Review: Cloud Engines PogoPlug

There are few things more irritating than attempting to remotely access data from your home computer. But how to do it? You could set up a bloated, obtuse solution from a conglomerate like Microsoft. Or you could go the streamlined, headache-free route.

The sleek, non-cranium-busting route, in this case, comes in the form of the PogoPlug. This device, which looks like a supersized AC adapter, plugs into virtually any external hard drive (even a USB stick) and then pumps that content onto the web, letting you access anywhere in the world you can get an internet signal — including your iPhone. (We’ll get to that part later.)

Set up is zippy and simple. We hooked the PogoPlug into our router (via Ethernet), attached a USB hard drive, and set up an account on my.pogoplugTwenty minutes later we were in a café remotely perusing word docs, images and video files. That was it. No wires, no RTFMing and no worries.

Chances are you’re going to want to have a gander at data when you’re on the go and there won’t be a computer around. Got an iPhone? (Of course you do.) You can download the PogoPlug mobile app and peruse your home data using the Jesus device.

But the PogoPlug isn’t without the occasional snafu and annoyances. Only image files are available for preview. PDF, Word documents or even HTML files have to be downloaded before viewing. Worse yet, when we unhooked the device, it caused our PC to crash twice in a row. We’re still not entirely not sure if this was due to a glitch in the PogoPlug or in Windows.

We’re also a little leery about PogoPlug’s security. There’s an HTTPS site available for viewing sensitive files, but it’s not set as the default mode. Our recommendation? Go ahead and have a peek at all the vacay pics, video and Word docs you want. Bank statements, credit card info, Social Security numbers — really, any sensitive documents — are best checked when you get home.

If it weren’t for the lackluster security of the PogoPlug, this device would be nearly perfect. But with the potential holes in the gadget’s armor, we’re really apprehensive about using it to access stuff like our W2. Besides this time of year, who wants to be viewing tax documents and fretting about getting his identity stolen?

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