One of the things I ponder about is how the world of social networking is going to evolve and change in the future. It is clear that current modes of communication and interaction are going to change to something else. That will be the next Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Flickr/Ning.
Obviously, it is hard to imagine what those modes of communication will be, but it is somewhat easier to look at the problems with the current social networks and see if the future will fix those shortcomings.
One such problem is the Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR). In non-tech speak, it is the amount of useful stuff found in the useless stuff. Applied to social networks, it is the amount of relevant useful information you can use when there is a ton of useless information you don’t care about. Currently the problem is that SNR is real low in many social networks. In Twitter for example, following several people will drown you in a sea of tweets.
The same issue in Facebook.
A poster on Joel on Software forums said it best, which I quote below:
I’m on Facebook, linked up to a few hundred “friends,” most of whom I barely know. With few exceptions, the most prolific posters/updaters are also the least interesting. One of the entertaining few is a guy who mostly posts silly cartoons and pictures of dogs.
The signal-to-noise ratio in “social media” is incredibly low. Jerry Seinfeld, of all people, stated the problem back in the ’90s when cell phones and pagers were becoming commonplace:
“[W]e all have absolutely nothing to say, and we’ve got to talk to someone about it right now.”
The difference is that now, with something like Twitter, we can talk to hundreds (or thousands) of people about it all at once, and without ever having to deal with immediate feedback.
Is it really humanly possible to keep up with following a few hundred people in Twitter or the dumb “Which kind of vegetable are you?” updates in Facebook? You tell me.
“TonidoPlug is a tiny, low-power, low-cost home server powered by Tonido software that allows you to access your apps, files, music and media from anywhere. “
That is the definition you will see when you goto TonidoPlug.com. What is not explained clearly is that it is actually a tiny linux server running Ubuntu 9.0.4 in it and it can function as a NAS adapter out of the box.
USB Hard drives: USB hard drives are very handy to extend the storage of your desktop, to archive documents, photos and other media files. The problem with an USB hard drive is that it can be connected to only one desktop at a time. If you have multiple desktops then it will be difficult to share the drive among them. NAS adapters can help to fix this issue.
NAS Adapter: When you connect an USB drive to a NAS adapter, it makes the drive available on your local network. So multiple desktops can see the drive on the network and read/write files from/to it.
TonidoPlug as a basic NAS adapter: Like any NAS adapter you can connect your USB drive to TonidoPlug and it immediately makes it available on the local network. It understands all the common disk formats such as: FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, EXT2, EXT3. It supports hard drives of capacity upto 2TB. Price tag $99.
How it works:
- Power on TonidoPlug and connect a network cable to it.
- Now connect your USB hard drive on the USB slot of TonidoPlug.
- Access it from any local network. ie., you can access your USB drive at \\<TonidoPlug IP Address>\MediaDisk\
TonidoPlug as an advanced NAS adapter: If you want to setup multiple user accounts by providing private space for each user on the USB hard drive then it is as easy as changing few parameters in the configuration file. Look here for a quick how-to. Also if you are linux user who is familiar with SAMBA then the possibilities are endless.
If you are in the market for looking for NAS storage or NAS adapter then TonidoPlug might be the right choice for all your needs and much more like their definition claims “A tiny, low-power, low-cost home server powered by Tonido software that allows you to access your apps, files, music and media from anywhere. “
The wait is over; I finally got my Tonido Plug today, courtesy of the UPS.
I plugged it in and was impressed by how easy it was to get running. I didn’t have to hunt around my network (which consists of over 16 devices already) for the Plug; I just went to the url contained in the documentation and was able to get it up on my network and all preliminary setup info set in just a few short minutes.
The biggest surprise for me was the fact that I was able to move a USB drive from my PC to the Plug by just plugging it in. It recognized the NTFS file system and all the folders/files, and served it up in no time. I have a 1TB drive on its way (due to arrive on Thursday) but I wanted to start “playing” with the Plug today. I backed up the data from the USB drive expecting the Plug to format/delete it when I connected it. Imagine my surprise when not only did it not ask to format the new drive, but it found everything on the USB drive and served it right up! I was able to set up a share from my PC to the USB drive in a few short moments, and now it’s as if the USB drive is still attached to my system.
Speed is impressive. The Plug and all of the apps on it are very responsive and fast. I am most impressed with the torrent app. It is very fast, very easy to use, and very efficient. I tested it today with a few torrents, and the results have been stellar.
