.mac Campus for PowerSchool

in Mac Software edited January 2014
[update: renamed and repurposed... see my second post below]

i've been thinking, i don't like having my email address and family photos "held for ransom" as some people say, and i'd like to see more flexibility and "real" internet integration in OS X. do i think .mac is worth $100 a year? sure, for those who want to use Backup and Virex. as for the rest of the package, many people already have most of those services, except WebDAV online storage and iApp integration.

So: what do people think about building an alternative set of server tools (using existing stuff, mostly) and some client-side configuration scripts to offer .mac style integration without requiring a single-source for services?

Here's my plan (sketched out):
  • Server Software

  • Apache with mod_dav (Web hosting and DAV file storage)

  • Photo album scripts (perl/PHP/whatever) with a way to talk to iPhoto

  • QuickTime Streaming Server (for iMovies)

  • Services

  • some central domain name (for those that want it) with redirection -- "jtools.com" or somesuch -- so people could store their webpages on any server and still have an easy to remember address -- allows for multiple sources for the actual services

  • email storage/access (or just forwarding) from that domain name

  • Configuration Tools

  • Scripts or app that allow you to set your iDisk location to a different server and path

  • Scripts or app that allow you to point iPhoto to that new storage space

  • Easy configuration tool for Mail.app

  • Similar stuff for iDisk toolbar button/menu item and other iApps (iCal, iSync, etc.)

maybe some other integration could also be offered, such as iTunes streaming, dynamic DNS integration, VNC, etc. If the package were easily installable, it would be a nice suite for many schools and colleges to lower their bandwidth costs while still providing a good service.

the big advantage is that the "Central server" that manages the primary domain wouldn't have to be very expensive to operate -- it could be a virtual domain on a cheap-but-reliable webhost -- because 90% of what it would be doing is forwarding requests via HTTP and SMTP. 20 forwards a day from all 2.4 million users would only amount to something like 500 megabits of bandwidth.

of course, you'd still have to find a place to do your WebDAV file hosting. but iBackup.com offers 50MB for $30/year, and i imagine it will become more widespread as people see the advantages of distributed storage. does WebDAV support HTTP redirects?

is there any interest in this? how hard would it be to "fool" the iApps into talking to some server other than mac.com? Is it hard-coded, or just in a .plist somewhere?

[ 07-21-2002: Message edited by: netsmiley ]</p>


  • Reply 1 of 3
    pesipesi Posts: 424member
    i think you've already answered your question about the worth of .Mac, even if you didn't intend to.
  • Reply 2 of 3
    I think .Mac is much cheaper than that
  • Reply 3 of 3
    right. well, i do think .mac is worthwhile. i also think that better (less hard-coded) internet integration in OS X is worthwhile. if apple stops providing web services, or i'm behind a restrictive firewall (like in a school district) or at a college with bandwidth limitations, is there a way i can still use the iApps and the one-click iDisk mounting for a complete internet experience?

    so never mind about providing services for disenfranchised itools users; it probably is more expensive than just using .mac.

    perhaps more importantly: how difficult would it be to make an itools-like intranet solution for schools and universities? is this the sort of thing apple might integrate with PowerSchool as a value-add? i know several schools that would want this quite badly if it were available. if i could've had my class, test, and assignment schedules easily synchronized via iCal when i was a high school student (heck, if i had something better than a localtalk network of mac pluses for Bolo) i would've been pretty happy. add to that good document collaboration stuff (there are DAV extensions for checkout and versioning -- does OS X's client support these?) and that abstracted data store that DAV allows (files in a database, file-metaphor access to other database information) and easy network photo serving, and my journalism department would've been incredibly happy. heck, even if the email was internal-only, it would allow a much more useful environment than what exists now in most schools.

    [ 07-21-2002: Message edited by: netsmiley ]</p>
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