I recently came across a gadget I think will be useful to remodelers who need to access their “stuff” while away from the office. The Pogoplug (pogoplug.com) is an NAS (network-attached storage) device that lets you access and share digital content stored in your office from any laptop or desktop computer with Internet access. It’s an alternative to online storage or collaboration services, and it’s easier than any kind of a file server you could buy or build.

Pogoplug is actually a little computer and Web server that uses a stripped-down version of Linux as an operating system — just enough to let it get online and serve you the contents of whatever is connected to it.

That idea is nothing new — there are dozens of other products and services (many of them free) you can use to do the same things as Pogoplug — but they’re all less convenient or more complicated, often requiring advanced knowledge of IP networking. Unless you’re tech-oriented yourself, you could wind up paying your “computer guy” more than you’ll spend on a Pogoplug.

Plugged In

Pogoplug is simple, fast, and relatively inexpensive ($129 MSRP, no monthly service charges for the basic operation). Just plug in whatever USB hard drives or thumb drives you have around and go online to register your Pogoplug so it can be located by their system. To access your Pogoplug, you can either log on to your Pogoplug Web page or download and install dedicated client software that allows you to explore your Pogoplug as if it were directly attached to your computer.

Frank J. Borkowski

The downside? Pogoplug is pink. But the more serious worry is that remodelers will think having a Pogoplug with a copy of their data means they can cancel their online backup service. Bad idea. A fire, flood, or electrical storm affecting your data could take your Pogoplug out too if it’s in the same physical place.

—Joe Stoddard is an industry consultant helping remodelers be successful with their technology. Reach him at Twitter, www.twitter.com/moucon, or at jstoddard@mountainconsulting.com.