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31 August 2022

So here's how it happened. We got back from our little jaunt around the hill yesterday with 40 more photographs. And after we copied them from our card to three storage devices, we noticed the two external hard drives were nearly full with just a measly few megabytes of free space remaining. Not enough for another 40 shots, in short.

Abandoned Cart. The first of our 40 images from yesterday's walk. Nikon D300 with Lensbaby Twist 60 (90mm equivalent) at f2.5, 1/1000 second and ISO 200. Processed in Adobe Camera Raw.

It was time to order more external storage. And it had been time for nearly a year when we first realized the end was coming. But we had been able to move things around to squeeze every last sector out of our two 2012 1-TB drives to last this long. Optimizing, we call it.

One of the advantages of Optimizing is that you don't have to Reconfigure. And with old USB ports on ancient MacBook Pros, that's a blessing.

We quickly priced a 4-TB WD Passport at both a local source and online, only to find them the same. Discounted both. We had a few gift cards stacked up at the online source, so we went with that.

But we weren't done.

Earlier this year, we were getting a bit tired of the stalls our video streaming was experiencing. One TV's Chromecast did fine connected to our Apple Extreme router running Wireless N at 5GHz. But the other, relying on the Pace router AT&T requires, would stall connecting via Wireless B to reach that end of our small building.

It was time to order more external storage.

We contacted Sonic to ask about upgrading to a more recent vintage AT&T router but it wasn't possible, support told us. In the course of a follow-up email conversation with support one night, though, the CEO Dane Jasper jumped in and we had a helpful back-and-forth in which he suggested we upgrade our 2010 Airport Extreme to a TP-Link router and plug that into the Pace for WiFi.

You know, go from Wireless B/G/N to WiFi 6.

We looked into it but that was a rabbit hole. There are about a dozen TP-Link routers available and all with confusing double names and such extravagant specs we had no idea which one to buy. Although we were sure even the cheapest would surpass our modest requirements.

One thing we did want, though, was a USB port. We use the one on the Extreme to share a printer.

And, after months of trying new locations for the Pace only to realize Wireless B was just not going to cut it, the bright idea occurred to us that we might just plug the new 4-TB WD Passport into our new router to share that. It would make copying our current backups a lot easier, for one thing.

We read the reviews (themselves confusingly fawning) and checked the online stores and procrastinated (an activity we call Research) until we had to buy the external drive. Then we went to the TP-Link site where they have a nice little form that asks about your setup and recommends routers. That narrowed it down to a handful, one of which had a USB port.

So we sprang for the AX55 AX3000 with a Labor Day discount and a discount code on top of that (they send you another discount code when you order, oddly).

Liberal return policies and free shipping on everything. We're in no rush. But sometime next week, we should be able to stream movies from our library's Hoopla and Kanopy services without stalls and have enough storage around here for another decade of photographs.

Meanwhile our cart is, once again, empty. Just the way we like it.

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