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share filesCloud services 3 Reasons Why Students Should Be Using Dropbox 3 Reasons Why Students Should Be Using Dropbox Read More have become a popular way to share files with others, and they work well in most situations, making it easy to upload photos or documents and then access them on a variety of devices.

This is not the only way to send files between devices, however. Streaming software such as Pogoplug has advantages, such as a lack of storage caps and a simpler user experience, since you don’t have to hassle with local and cloud copies.

Streaming vs. Cloud: What’s The Difference?

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Before I go into detail about Pogoplug, let’s talk about how it’s different from popular and well-established services like Dropbox.

Pogoplug does not offer a cloud. At no point do you upload files to a server so they can be downloaded again later. Instead, you create an account when you install the software and then share folders on your PC. Those folders then can be accessed on other devices and computers, and you can share information on those as well, creating a network of computers that share files across the Internet.

As there’s no cloud to upload data to, there’s no monthly storage charge once you go over a certain limit. The storage is all on devices you personally own. You also no longer need to worry about the service possibly being hacked or inaccessible.

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Streaming Made Easy

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Once installed, the Pogoplug software is easy to use. The included remote access controls are used to determine what is being shared on your computer. On my MacBook Two Cool Tools To Monitor Your MacBook's Battery [Mac] Two Cool Tools To Monitor Your MacBook's Battery [Mac] Read More , for example, my Desktop, Documents, Music, Movies, and Pictures folders were selected by default.

Any folder can be de-selected by removing a check from the appropriate box, and new folders can be added as well. All remote access can be cut off using a big remote access switch on the interface.

Once shared, the files can be accessed using Pogoplug software on any other computer as long as you log into your account. Remember however, that this software depends on access to the various devices sharing information. Unlike a cloud service, this software won’t let you access data from a shared folder if the computer hosting it is turned off.

Pogoplug Mobile Access

One of the greatest advantages of a cloud service is the ability to access information while on the go. Pogoplug replicates this both via a web interface and on your mobile device.

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The web interface is impressive, as it provides access to a wide variety of content and is quite snappy. All of your folders that are shared via your Pogoplug software will be accessible, and the Gallery tab lets you view photos as a slideshow 5 Ways to Create Beautiful Slideshows of your Digital Pictures 5 Ways to Create Beautiful Slideshows of your Digital Pictures Read More . Those who pay for the premium account (a $29 one-time fee) will also be able to stream music and video content via this in-browser interface.

Android and iOS users will have access to the same features via the Pogoplug app available for free on each operating system’s respective marketplace. This app provides mobile access to all of your content with the exception of audio and video, which again is restricted to those who have a premium account.

Backup and Printing

Although the ability to stream and share files and content between devices is the focus of Pogoplug, it does have two other notable features.

One is Active Copy, a simple but useful backup feature. It effectively links two folders together so that their content mirrors one another, making it easy to keep an up-to-date backup of important information on a multiple computers.

Another great extra is online printing, which can be used to send documents to a remote printer connected to a computer running Pogoplug. It’s even possible for friends to share a printer with you, which means you can use their printer while logged into your own account. It’s even possible to print from the Android and iPhone apps.

Conclusion

Pogoplug isn’t a perfect service, but it has definite advantages compared to cloud services. My situation is a great example. I have multiple computers that I need to keep synced, but Dropbox won’t work (for free) because the amount of data I need to sync is in excess of 10GB.

With this alternative, I’m not able to sync when one of my PCs is turned off, but that’s a trade-off I’m willing to make in exchange for the ability to freely transfer a very large volume of data. The Active Copy feature is an excellent way to keep my data backed up, as well.

Give it a try and let us know what you think of it in the comments.  Any missing features you would like to see included?

  1. Anonymous
    July 12, 2011 at 12:05 am

    Great stuff!

  2. Guest
    July 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    "You also no longer need to worry about the service possibly being hacked or inaccessible." It must be very reassuring to know that your personal computer is never going to be hacked :-)

  3. jasray
    July 7, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Sort of like Opera Unite, I suppose.  HFS works well.  Many programs--guess one simply needs to try them all until . . . .

  4. Johnny Buyer
    July 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I purchased the Pogoplug (the pink one) and I found it to be monumentally slow at uploading, accessing and viewing files on any device (this was not just due to internet speed either). I also found the interface a bit unintuitive. I returned it for a refund. Didn't work for me unfortunately.

  5. Wheelerwayneb
    July 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    It's nice when it works, but it has a bad habit of forgetting it's login details. I'm constantly having to log back in to get active copy working again.

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