Sunday, March 29, 2009

Synology 2009 Product Launch Conference


As mentioned in my earlier post, I was invited to the conference and glad that I made it. Unfortunately I couldn't make it to the full session, I had to leave for a meeting with boss at the last hour of the session.


The conference was quite pack with people from different fields, like the dealers, IT media, SME clients and potential home consumers like me.

This is the first official product launch for Synology in Malaysia. It's a Taiwanese company specialized in network attached storage (NAS). I googled and seem like I might be the first to blog on this at least in Malaysia. Even more faster than the official website to reveal the full range of new products. ;)

So now, ladies and gentlemen, Jacko.MY proudly present you Synology's 2009 new products...


They are called x09 series (in short, read "nine series"). 109, 209, 409 and 509 models where 109 supports single internal SATA HDD, 209 for two internal HDDs and so forth.

The entry level DS109j where the j stands for junior with lower hardware specifications, in particular the CPU and RAM...


The prefix indicates the form factor. DS stands for Disk Station, RS means Rack Station and advanced models of RX and DX with X indicates eXpansion.

Now the "not-junior-but-senior" 109 model...


The DS109 model also has an advanced model that suffixes with a + ...


It equips with higher RAM memory in an exclusive black body (only + models come in black). Same goes to other models with a + suffix. So in each model series, you may find 109j, 109 and 109+ or 209j, 209, 209+ and so forth. But for 209 series, it is called DS209+ II that comes with 1.06GHz CPU than the published 800MHz (hence the II suffix) in Synology's website...


Now the DS409Slim that supports 4 x 2.5" SATA HDDs rather than 4 x 3.5" HDDs...


As far as I know, most x09 can support both 3.5" and 2.5" HDDs (with brackets). Advantages of DS409Slim over other DS409 models are its compact size, quieter (using 2.5" laptop HDDs), cooler, power-saving and easy disk replacement, not to forget the portability due to its size. Imagine carry a 4TB of NAS that is smaller than the size of a book of Gardenia bread to your friend's house for media sharing. Huge in capacity small in size. Disadvantages are the price of 2.5" HDD is usually more expensive than 3.5" desktop HDD and the bigger capacity one usually takes longer time to hit the consumer shore than 3.5" HDD of the same capacity.

And other RS rack station models, no display unit though...


One of the cool features in these model series is its easy expansion of capacity with a simple eSATA cable as illustrated below...


Plug the eSATA cable like the diagram above and you can easily double up the capacity of the existing NAS system. This is typically very useful for SME implementation.

Here's the summary of above, the 2009 product catalog with all x09 models...


One of the useful applications of NAS...


The CCTV surveillance system. You just need to buy a compatible wired or wireless IP camera, link it to the same network and a few clicks in web interface of NAS and you are done! With huge capacity of harddisk in the NAS and web interface for monitoring, you don't have to buy and setup a CCTV system with DVR that usually is limited with its capacity.

Few cameras from partner brand were also on display...


Or visit Vivotek for details and you can refer to this page for IP camera compatibility list.

On the next table, the NAS showcased the other crucial application for home users...


The digital home entertainment system. With NAS (on left) as the media server, a compatible (either as UPnP client compliance or DLNA certified) networked TV (second screen from the left) can stream the media right from the NAS. The PC (the first screen) was used to only configure the NAS. Alternatively, you can get a DMA to stream from the NAS and output to the TV or home theater system...


In above, the DViCO HD-M700A on the right was used as DMA in the demo. And the ideal NAS setup for home users...


Part of my mega project. ;)

There was a demonstration on using an USB wireless remote control to transform the NAS into an audio player (with USB connected headphones). You can see it from the 3rd photo above but I did not take any close photos for it. The remote is not an infrared type like what we typically have for our TV, it's a wireless remote that you don't have to be in line-of-sight, you can up the volume or skip to the next track while sitting in the living room where the NAS is located in your read room.

During the conference, the Product Manager from Taiwan presented the company's philosophy on NAS, that a successful and complete NAS solution is 20% on the hardware and 80% on the software. As a result, the company committed to the firmware/software policy below...


Exactly my thought! This is also one of the reasons that my previous D-Link NAS DNS-323 project was a failure, I want a NAS that can do more than a file server and sharing, in particular to meet requirements of my home entertainment project.

Although I did not attend the full conference, but this company looked promising and committed to establish its products in Malaysia. This is usually the key to good after sale support, varieties of product range and competitive pricing to other competing brands like QNAP. Most important, I got this from the conference...


A RM100 cash voucher! Ha! That could be another deciding factor for me to get my NAS. Hmmm... Synology or QNAP??


Saturday, March 28, 2009

SohoKL @ Solaris Dutamas

I used to be a "homing guy" for the past years. Ahem~

Eh, give face a bit lah. Don't boo at me lah. Listen first.

