HomePipe Hooks You Up, Sans Cloud Storage

Still not sure about moving all your key documents to the cloud, but still needing to be able to access them from anywhere? Want to collaborate but need to maintain a decent security level?

Enter HomePipe. This very cool, free-for-entry-level application allows instant remote access and file sharing from your main storage computer via any Web browser and pretty much any mobile device. Looking much like a cross between Pogoplug (but no hardware) and Dropbox (but no online storage requirement), HomePipe allows secure access between your Mac, Windows or Linux desktop and your iOS-powered, Android-powered or Windows Phone 7-powered device (apparently a Blackberry app is coming). It feels like Dropbox from the end-user perspective, but it is anything but. The files are still stored on your home or company computer and you can access and share from any other computer or mobile device. The resulting connection acts much like a Virtual Private Network, with the ability to cross firewalls. You can edit documents in-app, but be careful – there are no automatic backups or version control. Audio streaming is also supported, in the event you use HomePipe to make your audio video library available on the go.

Why HomePipe? There are no file size restrictions and you can purchase unlimited connections. Keep your data in-house while you access and share documents, presentations, photos and media. No need to spend money on storage or spend multiple hours uploading, organizing or syncing in the cloud.

HomePipe is free with a 10 use per month limit.  The next tier costs $23 per year with unlimited remote uses and no advertising. The mobile applications are all free. HomePipe is looking to woo enterprise users, with new added security features – you can specify access to shared files, require that users access via secure login and enjoy authenticated and encrypted content access via TLS/SSL.

Nice to see intermediate sharing options for the cloud-phobic.

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On-Line Social Really IS Social!!!

NerdNewsflash: the Internet is NOT making you weird! According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, studies show that people who employ modern methods of communicating via the Web and mobile devices actually have larger and more diverse social networks. You can download a copy of the report of the study here. What are the numbers? From the press release:

“The new findings from the Pew Internet & American Life Project show that, on average, the size of people’s discussion networks – those with whom people discuss important matters– is 12% larger amongst mobile phone users, 9% larger for those who share photos online, and 9% bigger for those who use instant messaging. The diversity of people’s core networks – their closest and most significant confidants – tends to be 25% larger for mobile phone users, 15% larger for basic internet users, and even larger for frequent internet users, those who use instant messaging, and those who share digital photos online.”

The study was directed, in part, at measuring a perceived increased level of social isolation experienced by heavy users of the internet and mobile devices, but found quite the opposite. While “discussion” networks in real life have been shrinking since the mid 1980’s, these networks have been growing for on-line users. There are a number of other semi-startling results that challenge popular opinion as well: on-line use does NOT equate with less involvement in the local community; intenet use is spread equally between long-distance and local communication; internet use actually encourages visits to public places, such as libraries, parks and coffee shops,  – many go to such places to engage on-line, and on-line discussion networks usually include a far wider representative sample of backgrounds and diversity than in real life groups.

In other words, the researchers conclude that your social life is enhanced, rather than hindered, by engagement in on-line communication and activity. Don’t hesitate to enter the on-line fray to expand your discussion groups and influence and increase your value to others.

You can breathe easy now. Internet use does NOT make you weird. But it may not be able to help you if you already are.

Hat tip to Resource Shelf.