Public Online Services : Facebook, Twitter, Google & others
Personal Cloud: Tonido pioneers the new paradigm of personal cloud which allows users to store data locally but share globally!
Whenever tech blogs raise hue and cry that the world is coming to an end because GMail and Google Apps are down , you can write a comment in Techcrunch saying:
I never trust these service. I use Tonido instead. Good luck Fellas
You will get the admiration of your fellow geeks and gals :).
When your fellow internet users & celebrities are pissed of with Facebook’s new privacy escapade, You can shout from the hilltop saying:
I told you so!!! You know what, I use Tonido applications to share photos and documents with my friends and family.
You will instantly become an internet celebrity.
When the twitter goes to its periodic shut down mode, you can sleep peacefully that your tweets are safe in your Tonido Thots.
When your online backup service fails to backup your files next time, you will be glad that you have used Tonido Backup to backup you files without paying a single penny.
When your blog goes down with wordpress.com you can be unperturbed because you use Tonido Thots to keep your personal blog.
In summary, if you use Tonido you will experience online freedom, become independent, and live happily ever after, because with Tonido you control your personal data not others :).
What is personal cloud computing?
Let me start with asking the obvious question: What is personal cloud computing? To better understand this concept let’s use the following metaphor: Wallet vs Bank.
Like most people, I have a bank account, and my bank manages my savings, payments, retirement funds, and so on. Basically, the bank offers an advanced functionality which would be impossible or impractical for an individual user to replicate. Moreover, it offers convenience by hiding the complexity of financial operations from the end user. In other words, I don’t have to be an investment guru in order to manage my retirement funds — the bank’s experts do that for me and explain the process in terms I can understand.
But there are also disadvantages of “hosting” your money with a bank. Firstly, there is the issue of privacy: bank employees have access to your financial data, and so have tax authorities. You have no full control over what the bank does with your money either: you rely on the bank’s investment experts to manage your retirement funds, and you have no control over how and where they invest your money. For example, imagine the surprise of some customers of one of the banks in Denmark when they recently discovered that some of their retirement funds were invested into the defense industry and factories producing land mines.
But being a bank customer doesn’t preclude me from having a wallet. The wallet has several advantages compared to the bank. The key among them are availability, complete control, and privacy. My wallet is always with me, so I don’t have to find a bank or ATM every time I need to make a purchase. I’m also in full control of the money in my wallet: I can use the money any way I like, no matter how unwise it may be. But more importantly, the wallet offers complete privacy: no one knows what I have in my wallet, unless I choose to share this with the world or a select group of people. In addition to that, I can also use my wallet for other tasks: I can use it to keep photos, store business cards, and save receipts.
Again, banks and wallets are not mutually exclusive, and depending on the situation, I choose the most suitable solution. When I want to buy a book or a sandwich, I’d most likely use my wallet (or rather cash or a card stored in my wallet). But I’ll use my bank for more complex financial operations.
Of course, I’m oversimplifying things a bit, but the “wallet vs bank” metaphor can be used to define the concept of personal cloud computing.
A case for Personal Cloud Computing
Let’s start with the conventional cloud-based services. I’m sure that everyone in the audience is using some sort of cloud-based service and is pretty much aware of its advantages and drawbacks. But let’s take a quick look at them through the prism of the “wallet vs bank” metaphor. Obviously, the cloud-based applications and services are the “banks.” They offer advanced features and hide the complexity from the end user. A typical cloud-based service offers functionality and convenience at a reasonable price and even free of charge.
But even when you use a service free of charge, there is a price to pay. For starters, you entrust your data to the service provider, losing complete control over it in the process. Lack of customization is another serious issue with the traditional cloud-based services. While you can tweak a few odd settings, usually you can’t add or modify features offered by the service. In other words, you have limited control not only over your own data but also over the service’s functionality. But, the most serious issue of all is the fact that the cloud-based service is only as good as its weakest link, and in this case it’s the Internet connection. The promise of a pervasive always-on reliable Internet connection still remains just that — a promise. And even if you can gain Internet access, there can be other factors that may prevent you from using it –like price, for example. When abroad, you can use your smart phone for tethering, but you wouldn’t do that anyway due to exorbitant roaming charges.
So to sum up: Like a bank, a conventional cloud-based service offers advanced functionality and convenience, but provides only limited control and availability.
Personal Cloud = Wallet
This is where the personal cloud platform comes into the picture. A personal cloud server shares a lot of similarities with the wallet: it’s simple, it’s always with you (or you can access it at any time), and it offers a range of task-oriented applications. With a personal cloud server you retain full control of your data and you are free to tweak the available functionality to your liking.
