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May 25, 2006

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. 

May 12, 2006

What's ahead next for AquaMinds? New technology in the pipeline and more about NoteShare Express

As we approach the halfway point of this year, we want to tell you more about our technology and product plans for AquaMinds Software going forward.  Planning and active development of NoteTaker 2.0 are on schedule.  As Apple begins to move "Leopard" into developers' hands later this year, we'll have even more news about our NoteTaker development and release schedules.  As our flagship product, NoteTaker will continue to be updated and enhanced with new features and technologies based on Apple's future Leopard features as well.  And, as we've stated previously, NoteShare updates will include the latest NoteTaker features to maintain 100% notebook document file compatibility.

NoteShare is gaining a lot of momentum as customers discover the amazing power of instant notebook sharing,  anytime, anywhere.  We've also announced NoteShare Express,  an exciting new add-on technology that will be available as a free starter configuration to all registered NoteShare users later this year.  NoteShare Express is designed to provide instant access and viewing of shared notebooks on other platforms including Windows and Linux; it will easily run from the webtop as well as the desktop.  Even OS X users who don't use NoteShare will be able to tap into the power of shared notebooks through NoteShare Express.  NoteShare's growing user community includes schools, universities, research labs, small consulting teams, creative project groups (film/TV/music) and also individuals at home who need and want to access their notebooks while working from different machines.    The goal of our NoteShare Express technology is to make viewing of shared notebooks universally available on as many devices as possible.    Additionally, we are planning a NoteShare Express (editor edition) for end of the year release to bring interactive collaboration to Windows and Linux users as well.

So what is coming after NoteShare Express and NoteShare 1.0? 
NoteShare "Server" is the next technology effort in our product technology plan.  Users are telling us that they love notebook sharing and want to be able to leverage NoteShare all the time, 24x7.  To meet this need, we'll be releasing NoteShare Server (aka "SOHO") later this year as well.  It will allow NoteShare to conveniently run as a managed server-like application for non-stop use from a dedicated system.  NoteShare Server, in combination with NoteShare Express, will provide an increasingly flexible, powerful platform for sharing your notebooks anytime, anywhere on any platform, all the time.    Think of it as the power of your own personal information cloud where notebook sharing is everywhere you need it to be without giving up privacy or control.

Next topic coming up:  I'll be talking about how to create your own information cloud.