Would you like to place your family tree information online? How about some old family photographs? Or pictures of your grandchildren? Maybe you are a writer and wish to publish your work. You could even write a blog. Perhaps you would like to place MP3 music files of your barbershop quartet online or make video files available of your last vacation. Maybe your local genealogy society wishes to place information online. Indeed, there are thousands of reasons for making files available on the Internet.
So how do you put your information online? There must be dozens of methods of accomplishing just that at varying levels of complexity. You can upload your genealogy information to any of a dozen or so genealogy sites. You can place pictures of all sorts on photo sharing sites. You can publish pictures and brief text information on FaceBook. You could even purchase an expensive web server and install it in your home or rent space in a professional data center. I am guessing there are dozens of methods of placing information online, at varying levels of expense and complexity.
I believe the simplest method, however, is to use a Pogoplug.
Pogoplug is not much bigger than a cell phone (4" x 2.5" x 2"), has a plastic case, and has three connectors on it: the first connects to your in-home Internet router and the second connects to a wall socket for power. The third connector is for a USB jump drive or external hard drive. Plug in any jump drive or external hard drive with a USB connection and whatever data is on that drive becomes available on the Internet. Period. End of complexity.
If you want to share video files or text files or pictures or music or anything else, simply copy the files to a jump drive or external USB hard drive, plug that drive into the Pogoplug and then connect the Pogoplug to the Internet. You can access the Pogoplug from anyplace. If you give permission to others, they too can access the same files from anyplace on the Internet.
Purchasing disk space on someone else's web server can be expensive. However, jump drives are cheap these days, ranging from $5 for small capacity devices up to $60 or so for 32 gigabyte jump drives. External hard drives with a USB interface can reach a terabyte or more for $100 and even larger capacity drives are available at higher prices. If you have a lot of large files to place online, a Pogoplug may be very cost-effective.
The Pogoplug set-up is very simple. You can be online and running within two or three minutes after unpacking the box. In fact, opening the packaging will probably take longer than the installation!
The Pogoplug configuration has very few options. There is one option to password protect the files. The owner decides whether to make the files available with or without password protection.
At $99, the Pogoplug isn't cheap. You might think it would be cheaper to recycle an old PC or Macintosh lying around and not being used. You could install free web server or file server software on that computer and place your files online for much less than the purchase price of a Pogoplug. However, computers typically require 60 to 200 watts of power when running. The Pogoplug should pay for itself within a year or two in power savings, especially if using a jump drive. A USB hard drive will require a bit more power but will still consume less power than a typical PC or Macintosh system. Building your own web server or file server is also significantly more complex than installing a Pogoplug within a few seconds.
The Pogoplug is a file server, not a web server. You cannot use it to publish interactive web pages. The Pogoplug only allows for copying files across the Internet. All the files from your external hard drive can be viewed or downloaded through any Web browser, with no need to download or install extra software. The Pogoplug is accessible through Windows Explorer and Mac Finder just like any other network drive. It's just like using a drive that is directly connected to your computer, even though the Pogoplug may be located thousands of miles away.
There's even an iPhone application so you can always "phone home" to get your files! You can access all your media from an iPhone, and even send new pictures from your iPhone straight to your home, with a single click.
You can even connect multiple jump drives or hard drives to a Pogoplug by using an inexpensive USB hub.
The Pogoplug is advertised as a file sharing device but I can also envision it being useful as a backup device. You can back up your critical files to it just as you would to any other external drive. You then have the advantage of being able to access those files from the office, or from a laptop in a hotel room, or from an iPhone.
Anyone who occasionally has to send large files, such as video files, will quickly appreciate the low cost storage and file transfer capabilities. Sending a 100 or 200 gigabyte video file can be a challenge. However, copying that file to a Pogoplug device should simplify the task.
I suspect the Pogoplug is going to become very popular. For more information, or to order the Pogoplug online via a safe and secure shopping cart system, go to http://www.pogoplug.com.