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on March 23, 2011
This device is a Dilbert cartoon all by itself. It was clearly rushed out the door before development was completed; it is so unpolished that for most users it simply will not work. Unless you're a technology expert, don't bother.

If you are a technology expert or are brave enough to give this thing a try, here's what you need to know:

(1) The user guide doesn't include setup and install instructions, so don't bother searching through it.

(2) The seemingly promising "install tools" option on the setup CD either installs tons of stuff you don't need and that simply doesn't work (on Windows) or crashes outright (on Mac OS). Don't bother to open the container on Mac OS and unzip and run the binary by hand; you'll simply install the same tools that don't work and aren't needed anyway on Windows.

(3) The reason the tools don't work on Windows (or on Mac OS if you are knowledgable enough to bypass the icon and manually install them) is that they require an administrator login and password for the device... that you don't have yet because you haven't set it up. When you do finally have them (I'll explain how to set them in a moment), all these rather heavy (hundreds of megabytes) programs do is... redirect you to the device's web interface in your default browser. Seriously.

(4) There is a "setup" option on the Windows half of the CD (they forgot to include any kind of setup for Mac), and presumably it's meant to let you do things like choose a default username and password and name the device, but as you'll find, it simply doesn't work--it tells you that the device has already been configured by someone else and can't be setup, even when it's at factory default settings. So don't bother with the "setup" icon/application.

(5) Instead, on a Windows computer, with the device powered on and on the network, use the "Documents and Tools" option on the CD's autorun, and then in that area the "Reset" option to start the reset-to-factory-defaults procedure. After you issue the reset command, hold down the power button on the back of the device for five seconds to reboot it. You can't do this from Mac OS because the reset tool was also inconveniently omitted from the Mac OS half of the CD. Oops.

(6) Once the device has rebooted (solid light is back) after a reset, just open your web browser and point it at the device's IP address obtained via DHCP from your router. If you don't know this, log into your router and look at the current list of DHCP leases to obtain it. Visiting the IP of the device in your browser will take you to the web administration interface (the one that that should be mentioned in the user guide along with the setup CD in a section called "configuring the device" or something--but of course isn't).

(7) When you visit the web interface immediately following a reset, you'll see a special instance of the interface that asks you to give the default administrator account a password. The default administrator account matches the default device name, both of which are randomized because the device uses this name as your account at Verbatim's online sharing service, which is a proxy interface on the Web, through Verbatim, to your device. Just use the defaults for now; once you log in as administrator, you can create the account name you'd like and change the device name as you wish (which will also change your account name at Verbatim's online service).

(8) After setting the password, re-visit the IP of the device and log into the web interface. Add a user and mark them as administrator to get the administrator username you want. Then, to change the device name, go to the "Remote Sharing" section and edit the name in the box there.

CONGRATULATIONS, YOUR DEVICE IS NOW CONFIGURED. Thank god I spent many years as an IT professional or this would have been over my head, since:

- The printed guide included just tells you to insert the CD

- The CD includes only a single Mac application which crashes immediately

- The CD's Windows setup application refuses to talk to factory-fresh devices and is thus worthless

- The tools, if you manage to install them, require an already setup up username, password, and device name to work, but of course you don't have these because the setup didn't work

- The full user manual icons on the CD just go to broken links at Verbatim.com

- The full user manual PDF that you can find by searching Google for "mediashare mini user guide" doesn't give any information about setup, much less explaining that the device is configured to use DHCP by default and has a web interface

etc. etc. etc.

I do now have the device set up (took me about two hours to work through this) and while it does seem to work (it just mounts NTFS/FAT/HFS volumes and shares them via SMB), the quality does not impress. I had planned to use this for my online backups, but now I'm not so sure I want to trust it with my data.

Apart from the foibles above, here are some other things indicative of quality.

- They didn't bother to have it calculate free space correctly. It does show used space for files/folders correctly, but free space for any volume is always 9.2 exabytes (yes, exabytes).

