Friday, June 29th, is my last day at NETGEAR.
It's been a long journey, but this ewok is moving to another tribe. I joined the 'Jedi Council' here officially in 2007. But what many don't know is, that I've been a part of the ReadyNAS community since the birth of these forums. I started out as a customer myself back in 2004. At the time, I was working at a distributor in Canada, and one day this shiny black metal box showed up on my desk for review, the ReadyNAS 600. A small start-up sent it to us for consideration in distribution. I fell in love with the thing, buying that pre-production unit for my own personal use, before it was shipping to the general public.
Back then, it didn't even come with RAM, I had to populate that myself. They recommended a 128MB module, but I picked up a 256MB DDR stick to put in it, might as well pimp it out... I also bought the recently released (at the time) Maxtor 300GB Raid Edition drives. Overall, it was a costly setup back then, costing around $1800 in total I believe, but man was it awesome. Wasn't long before I was poking around in the back end where I shouldn't have been. SSH was running, but only set for access by the Jedi, but that didn't stop me ;)
I loved getting more out of devices then they were originally intended for. When I saw there was a PCI slot in the ReadyNAS 600, I had a light bulb moment.. I had a bunch of ASUS USB2 4-port PCI cards. I popped one in, but it didn't get detected. A few posts on the forum later, and Skywalker added support for it in all its glory! Amazing, I was able to connect three USB HDD enclosures to the system, while still having the on-board ports free for a printer and UPS, all without using a USB HUB. I was giddy.
At one point in 2005, my NAS became ill. Something happened to the RAID, I could not access my data, the horror! Working with Skywalker and Yoh-dah via many private messages, I ended up shipping my system to Infrant for diagnostics. I was their first 'data recovery' system, we entered a new era. After some trial and error, Skywalker was able to recover my system, yay! I thought 900GB (4x300GB RAID-5) was a lot of data, but these days we sometimes have to deal with 12x3TB when people let two or more disks fail, oh the fun times.
Back then, I was one of the top posters on the forums here. You could say I was the mdgm of the era, but long since overpassed by that crazy guy ;) Little did I know, when asking for things like RSS to be added to the forum, that a few short years later, I would be the administrator in control of the whole site. With my crazy posting spree, I was even made moderator of some of the forums as well. That helped the Jedi crew at the time, since I was in the East Coast, so I always had a three hour head start on the day to them, clearing spam and such. In early 2007, while I was off doing self-employed network consulting, I saw a job posting on the Infrant website for a Support position. I loved the product, and enjoyed helping others with it, so I figured I would check out the opportunity. After sending my resume to Yoh-dah, they flew me down for an in-person interview. It was an odd interview, felt like I already had the job, was more of a meet to put a face to a forum handle. Few months later, I made a 3,000 mile journey, and was renting a room from Skywalker!
And now, five fun filled years later, I am moving on. It is sad, I will miss my friends here at NETGEAR (and all the employee perk hardware :)). I still own a ReadyNAS (Pro with 6x2TB these days), so you will still see me frequent the forums once in awhile for banter and tweaking tips. I won't have the Jedi Council top secret classified access anymore, so for support issues and such, I won't be able to help out like I have before. I'll still do my best to keep the ReadyNAS name lit.
Update [02/26/13]: I still frequent these forums, in attempts to keep the community alive and help out users with issues. If you browse around here yourself, you will see quite clearly that NETGEAR has given up on this once great community. I used to be proud of this site. The 'jedi' don't visit anymore, management won't take a tiny effort to communicate with members. I have since recommended friends looking for a home NAS to go towards Synology. For my own home use, I built a home brew box running ZFS to replace my dusty ReadyNAS. What I also left out of this post originally was why I left... I don't agree with the direction NETGEAR is headed, and others that left in the same timeframe as me feel the same. Good day!
Update [06/01/13]: Besides a cease and desist letter last year from NETGEAR full of false claims on network access, I now received another letter. Looking at APT sources.list on a NAS is by no means anything near sharing confidential information. I wasn't employed there during the Genie Marketplace deployment (I left while developers were still being signed up). If they can't secure the Genie Marketplace apps, essentially doing 'apt-get install' after someone pays, not my fault the community noticed this flaw in design.