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Apple's interest in simplified remote computing revealed

post #1 of 31
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Future devices from Apple could allow users to quickly and seamlessly transfer work and personal files from one system and platform to another, allowing any computer to temporarily become a personal computer.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this week published a new patent application from Apple entitled "Mirrored File System." The document describes "recruiter" and "volunteer" machines that would allow certain tasks, and accompanying files, to be quickly delegated to another networked computer.

The application was made public after a rumor earlier this month alleged that Apple is exploring "remote computing" technology in its next-generation iPhone. That report alleged that the inclusion of a near-field communications chip would allow users to securely turn a nearby Mac into their own computer, complete with custom settings and personal passwords.

Apple's new patent application covers much of the same ground, describing a dedicated file system on a recruiter machine that would be shared with a volunteer machine. The volunteer hardware would be able to mount and populate a mirrored version of at least a portion of the recruiter machine's data.

The application offers many reasons as to why this technology would be advantageous to users, but focuses largely on processor-intensive tasks that may need to be offloaded to a secondary computer.

In the described invention, recruiter machines are hardware that need assistance in completing a processor-heavy task. Volunteer machines are then utilized to help finish the job in a more timely fashion.



The document mentions computers that build code bases, and the significant processing resources required to do so. It notes that current distributed build systems offer some improvements to the process, but not enough.

But the system also speaks to Apple's rumored remote computing plans, with volunteer machines accepting tasks and files from another machine. Any work done on the volunteer machine is then sent back to the host once it is completed.

"The root directory is changed to correspond to the mount point or root directory of the dedicated file system for the recruiter machine," the application reads, "so that the processing of the task is performed with respect to that file system."

The application also includes security precautions, ensuring that data is removed from the temporary volunteer machine once the task is completed.

In addition, it describes a system that is "transparent" to the user. Though the files may be accessed from a secondary device, users interact with just one machine to complete their task.

In rumors associated with Apple's next-generation iPhone, the handset would represent the "recruiter," sharing files and delegating tasks to a "volunteer" machine. The use of an RFID near-field communications chip is speculated to offer quick, easy and secure verification with a temporary system, like a Mac.



Using their iPhone, users would be able to quickly activate their custom settings, bookmarks, wallpaper and more. Personal data, like contacts, passwords and software licenses, could also be made available.

Apple has shown great interest in decentralizing the computing experience, as users become even more mobile with devices like the iPhone and iPad. Recent devices, like the new Apple TV and MacBook Air, come with less internal storage as more content is accessed from the cloud.
post #2 of 31
Between that server farm and this, Apple is up to something kinda interesting...
post #3 of 31
Sounds like they are trying to solve an internal/corporate issue that would typically involve lots of freelance workers moving around internally so their IT people don't need to be bothered with the task of setting up workstations to be used with the nomadic workforce.

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post #4 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Using their iPhone, users would be able to quickly activate their custom settings, bookmarks, wallpaper and more. Personal data, like contacts, passwords and software licenses, could also be made available.



Will this work with regular computers, or only with a Mac?
post #5 of 31
Let's see them getting iWork.com out of beta before we trust a lot more of our work to the cloud.

Thank God iWork.com is free for now. It is so difficult to work with that I feel I should be getting paid to use it!
post #6 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve-J View Post

Will this work with regular computers, or only with a Mac?

Gee, I wonder.

Although you should add "or iOS device" to the end.
post #7 of 31
I'm doing this today and right now. it is called Windows Live Mesh.
post #8 of 31
This sounds exactly how Dropbox works, right down to the flowchart diagram.

The only thing Dropbox does that Apple hasnt shown to be doing is the intelligent cloud backups where any files you wish to backup (regardless of the file name) will be compared to their hive DB and shown to have instantly uploaded a file because it already exists on their servers.


Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave View Post

Let's see them getting iWork.com out of beta before we trust a lot more of our work to the cloud.

I dont get how the ability to store and sync data online is dependent on a web-based version of iWork being finalized first
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #9 of 31
I like the idea of "backing up" your entire computer on your portable iOS device.

If you come to another mac, it just reads your iOS device, and voila, your home computer is setup for you.
post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by xSamplex View Post

Between that server farm and this, Apple is up to something kinda interesting...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Sounds like they are trying to solve an internal/corporate issue that would typically involve lots of freelance workers moving around internally so their IT people don't need to be bothered with the task of setting up workstations to be used with the nomadic workforce.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve-J View Post

Will this work with regular computers, or only with a Mac?

Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

Gee, I wonder.

Although you should add "or iOS device" to the end.