At this point you might be thinking “Is personal cloud platform just a fancy name for the home server in my closet?” Well, not exactly. A conventional server usually runs a number of servers such as Apache, MySQL, Samba, and so on. And you use them to build solutions for specific tasks like backup, file sharing, Web server, etc. The personal cloud server, in turn, provides a tightly-integrated bundle of applications and services designed for specific tasks. So the basic characteristics of a personal cloud server include the following:
- * Ease of use (which includes simplified deployment and maintenance) and portability
* Instant availability (you can access the server via a direct cable connection, over the local network, and the Internet)
* Subset of functionality (e.g., a simple blog engine to maintain a personal blog instead of a full-blow blog application like WordPress)
* Absolute privacy (you, and only you, have full control over who has access to your content)
* Complete control of the software and data
The Tonido software(http://www.tonido.com) and the TonidoPlug device provide a practical implementation of the personal cloud server concept. But before we get to the specifics of both products let’s take a brief look at Tonido’s overall architecture.
It can be represented as a three-layered cake. The operating system is the bottom layer. Tonido software runs on a variety of Linux distros (including Ubuntu, Fedora, and openSUSE) as well as Windows and Mac OS X. In case of TonidoPlug, the OS layer is a trimmed version of Ubuntu 9.04. On top of the OS layer sits the Tonido framework which powers the Tonido applications.
The Tonido stack is based on the P2P technology, so all Tonido instances are coordinated via the Tonido servers. The servers store only unique user ID which you specify when creating a profile with your Tonido installation. This also means that other users must also have Tonido instances running on their machine if they want to collaborate with you and each other as well as access some shared data. However, Tonido also lets you share content over the Web. The bundled blog engine, for example, allows you to publish a personal blog, you can share files over the Web, and you can instantly create Web-based photo albums.
When you log in to Tonido, you are dropped into a simple interface which lists all available applications grouped by their type. From here you can quickly jump to your blog, stream music, switch to sharing options, and perform other tasks. The advanced view acts as a dashboard which provides quick access to all Tonido’s modules and features.
In order to collaborate and share data with other users, Tonido must be populated with groups and users. Once the group is created, you have the option to send group invites. If the user you want to invite is already in your contacts list, you can create an invite using his or her Tonido ID. Otherwise you can send the invite using the good old email. If you choose the latter approach, the recipient receives an invitation message containing a unique token. The recipient then has to install Tonido and accept the invitation using the token. This creates a secure peer-to-peer connection between two Tonido instances and automatically adds the joined user to your Tonido contacts.
The current version of Tonido ships with several handy applications, including Jukebox, Photos, Thots, Webshare, and Workspace.
Tonido Jukebox – Ultra simple web based music player
Using Jukebox, you can access and manage your music files as well as grant other users access to your music collection. The application lets you create custom playlists, and it sports a few default dynamic playlists which give you quick access to recently added and the most popular tracks. You can use the built-in Tag Editor to edit each track’s information, while the EXT button allows you to open the current playlist in an external player application. Jukebox doesn’t allow you to share your music files with other users, but you can create a guest account which lets other users to access your music collection.
Tonido Photos – Simple Photo sharing tool without uploading
As you might have guessed, the Photos application lets you share and exchange photos with other Tonido users. Sharing your snaps using Photos is easy. Add a directory containing photos to the application, choose the group you want to share the photos with, and Tonido automatically pushes your photos to all users in the selected group, and all photos shared by other users appear in your Photos application. All shared photos are actually copied and stored on your machine, so you can view them even if the user who shares them is offline. Similar to Flickr and other photosharing services, Photos lets you tag, rate, and comment photos as well as mark them as your favorites. Using the commands in the navigation bar to the left, you can view photos by tags, ratings, and users. You can also quickly view the most recent photos as well as photos in a specific group.
Tonido Thots – Simple, Personal Journal
You can use Tonido to maintain a simple blog courtesy of the Thots application. This no-frills blogging application does have a few nifty uses. It seamlessly integrates with your Twitter account, so you can push blog posts (or thots) on Twitter. Using the supplied ClipThots extension for Firefox, you can use your Thots blog as a place for storing and sharing interesting links and text snippets. When submitting a blog post, you have an option to make it public, which publishes the blog post on the Web. The blog can then be accessed using its public URL. The blog application also supports the XML-RPC interface, so you can manage your blog using a third-party client.
