do a column complaining about how Apple changes the display connectors on every new model. But, for today, a few more praises.

Apple’s new Time Capsule, a multi-featured “wireless hard drive” might be the best thing to happen to media management since the writable DVD. Most theatrical production environments I have ever worked in as a projection designer have involved two or more people trying to work on the same files at the same time.

None of the solutions were great. You could keep a bunch of separate drives and grimace through the process of synching them. Or, you could share an external drive across a network, but that meant problems if the person whose computer it was plugged into needed to move or shut down. Of course, you could buy a network-attached storage drive that would cover this function, but they are expensive and usually quite heavy.

Now the Time Capsule nicely fills in the gap. Offered in 500GB and 1TB sizes, these 3-pound drives can not only operate attached to a network, but carry all the networking capabilities you need onboard: 3 gigabit Ethernet ports and the ability to serve as an 802.11n high-speed wireless router. It even offers a USB port so that it can act as a print server or add an additional hard drive for expansion.

The drives work with Macs and PCs efficiently, but if you have a Mac running the Leopard operating system, the full capabilities of the Time Machine function become available. Time Machine can sync folders across multiple computers on a network, making sure that you always have a current backup of relevant files through an automated process.

They are obviously not perfect—one hopes for an upgrade from 7200 to 10000RPM—but, at $300 for the 500GB version, that’s just about the best show drive I can think of.

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