Feeds

Promiscuous BluePod file swapping - coming to a PDA near you

Reg inspires Pocket Napster

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Exclusive A tiny European software company has done what the giants of the consumer electronics industry daren't do - and put a potential Napster in every pocket.

Simeda, based in Bucharest, has ported Rendezvous to the Pocket PC platform and bundled it with a web server. The software automatically discovers other devices on a WiFi network and allows people to stream or share music with just a couple of clicks. Simeda's CTO Razvan Dragomirescu tells us that the inspiration came from a series of speculative articles that ran here at The Register eighteen months ago in which we envisaged an Apple iPod enhanced with Bluetooth and Rendezvous, which is Apple's trademark for the ZeroConf LAN discovery protocol. We nicknamed this 'BluePod'.

Razvan says that after being inspired by the idea, he set about examining various implementations. He chose 802.11 networking because of its speed and range advantages. Given the overheads of the protocol, Bluetooth devices typically exchange data at only around 20 kbits/s.

Pocket Rendezvous: discovering services

"All you need is an XDA with a WiFi card - just turn it on and they'll discover each other. Click on the name of the device and you get a list of MP3s, and you can start streaming."

But developing it wasn't trivial. Dragomirescu modified a .NET version of a DNS library written in C# for the client, adding multicast DNS, and then wrote a version of the responder in C# from scratch.

But it isn't just for sharing music. Pocket Rendezvous allows Pocket PC holders to browse whatever you want to reveal on your portable web server. (Simeda has a dating service that runs on Symbian mobile phones). Users can assign an icon, or 'avatar' to a published service. Razvan told us that the software, provisionally called "Pocket Rendezvous" (although given trademark considerations, this might not be the final name) will be released on June 16 in two versions: a free basic version and a pay-for package that can join corporate networks and advertise multiple services.

A Symbian version may take some time. Although Simeda sells the very clever "cheating spouse" software SounderCover for Series 60 phones (which creates background sound effects so you can pretend you're actually on a train, or at the beach) Dragomirescu points out that a Symbian version means writing to new APIs. (There's no .NET API for SymbianOS at the time of writing).

Pocket Rendezvous: displaying a business card

One man banned

So how could one developer succeed where the industry's giants have so far failed? The answer appears to be more political than technical. Although manufacturers have marketed wireless-enabled hard drives, these don't play or stream music. And WiFi enabled music players are on the market, but the wireless link is used for synchronizing the music collection with a host PC, rather than doing what music was created for, and sharing. And for this, you've got the 1998 Congress to thank. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act prevents the marketing of a device whose primary purpose is copyright circumvention. Apple's uniquely close relationship with the music industry makes it even more unlikely that the iPod pioneer will permit promiscuous file exchanges: Apple needs the labels' content. The Cupertino company will one day equip its computers and handhelds with 'Wireless Firewire' after the IEEE approved a protocol layer for Firewire over 802.15.3 networking - and this is specifically designed for audio streaming.

Pocket Rendezvous: I can hear music

However it isn't difficult to envisage a regulatory tweak that could benefit everyone. By removing the penalties for sharing music and compensating the artists from a single fund, both device manufacturers like Apple, and network operators (who could use a tonic, now that the WiFi Bubble has burst) would find themselves in the enviable position of not being able to produce equipment fast enough. Once everyone has BluePod capability on a personal device, do you think the record labels will have a choice? ®

Related stories

Apple's 'BluePod' - promiscuous exchanges with strangers
More promiscuous data exchanges with strangers
Goodbye, PC; hello, PS (Personal Server)
Social Hardware nears with Bluetooth iPod
Why wireless will end piracy and doom DRM and TCPA - Jim Griffin

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey
This Herod network's ace – but crap reception in bullrushes
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
New EU digi-commish struggles with concepts of net neutrality
Oettinger all about the infrastructure – but not big on substance
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.