Pogoplug – Simple File Sharing and MoreShare
What’s remarkable about Cloud Engine’s Pogoplug ($129US) is how well it serves two distinct types of users. Looking for a zero-effort way to share files on your local network and the Internet? Pogoplug. Looking for a tiny linux box with plenty of open-source tweaking potential? Pogoplug.
The Pogoplug web site promotes the mass-market features of the Pogoplug. The device can:
- Put your external drives and portable storage devices on a network.
- Allow you to access and share that content on the Internet.
- Enable streaming of video and music to the iPhone and other devices.
But what’s great about the Pogoplug is that anyone can get all those features up and running easily. Instead of punching holes through your router by opening ports the Pogoplug uses a central server. Your Pogoplug checks in with the server to see if anyone is trying to connect, then it patches through valid requests. This makes setup incredibly simple:
- Connect the Pogoplug to your router
- Plug in your USB storage devices
- Create a username and password
Once those setup steps are complete you can access your Pogoplug at http://my.pogoplug.com. Your username is automagically mapped to your Pogoplug hardware and the central server completes the connection.
The system seamlessly enables fast local access to its content when you’re on the same local network as the Pogoplug. Even though you’re accessing it via http://my.pogoplug.com you can upload and download files quickly over the Pogoplug’s gigabit Ethernet port.
Everything worked as expected when I tried out the Pogoplug. Using the web interface I could view images, watch video previews, download files, and listen to streaming music. I could also upload files and let the Pogoplug convert my video files so they could be streamed.
You can also share images or entire folders of files. The Pogoplug prompts for email addresses and the selected content is shared via a unique link. There’s more! The Pogoplug can send notifications automatically when you make updates to shared content. You can create RSS feeds and connect to social networking sites.
If you’re looking for an OS integrated solution there’s optional software for both Mac and PCs. Once installed the Pogoplug is listed like a drive in the Finder.
Maybe you leave your computer on all day because you never know when you’re going to need a file from your drive. Wouldn’t it be better to leave a low-power device like the Pogoplug running than your iMac?
Consider these scenarios:
- Maybe you’re looking for an alternative to DroboShare, which has some limitations.
- Maybe you don’t want your computer tied up converting video to a streaming format.
- Maybe your dad wants a dead-simple way to share photos from his camera. What could be easier than plugging a card reader into a Pogoplug?
- Maybe you’re that person who doesn’t trust the cloud or like the limitations. You want your stuff on your storage devices – not Flickr, not YouTube. Pogoplug.
How does Cloud Engine feel about people tinkering with their device? That’s pretty clear from the web site. You’ll find the root password in plain view on the Developer page, as well as links to the Pogoplug development community. I ssh’d into the device and poked around. I like the idea of using the Pogoplug for big overnight scp uploads instead of leaving a computer running. Or burdening a computer that’s working on other overnight tasks.
The Pogoplug is a near-perfect implementation for what it does. I admit I preferred the simplicity of the earlier form-factor. Still – the newer version adds capacity that’s worth the tradeoff. It’s basically a headless computer for $129. There are others out there, just look for Sheevaplugs. But it would be hard to beat the simplicity of the Pogoplug.
I’d like an alternative to accessing the device through the pogoplug.com domain – which could be a problem if Cloud Engine disappears. But that fear is diminished by the company’s positive outlook toward open source development for the product. Murphy gives Pogoplug two thumbs up.
Check out the screencast to see what the interface looks like.Screencast | Permalink