It's always been a pet peeve of mine that it's been reasonably difficult to view/move/share media and document files from home when I'm working at a remote location. This is the 21st century and I should be able to get my stuff where ever I want it.
Over the years many solutions have come about. Setting up a VPN can be a bit complex depending on your network and ISP. DropBox is a cool software based solution, but today I'm going to look at some hardware that gives me more storage, and that I was initially skeptical about.
Odd name. Great functionality!
Over the last month or so I've been working with a PogoPlug; probably the most flamboyant member of the hardware family commonly called 'plug computers'. It's also considered a Network Attached Storage management device. Yes, that's it in the photo -- the pink and white box between the USB drive and my coffee cup.
Basically, it's a customized light-weight linux-based computer that doesn't need a screen, keyboard or mouse. Setup is simple. Plug in some USB drives loaded with your content. Plug the PogoPlug into your network. Plug in some power.
Then it's a simple matter to open a browser on your home computer, navigate to the http://mypogoplug.com website and register an account -- which connects your online profile to the physical PogoPlug device. It's that easy.
Once that's done, anything plugged into the PogoPlug USB ports is then available to you securely through the MyPogoPlug website interface. That means you can now have multi-Terabytes of data set up and available to you, where ever you are.
So, rather than using a web-based software solution (that may charge monthly fees) a plug computing device like PogoPlug lets you access and share your content for free, other than the purchase price and your regular Internet fees.
You can either use the web-based interface, or download an application that mounts the PogoPlug drives onto your computer as if they were physically attached drives. Obviously the web interface is great for environments where you can't install your own apps, internet cafes or work computers.
But the Pogoplug application is the way to go. Since using the application maps or mounts the drive, your computer still thinks the drive is connected and acts accordingly, no matter where you are. The application runs on OSX, Windows and Linux. Big win for everyone.
Pulling the plug
This tech is not new. I've been using varients of the PogoPlug solution for the last 10 years. But what *did* impress me was the 'appliance' approach the designers and developers used when creating the PogoPlug. Pop it out of the box and it works. I like that, it lets me get on with my life, and not spend hours configuring things.
Oh, and did I mention that there's an iPhone app for it too? Yep, all your shared content is available to you when you're seriously mobile. And it's even more extensible -- with Open Source development being encouraged by the company.
So yeah, I like my PogoPlug. I'm thinking this is one device that can easily grow as my home network needs do.
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