I have Tonido App installed onto two PC’s in the house and have yet to attach them to the Plug via a group. I don’t know what the benefit of that would be, yet, but I am learning.
I highly recommend getting a Plug. It’s incredibly fast, easy to configure and use, and will use a lot less power than my PC did staying on 24/7 (serving up shares for the family). I will purchase a powered USB hub tomorrow to attach three more USB drives to the Plug, giving me a 1.5 TB storage capability – A Happy Customer.
Thanks Mr.Happy Customer, You made all our efforts worthwhile – Tonido Team.
We are happy to announce the availability of a new Tonido application called Tonido Screenshare.
Tonido Screenshare allows you to share your computer’s desktop screen with anyone via a web browser. There is no flash, Java, ActiveX required to view the desktop. Open the link and go. It is that simple.
Screenshare offers some simple settings to customize the view that others see. You can choose to allow sharing of your primary monitor or all monitors. You can also choose to send over the full sized image (if you have enough bandwidth) or send a resized images. Finally, you can choose the refresh rate.
Of course, as usual, we are quite sensitive about the security aspects to this application. So, first of all you cannot share your screen without setting up user credentials (Username/Password). Other users have to enter the credentials before they are given access. Next, to avoid misuse or forgetting to turn it off, Tonido Screenshare will popup an alert every minute on your screen to make it evidently clear that you are sharing your screen.
There are some caveats, Screenshare is not going to replace VNC/RDP anytime, as it is neither going to offer interactive sessions nor speed, but it is perfect for doing presentations/seminars or quickly walking through some steps with a friend or business colleague. The other caveat is that it is currently only available for Windows.
The big advantage is that anyone can see your screen from any kind of device, whether it be a iPhone, Blackberry or a full fledged computer without any additional software, like below, where I am viewing my Windows desktop from an iPhone.
Or editing a powerpoint presentation.
Screenshare really shows off the power and flexibility of the underlying Tonido Development Platform which allows developers to tap into the underlying OS functions quickly without writing complicated glue code.
Try it out on Windows today by installing it from the Tonido Admin Apps->Install screen.
Recently, I came across the SenseCam Research Project by Microsoft. Although it looks cool, it surely looks like another way to invade your privacy.
Microsoft defines SenseCam as a wearable digital camera that is designed to take photographs passively, without user intervention, while it is being worn.
The next logical question is where to store these photographs in real time? Obviously a handful of corporations will want this piece. So a 3rd party server in a cloud will be an ideal choice. For someone who stores every single life event in Facebook or Twitter it is a cool idea. In reality, it is the ultimate way to encroach the privacy of not only the user but also the people surrounding the user without their knowledge or consent.
Microsoft has outlined some noble ideas where SenseCam can be used such as monitoring food intake, an automatic diary/journal etc.
But this does seem like a slippery slope…
TonidoPlug can act as NAS device.
When an external USB harddisk is connected to TonidoPlug, it automatically mounts the USB HDD and makes it available for other computers on the network. So for example, to connect to this share from windows, open an explorer window and type \\<TonidoPlug IP>\MediaDisk and you get full access to the USB HDD.
Since TonidoPlug is not configured to provide user based access to samba shares by default here is a guide to create user based access .
By doing this setup, users can access their home directories by authenticating themselves with their login and password. They cannot view or access other user shares without knowing their login credentials.
By default when an user is created in the Linux OS, it is not available as a samba user automatically. This usually is done as a separate step. In our setup we also try to automate this process.
1. Install libpam-smbpass package. This package provides necessary tools to synchronize linux OS user/passwords with samba repository.
# apt-get install libpam-smbpass
2. Open /etc/samba/smb.conf with a text editor and make the following changes.
3. By default TonidoPlug allows full access to everybody. Disable this default behavior. Look for the following lines and comment them.
# What naming service and in what order should we use to resolve host names
# to IP addresses
; force user = root
; force group = root
; guest ok = yes
; browseable = yes
; public = yes
; writable = yes
The above lines shows the commented configuration lines.
4. By default TonidoPlug allows share level access. Change this to user level access.
Look for line “security = share” and change it as follows
# “security = user” is always a good idea. This will require a Unix account
# in this server for every user accessing the server. See
# in the samba-doc package for details.
5. Enable automatic synchronization of user and password information from linux OS to samba.
# password with the SMB password when the encrypted SMB password in the
# passdb is changed.
unix password sync = yes
6. We need to users to access their home directories when they login with userid and password. Samba configuration should be enabled to expose user home directories.
