Living in the future - turning the Mac Mini into a personal information server
"In network schematic diagrams, the Internet is often represented by a cloud symbol through which messages pass. This is a very appropriate symbol both because of the fact that packets, including the individual packets that comprise a single message, can travel by any of numerous different routes as determined by routers along the way and because the ordinary user does not know (nor need to know) the routes." excerpted from the web site http://www.bellevuelinux.org/linmo/internet.html
One of the very first applications I used NoteShare for was to create my own information server. It's been running non-stop for nearly a year now. What's so impressive to me is that it took less than ten minutes to do the actual set-up. I decided that the Mac Mini would be more than adequate for this application. And as such, it's the closest Apple has come to creating a personal server hardware solution for the rest of us. The packaging is very close to being perfect; both in size and operational specs. It's quiet, easy to manage and reasonably priced especially if you can find a refurbished unit (non-Intel). The end result is that I've built a personal information server using "off the shelf" components including our own NoteShare software. I've been dreaming about the idea of a personal cloud for over 20 years.
Back in the early 1980's when I was working at Apple Computer, Isaac Asimov wrote an article about the coming age of the data highway. It suggested that information access was going to be pervasive, ubiquitous as well as global. And it uniquely focused on the idea of individuals having instant access to their own information services; not just commercial or hosted services like CompuServe. It was the idea of the personal information server appliance in every home.
Today, I access my shared notebooks anytime, anywhere. From the home office to the airport lounge, at my favorite cafe or in a hotel room; the personal information server at your fingertips is truly a reality. Extending this idea even further, we're developing NoteShare "SOHO" to be introduced later this year which will allow convenient, remote 24x7 management and dedicated hosting of notebooks for workgroups and small enterprise teams. Whether it's the big cloud in the sky or the personal cloud hosted from a Mac Mini surely Asimov would have been excited about the sheer pervasiveness of the data highway we are using today.