- The web interface is entirely done in flash (yes, flash) so it's not what you'd call the most "futureproof" of devices

- The much heralded iPhone app actually sucks; you can open exactly one file per session--if you navigate 10 folders deep, open a file, and it's not the one you were looking for, you can't go back to the folder and look again, but must rather close the connection and then start all over again with a new connection in the root folder once again

- As mentioned, but it bears a more clear mentioning, there is absolutely no reason or purpose for or use for the software tools; all they do is remember the device name, username, and password that you enter and then redirect you to the web interface in your browser--and occupy several hundred megabytes in the process

- The device gets HOT, much hotter than I'd expect or feel comfortable with and there is no internal fan

- It takes quite a while to boot/reboot the device

- It's just rebranded technology (Verbatim MediaShare = rebadged Axentra HipServ technology in the same way that LiveScribe Pulse Pen = rebadged Anoto pen products), albeit with Verbatim-specific tools/applications on the CD; I'm not sure I feel comfortable as a result with Verbatim's level of commitment to the device in the future

- Trying to call Verbatim customer service to complain about all of this and recount my experiences led to the interesting result that they don't seem to be aware of this device or know what it is; see previous point

In short, unless you very much know what you are doing and are in search of a cheap, SMB-based, small-footprint, no-drive-included NAS for immediate rather than long-term use, do not buy this product. You will not be happy with it (there are a number of other reviews here that make this clear--I just assumed, correctly, that as a technology person I'd be able to make it go despite most obstacles).

On the whole, very, very poor--which is a shame, because the physical object is nice in appearance and the price is right, and it ultimately does seem to work. But this was clearly rushed out the door long before ready, hence my reference to Dilbert cartoons: the two or three engineering people developing this thing came into the meeting munching on sandwiches and said "Here's our prototype of the HipServe device," and the boss made four or five clicks, said "Wow, this is great, ship it now!" over the engineers' objections, and marketing had it listed on Amazon a day later. At least that's how it looks to this former industry insider.
55 comments72 of 79 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 13, 2011
I purchased the Mediashare Mini for one basic purpose - to serve as a central network storage server for my entire home network (mostly for media player access to movies, without needing a PC running). Since I already had several external USB drives, I was hoping this would be a decent NAS solution. The Facebook, and remote internet access features were not used/important so I have no opinion regarding them.

I had read the device cannot be setup without the included disc and that is correct. The installation is 2 steps; the first step is mandatory for operation, requiring username/password setup and the creation of a device ID for internet access. Step 2 is the install of the pathetic "agent" software that will run when Windows starts. If you plan on simply mapping your drives in Windows, it is not necessary for network access and can be uninstalled (or not installed at all). You can access the box's OS and all settings via IP address (no agent needed).

File sharing is done via Samba and Windows control over the mapped drives will not be absolute. Basic file editing, moving, copying, deleting, is allowed, but many attributes cannot be changed. To access Mediashare drives, even within your home network, a username and password is required, but after initial login with each device this should not be a reoccurring hassle. To prevent this dialog box from appearing in Windows XP after every reboot, I had to setup a password for the computer (control panel>>user account) that was identical to my Mediashare password. I've since learned XP Home Edition does not save network logins even if "save password" is checked. So after some frustration, all my PCs now auto-login to Mediashare drives when started (ie, no more password dialog).

As for the performance, it has been mostly perfect for my needs allowing flawless playback of 1080p video and music across my entire network. Simple file transfers are also relatively fast for a USB/ethernet 10/100 device. Problems did occur during video playback while torrents were being downloaded to the same drive simultaneously. It also choked while downloading 5+ or more (1300+ kB/s) torrents at a time. These were more/less just tests to find its limitations as downloading multiple torrents directly to network drives is generally discouraged. By keeping your client settings throttled these scenarios can be easily avoided. My testing of UPnP and the iTunes server was not thorough, but it did work as expected and playback was stable.