Tonido Webshare – Easy to use web-based File Server
The Webshare application is designed to take care of all your file sharing needs. Using it, you can give users access to specific directories and files on your machine. Sharing a directory with the world requires just a few simple steps. Press the Share Files button to select the directory you want to share and specify the share’s name and description. Once the share is configured, you have to add the users who will have access to the shared directory. You can then email the users a direct link to the share, and they can access and download files via a browser. You can also make the share public by enabling the Allow Everyone option. The Share Photos button lets you create instant photo albums which you can choose to share only with specific users and groups or publish them on the Web. Tonido also offers another, more straightforward, way to share files and directories using the Explorer file manager. Press the Share button next to the file or directory you want to share, and Tonido instantly turns it into a public share.
Tonido Workspace – Peer-2-Peer, Instant Collaboration Tool
Finally, the Workspace application can help you to collaborate with other Tonido users. The application offers pretty much everything you need to manage schedules, tasks, contacts, notes, and files. The application allows you to create as many workspaces as you need, so you can set a separate workspace for each workgroup or project. Creating a workspace is as easy as creating a group. In fact, Tonido even allows you to turn any existing group into a workspace with a few mouse clicks. The modules of the Workspace application sport some clever features designed to make your work easier and more efficient. The Calendar module, for example, lets you import events from an iCal file, and if you ticked the Enable Public Display check box when creating the workspace, the calendar is automatically published on the Web.
Using the Print button, you can print your calendar as a nicely-formatted agenda. The Tasks module lets you specify a due date and priority for each task as well as assign tasks to users. Using the Filter button, you can quickly view tasks matching certain criteria such as Priority, Assigned to, Due Date, etc. The Notes module offers graphical editing tools, making it easier to create richly formatted notes. The Timeline feature provides a quick overview of all workspace activity, so you can stay abreast of what other users do. As the name suggests, the Files section lets you upload files and documents to a specific workspace. Once the document has been uploaded, you can add tags, comments, notes, tasks, and events to it. But the clever part is that each added item also appears in the appropriate section of the workspace. For example, if you attach an event to the file, the event also appears in the Calendar.
The Tonido bundle contains a few other handy applications, including a torrent manager, personal finance manager, and a backup tool. The latter allows you to easily back up data on your machine to another Tonido instance. The Apps section in Tonido lets you manage the existing applications (you can update, suspend, and uninstall them), install new apps, as well as access Tonido’s own App Store. The ability to extend Tonido by installing additional applications is a key feature of the Tonido platform. CodeLathe, the company behind Tonido, provides a Tonido SDK and developer documentation to help you to get started with developing Tonido apps. Developers can then register and sell their creations via the Tonido Store. In other words, Tonido uses the same app store model that works so well for Apple and Google.
TonidoPlug – Personal Cloud Device
Finally, let’s take a brief look at the TonidoPlug device. It’s powered by an embedded Marvell Sheeva CPU core running at 1.2GHz backed up by 512MB DDR2 RAM and a 512MB flash disk. TonidoPlug runs Ubuntu 9.04. The device sports an Ethernet jack for network connectivity and a single USB port. The default 512MB storage can be expanded by plugging a USB stick or a USB hard disk into TonidoPlug. As soon as you do that, TonidoPlug automatically detects the connected storage device, and you can use it right away. Better yet, TonidoPlug makes the storage device available on the network, so you can use the server as a simple NAS solution.
Note: The above topic was presented in LinuxTag 2010 Conference by Dmitri Popov.
The TonidoPlug was a great little device with great software. It ran Linux and let you customize it every step of the way. Then came the LAMP image – a simple way to run a full LAMP stack on the inexpensive computer. It was meant for easy, instant access to a fully-configured web suite.
Both of these images contain the entire LAMP stack (Apache, MySQL, PHP, Webmin, and Tonido), but also include ready-to-use Drupal or WordPress installations. There is absolutely no configuration or installation (besides extracting the image to a USB drive 1GB or larger). Just plug in the USB drive to your TonidoPlug and you’ve got a fully-customizable content management system at your fingertips and in single-digit watt usage.
A few months back, I was explaining to someone in a mixer event about TonidoPlug and the convenience that it offers to consumers. The person (may be a self proclaimed tech guru), whom I was explaining to, said “people don’t care about convenience. You should focus on a fist pounding need.”. His conviction started make me believe what he said might be correct. However, when I got back home, I realized how wrong he was.
Let us take an example. One night in 1949, when Frank McNamara finished his dinner in a restaurant, he realized that he didn’t have enough money to pay the bill. He starting thinking ‘is there a simpler way to carry cash?’ and went on to invent Diner card, which was the first step towards credit cards. In 1940s, no one complained about carrying cash and no one was pounding their fist to find an alternative for money.