I said so 'cause I really spent more time staying at home than hanging out with friends, for some reasons. I even lazy to go out for a lunch or dinner or mamak stall and imagine did not step out even to the car porch during the weekend days until Monday when go to work. And I work in KLCC, the most happening area in the capital, I don't even know what pubs, discos, dining restaurants and so forth surrounding my office. Yeah, shameful to say I still know very little until today, even what shops available in KLCC. :") One particular reason is I hate to hangout in KL.

Recently I revert myself as city hunter (Ha! Damn! I recalled this nick my friends used to call me!!) recently. I was eying on a new hangout place, the SohoKL at Solaris Dutamas for the past weeks. My friends and I visited few restaurants just for some de-stress sessions after work...


Hmmm... Which one to start first?

Ok, first, the Schokolart...


The setup...


Since it's just an exploratory visit, only 2 cakes were ordered. The milk chocolate and caramelized pineapple breton part (RM9.50)...


The Ebony and Ivory (RM9.50)...


Did I remember the name correctly? Some others on the shelf...


And the price...


Need not say much, it's a chocolate specialty restaurant, but it serves other food as well, visit the web site for details. The cakes were good, not so sweet. Again, sweet things usually taste good for everyone's tongue. If you are a chocolate lover, worth a try, though the price is on the high side for the chocolates but the meals like lunch set is quite affordable.

The manager, Mr. Berry was very friendly and pleasant, to explain the menu. He is a very responsible servant that he knew his products very well, to the detail that he could explain the ingredients and making of each cake on the shelf. Since it's the first visit, he was kind enough to gift a member card which costs RM20 but FOC to each of us...


It's attached at the bottom left of the application form. The card entitles us a 10% discount for next visits and immediately on the 2 cakes we had! So basically we paid nett price for the food without the 10% tax. Thanks Mr. Berry!

The second restaurant we visited was Biz Cafe...


This time we were hungry because of the cakes we had earlier on, they stimulated our appetite. So let's go straight to the food...


The nasi goreng (fried rice) above and the seafood spaghetti below...


Though I was sharing with other, but both tasted good! The cafe also offers Tiger Beer at RM28 nett per jug from 6pm - 8pm. I recommend this cafe if you happen to be there searching decent meals with reasonable price (at such place). The cafe also sells some cakes...


Last, the Boston...


It's a pub-like restaurant, therefore you need to be checked at the entrance, though you can easily sneak in from behind, belakang mari...


To be checked or to be check?

This time I managed to took a shot on the price so one can get a feel what do I meant by reasonable price (at such place)...


The menu has some overlaps with Biz Cafe above but it also serves some western food like steaks which look yummy on the menu. We ordered a family snack platter 'cause the yellowish cheesy dip looked delicious...


And the real serving...


Noticed the sauce was in different color? We asked the question and was told "picture one is the wrong sauce". What can you say more?! So if you were tempted by the menu here, warn you, you might be disappointed by its real serving. The platter tasted so so and one commented a bit tasteless.

Since it's pub, the happy hour begins from 6pm for 9pm. We were told the first bottle of Tiger Beer (the only beer) was RM23 nett followed by subsequent bottles for RM0.50 nett, so it should be RM24.50 for 4 bottles. It was indeed true but the waiter did not mention per pax! So it's RM23 nett per pax per first bottle, ended up the bill (for beers only) was RM92!

I did not feel I was cheated like my friend did, she was so upset with it, may be some after effect of alcohol. Certainly it's a miscommunication with the waiter as the waiter could not speak fluent English, though we did clarify with him beforehand and he said yes for our calculation of RM24.50. Anyway, I don't like Tiger Beer, but I think it's a worth deal if you and gangs could at least drink more than 2 bottles per person in 3 hours time. Oh ya, you must have RM0.50 coins, not 2 x RM0.20 + 1 x RM0.10 to get your subsequent bottles. This was what I was told, (by the waiter again) but I saw few RM0.20 coins in the collection bucket.

Here is the location of Solaris Dutamas, you can find it in latest MFM map...


Overall, the place is nice for hang out with friends or loved one or even with family. In addition, it's generally hard to get good food (or even yucks type of feedback) in such hang out places, you pay the price for the atmosphere and setup, but SohoKL is an exception, the food was tasty, in particular the Biz Cafe. Plus the price is reasonable and not so crowding like those places in KL city center, certainly you feel relax here. I shall correct myself that I hate to hangout in KL city center since this place is called SohoKL, but I am cool with KL suburbs like this area.

There are many more restaurants look interesting to explore, perhaps next month or so. We have too many outings recently and my pocket isn't that deep. Hehe...