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The Tiny Hackable Linux Pogoplug Pro

Installation and Setup

February 3, 2011

The CloudEngines line of tiny Pogoplug plug computers are fully-hackable little Linux servers. Paul Ferrill shows us what the Pogoplug Pro can do, and how to use it.

The Pogoplug Pro is one of three plug-computer devices offered from CloudEngines. It is the only one of the three to include built-in WiFi. In all other aspects it's virtually identical to the original Pogoplug with the exception of color (black for the Pro, pink for the original). Simplicity is the theme for all Pogoplugs coupled with easy access. CloudEngines includes their My.Pogoplug.com service to provide access to your Pogoplug device from any desktop computer (Linux, Mac OS X and Windows) and a wide range of mobile devices (Android, Blackberry, iPad and iPhone ).

<em>figure 1</em>
figure 1

In addition to WiFi, there's a wired Ethernet port and four USB ports. You can connect up to four external USB drives, or more if you use a USB hub. The connections are USB 2.0 so you will have to live with the slower access speeds. Wifi support includes 802.11 b/g/n. While there is no dedicated backup application, you can automate the process using rsync on Linux. Best of all, the device has a retail price of $99, although you can find it for much less if you search around a bit.

Installation and Setup

Getting the Pogoplug Pro installed requires two things besides the device itself--at least one USB hard drive and an active connection to the Internet. All configuration and management of Pogoplug devices happens through the My.Pogoplug.com service. Pogoplug devices support multiple disk formats including EXT-2/EXT-3, Mac OS X Extended Journaled and non-Journaled (HFS+), and FAT32/NTFS. Your disk drive does need to be formatted in one of the supported file systems before you connect it to the Pogoplug. Any files on the drive will be indexed and presented on the My.Pogoplug.com website.

Connecting to the Internet is required to initialize the Pogoplug Pro. It will also work through a WiFi connection as long as you have DHCP enabled and it can connect to the Pogoplug service. The first thing it does is check for software updates and immediately downloads and installs them. You should see the LED on the front panel turn green once the connection has been made and firmware updated. At this point you must activate the device on the my.pogoplug.com site. After a short registration process you should see your attached USB drive and any content that was already loaded.

While you can get to everything on the attached USB drive through the web interface, CloudEngines also offers native client applications for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. Once installed, the Pogoplug appears as an available device from your favorite file browser. Moving files to the Pogoplug from any accessible device then becomes a simple drag-and-drop operation. You will need to execute a few command line instructions to get the Pogoplug client installed on Linux. These instructions come from the pogoplugged site and apply to both Ubuntu 9.04 and 10.04:

Step 1: Download either the 32- or 64-bit pogoplugfs binary file from the download site.

Step 2: Make sure you have FUSE installed on your system. Use Synaptic Package Manager and search for fuse.

Step3: In a terminal window type the following three commands:

sudo usermod -a -G fuse $(id -u -n)
sudo mkdir /media/pogoplug
sudo chown root:fuse /media/pogoplug
sudo chmod 0775 /media/pogoplug

Step 4: Execute the pogoplug app from a terminal window as follows:

./pogoplugfs --user YOUREMAIL --password YOURPASSWORD --mountpoint /media/pogoplug

At this point you should see a drive icon on your desktop labeled pogoplug.