Credit card was born out of convenience. Would commerce have grown across globe without credit cards? I doubt ecommerce would have been possible without invention of credit cards. In 1950s and 60s, no one would have imagined how credit cards will revolutionize shopping and will enable consumers to buy things without actually visiting stores.
I’m pretty sure that when wheels were invented, not everyone in the tribe was working feverishly on the problem of solving for a wheel. Probably, a smart lazy guy thought “why should I carry all these things? How can I make my life easier? Can’t I push things by placing them on top of logs?” thus wheels were invented. Wheels were born out of convenience and unknowingly pushed human race ahead.
Inventions that are born out of necessity fill a small immediate need and can’t be transformational. On the other hand, inventions driven by convenience revolutionize the world and opens doors for possibilities that can’t be imagined currently. If I extend this argument one step further, laziness drives people look for ways to make things convenient. Hence we owe all the growth not to people who were aggressive and zealous but to people who were lazy and were trying to make their life easier.
Similar to Dos Equis commercial, my comments are “Stay lazy, my friends. Unknowingly we are changing the world!!”
With Tonido it is very simple. You can share photos with your friends and family directly from your desktop without worrying about your privacy and online freedom.
See the video below to know more:
TonidoPlug converts a hard-disk drive to an advanced NAS device. Users will not only be able to access the disk over the internet, but also can access the data using the powerful Tonido application suite. The only way to attach storage to TonidoPlug is using a USB 2.0 enabled external disk. Standard 3.5” or 2.5” disks can be attached to TonidoPlug using specialized enclosures.
Recently we got a chance to try out the the ICY DOCK MB561US-4S-1 enclosure with TonidoPlug. ICY DOCK is one of the top disk drive enclosure manufacturers and they specialize in providing a full spectrum of enclosures utilizing various interface technologies such as eSATA, USB 2.0 etc.
The ICY DOCK enclosure was extremely well packaged and comes with power cable, 1 eSATA cable, 1 USB 2.0 cable and some screws to attach the hard disk. The device looks very good with the aluminum and white plastic body. The enclosure can support upto four 3.5” SATA I/II diskdrives. The drive bays are easy to remove and attaching hard disk is a snap. The ICY DOCK sports a detachable 80mm multi-speed fan to keep the disk drives cool. This enclosure support USB 2.0 and the much faster eSATA interface to connect to the host computer.
At this time TonidoPlug only supports USB 2.0 interface and therefore we will be testing the ICY DOCK with only the USB 2.0 interface.
Two disks tested with ICY DOCK. The first disk is the 1 TB Western Digital’s Caviar Black Edition (7200 RPM, 32MB cache) and the second disk is 1 TB Hitachi Deskstar (7200 RPM, 32MB cache). Both disks were formatted to ext3 filesystem.
We began our testing by attaching the Western Digital disk to the top bay and the rest of drive bays were left empty. The ICY DOCK enclosure was attached to TonidoPlug using the supplied USB 2.0 cable. The drive was detected by the enclosure and TonidoPlug detected the disk and mounted it on /media/disk1part1 directory without any problem.
We then proceeded to test the hot plug functions. We attached the Hitachi Deskstar disk to the second bay. This resulted in TonidoPlug detecting USB unplug event followed by a USB plug event and both the disks were mounted as expected in /media/disk1part1 and /media/disk2part1 directories.
We tested various configurations with the disk and the ICY DOCK performed flawlessly in all configurations.
A quick test using the hdparm utility indicated a healthy 30 MB/s for disk reads on both the disks which is great for a embedded processor based system like TonidoPlug. Both the disks were relatively warm when the fan speed was set to Auto. Once the fan speed was set to high, the disk temperature was brought down closer to the ambient temperature.
ICY DOCK delivers its promise on providing a simple, easy to use, multi drive enclosures that supports hotswapping of harddisks. The supplied eSATA interface makes it future proof as well since it can be connected to computers equipped with the much faster eSATA port (supports hot swapping) as well. Its ease of use combined with the good looks makes it a great addition to any Tonido warrior’s arsenal!
We would like to thank ICY DOCK for providing us with the enclosure to test.
With Tonido 1-Click-Share, It is just ONE CLICK.
File Sharing can’t get any simpler than that. Unless you magically transport files using telepathy.
