Tech Toy of the Month: Apple Time Capsule

timecapsule.jpg Backups are something that everyone should do, but most people don’t. Primarily, people don’t do backups because of the perceived inconvenience of the backup process. Now, Apple has introduced a product that promises to make backups as simple as possible.

The Apple Time Capsule is an 802.11n wireless router with a built-in hard drive. The wireless router part is basically the same as Apple’s Airport Express (which is functionally very similar to most 802.11n wireless routers). The main difference is that the built-in hard drive can be used in combination with the “Time Machine” feature of Mac OS 10.5, otherwise known as Leopard. Time Machine normally works with an external hard drive directly connected to your Macintosh computer. But now Time Machine can use the networked hard drive on the Time Capsule device.

Time Machine works by automatically keeping your Mac backed-up in real-time. Combined with Time Capsule, your Mac will stay backed up any time it is connected to the network. This is very convenient for laptops, as every time your laptop comes within range of your wireless network it will back itself up. You don’t need to do a thing other than make sure your laptop is on. Additionally, Time Capsule will keep all your Macs on your network backed up, so you do not need a separate hard drive for each computer.

One downside to the Time Capsule is that it does not provide an easy method for off-site backup. You can work around this by using an external hard drive to backup your Mac, which you then would take off-site. However, this is not very convenient if you have multiple Macs. Another downside, if you don’t own a Mac, is that Time Capsule does not work with Windows computers – but maybe that’s just a good excuse to get a Mac!

Time Capsule is $299 for the 500GB model, $499 for the 1 TB model (TB = terrabye, which is 1000 GB). For $299, the Time Capsule is a good value, considering that you are getting an 802.11n base station and 500GB hard drive. It would be difficult to find a 802.11n wireless router and a 500 GB hard drive for less, plus you would be missing the features of Time Capsule.

If you have any questions regarding a backup plan, please contact me and I’d be happy to help