When you stop and think about it, there has been a revolution in remote file access the last few years. Services like MobileMe and Dropbox have changed the way we think about file backup and access. I used to travel with thumb drive copies of my data in my pockets, bags, and luggage. These days it is much easier with my key files always available from any web browser. As nice as these online solutions are, there are limits to cloud based storage file sizes. This is where the Pogoplug fits in.
Cloud Engines’ $129 Pogoplug is a small box that plugs into your existing router and an external USB Drive to one of its four USB ports. Although it is about the size of a paperback book, it actually is, in essence, a linux box handling the heavy lifting of sharing up data to the interweb. You plug the Pogoplug into a power outlet and the hard part is done. Then it is simply a matter of setting up your Pogoplug account and your data is on the web. Think about it. No multi-week uploads or snail-pace setups. You fill up a USB drive, plug it in, and your done. The device supports multiple formats including Mac OS X Extended Journaled.
You can be at any internet connected computer and log in at my.pogoplug.com to get access to your files. It is a web interface so it is not quite as seemless as the Finder but you will find your files. It also has built in media players so you may watch your movies, listen to your music, and browse your photos right from the web interface. Everytime I’m leaving town, I copy all of my work and presentation files over to a dedicated folder on the Pogoplug and rest easier. Using the Pogoplug application, you can even set up folders that automatically copy “watched” files to your Pogoplug folders.
For streaming movies, Pogoplug did a good job. Even more impressive is the iPhone app. I streamed a movie to it over 3g and it was very watchable. This provides a great solution for the newest generation of space limited connected portable devices. It also displays photos and plays music with no troubles. This is, however, a function of your own upload speeds so if you are on a slow connection, you may have some troubles. Also, if your internet service provider limits your upload bandwidth, you may need to be careful with serving up too many files from your Pogoplug.
Sharing files is a snap. Select the folder or flie, then click “share.” One nice benefit is that your friends don’t have to create a Pogoplug account to view your shared data, though they may do so if they want. The Pogoplug is remarkable in its simplicity. It just works. The Pogoplug’s genius is easy online access to large files. In addition to being used for file backups on trips, I also use it to keep picture galleries to share with friends and family and a collection of movies and video for when I get in a jam on the road. The Pogoplug is a nifty bit of technology.
If you are looking for a way to share or access large files, the Pogoplug may be the solution you’re looking for. While it hasn’t replaced my cloud based Dropbox account, it certainly has supplemented it.
You can listen to this review on the Mac ReviewCast
This review was written following evaluation of a 2nd generation Pogoplug review unit provided by Cloud Technologies.