See the Video below to see Tonido 1-Click-Share in action:
A new release is now available. Here are the major highlights:
Tonido Backup has been fully revamped. This is backwards incompatible. So note that existing Backup Records will all disappear and you will need to recreate them from scratch.
- Support for local folder backup: Now you can backup all your files & folders locally in addition to remote backup.
- Significantly faster in detecting changed files to perform backup (For example, in my system, file changes in a folder containing 55000 files is detected in about 2 minutes)
- Ability to stop backup activity (and restart will resume backup from the point where the backup was stopped)
- Simplified backup record creation
- Improved details of the backup activity displayed in UI (File being transferred, size remaining, number of files remaining etc)
Expanded Music Format Support for Jukebox
Tonido Jukebox now adds support for the following formats FLAC, AAC, M4A, OGG, WMA in addition to existing mp3s.
iPhone playback support for Jukebox Playlists
This is big. It is now possible to stream your playlist songs to your iPhone. Simply visit the iPhone/Mobile UI and you will now see an additional ‘Jukebox’ section and selecting that will list available playlists for you to start playing. You can even change your streaming music quality. Depending upon your upload bandwidth, this might or might not play smoothly.
Unified Guest View
Simplify sharing by providing a single URL to guest users. http://john.tonidoid.com/guest will allow your guests to login and see all the content shared with them.
Default Mount as Local Drive
You can now mount your computer’s file system as a local drive without needing to setup a share first in WebsharePro. You still need WebsharePro if you want to provide guest users access to specific parts of your filesystem. But for your own access, you just set up a local drive by using your
- URL (http://john.tonidoid.com/)
- Tonido Username (john) and
- Tonido Password
It is pretty simple to set it up.
Sharing Links now separated in Launch View
To make things easier to grok, the sharing related links are now separated out from the main sections. There is also a new link to share your music.
It is now possible to recover your Tonido Password securely in case you forget it. To avail this feature, you need to set a valid password in your profile settings and when you create a new account, your email is now required. If you forget your password, simply click on “Forgot Password” and your password is reset and a new password is emailed to you the email address provided. Login with this password and change your password to what you want. Please note that your password is still not stored anywhere else other than locally and only *YOU* have access to your Tonido instance. Only the password reset email is sent via our servers.
XML RPC Support for Thots
Tonido Thots is now even more powerful. You can now easily post to your Thots not just using the browser UI, but through any UI interface supporting MetaWeblog XML-RPC API. For example, you can use Windows w.Bloggar app to post to thots or even use many of the iPhone apps to post to your Thots. For example, see screenshots using BlogWrite Lite App (Free).
Simplified Webshare User Permissions
It is much simpler to set permissions for File shares.
Shortcuts for Mobile Access
If you browse to your Tonido server using an iPhone/iPod/iPad you should automatically get the iPhone/Mobile UI. But you can also get a shortcut to that interface from a normal browser by just using http://john.tonidoid.com/mobile url.
- Webshare Files, Folders, Photos are now sorted explicitly. Previously, they were not sorted under some conditions.
- There is now a way to “Activate All Apps” in TonidoAdmin->Apps
- A default group is now created on Tonido Account creation to make things easier
- Quickly log out of Tonido using the “Log Out” button in Tonido Admin.
- There are a few more changes too minor to list.
Please see release notes for complete set of changes.
Thanks for your continuing support and let us know by comments below your feedback!
Tonido can now reside on a server away from your home. You will be still having your own private, secured and personal Tonido, however on a much faster network and much better availability.
Why Tonido on Cloud?
There may be several reasons why you might want to run your own personal Tonido on Cloud in addition to the one you have at home:
- You want a backup of your important data on a reliable server away from home.
- You want a decent amount of online space to store/consume your personal data.
- You are not able to stream music fast enough from your home connection to a browser or iPhone at a remote location.
- Your home network connection is not fast enough to make use of the WebFolders feature offered by Tonido
- You don’t want to run your PC 24×7 but still want uninterrupted access to your files, folders, photos and/or music. You want uninterrupted access to files and folders not only for yourself but also for your friends and family who you have shared files with.
If you were already facing some of the above inconveniences then Tonido Cloud service is the right answer for you.
What do you get with Tonido on Cloud
- Free authority signed SSL certificate for yourname.tonidoid.com
- Online storage space
- Fast and reliable network connection.
For more details including pricing and to sign up for a email notification when this service launches, click here. We will offer the service at a huge discount to the people who sign up in the mailing list .
BTW, let us know your reason (that is not listed above) to have Tonido on Cloud. We would love to hear your thoughts.The best innovative reason will get 6 months of cloud service completely free.