THIS is a cool gadget!  I saw the $99 Pogoplug at its CES launch in January and have waited for a working sample until recently. It was worth the wait.

Out of the box, I plugged in the power cord, connected it via Ethernet to my network, and plugged in a USB thumb drive with content loaded just to get me started.  My network immediately saw it and asked for a username and password to be assigned.  In the time it took to enter them, and then click, I was finished.  Done!  It worked immediately. Maybe 20 seconds, tops.

I was shaking my head and smiling in amazement.  It really was that simple. Then, I went online to MyPogoplug.com and signed on securely to access my data.  I also downloaded software from their site to allow my Pogoplug to look like a local desktop drive from anywhere in the world.  It was there that I also clicked to launch iTunes and downloaded the FREE iPhone and iPod touch app so I can access my Pogoplug-connected photos and videos on those devices.  Just how cool is this!

From the browser, I can manage folders and files I share and with whom, by adding an email address and custom message inviting someone to a specified shared folder while not sharing anything else. Sharing can mean read only or I can allow my “buddy” to upload content to my drive connected to Pogoplug.  Remember, Pogoplug is connected to my network and not to any computer, so it is always available any time my network is up and running, which is just about 100% of the time.  I asked my test sharer to help.  He checked his email for the link that allowed him to share.  Then, he downloaded the software just to be able to see the drive as if local to him. The only files shown were in the shared folder I established.  Everything went at the speed of MY network, meaning it is slower than accessing a commercial site from the Internet. My speed is rated at 6mbps down and 768kbps up. So, for him, my up is the speed of his down, right?  His upload speed determines how fast he can send something to the folder on the drive connected to my Pogoplug.  I found speed from my end fast enough to stream a little video to a computer and an iPod touch via Wi-Fi when away from home.  Performance is fast enough to play a slideshow of photos on the iPod touch, as well.  I am sure that I would be able to stream a video to iPhone should I wish to do so. HOWEVER, if using 3G mobile phone connectivity, I want to check with AT&T to see if I could get into trouble with heavy duty data transfers over the air and NOT using Wi-Fi.  Know your plan’s limitations and data transfer caps as well as penalties for going over limit, if such limits apply to you.  This issue is going to become one of great interest in the coming months, I fear.  I hope I am mostly wrong to be concerned.  Next week as I am on the road in many cities I am looking forward to trying to do more.  I’ll let you know of any issues, but none are expected.

At all times I, the master of this Pogoplug, have compete and secure access to my Pogoplug, accessing, adding and deleting files as I wish.  In the browser interface, there are links to search for files Today, Last Week, Last Month, Photos, Music, Movies and a general Search box.  I can also see in that interface any files that are shared with ME from other users’ Pogoplugs.  Buttons are there dedicated to Upload, New Folder, Copy Files and Sharing.  So simple and intuitive!  Buttons are also there allowing different layouts of what’s on my Pogoplug-connected drive as I see everything from within my browser page.  I can determine the display of content as a list, or by various sizes of pictorial groups of files per page, be they nine up, four up or a single group.  It’s all very flexible.

Pogoplug is one cool and simple gadget!  And only $99!  It works with Windows, Mac and Linux.  There is more to know, covered very nicely in their FAQ list, so read it!  Developers have created an effective and easy to use new product that is also fun to use, and it may be an aid to productivity of business travelers and others who really need such a device.  Whether for fun or business, it’s a keeper. I don’t think I am returning the sample sent to me without a fight.  Get one you won’t want to return it, either.  Why can’t all technology work so easily??  What can you do with Pogoplug?

I’ll get more into it as I progress in my own experience.  For now, I just know it is a keeper and I know it will be useful to me for fun and as a way to access various needed files as I travel, even to back up to a Pogoplug-connected drive from afar as a redundant keeper of data just in case of calamity on the road.  It’s going to grow on me, I am certain, as I think of things I will want to do just because I have this new capability.

The company is going to sell a boatload of these!

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