This brings me to one of the core features of the Biz unit: multi-user access control. Setting up access for multiple users is simple two step process. You first create an account by entering the user’s email address (which becomes their username), and then, if you would like them to be able to upload files, you can assign access to one or more folders.
The Biz then sends an email to user stating that an account has been created for them, and to follow a link to assign a password to the account. Once you have populated your Pogoplug Address Book with some users, you can begin sharing files with them.
Notifications will be dispatched via an email each time a new file or folder is shared with their user account. There is a security option that requires users to login to view the shared file(s), after which files show up under their Pogoplug account as available to view or download if it’s been allowed.
Another interesting feature is the ability to save email file attachments directly to the Pogoplug. I recently began work on a project with a graphics designer who is technically savvy, but busy like the rest of us. He wanted to send me a file to review while I was traveling.
Normally he would have shared this with me via Dropbox, but decided instead to email me a PDF version. My iPhone can easily view this PDF. But I can’t save it and it stands the chance of getting lost in my inbox. This proved a great time to test this feature, which integrates with the portal located at my.pogoplug.com.
If you have walked through the two-step process of enabling the feature on your Pogoplug beforehand, you can then forward email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The portal will use the email address you forwarded the email from as the rule to route your file attachment.
Email File Upload feature setting
This same methodology is how the new Pogoplug “cloud printing” service works. I could not try cloud printing because I don't have a compatible USB printer. But this thread on pogoplugged.com describes the compatible printers (most HP and Epson printer models released post-2005). Note that cloud printing is available on the $99 Pogoplugs.
The Biz also allows you to customize the my.pogoplug.com web portal experience. Customizable areas include: a changeable logo; the hyperlink the custom logo links to; the main text color; the main background color; the main background image (tiled to screen size); the left sidebar background color; the domain name for the device; and finally the favorite icon (which appears in URL bars in web browsers and is used for bookmark icons).
Any images used will be uploaded to the Pogoplug device’s primary drive, and then can not be renamed or deleted or else it will break that particular section of the user interface. This is the same as any web customizable interface, and provides a nice level of customization that won’t overwhelm someone or require them to understand HTML.
Once you’ve uploaded files, like your logo, they can also be used to customize the HTML email the device sends out when files have been shared or updated. These emails can be further customized as well, but the process might be a little confusing to someone not particularly tech-savvy. Check out the image gallery for shots of the customization and other features.
Pogoplug’s primary support is via an online ticketing system, which is easy enough to use. The support section of the website also includes community forums which are easily searched via Google, and provide useful insight into the inner workings of the device. The support section also hosts the latest “drivers” for mounting the Pogoplug as a drive on your computer and has a number of FAQs and tutorials.
Pogoplug’s security is mostly a function of its simplicity. Since none of your files are stored on Pogoplug’s servers, the requirement for file-level encryption is unnecessary. I do, however, feel that the choice to default to standard, non-encrypted sessions for file browsing is unacceptable.
I recommend the first thing you do during setup is to go to the security settings for the device and enable the “Use full security sessions” checkbox. I’ve noticed no slowdowns on the device because of it, and use of HTTPS encryption gives some more piece of mind. That said, the username and password login process is always encrypted, regardless of that checkbox.
Pogoplug has a native iPhone application that provides decent access. I’m a movie buff, so I tried streaming both SD and HD movies from it, with little to no success, though. This is a little strange as all the movies I have are in H.264 and stream fine to Safari and Chrome. So I would guess the app needs a bit more polishing in that department. Documents opened fine though, along with images.
There are also native Android, Palm, and Blackberry applications for Pogoplug. The Pogoplug will do its best to display Microsoft Office documents correctly in a web browser, which is great for mobile users. Wowever, there isn’t a mobile-optimized version of the web portal, so the best experience will be had from larger devices like the iPad.