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dROBO 5D $699
Hard drive box can save precious memories

Data. We all create it every day, and there is likely a decent amount of it you'd like to store long term. How to do it?

You can move your data to the cloud (which is safe but can get expensive) or you can get an external hard drive (but what if it dies?).

The Drobo 5D is one option. It's a small black box that has slots for five hard drives.

Drobo uses its hardware and software to make those drives act as one big hard drive. And it uses a certain amount of the storage space to keep track of the data, so if any of the drives fail (which they inevitably will do), all you have to do is pull out the dead drive and pop in a new one and just carry on. Your data is protected.

How much space can you expect to get with a Drobo? The website has a capacity calculator. For example, if I put five 2-terabyte drives in the Drobo, I'll have 7.26TB available for data storage and 1.82TB set aside for data protection.

The 5D connects to your computer using USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt. This type of box is called Direct Attached Storage. Drobo makes a similar product called the 5N that connects to your network via Ethernet. That type of product is called Network Attached Storage (NAS).

The 5D measures 5.9-by-7.3-by-10.3 inches and weighs 8.5 pounds without drives — so it's heavy. It works on Macs or Windows machines, and it has a built-in battery so it has enough power to make sure you don't lose any data if your electricity goes out.


New streaming box can execute 4K technology

Many cable services haven't caught up to 4K streaming. Roku's high-end Ultra will translate the streaming services, though, and beautifully.

The Roku is a small device that acts as a sort of gateway to thousands of TV channels through streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix and Acorn.

Two cheaper Roku models, the Premiere ($80) and the $100 Premiere+, also stream 4K content. For most people, the Premiere is more than adequate. One caveat: Some low-end 4K TV sets don't have an HDCP 2.2 HDMI port. If you don't, the Roku cannot give 4K quality. The best bet then for high-quality, if not 4K content, is the $50 Roku Streaming Stick.