Transporter Sync Review: High Cost, Non-Working Features, Non-Responsive Support

For quite some time, I have been hearing about the Transporter line of products. Many of the podcasters rave on and on about them. Some of them are sponsored by Connected Data, which makes the Transporter products. This means there’s been a discount available on them.

I had been looking into consolidating my online cloud storage into one location. The prices have been continually falling, making it the right place for backups. However, each one has it’s own features and it was hard to come up with the one solution that would cover all my platforms: Windows, OS X and iOS, with an option for Android just for good measure.

Recently, after listening to Ken Ray’s podcast, Mac OS Ken, I decided to use his coupon code and take the plunge on a Transporter. I purchased the Transporter Sync since I had a few portable hard drives laying around that I could use, without spending big bucks on a full Transporter. This also would allow me to see how it would fit into my workflow and if purchasing another Transporter for a backup off-site would work for my needs.

The installation and setup was very straightforward. Within a few minutes the unit was up and running. The hard drive enclosure that I am using currently has a caching issue that can cause corrupted data if there is a power loss while writing data. Since my unit is on a UPS, I wasn’t too concerned about it.

The desktop software installation was straightforward and worked without any issues. However, when it got to the iOS software, that’s where things fell apart. Since my reason for getting this was for data backup, a backup of the photos on our phones is essential. In fact, this is the primary purpose since that is the only data that currently is not getting backed up. So, this process HAS to work. Unfortunately, it doesn’t!!

After enabling the Camera Roll backup within the Transporter software, it started to back up the photos. All appeared well for a few photos until it abruptly stopped. After clicking on Upload Now, it restarted where it left off and stopped after a few photos again. This continued each time the upload was restarted. Sometimes it would only last for a couple photos and sometimes it would get through 20-25 photos before stopping.

Although this was annoying, it was getting the photos backed up. Where it all falls apart is when it attempted to backup a video. If the video was small enough, usually less than 30 seconds, it would eventually get backed up. Unfortunately, larger videos, even as small as one minute, never seem to make it through the upload before failing. As such, this prevents any photos after this video from getting backed up.

My only recourse was to open up a support ticket. I described the problem, letting them know it was an issue with iOS and the Transporter Sync. The first response back from support was quite disappointing. It was like they never even read my problem description. They responded back with a long list of questions, many of which were not even relevant to my situation (PC specifications and desktop version information) and links that were malformed, requiring editing to get to the actual data that was being referenced.

Working in the software industry, I knew I was dealing with a level 1 support rep and that he wasn’t going to be of any help. I was right. It didn’t take long to be transferred to another rep who asked a few more questions. At least his questions were related to the issue and the platform I was using. Unfortunately, after responding to those questions, there’s been silence. There’s been no response from them on how to proceed, even after updating the ticket with the results from other devices.

At this point, the unit does not work for the purpose that I had bought it for. These units are not cheap, which I don’t understand since they are just a Linux system in a custom case with a USB port! Even with my Mac OS Ken discount, the unit still cost me $80, and that doesn’t include a hard drive. The support ticket has been open for over 10 days and there’s been no response from them in the past 7 days, other than to say that someone would work on it.

Right now, I am getting close to requesting a full refund. This unit doesn’t work as advertised for the purpose that I wanted to use it. I would be better off to use some web services to back up all my data onto a cloud data service.

If you’re looking for a solution to backup your photos from your iOS device, you’ll want to look elsewhere. At this time, the Transporter solution doesn’t work. Save your money and by some cloud storage. You can get over four years of 200GB of cloud storage for the price of a Transporter Sync.

And The Most Annoying Software Company Is …

… Adobe!!

Yes, I am claiming that they are the most annoying.  Not only is their software constantly filled with zero-day security vulnerabilities, but their policies are just plain wrong.  It seems that every time I install or update an Adobe product, their install violates Microsoft Windows guidelines.

I’ll give two examples: Reader and Flash Plug-in. 

Every time I update Reader, the Adobe installation installs an icon on my desktop.  Hey, Adobe, I DON’T WANT AN ICON ON MY DESKTOP!!  Nowhere in the upgrade process is there any option to turn off that process.  For years, going back the days of Windows XP, it has been required to give the user the option to install or not install an icon on the desktop.

You are probably wondering why this bothers me so much.  Well, it is because I have no icons on my desktop other than the trash can.  Since Windows XP, the “Pin to Start Menu” and “Pin to Taskbar” features have made it completely unnecessary to have icons on the desktop.  I can use these features and get to my regularly used applications much faster than I ever could by having an icon on the desktop.

The other issue I have is with the Flash Plug-in installation.  Without asking, the installation will install the Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer and the Google Chrome browser.  Not only do they install it without giving me an option not to, no where in the installation dialogs does it indicate that it will install it.  Not only is this annoying, its also a VERY BAD practice.

Not only are their installations doing actions that they should not be doing, but Adobe does not listen to their users when they complain.  Repeated compaints to Adobe, both through email and Twitter, do not even get a response from them.

So, Adobe puts out bad software, forces installation items that we don’t want and does not listen to their users when they complain.  I think that tops everyone else.

You are probably wondering why I even install their software if I think this way about them.  The reason is that I have to.  Reader is required by corporate policy and I am forced to use Flash as part of the web development that I am working on.  Until our corporate policy changes….

Boom Boom, Out Go The Lights

Shortly before 6am, those of us who live in Southwest Florida were treated, once again, to the signature “Boom Boom” from the space shuttle after another successful mission into space.  This is one of the many benefits that we get in this part of the country.

I remember the first time I heard the double sonic booms.  It rattled my whole house and my reaction was “WHAT WAS THAT!!!!”  I thought someone had set off an explosion and used a little bit too much nitro.  Then, I came to my senses and realized that the space shuttle was returning and that the sound I heard was the double sonic booms that I had heard so much about.

This morning, although it was a sweet sound to hear, it was also bitter.  This was the last time that I will ever hear that sound.  Today was the last time that a space shuttle will ever land because the entire program has been shut down.  For thirty years, the space shuttle has been the workhorse of our space program.  For most people in this country, the space shuttle is all that they know.

Sadly, there is no program that is ready to take its place.  For the foreseeable future, the United States will have to rely on other countries to get humans into space.  Much of the technology that exists in our society, from food preservation to computers, traces its roots back to NASA and the space program.  Many industries were formed as a result of the space program in the past forty years since the first Mercury flight in 1959.

Another sad result of the cancellation of the shuttle program is the hundreds of people connected with the program at NASA that are being laid off.  When you combine this with even more that will suffer the same fate at companies that are connected with the program, many thousands will loose their jobs during one of the worst economic times in our country.  This will have a drastic effect on our technology programs and our economics.

The NASA budget is just a small fraction of the budget of this country.  Yet, the economic benefit that has resulted from it more than pays for the program.  The “Return on Investment” from the NASA budget far exceeds that from any other budget item, including education, welfare and other pork projects that our “elected” leaders come up with.

My hope is that someday we will return to space.  The benefits of the space program far out-weigh the risks.