This could be the situation where:

1) You grab a vanilla iPad from a stack of iPads

2) You identify yourself: password; id card; credit card; iPhone; voice. face, fingerprint or eye scan

3) The device, instantly, WiFi Downloads your ~/home links

4) you do your thing -- maintaining NFC connection for security

5) data are retrieved, cached and staged, as needed, from the WiFi LAN network/cloud

6) modified data are cached, staged and written, as needed, to the WiFi LAN network/cloud

7) you finish your thing and return the iPad to the stack

8) the iPad vanillacizes itself


The stack of iPads is: a nurses station; a shipping/receiving dock; the counter at the library; the registration desk at a meeting, lecture or class; the waiters station at a restaurant; the entrance to a theme park, campus, shopping mall, supermarket. etc....

... I won't suggest a voting place!

The device, an iPad must be inexpensive, drop-dead simple/intuitive to use, secure -- ubiquitous and expendable.

Interesting that this requires some back office and cloud capability -- ranging from quite simple to fairly complex.

You can bring your own iPad with you -- or just grab one at the entrance/counter.

.
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post #11 of 31
I'm not sure if: a) I'm not getting it or b) you other guys aren't.

To me it's patenting something allong the lines of being able to manipulate your files on say an iMac, using your iPhone or more than likely your iPad or any other "touch-based" input device.

For example: tagging, organizing, and manipulating photos in Aperture or iPhoto... from your iPad, which some people may find easier than a mouse and KB. Takes away the necessity of syncing with iTunes.
Knowing what you are talking about would help you understand why you are so wrong. By "Realistic" - AI Forum Member
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Knowing what you are talking about would help you understand why you are so wrong. By "Realistic" - AI Forum Member
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post #12 of 31
@Dick

Well typing at the same time is NOT allowed, or was considered when I wrote above, "you guys"

Your idea sounds quite interesting... but Apples and vanilla... hmmm... not sure about that tech-wise, but gastronomically speaking, I'll take 2 portions thank you
Knowing what you are talking about would help you understand why you are so wrong. By "Realistic" - AI Forum Member
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Knowing what you are talking about would help you understand why you are so wrong. By "Realistic" - AI Forum Member
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post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post

@Dick

Well typing at the same time is NOT allowed, or was considered when I wrote above, "you guys"

Your idea sounds quite interesting... but Apples and vanilla... hmmm... not sure about that tech-wise, but gastronomically speaking, I'll take 2 portions thank you

The key is that there are many flavors of vanilla!

.
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker."
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"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker."
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post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

This could be the situation where:

1) You grab a vanilla iPad from a stack of iPads

2) You identify yourself: password; id card; credit card; iPhone; voice. face, fingerprint or eye scan

3) The device, instantly, WiFi Downloads your ~/home links

4) you do your thing -- maintaining NFC connection for security

5) data are retrieved, cached and staged, as needed, from the WiFi LAN network/cloud

6) modified data are cached, staged and written, as needed, to the WiFi LAN network/cloud

7) you finish your thing and return the iPad to the stack

8) the iPad vanillacizes itself


The stack of iPads is: a nurses station; a shipping/receiving dock; the counter at the library; the registration desk at a meeting, lecture or class; the waiters station at a restaurant; the entrance to a theme park, campus, shopping mall, supermarket. etc....

... I won't suggest a voting place!

The device, an iPad must be inexpensive, drop-dead simple/intuitive to use, secure -- ubiquitous and expendable.

Interesting that this requires some back office and cloud capability -- ranging from quite simple to fairly complex.

You can bring your own iPad with you -- or just grab one at the entrance/counter.

.

Very nice idea. I've had similar ideas before but not as extensive as this.

Did I just hear someone say iPaper?
post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

The key is that there are many flavors of vanilla!

.

Trouble is, it also makes me think of a rapper, a scandalous lip-syncing duo, and a bad Tom Cruise movie.
post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by FurbiesAndBeans View Post

Very nice idea. I've had similar ideas before but not as extensive as this.

Did I just hear someone say iPaper?


I see your posts and wonder... Please explain the derivation of your forum name!

.
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post #17 of 31
MobileMe?
post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by FurbiesAndBeans View Post

Very nice idea. I've had similar ideas before but not as extensive as this.

Did I just hear someone say iPaper?

I've also wondered. I have two original Furbies (and a Guinea Pig named Furby, named after the iconic toys, who also talks in fun gibberish).
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagman View Post

Trouble is, it also makes me think of a rapper, a scandalous lip-syncing duo, and a bad Tom Cruise movie.

Yeah... all of those! Circa 1989, we were selling our house in Saratoga -- through a Broker that used NeXT computers -- we had 2 young realtor guys that loved that lip-syncing duo and always played their music at open houses (lotsa' open houses).

...Is that you Millie?


Are you still wandering around without an iP4?

