Print From Anywhere With Pogoplug

When I arrived at my house in Homer, I hadn’t been here for two years.  It took me one phone call to get Internet (DSL) working again (ACS had to reset my password) and within about 15 minutes everything was working just fine.  Except I couldn’t print.  I have an old HP 3330 with a JetDirect USB to Internet print server.  The printer doesn’t have many miles on it – I’ve only used it for a total of about three cumulative months.  It took me about thirty minutes to fight through all the nonsense of the Internet to figure out how to set it up as a print server for my new Mac (which I’ve never used with it before) and for Amy’s Windows 7 computer.  It turns out that nothing really works except hard wiring its IP address into our printer setup.  Um – yeah – that’s obvious – especially for someone who doesn’t know what an IP address is.

We had a Pogoplug board meeting at our office two weeks ago.  For each company we invest in, we try to have a board meeting with all four Foundry Group partners attending at least once a year.  This was our “group Pogoplug board meeting” (although I missed the best part – which is the dinner the night before – because I participated in Governors VC Roundtable at the Governors Mansion.)

At the board meeting, Daniel, Jeb, Brad, and Smitty (actually, mostly Jeb) showed off the new Pogoplug “print anywhere” function.  They printed a document from an iPad to an Epson printer. Boom – paper came out of the printer.  The Pogoplug had two things connected to it – the Epson printer (via a USB port) and our network (via a 10BaseT connection).  The iPad was connected to the AT&T 3G network.  Did I mention that they printed a document via the iPad?  When was the last time you saw someone do that?  Yeah, it could have been a web page via an iPhone also.

My immediate thought was how cool it would be to start printing porn on my partner Ryan’s printer connected via Pogoplug since he’d shared his Pogoplug-connected hard drive with me and would probably share his printer also.  But then I undermined my evil plot by mentioning the idea. Oops.

If you already have a Pogoplug, this will be a simple free software update coming later this summer.  If you don’t have a Pogoplug, seriously, why not?  The thing is magic.

  • But Pogoplug needs to hire some marketing talent. Obviously, have created an incredibly useful widget. I enjoyed the story about your Dad finding them at CES and putting it to use. BUT… they haven't clearly stated exactly what the h__ it does, in a way that the masses can understand – or even me, a high-tech gadget, computer networking, Web, and Wi-Fi guy.

    I thought at first it was a device that uses AC Powerline carrier in order for PC's to reach the USB-attached printer. Then i thought, is this thing like an Apple Time Capsule? Anyway, if it confuses me, then you can bet it will never become a mass-market product until they can communicate in a simple way, exactly what utility it provides!

    Great product, i'm sure.

    • Hi Steve,

      I'm Jeff from Pogoplug. I started in November '09 in a sales/marketing role : )

      The original website did not have much concise messaging and in Decemeber we made some changes. Just yesterday we revamped the site again and there are 4 short movies on the front of the site and a new Learning Center where we do product tutorials. Hopefully you will agree we are getting better but we'll never be done refining and tweaking a concise message from such a 'large' product scope.

      More than anything though I welcome your direct feedback (good or bad) anytime:

      Jeff Fochtman

      • Hey Jeff, well six months isn't long enough to judge anyone's marketing work. And hey, you guys have an investment from Foundry Group!

        I will watch the tutorials and check out the learning center.

        Given that I haven't seen that, to my mind, what was missing is an "elevator speech", byline, or diagram/declartion which clearly conveys exactly what problem the Pogoplug solves. An elevator speech that even my 85 year-old Mother (who's pretty tech savvy) in Kansas can understand, so she'll run out and buy it – not just Brad's Dad, or the Technorati – people like Brad, Vikas Reddy, etc.

        What would PC Magazine say in the first paragraph, after using and reviewing your product? What problem does it solve? And how?

        I am sure it will be simple for me to understand where your product fits, and where i can recommend it once I understand your product architecture and the technology, interfaces, and features. But 99% of consumers will never get "there", right?

  • Chaim Yankel

    pretty sure a mac could accomplish this w/o any added software…

  • I bought my Pogo several months ago and had my best "showing it off" moment this evening.

    I'm traveling to my parents in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I showed my dad pictures from his trip to NYC last month that I haven't put online yet by pulling them up via my iTouch and the installed Pogo Plug app…..he just laughed and said "I have no idea how you just did that!!"

    I think Pogo should have a place on their web page for stories like this….it would be hilarious to see what bubbles up.

  • I have never used Pogoplug before but it seems like a good idea. I will look into it.