# to enable the default home directory shares. This will share each
# user’s home directory as \server\username
comment = Home Directories
browseable = yes
# By default, the home directories are exported read-only. Change the
# next parameter to ‘no’ if you want to be able to write to them.
read only = no
# File creation mask is set to 0700 for security reasons. If you want to
# create files with group=rw permissions, set next parameter to 0775.
; create mask = 0700
# Directory creation mask is set to 0700 for security reasons. If you want to
# create dirs. with group=rw permissions, set next parameter to 0775.
; directory mask = 0700
# By default, \server\username shares can be connected to by anyone
# with access to the samba server. Un-comment the following parameter
# to make sure that only “username” can connect to \server\username
# This might need tweaking when using external authentication schemes
valid users = %S
7. Save the smb.conf file and restart samba daemon.
For testing, we will create a user on the TonidoPlug and try to access the user’s home directory as a samba share.
1. Create a user on TonidoPlug. You can do this by doing SSH to TonidoPlug as root user.
2. Set a password for the demouser.
3. Important: Open another SSH session to TonidoPlug and login as the new user. This is only trigger I could find to synchronize the OS user details with samba.
You can close the SSH session as soon as login is successful.
4. For the other SSH session (as root user) verify if the new linux user is synchronized with samba.
You should see ‘demouser’ as an entry in the output.
5. Now from the windows machine, open an explorer window and type the \\<Tonido_Plug_IP>\demouser. It should prompt for username and password. Enter ‘demouser’ and its password. Once you click ‘Ok’ it should show the demouser’s home directory with full access only to his home directory.
We at CodeLathe are big proponents of empowering people and following that principle, we are happy to announce Tonido OpenID.
Tonido OpenID is a new Tonido application that allows you use your Tonido URL as an OpenID. If you don’t know it already, OpenID allows you to use an existing identity to sign in to multiple websites, without needing to create new passwords.
OpenID is rapidly gaining adoption on the web, with over one billion OpenID enabled user accounts and over 50,000 websites accepting OpenID for logins. And several large organizations either issue or accept OpenIDs, including Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Microsoft, AOL, MySpace, Sears, Universal Music Group, France Telecom, Novell, Sun, Telecom Italia, and many more (Source: OpenID.net). Now joining those ranks is Tonido’s OpenID implementation.
Among existing OpenID providers out there, Tonido OpenID is unique in the sense that it is a truly a decentralized and private OpenID provider. What it means is that Tonido OpenID does not use any third party server to manage your identity.
You provide your own identity.
Now you can use your ID without any central authority knowing which websites you frequent or which blogs you comment upon etc. This can only be a GOOD THING.
Tonido OpenID allows you to:
Gain Greater Control Over Your Online Identity
OpenID is a portable identity that can be used everywhere without having to reveal personal details like your email address. This allows privacy and greater freedom without giving websites the ability to track and monitor your activities.
Accelerate Sign Up Process at Your Favorite Websites
Cut down on the laborious sign up process to use a website or service. Sign up quickly and painlessly using your OpenID.
Reduce Frustration Associated with Maintaining Multiple Usernames and Passwords
Using too many IDs on too many websites leads to problems remembering all those user names or passwords. Tonido OpenID requires to remember only your URL and your Tonido Profile login password.
Minimize Password Security Risks
With too many passwords, it is likely that users will reuse the same password on multiple sites. If there is a security compromise on one, it can lead to vulnerabilities on other sites where the same password was used. Mitigate that by using a single strong password which cannot be compromised because of a security issue in one website.
Here are a few screens of Tonido OpenID in action:
Tonido OpenID is available now on Tonido Desktop (Windows, Linux, Mac) via the Apps->Install Tab. You might need to upgrade to the latest Tonido version.
We are proud to announce the immediate availability of TonidoPlug for ordering from our on-line store at https://store.tonido.com. Currently, TonidoPlug is available for ordering for US based customers for $99 + Shipping and Handling. We will start shipping to other countries shortly.
TonidoPlug Press Release:
Dallas, TX (PRWEB) August 12, 2009 –CodeLathe today announced TonidoPlug, a device based on the SheevaPlug™, powered by Marvell® Sheeva™ CPU technology. TonidoPlug is a tiny, low power, low cost home server that allows people to access their applications, files, photos, music, and media from anywhere. The TonidoPlug comes pre-installed with powerful Tonido applications — Torrent, Jukebox, Webshare, Workspace, Thots, Explorer, Photos, and Search. Additionally, the TonidoPlug can be extended by installing new applications from the Tonido application store, available at www.tonidoplug.com.