.
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post #20 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Yeah... all of those! Circa 1989, we were selling our house in Saratoga -- through a Broker that used NeXT computers -- we had 2 young realtor guys that loved that lip-syncing duo and always played their music at open houses (lotsa' open houses).

...Is that you Millie?


Are you still wandering around without an iP4?

.

Nah - bit the bullet and bought one again. Figured that Steve wasn't going to change anything until iP5, so why wait any longer.? Even got Apple to give me a bumper, but can't stand it, so, I am trying the Zagg edge strips to help with reception (they have two versions, the dry install that ATT uses, and the wet install that they sell online, which includes the edge strips). Can't tell if it helps, but I think it does a little, although I can still get it to stop downloads in certain places around town, just by touching it in the infamous G-spot - oh well, disappointed somewhat, but love all the other aspects of it, as I had from the beginning. Got tired of using the Sloooow 3GS, and the blurrier display (which was the real reason for me biting the bullet, since the retina display makes it worth the price of admission). Now have to worry about dropping it. My 3G and 3GS never had a problem bouncing off the pavement just fine, but you will hear me yelling all the way up in the foothills if I bounce my iP4 anywhere.

There's a reason we abandoned flint glass for use in eyeglasses in the early 80's, which was harder, thinner, but also prone to fracture at the most inopportune times, and we couldn't stand the liability for eye injuries for selling glass anymore, so we only do plastic lenses, which have excellent scratch-resistant properties now (not enough probably for iphone usage, but close). Of course, Apple doesn't use flint glass, but the idea is the same - make it harder, and more scratch resistant, but he forgot that it makes it more brittle, and prone to fracture.

By the way, the wet Zagg edge strips are prone to peeling off easily, so I had to replace them already, and will leave them off the next time they unravel, since they are a pain to install. Ergo, my Zagg dry install films are better, and a harder film than the spongier wet install variety, and are excellent at protecting the glass, except for double-dribbling, etc. The dry install are easier to install, which is why ATT insisted that Zagg only provide them with the dry install version - the wet install films require hours of drying time to fully adhere.
post #21 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

MobileMe?

I think MobileMe or somesuch cloud repository will be part of it.

But, I think that you need something local, with faster-access, say, a WiFi LAN network.

The LAN has local storage that caches and stages files with the cloud. It also has sharable computer processors and apps that do the heavy lifting.

Workstations, if any, are just slim clients -- Mouse, kb, display and little compute power and storage.

The iPad acts as an Agile client -- a little more capable, mobile, instant on, capable of running connected to the LAN or unconnected.

When unconnected, changes are cached on the iPad. Later, when next connected, these are synced with the LAN and the cloud.

Here's an example:

We have a home LAN with a Mini media-server (ServeToMe) and AppleTV.

When we plan a trip we load a few movies, TV shows, home movies on the iPads -- what ever is currently "hot".

While driving, the kids can play games, do creative "art" things, homework (almost never) or watch the movies.

When we get to a place with WiFi, we can stream videos from our home media-server and manually exchange files. You can do this on 3G-- but it is too expensive for anything but short movies.

Automatic OA synching would make this a natural, no-brainer.

.
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post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagman View Post

Nah - bit the bullet and bought one again. Figured that Steve wasn't going to change anything until iP5, so why wait any longer.? Even got Apple to give me a bumper, but can't stand it, so, I am trying the Zagg edge strips to help with reception (they have two versions, the dry install that ATT uses, and the wet install that they sell online, which includes the edge strips). Can't tell if it helps, but I think it does a little, although I can still get it to stop downloads in certain places around town, just by touching it in the infamous G-spot - oh well, disappointed somewhat, but love all the other aspects of it, as I had from the beginning. Got tired of using the Sloooow 3GS, and the blurrier display (which was the real reason for me biting the bullet, since the retina display makes it worth the price of admission). Now have to worry about dropping it. My 3G and 3GS never had a problem bouncing off the pavement just fine, but you will hear me yelling all the way up in the foothills if I bounce my iP4 anywhere.

There's a reason we abandoned flint glass for use in eyeglasses in the early 80's, which was harder, thinner, but also prone to fracture at the most inopportune times, and we couldn't stand the liability for eye injuries for selling glass anymore, so we only do plastic lenses, which have excellent scratch-resistant properties now (not enough probably for iphone usage, but close). Ergo, my Zagg dry install films are excellent at protecting the glass, except for double-dribbling, etc.

My 14-year-old granddaughter had just finished a call on her Mom's 3GS enclosed in a Mophie JuicePack Air hard case. She was dancing around, waving her arms and dropped the phone from about 4 feet onto the kitchen floor. It has been dropped before, with no problems. This time the phone landed flat on its face and cracked the glass (shattered, actually but it stayed in place).

It still works -- with the added benefit that you can file your nails while surfing

I can get repair parts and tools for about $20 -- but we know someone who does repairs. Likely cost less than $100 -- and he knows what he is doing (and has young eyes and fingers).

