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Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Iomega Iconnect

I've spotted a scattering of previews and a single review of the Iomega Iconnect which is now available. What a great idea, a USB device that hosts other usb devices and is accessible via the normal TCP/IP network capabilities (wired or wireless) of your PC.

This looks really handy to me - I can plug in my 1TB backup drive, a USB memory stick and a printer. At £60 it is an almost unique item at a sensible cost.

It is actually available for purchase now (in fact iomega emailled me to tell me so) and the Iomega site has demo of the web interface that you will get in production.

Unfortunately, it has the typical design flaw applied to usb devices designed by someone who hasn't got a clue, firstly, not enough USB ports, so very quickly you would need two of these, good for making money, not so good for sockets and secondly, usb on the front and back so it doesn't matter how the device is positioned messy wires still protrude - for pete's sake designers, spend a little time thinking about who will actually use these things & how, casual USB use will still be via the desktop.

Discouraged, actually no, the device looks so great, it even has remote internet access, admittedly via a pay for service but you'd have to fiddle with port forwarding on your router anyway (well except for those of you who forgot security) so why not just skip the web service and let yourself directly in?

So why haven't I purchased on yet? Well I have an HP D5460 printer with the usual 2 way usb capabilities - it is used on 2 PCs & I've got the usb cable taped to a desk leg for convenience of swapping over so having the printer on the network would be great but I do like the 2 way comms.

More and more devices support modern usb features, does the Iomega Connect? Who knows, the manual does not say but what it does say is "connect a supported printer". Is there a list of supported printers? No.

I've raised a support call with Iomega - they have responded which is good - they even responded same day (now 7 days ago) with "we'll check to see if a supported printer list exists". Why say connect a supported printer if you don't know what is supported.

There, that's off my chest now.