Here’s an interesting service/device I’ve been following for a while. Pogoplug. Yes, it’s another cloud service – but you provide the cloud. It “converts” devices you all ready own – your computer or other storage drives – into a “personal cloud.” That’s ad talk for “remote access” – basically something like gotoMyPC or LogMeIn. But instead of connecting and viewing your desktop as you do with those products, Pogoplug gives you access to your files.
Pogoplug’s differentiator is that it’s a media streaming utility – software that streamlines and speeds up the transmission of these files over the internet. You buy the software ($29 – free version doesn’t handle streaming), install it, select the video you want and watch it on the device you’re connecting from. Or, select a file or photo you want to share and send the link to someone to download – or post it directly to various social networking sites.
If you don’t want to leave your computer on all the time, you can purchase their hardware device. Connect it to a storage device (portable drives, thumb drives….) you’ve filled up with documents or media, then to your router so that it’s accessible online. That way, only the Pogoplug and the connected devices have to be “on.” Plus your computer is reasonably sheilded from any possible malicious activity.
How does this differ from those cloud network attached storage (NAS) devices? NAS set-ups aren’t typically meant for video streaming, though some state that they have that capabaility (and are often using Pogoplug’s software…). While you’ll only be accessing the files on the NAS remotely, the NAS connects directly to your computer and shows up in My Computer as a separate drive. And, NASs will usually offer more admin features like multiple users and permissions.
I’ve read a lot of complaints about how the media streaming works in practice. The main problem is the user’s internet connection. You just can’t do this with dial up or DSL. Only consider something like this if you have a high speed, reliable connection. But the software is supposed to be simple to use and easy to set up and is available for several platforms and devices.