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An idea - Ed's journal
An idea
OK, so what if there was a portable 'thing' that incorporates the basics of a wireless router, and a lightweight webserver?

A portable module, that allowed someone to ... more or less carry their 'profile' with them, but also act as a more flexible peer to peer communication relay - and ideally each of these ... well, thingies should be able to latch onto a 'real' netlink, to serve as a gateway.

You'd end up with something not entirely dissimilar to the early internet, albeit with somewhat less static routes across it, and allow you to ... well, share much of the same things as people are sharing via stuff like twitter and blogs and stuff, but in a proximity oriented domain. Maybe you share some artwork with everyone in the room, or some kind of informational content - perhaps you do this with GPS co-ordinates and a static 'emplacement' that's tagged with a full entry about that picture on the wall.

Oh, and you'd get more flexibility in net access, as you'd be building a daisy-chain of sorts to the nearest public hotspot. Ideally though, you'd have to incorporate something a little more ... tolerant of outage. But hey, once upon at time, stuff like email was a store and forward protocol - mail servers would relay to each other as and when they could, because 'being online' required a modem and a phone line.

Is this awesome?
9 comments or Leave a comment
mcnazgul From: mcnazgul Date: February 25th, 2009 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

because we have the technology

So what you're proposing is something like...

This combined with this and with these for good measure.

So that's a wearable network with 1Tb storage and RFID connectivity to devices. Just add Bluetooth dongle and Linux netbook/phone running ESXi for the win?
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 25th, 2009 07:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: because we have the technology

Pretty much, yep. I mean, the tech exists. It's not quite as fully fledged as it might be, but all the stuff is there.

Is there some reason why no one as done this yet?
xarrion From: xarrion Date: February 25th, 2009 07:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: because we have the technology


Not exactly what I wanted, but the Gadget Show site is a bit pants. Last year he did much the same as the above link, but using a laptop.

That said, popsci does have some interesting Wifi articles:

Edited at 2009-02-25 07:21 pm (UTC)
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 25th, 2009 07:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: because we have the technology

Close, but still too bulky. I'm thinking 'mobile phone' sort of size. Hell, maybe even using a mobile phone (shock) as increasingly more of them are carrying wi-fi.
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sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 25th, 2009 11:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: because we have the technology

Well, my current phone has a GPS built in. The latest William Gibson book (Spook Country) has some notion of 'geotagged art' - essentially a Wireless router that broadcasts a superposition of 3d artwork on a geographical location, that figure out what you should 'see' from your GPS position (and uses the local wi-fi as the way to deliver the bandwidth great than roaming 3g or whatever)

In many ways I like the idea of starting a company, but things like this... well, they do often tend to 'crash and burn' - if you don't get the uptake, or the right pricepoint, they just don't catch on - and you need to attract the large stampeding herd, as with any sort of 'social network'.

Might be easier to build as a phone module of some kind, but it really does need to be as idiot proof as possible - the reason facebook is way bigger than LJ is mostly because you don't have to have the faintest clue what you're doing ot use it :)
queex From: queex Date: February 25th, 2009 08:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
The only potential pitfall is the level of trust you put in your peers with this system. Certainly, anything secure should be avoided, but anything could be compromised to a greater or lesser extent, even if just for mischief. Then there's the dreadful idea that commercial interests might set these up in populated areas to insert ads into whatever you're viewing.
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sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 25th, 2009 11:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
there's issues, but I can't see how having your e.g. facebook page on a portable is any more of a privacy violation than having it on facebook itself.
Well, barring I guess that you'd _know_ that that person next to you had that information in the public domain.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 25th, 2009 11:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
True enough. But distributed peers are a stable of the internet anyway, and solutions exist. I was mostly thinking in terms of a lightweight webserver and TCP/IP routing daemon and gateway.

Biggest abuse would be maybe from bandwidth hogging I reckon.
mcnazgul From: mcnazgul Date: February 27th, 2009 12:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Move to Singapore or Korea - they have bandwidth we only dream of.

IIRC, there was a plan to introduce solar-powered Wifi relays in street lamps in Africa. While we probably would be better served by wind power or combined wind/solar power, I can see where this would be of benefit. Ah but the council tax implications would put people off wouldn't it?

Mind you, the price for a data centre just dropped big time - imagine a package consisting of a cable link, an open WiFi router, a power strip with SheevaPlugs and some attached terabyte book drives with Cat5e.

So who knows? Maybe the infrastructure is there after all...
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