“Keeping true to Tonido’s mission — to empower customers in a connected world, TonidoPlug offers universal access to users’ favorite applications, files, music, photos, and media from anywhere without sacrificing privacy and ownership of their data,” said Madhan Kanagavel, Codelathe Chief Executive Officer. “As a result of our collaboration with Marvell, we are pleased to offer the TonidoPlug, which is a compelling alternative to cloud storage services and distributes inexpensive computing power to every home.”
The Marvell SheevaPlug is designed to enable high-performance, always on, always connected, and environmentally friendly computing that is readily available for developers and end-users. A Plug Computer is designed to draw so little power that it can be left on all of the time. Unlike other embedded devices in the home, it contains a gigahertz class processor designed to offer PC class performance. Plug Computing has been quickly expanding, bringing users new devices, services, and value-added applications, as well as delivering advanced avenues for network connectivity.
“We are delighted to work with CodeLathe to develop the TonidoPlug,” said Dr. Simon Milner, Vice President and General Manager of the Enterprise Business Unit, Consumer and Communications Business Group at Marvell Semiconductor. “The SheevaPlug is intended to offer a compelling solution to easily and rapidly implement software services targeted to consumers. In an era when people are more mobile than ever before, Plug Computing delivers a new level of connectivity that their lifestyle demands.”
For more information about the TonidoPlug, please visit the official Tonido Web Site: www.tonidoplug.com. The TonidoPlug will be available online for purchase in the U.S. and Canada in August 2009.
CodeLathe is a privately-held software startup based out of Dallas, Texas. The Company was founded in February, 2008 by a team of experienced software developers with expertise in cross-platform development, distributed systems, network security, massive-multiplayer game server development and more. CodeLathe strongly believes in open source and open platforms with a number of contributions and products released under such terms.
CodeLathe products and services include: Money Manager Ex – open source, cross platform personal finance manager available in 25 languages which has been downloaded more than a million times and Tonido — a peer-to-peer, personal web platform (available under open source and commercial license), custom software development based on open source technologies.
WebsharePro comes with more new features but remains true to Webshare’s core theme of simplicity.
Upload Files Support
Many of you had requested an enhancement that will allow your users to upload files into your shared folder. With WebsharePro, you can select users who will have upload access and these users will see an upload box in their page.
Users can upload any number of files into your shared folder. You can also set size limit for the shared folder so that you can limit how much users can upload.
Download As Zip Support
“Download As Zip” is a new feature which will let your users to download the entire shared folder as a zip file. To avoid any performance bottlenecks, maximum size limit for the zipfile is currently set to 10MB.
View Active Downloads
With WebsharePro, you can view all currently active downloads. “Active Downloads” will list of users who are currently downloading and details of the files that they are downloading.
Photo Gallery gets more new options such as thumbnail size and view size. You can select the size of thumbnails for your gallery. You have three options (small/medium/large) to choose from. You can also set size of the picture that users will see when they click on a thumbnail. WebsharePro gives you two options regular size 800×600 and a larger version 1024×768.
Finally, error pages in WebsharePro got a facelift and we have improved error page UI so that error messages are clearer. WebsharePro is currently available in TonidoPlug. Hope you enjoy the new features.
So TonidoPlug is almost here, and what is new?
Here’s the full list of applications shipping with TonidoPlug.
But there are some new ones that are being released the first time. They include WebsharePro, Torrent, Explorer and Plug Admin.
Here’s a quick summary of these applications. More detailed information on these new apps will be coming soon.
- WebsharePro: All the power of Tonido Webshare, plus the ability to upload, setting upload quotas for users, zip downloads, viewing currently downloading lists, change thumbnail and photo slide show image size
- Torrent: Download Torrent files to your plug and control torrents via your web browser from anywhere
- Explorer: Web based File manager and browser that allows common file operations like rename, delete, copy files and folders and even uploads
- Plug Admin: Manage your TonidoPlug hardware, recover Tonido Profile passwords, Manage attached USB drives, Share USB drives over the network for access, Monitor CPU loads etc
We believe that these applications round out Tonido’s existing application set and make it even more flexible and powerful especially on the Plug computer. And of course, we aim to release brand new applications over time, so this is just a tiny fraction of the functionality possible with your Plug. With Tonido’s one-click application installation and update procedures, keeping your TonidoPlug up to date with the latest Tonido releases should be a breeze.