In the end, the product is working well and as intended for my needs. The design and construction quality is impressive, as is the 3 year warranty. I'm docking a star for the laughable agent software and the rather limited configuration options. Since an email address is required during initial setup, any future Verbatim spam will lower my rating further.
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VINE VOICEon December 2, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This thing is small, small enough to hide almost anywhere.
The problem I have with it is heat and usage. I tried to stream a movie for conversion to AVI so I could use it on my portable media player. It got stuck at 2 minutes remaining for an hour. Then it suddenly shot to almost complete then back to 3 minutes remaining.
I tried to stream music over it, that was less trouble then the conversion, but it did hiccup a few times during each of the 10 songs I tried it with. No other device on my network was turned on, not even my printer.
I wouldn't recommend this product to anyone looking for quick easy hookup of USB drives to share over the network.
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on February 9, 2013
The only reason I initially intended to write this is to point out something that neither the product description, white paper, marketing materials or the verbatim website seem to mention.

THIS PRODUCT (Verbatim MediaShare Mini 97329) DOE NOT I REPEAT DOES NOT SUPPORT DRIVES LARGER THAN 2 TERABYTES. THIS MEANS IT WILL NOT SUPPORT 3TB DRIVES IN CASE YOU HAVE DIFFICULTY UNDERSTANDING BASIC NUMBER RELATIONSHIPS.

that said, one additional point before I get into the positive aspects of the mediashare mini.

THE CUSTOMER / TECHNICAL SUPPORT FROM VERBATIM FOR THIS PRODUCT HAS SOMEHOW FOUND A WAY TO SURPASS IN BADNESS THE HORRIBLE SERVICE FROM ANY IHOP OR DENNY'S YOU WILL EVER EAT AT.

the customer support spent i dont know how many times repeating to me that the solution was to format all of my hard drives and that the mediashare only supports fat32 (which is incorrect. it supports other drive formats). so you're looking at losing all of your data if you listen to them. especially when i mentioned to him that if i format my hard drives i will lose all of my data and he said 'no you wont, it can all be backed up because you have the mediashare mini'

they also had to spend quite a long time around 30 minutes putting me on hold while they went to go read some info about the device they're supposed to support. when i asked to speak to a senior tech or supervisor i got the run around. i finally hung up and called back again.

the next tech told me completely different things to do but at least was willing to send me to a supervisor who then started to give me the runaround on returning the device. i hung up and returned it to amazon.

now for the good things about this device:

it actually will run and recognize hard drives smaller than 2TB and does so quite effortlessly.

the ports (USB 2.0) do have enough power to at least turn on smaller portable drives.

it will also read USB sticks

it will read NTFS despite what uneducated tech support people from their company tell you.

it will run printers, so if you aren't fortunate enough to have a network printer (most nowadays are network ready though) then this can not only run your drives but also will act as a print server.

----------------------

CONS:

USB 2.0

the USB ports are in the worst designed places. two on the left side and two in the back. so in my case i had plugs poking out on the side getting in the way of the other items on my shelf.

will only read drives smaller than 2TB

will NOT recognize a USB Hub (even the 20$ pogoplug recognizes hubs) so the only way to scale the storage ports is to buy another unit.

utterly pathetic and misleading technical support. had i been not so technically inclined, i would have listened to the man and ended up wiping all of my data and still not had a drive that could be read by this device.

my advice should you choose to follow it is that even if you have smaller hard drives, get a NAS or similar device that WILL support larger drives so you can expand in the future because this one is already obsolete before you even place your order.
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on December 22, 2011
*UPDATE*

My unit just died, it refused to get an IP address from the router, I tried everything, but couldn't fix it. Replaced this with a lacie wireless space , I'm happy with it so far.

*ORIGINAL REVIEW*

I'll keep this review short since that person from vine program said all the nice things about this little great device, I ve been testing it for a week so here are the specs and short review,

First of all I ve been using this over a Wireless N network, using a Linkys E2500 (it's an entry level router, nothing fancy), media share is connected to the router via cat5 cable.

I have copied over 400 Gigs of data to the external HDD (western digital 1TB 8mb Cache total rubbish) using my MacBook Pro (late 2006 model) and media share mini averaged 11.6 mb/s (write speed), now it may not seem a lot but actually it means you will be transferring 600 MBs of data in one minute. I've tested this unit both wireless and wired and surprisingly it performed just about the same.

