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Cloud storage can get expensive once you fill up the 5 GB free storage that services like Dropbox, Box and iCloud offer. You can expect to pay at least $5 a month and those service charges can quickly rise up to $20 a month for personal solutions. Costs can rise even more if you want a business plan that offers team collaboration and unlimited storage and bandwidth.
Pogoplug Series 4 is a cloud storage and personal cloud storage device. What is the difference between the two? When you have a personal cloud storage solution, the Pogoplug Series 4 is connected directly to your router and you host your data on a hard drive, USB media storage device or SD Card. The Pogoplug servers are not hosting your files, but they do provide a cloaked link to your file and access to settings and file sharing options. You can’t 100% bypass logging into Pogoplug’s servers when using this device.
The cloud storage solution that Pogoplug offers for a free is a premium service like Dropbox and Box where your files are hosted by the service. You can also choose to use Pogoplug’s service as an offsite backup solution.
In short, if you set it up correctly you can buy a Pogoplug hardware device, supply your own hard drive and never have to pay additional fees to host your files. Pogoplug is now offering you a free 5GB of cloud storage when you sign up for an account. You can use the free cloud storage and your own hosted cloud storage together using the web interface.
Why would a Pogoplug Series 4 be a useful tool for you? If you have a mobile Android or iOS device, you can download the Pogoplug app and save files(Pictures/Videos) from your device to your hard drive connected to your Pogoplug. You can do this from home using wi-fi or on the road using 3G or 4G. The wi-fi solution works best, but the 3G and 4G solutions work too. You can clear space from your iphone or ipad by backing up your pictures and videos to an external drive connected to these devices. You can also stream home videos to your iPad, Xbox 360 or Playstation 3(this works best when you are connected via your home network and you may have spotty results if you are using 3G connections). If you have tons of pictures on your computer, you can easily save a copy to your Pogoplug’s connected storage. This device is painfully slow on my network when transferring HD videos taken with my phone’s video camera.
I’ve read several reviews of the Pogoplug Media device and the reviews have been mixed at best. The main problem that people seem to discuss is the multiple software applications involved in running the service. Users also complained about the company’s push to have users upgrade to Pogoplug’s premium cloud storage solution. Users complained that they felt like they are using a trial version of the program until they upgrade. I tested the Pogoplug Series 4 using OSX Mountain Lion, the mobile Android and Ipad Apps and have only had slight issues. The only annoying thing that happened was when I removed the hard drive without properly ejecting it first using the Web Access. The Pogoplug Series 4 locked up and I had to unplug it from the router and pull the power cable from the device and re-insert it before it worked again.
I like to use it as a network connected drive rather than a way to backup my computer. Here is how I use it:
I named the hard drive connected to my Pogoplug as “enabled device”
When you start the Pogoplug Companion Software(on a mac computer), the Pogoplug drives will show up on your desktop. To use it as a Dropbox alternative, just double click on it you can browse the files and add files without using the web access interface. You will have to login with your Pogoplug web credentials the first time to login. Note that even your Pogoplug Cloud Storage shows up as a hard drive and you can also upload files to their Cloud Storage Solution from your desktop. We are going to browse our ENABLED DEVICE that is part of our personal cloud storage solution.
Once you double click on the drive you will be able to browse the files from the hard drive connected to your Pogoplug Series 4. You can drag and drop files here to add them to your personal cloud server, but you must use the web access to the Pogoplug website to manage your device settings and sharing options.
From within the Pogoplug companion software(at least in the OSX version) you can click the Web Access button on the top left corner to automatically be
logged on to your account, device and sharing settings.
You will be logged into the web service and you will see both your Pogoplug Cloud
and your PogoplugMobile(this is similar to the Pogoplug Series 4). Click on your
“enabled device” to browse your files. We are going to select a file to share with a family member or friend.
Select the file you want to share.
Click on get click to share.
Here are the link details for the sharing options. You can tweet out a link, Google + a link, Send a link to Facebook or
email the link. The assign password feature is only available with an upgraded account.
Unchecking the ALLOW DOWNLOADS check box with block downloading.
The Pogoplug Series 4 can be a nice alternative to Dropbox, but it does have some tradeoffs because you do have to use the Pogoplug Mobile Apps, Companion Software or Web Access to use the device.
It works for what I need it for, but Dropbox may be the only solution necessary for casual users. It is a great device to use to shares pictures and home videos with family or friends.
Here is a link to buy Pogoplug if you are interested.
Here is a video presentation about the Pogoplug:
Another interesting hardware solution on Kickstarter is the Transporter. It basically does everything that the Pogoplug Series 4 does and more. I am including the link here for you to check it out. This device has a really great auto sync feature with unique sharing capabilities.
Here is a video that explains how the Transporter works:
In doing research for this post I found a free software application that can handle all of these tasks with a little time spent messing with the settings. The program is called Crashplan and they have paid and free services. I believe the trial part of the software is for the paid cloud backup. I might be wrong, but i think the backup to computer, hard drive or family/friend computer is always free. It sounds like they offer most of what the Transporter offers for backup purposes.
Video tutorial Crashplan: