Pogoplug provides downloadable clients that will automatically map drives (Windows) or mount volumes (Mac OS) for drives attached to the DockStar. There’s also a client that will provide access to your files on an iPhone, but I didn’t test it. One of the real advantages of using the Pogoplug drive client is that mapped drives will work anywhere. Even if you are traveling and aren’t on your local network, the drives connected to the DockStar will still appear as a mapped drive (XP or Vista) or will be mounted on the Mac desktop. Of course, to have full access to the devices connected to your DockStar, you must log in with the credentials you used to create your Pogoplug account.
I downloaded the clients for both the Mac and PC platforms and installed them. Each client, using my Pogoplug credentials, properly mounted the drives. Windows mounted the drives using ascending drive letters and the Mac OS mounted the drives on the desktop as shown in Figure 7. The client also mounts any other folder that other Pogoplug users may have shared with you.
Figure 7: Pogoplug Mac OS client
Note the Pogoplug drives mounted on the right side of the screen. The preferences box is where you enter your Pogoplug credentials. If you do a “get info” on the drive, you’ll notice that the description says Generic File System (MacFuse).
One of the strengths of the Pogoplug is the simplicity of the browser-based web interface. Figure 8 shows the user interface when I logged in with my sign up credentials. With these credentials, I have full access to all of the folders and files on all attached drives. You can sort files and folders using the drop down options shown. You can also search for photos, music and videos or search by time. This screen also shows you a summary of files/folders shared with others as well as files shared with you.
Figure 8: Web User interface
If you click on a folder containing photos, you’ll see a page of thumbnails displayed. Pogoplug indexes images and creates thumbnails when you first copy the files to the drive. Figure 9 shows the first image on the upper left corner selected. Your options are zoom (magnifying glass), download (down arrow), rename (pencil) or delete (trash can). Other options for different views as well as file copy, new folder, upload and sharing appear at the bottom of the screen.
Figure 9: Photo thumbnails and file management
The “Play” icon, adjacent to the upload button, starts a slide show. A single click on an image enlarges it. And if you hover your mouse cursor over the enlarged image as shown in Figure 10, the slide show control appears. A filmstrip also appears at the bottom with the thumbnail of the current photo highlighted.
Figure 10: Slide show via Pogoplug web interface
Unfortunately, you don’t really have much control over the slide show. You can’t, for example, change the duration of the slide, or associate the images with background music. Nor are there any image editing capabilities – the images have to be ready to publish when you drop them into a directory. Still, for a quick and dirty slide show that you can easily share with your friends, it’s dead simple to setup.
The real magic of Pogoplug lies in its ability to easily share files and folders with others on the Internet (Figure 11). You just select what you want to share, and enter in the email address of the person(s) you want to have access to your files.
Figure 11: Folder sharing
For each person, you can restrict rights to view/download, or grant full access. Each invitee will receive an email with a link that will take them directly to the files/folders. Alternatively, you can choose to make a folder public. If you do, a link will be generated that you can use to paste into emails or put on a web site.