This unit has a 1.2 Ghz Marvell processor, it can be found in many high end routers and NASes. It also has a 128 MB ram which is good.

That being said, my second test was streaming a Full HD (yes 1080P) Movie (x264) to my Sony Google TV. As you can imagine media share was able to stream it with no delays or anything and the file size was around 4gigs, my third test was streaming the same movie at the same time to two devices (Sony Google TV and PlayStation 3 hooked up with a projector) surprisingly both devices were able to play the movie with no buffering or interruptions, and just for laughs I also fast forwarded the movie to see if the media share was able to catch up, and it did.

I really am impressed with this little NAS and I think if you have a better router and a better external HDD this will perform better.

PS: This NAS is using Hipserve, I love hipserve even though most users here said its sluggish etc, well it's not it's user friendly and fast, let me know if you have any problems during or after setup and I'll be glad to help.
66 comments3 of 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 23, 2011
We were looking for a solution to centralize our important data files (mostly photos & other information we want to share across multiple computers), have access to these files over the internet (without any local PC running), and have a centralized backup solution for our multiple computers. Given we already owned USB drives, . . . this item caught our eyes, especially when it was $59.

Set up - a breeze. Connect to your router (Cat-5 cable), connect power, insert the setup disk on any computer on the LAN, . . . set up was very quick. You are required to create an 'account' with verbatim to get setup completed and that does require the device name to be unique among all the MediaShare devices sold. We thought this a bit odd, . . . but our first choice was available - so no big deal.

Central storage (LAN): Excellent! There is a application loaded on your computer, . . . when you are connected to your LAN you are (or can be) logged in and then the drive(s) becomes a mapped drive(s). You can drag & drop files as you would with any hard drive connected to your computer. One concern before we bought this would be if you could have multiple computers logged in as the same user at the same time. Yes you can. This was a concern in that you are limited to the number of 'user accounts' for the free service (through the web connect). There is a premium service that allows for unlimited accounts, . . . but who wants to pay for that. Additionally, we wanted all our computers to be able to log in as the admin so we could control the box if needed from any computer. No problem.

Remote Access (WAN): Good! Initial access is through the myVerbatim.com web-connect service (eg: through your web browser). Here, you can log in, view media (eg: photos), change device settings (eg: turn external FTP on/off), etc. The initial web connection is slow. But once you are in, it seems to be just OK - usable, but not great). The user interface is also not entirely intuitive. For instance - downloading a file is not straight forward (there is an upload function, . . . but download took some time to find (you select the folder/file, then need to click the 'play' type radio button to get more options). You would think common needs would either be a right click, or have a button right on the page. Oh well, once you find this, it is OK. So, . . . onto the real remote connection solution for access other than simply browsing for our needs.

Remote Access (WAN/FTP Client): Very good! If you know your LAN's IP Address presented to the outside world, you can connect to the MediaShare device directly through an FTP client application (like FileZilla). You must enable external FTP connections (can do so via the web connect), and have pre-configured your router to port forward FTP requests to this device (and this port is fixed [the common FTP service port # is used] - not configurable). I would have liked to be able to configure this - oh well. However, once connected, you have full FTP access for uploads/downloads of any file via FTP. Used in combination with the web connect service above for file browsing, this works very well. In our case, we view the files (eg: photos) through the web connection, and then download the desired files via the FTP client. For us, this was a critical requirement - remote access to our centralized files easily and as quick as the internet allows.

BackUps (LAN): We haven't configured this yet, . . . but there is no reason to expect this not to work out well for us. We use to connect our USB drive to each computer (when we remembered), . . . and then do the backup. Expect to be able to easily configure our computers to use a mapped drive, . . . and do this autonomously from now on when we are connected to our LAN.