As to the iP4. I have an Incipio soft case. black, minimalist, non-slippery suede-like finish. I have dropped it several times on the floor without incident. I was planning on replacing this with a Mophie or other case with a battery built in.

However, I find I no longer need the extra battery in the iPhone. I have an iPad WiFi with 3G. Along with the iP4, I take the iPad everywhere. I use the iPad for most of my "connected" activities excluding phone calls and text messages. Apple's iPad case and the Incipio iP4 case look quite similar -- though made from different materials.

Glad you realized that Steve is more stubborn than you, me or any of us


Enjoy!

.
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post #23 of 31
Does anyone have a clue what app they use to make these drawings? I tried OmniGraffle, but I found it to produce lousy output, and it had other severe limitations. So I'm still just hacking it with Adobe Illustrator. I can only assume they are doing the same.
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post #24 of 31
amen for this rumor, this is what we desperately need - seamless file syncing across devices (though few know they do need it).
post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

I can get repair parts and tools for about $20 -- but we know someone who does repairs. Likely cost less than $100 -- and he knows what he is doing (and has young eyes and fingers).

.

I heard it costs a lot less to get the back plate replaced, as compared to the front. Is this so? Does it void your warranty if you get someone other than Apple to replace it?
post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post

Does anyone have a clue what app they use to make these drawings? I tried OmniGraffle, but I found it to produce lousy output, and it had other severe limitations. So I'm still just hacking it with Adobe Illustrator. I can only assume they are doing the same.

Are you reffering to the flow chart or Patent Application Digrams in general? I don't believe there is a specific programme used to make the diagrams (as a whole, since any image base programme will do the trick). On the other hand i did have a freeware "Mind-Map"/"spider diagram" programme a few years back which was pretty decent at flow charts - although I'm afraid I can't remember it's name and I belive it's windows only.
post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

This could be the situation where:

1) You grab a vanilla iPad from a stack of iPads
2) You identify yourself: password; id card; credit card; iPhone; voice. face, fingerprint or eye scan
3) The device, instantly, WiFi Downloads your ~/home links
4) you do your thing -- maintaining NFC connection for security
5) data are retrieved, cached and staged, as needed, from the WiFi LAN network/cloud
6) modified data are cached, staged and written, as needed, to the WiFi LAN network/cloud
7) you finish your thing and return the iPad to the stack
8) the iPad vanillacizes itself

The stack of iPads is: a nurses station; a shipping/receiving dock; the counter at the library; the registration desk at a meeting, lecture or class; the waiters station at a restaurant; the entrance to a theme park, campus, shopping mall, supermarket. etc....

... I won't suggest a voting place!

The device, an iPad must be inexpensive, drop-dead simple/intuitive to use, secure -- ubiquitous and expendable.

Interesting that this requires some back office and cloud capability -- ranging from quite simple to fairly complex.

You can bring your own iPad with you -- or just grab one at the entrance/counter.

I think a "vanilla" iPad would be a good idea. And many companies allow you to log onto any computer and see your own desktop, via storage on file servers, which is similar (just not a tablet). And damn, Apple just killed the Xserve.

I do think Apple has a plan to let anyone log onto ANY Mac or iPad and see all their music, photos, documents, apps. I think that's what the data centre is for, and it'll double as a great backup (you have your data on your Mac AND on MobileMe). And I think that's what you're getting at?

This patent though seems simpler. If I'm using my old crappy iMac, and try to do something a little complicated, it'll try to "recruit" my new iMac across the room and ask it to "volunteer" some processing time and power.

The technology for syncing directories though could be used effectively in several other contexts, and is more interesting than what sounds more like an improved Xgrid.
post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

I see your posts and wonder... Please explain the derivation of your forum name!

.

Hahah, i always get that for some reason

Long story short. Couple of friends. Counter Strike times. Furbies and *insert food here*. I'm Mexican so beans was for me. Friends had names such as "Furbies and Steak", "Furbies and Rice", etc... I guess it just stuck.
post #29 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by FurbiesAndBeans View Post

Hahah, i always get that for some reason

Long story short. Couple of friends. Counter Strike times. Furbies and *insert food here*. I'm Mexican so beans was for me. Friends had names such as "Furbies and Steak", "Furbies and Rice", etc... I guess it just stuck.

I must be dense. You DO mean the toy furbies - right? Or something else?
post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagman View Post

I must be dense. You DO mean the toy furbies - right? Or something else?

Yep, the same ones that are lovely to blow up with firecrackers and do other things to.
post #31 of 31
Future devices from Apple could allow users to quickly and seamlessly transfer work and personal files from one system and platform to another, allowing any computer to temporarily become a personal computer.
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