Pogoplug: My MacBook Air's Second New Best Friend

product-fpoA few weeks back, Kevin over on sister site jkOnTheRun wrote about Pogoplug, a nifty little device made by Cloud Engines, a San Francisco-based startup that recently raised an undisclosed amount of money from Ryan MacIyntre of Foundry Group. Pogoplug is a small gizmo, the size of a power adapter, that turns any USB-enabled drive into a personal storage locker accessible over the Internet. The little device hooks up to a local storage device via USB and can be connected to a broadband connection via a router. It seemed pretty easy to set up, which is precisely is what attracted me to it in the first place.

Earlier this week I received the Pogoplug for review. It came in a nice little box, packaged much like an iPhone. I took it out, plugged it into the power source, connected it to the Internet connection and hooked it up to a 250 Gb Seagate Freeagent drive. I then went to Pogoplug’s web site, entered the serial number on the box as well as my email and password (of choice). A confirmation email was then sent over to me, and less than five minutes after opening the box, I had a 250 Gb drive with my entire jazz collection on the web. To borrow from a popular ad, it was so simple that even a caveman could do it.

You can download special software that puts Pogoplug on your desktop, allowing you to drag and drop files like you would off a locally attached drive, which you can then access remotely. Even on slower 3G connections, it’s fairly easy to grab your files. I now stream music (one song at a time) off my local drive via the browser using the built-in capabilities of the Pogoplug.

The interface for the browser-based access to Pogoplug is pretty slick, utilizing technologies such as AJAX. The file types are represented with large icons. You can share files with others by sending them an email, and access files via a special application on an iPod Touch. I wish they had built a media player application into the app; that would allow me to watch videos, create playlists and enjoy photo slideshows when away from home. Hopefully, that will come sooner than later.

For now, the little device has helped me overcome the space limitations of my MacBook Air. If you own a MacBook Air, just like the Apple Display, Pogoplug is a must-have add-on. And even if you don’t own a MacBook Air, you still should buy one. Pogoplug is perhaps the most useful little gizmo you will come across this year.