While most of our gadget purchases tend to be things - pieces of hardware like iPods and smart phones - some of the best new technologies out there are the things that work in between all those other things - accessories that let you get so much more from the technology you currently have. They can replace wires, transmit your data and files between different devices and mediums, and generally make your digital life a whole lot easier.
There are really too many of these go-between devices to cover them all and some are hard to explain, but here are a few items you might want to consider picking up.
The Pogoplug by Cloud Engines
This little gadget previewed on Cnet.com last week and it took me a few views of the review to understand what was going on. Basically it's a big, clunky white thing that you plug into your wall socket that acts as a home-based cloud server for whatever storage device you use - from thumbnail drives to external hard drives to that old PC box you've converted into your home server.
How it works: say you live in a house where everybody works on laptops but you want to share information back and forth between those devices, or you want to be able to access files at home from work or on the road. Get yourself a Pogoplug and plug it into a wall socket, connect to your Internet router with an Ethernet cable, and then connect your external hard drive, memory stick or whatever to the USB. From there you should be able to access that drive from anywhere in the house (or world for that matter) by going to my.pogoplug.com and entering a unique registration code that lets you access your plug from the web.
You can now upload and download data through either your web browser or the client software that comes bundled with the plug, updating your photo album, playing music and video (although Cnet reviewers had trouble with streaming video) and backing up any type of file. It doesn't matter if you're a PC, Mac or Linux guy or a mix of all three.
At first glance this appears to be a cost-effective (around $100) and energy efficient alternative to running a home server, and possibly a better way to connect to the home server you already have.
Check out www.pogoplug.com for more information.
Slingbox by Slingmedia
This isn't a new technology but it's a lot more useful than it used to be and should be part of any TV or movie lover's gadget array.