I’ve recently spent time with a loaner Pogoplug ($99), a device I first encountered pre-release at CES. Combined with your own USB storage (stick or drive), Pogoplug places your content on the ‘net for local or remote access. I was astounded by the ease of setup, compared with say the network gymnastics (port forwarding) often required to punch a Slingbox feed through one’s home router. Files can be accessed via browser, local drive, or iPhone app. Additionally, files or entire directories can be selectively shared with friends or family. And new file uploads can automatically be tweeted. (But why?) However, to fulfill my personal cloud vision, I’d like to see less reliance on the mother ship. I’m also a bit surprised Pogoplug doesn’t offer more NAS-based services given its in-home location. The good news is that, with a little hackery, the Pogoplug can be modded to stream iTunes – and I hope to see more of this going forward, whether community developed or provided directly by Cloud Engines. If you’re thinking of joining in, I suggest looking at Seagate’s more practical hardware implementation of the Pogoplug experience.
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Given recent changes in the various environments I find myself and an imminent computing hardware realignment, I’ve begun leaning more heavily on the cloud. I’m possibly giving up some security and privacy in exchange for convenience. First, I’ve reactivated Xmarks (formerly Foxmarks) to keep my bookmarks in sync across various platforms and browsers. I’m now also following in Dale’s footsteps by using Evernote to write and clip all sorts of content which can be accessed just about anywhere. And when NetNewsWire recently dropped their RSS feed sync service, I took the opportunity to move back onto Google Reader – I wish there was more visual contrast between read/unread items and I’m still awaiting Snow Leopard Gears support, but the iPhone web implementation is outstanding. Speaking of Google, I expect to lean more heavily on Google Docs to keep documents accessible (and editable, obviously). For larger files, while I’ve minimally accessed their service over the last year, I expect Dropbox will see more usage from me. However, as a former subscriber of MobileMe, SugarSync, Mozy, and others, it’s safe to say all of this is subject to change as service offerings and my needs evolve. And I haven’t entirely given up on Windows Home Server as a comprehensive solution. Give it headless Media Center capabilities, and I’ll revisit WHS in a heartbeat.