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Plug Computers: Access Your Data from Anywhere

Reviewing the TonidoPlug

First, we’ll review the TonidoPlug, which retails for $99. It lets you run the Tonido software and services from a small energy-efficient Plug Computer rather than from your desktop PC. It plugs directly into a wall outlet and measures 4" long, 2.5” wide and 2" deep. The hardware specs (sans storage) sound a lot like a smartphone, since it packs a 1 GHz ARM processor with 512 MB of DDR2 memory and 512 MB of flash storage. The Tonido software is installed on top of the embedded Ubuntu Jaunty Linux OS.

The TonidoPlug has one Gigabit Ethernet port for plugging it into your router for local network and Internet access. The single USB 2.0 port lets you plug in a single external or flash drive, or multiple drives if you have a separate USB hub.

The TonidoPlug features can be accessed via Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, and/or via Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. They also provide apps for the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry platforms.

Here are the apps that come preinstalled:

·         Explorer: Manage files and folders on the drives connected to the TonidoPlug.

·         Backup: Enables backup of files/folders to any remote computer running Tonido.

·         Photos: Easily share photos among other Tonido users.

·         Jukebox: Music player enables streaming to your devices.

·         WebsharePro: Enables sharing of large files directly from your drives.

·         Workspace: Personal Information Manager (PIM) to store contacts, calendars, tasks and files.

·         Torrent: Bittorrent client to manage files transfers.

·         Thots: Private blog or journal to store notes, bookmarks, web clips, and other info.

·         Search: Quickly find files or information on your drives.

There are even more apps available via add-ons from the app store.

Setup went smoothly and we didn’t run into any major problems. Overall I liked the TonidoPlug and found some interesting features. Since the apps run locally on the TonidoPlug, you can still access your drive on your local network when there’s no Internet connection.

We should note that TonidoPlug doesn’t natively support printers. If you need to share a printer through the device, there’s a handy set of instructions on the TonidoPlug discussion forum.