Overall, . . . this is working quite nicely indeed. It will also allow us to add storage as we grow with the multiple USB ports available. This was a nice low cost solution for our needs.
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on March 1, 2011
I don't know why people are gripping about the setup. It was soo easy, took me less than 5 minutes. I have 4 computers and I have consolidated all the files through this unit. I can now access all of the files on any of the 4 computers I have including my droid phone. Also, I can access them via internet!
Given the price and the ease of setup, I think this is a GREAT unit.
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on March 21, 2012
I was leery of purchasing this based upon the reviews stating that it was difficult to set up. But I figured I'd take a shot (especially since the price dropped to $40).

...took me about ten minutes and there wasn't a single hitch. Piece of cake. I don't know what everyone else was talking about, 'cuz this couldn't have been easier.
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on February 19, 2011
I was looking into different cloud-based storage services. There are some nice free ones out there if search for them, but most limit the amount of storage you can get for free. Once you start increasing the storage amount, the fees can get pretty high. So I began to wonder what it would take to put my own "personal cloud" out there. Turns out, not that much.

I purchased this box from Amazon, unboxed it, and plugged it into my LAN. After spending a few frustrated hours wondering why it wasn't working, or only seemed to work intermittently, I tried a different port on my hub. Long story short, I found out that in a recent power outage all but one of the ports on my 5-port hub were dead. Replaced the hub, and this device worked perfectly the first time.

Setup is fairly easy. If you know how to plug in a power adapter, hook up a network cable, and plug in a USB drive, you are most of the way there. Follow that with a software install and a web-based service setup, and you're done.

Once setup, the device will share the content you copy to the USB drive over the web and your LAN. On your LAN, you can install software that will connect you to the device and let you access it via the Windows Explorer interface. Over the web, you can connect to it via the myverbatim.com web site through a "mostly intuitive" web interface. (I say "mostly intuitive" because there can be some confusion about the difference between what the box refers to as "Albums" and folders.) The web interface is not the quickest thing I've ever seen, but it's responsive enough to allow you to browse to the content you want within a few seconds in most cases. Let's face it, for the price Verbatim charges you can't expect this thing to perform like a high-end multi-CPU Linux server.

The content on the box is accessible from smartphones, which can help you retrieve an important document from home while you're on the road..

I currently have a 500GB USB hard drive attached to the MediaShare and it is working fine. I still have three other USB ports I could attach storage to, so my "personal cloud" could be pretty big.
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on November 8, 2014
Before I get started with the review I have to say that their are pros and cons about the unit. The setup wasn't as smooth as I thought it should be. But with tech support I was running after two calls.

Pros

I have found with tech support you don't need the software installed after setup. to access your drives all you need to do is type \\192.16.1.9. Please note the ip address is a fake you need to replace the ip address with your boxes address. Leave the back slashes in.

You can look at every thing on your hard drive by the web browser Fire Fox excreta.

I am using a 7 port USB hub and I can run more than four drives at once.

Media server is ready to share your music and videos with any radio or select tv players.

1 Gigabit speeds for fast networking

Cons

Large files take a long time to transfer. Compare your USB port on your computer the port on your system is faster than this unit. To move 12 Gigabits worth of videos takes me 30 minutes. It takes me 4 minutes connected to the computer.

You need Internet to do the first setup. Or if you had to do a factory reset.

Supper bright LED lights. I have one in my bed room and I had to cover the lights with black tape.

Advanced user knolage
If you have 2 or more media share units on one network. I have 3 media share systems on my network and the first time I had them running they fought to be king. all 3 wants to be ruler and their can be only one running at a time.

To solve this problem I had to install NETGEAR ProSAFE GS108T 8-Port Gigabit Smart Switch 10/100/1000MbpsSmart switches to create VLans for the 3 Media share units. I also had to set different work groups. This fixed my problem and each media share think he is king but in realty I put them in different networks and all of my computers can see each network like it is all one. Every computer read and write to them and no hick ups.

The media share box gets warm so you need to give it plenty of ventilation.

Conclusion

I can stand the minor flaws of the equipment. Like the slowness of the moving of files. I just start the transfer and walk away. It is nice not to have to use one computer as a file server. I just bought another one for another room. I have had my first two now for two years and like them. Despite the bad reviews I have read I would jump in and try one if I were you. I did jump in and I have never been sorry.
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