.Mac like service

Alexey Feldgendler alexey at feldgendler.ru
Wed Apr 30 11:16:18 CEST 2008

On Wed, 30 Apr 2008 02:54:08 +0200, Shawn Rutledge  
<shawn.t.rutledge at gmail.com> wrote:

>>  my list starts with:
>>  *backing up phone settings, including list of installed packages (in
>>  case i need to re-install everything)
>>  *backing up e-mails/text messages
>>  *storing gps coords in case the phone's stolen/lost
>>  *backup/storage of any other arbitrary files

> You would want it to be a commercial service like .mac, with a
> subscription fee and guaranteed reliable service, and use GPRS to
> access it?  Or you would want to just do that stuff with your own PC?

The difference between an open technology and a closed one is that while  
Apple is the only one who runs a .Mac server, anyone can run a server in  
an open technology. Someone can install software based on open standards  
and run a server, and even charge for its use if they like. Don't like  
paying for it? Set up your own!

I believe that an open standards based server solution for assisting  
mobile phone features should be created. The most important thing here is  
that the data formats and protocols are open, so that anyone can implement  
a client or a server. There are several proprietary services with their  
closed data formats out there, but no really open one, as far as I know.  
Developing a consistent and comprehensive specification is an immensely  
important step.

I would define the scope of the technology as “sycnhronization, backup and  
remote control for mobile devices”. Here is a very vague, draft list of  

* Allow backup and incremental synchronization of typical data items  
stored on mobile devices:
     * SMS/IM histories
     * last dialled/received calls
     * contact lists
     * browser bookmarks, histories and cookies
     * calendar events
     * various account information (GPRS, HTTP proxy, email, IM)
     * stored certificates
     * global preferences like language, time zone, visual theme
     * software-specific settings
     * user documents
     * information about installed downloadable addons
* As much as possible should be synchronizable across devices and software  
* Leverage existing open standards wherever possible, e.g. use vCard for  
contact information.
* Provide automatic conflict resolution.
* Be bandwidth-efficient.
* Survive long periods without connectivity and synchronize reasonably  
* Don't insist on complete synchronization before parts of data become  
* Be secure so that even passwords and certificates can be trusted to it.
* Do not require server-initiated activity because it's often impossible,  
i.e. rely on pull only.
* Allow for interchangeable transport layers to make use of various  
connectivity options available on devices:
     * HTTP
     * various serial port-like connections like IR and BT
     * maybe offline synchronization via memory card
* Allow automatic offloading of data that's typically moved from device to  
     * pictures, video and audio recordings
     * various logs
* Probably allow sharing or publishing parts of user's data.
* Provide remote control and reporting infrastructure that allows:
     * upgrades of device software
     * activation of special modes on lost/stolen devices and obtaining  
information from them
* Transparent expansion of device's storage, e.g. the user can continue  
taking pictures without thinking about where they go, and the older ones  
are pushed off to the server.

Alexey Feldgendler <alexey at feldgendler.ru>
[ICQ: 115226275] http://feldgendler.livejournal.com

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