Archive for the ‘p2p’ Category

Google Desktop | P2P in Sheep’s Clothing

January 6, 2006

[tinfoil cap off]

Stephen Bryant writes “By distributing desktop apps through Lexar USB drives, Google is laying a better foundation for collecting and publishing user data. “

Couldn’t agree more. Google is in the business of “managing information”. And guess what — horror horror — 99% of that information lies on your desktop — and not on some obselete server sitting somewhere in Kansas. Yes, sir, your work computer — with that new 200GB HD — when connected to your office LAN has more data than hundreds of “websites” put together. Though Google claims to index over a billion web pages, it still has no idea about TBs worth of content residing on millions of desktops & laptop machines.

That’s real data. .doc, .ppt. .pdf files. Sitting on your machine.
To manage that information, it has to get an entry to your machine. And that’s not all. It has to seek your permission to provide that index selectively to other users. That’s where p2p comes in.

Google is right on track.

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Why p2p makes sense over client/server

January 3, 2006

Cost. Scalability. Two things that are stacked right in favor of p2p apps.

Think Skype. By October 2004, Skype had about 1 million users online — all at once. It added another million in couple of months. At last count, it claimed to have more than 100 million downloads, with 50 million active users. Think about all the server equipment needed to manage that high load. Did Skype, then, spend $$$ in scaling up ? It did scale pretty quickly and effortlessly when compared to an Orkut or Friendster. The Answer, honey, is of course No.

Contrast that to Wikipedia with 200+ servers and a massive server budget. Friendster had similar scaling up issues.

Think about it. As the wikipedia popularity grows, and its user-base starts to increase, it will incur more and more costs to keep the system running.

More users, more traffic, the system goes down. It has to. The system is setup to fail.

p2p, on the other hand, is factory-built towards scalability. It works like this — taking the example of popular bit torrent:

  • A resource is shared on the network
  • Every user viewing the resource gets to share the resource automatically
  • Good content would get more users ==> more users would ensure the content is spread equally to manage further demand
  • More demand would imply more sources to feed the demand
  • The system is setup to scale to meet any demand

Wait…err…and what about Ajax ?

Honey, don’t you see how Ajax rhymes nicely with sex ? Getting my point ?

p2p saves money. Ajax is flavor of the month. Bitch. Rinse. Repeat.

Krawler[x] | p2p 2.0 anyone ?

January 2, 2006

Krawler[x]

Boy, it is tough. And with all the well-deserved flock-off sentiments around, I’d better not do it. Use Buzz Words, that is.

Rather, I’ll make it simple.

I’ll try and write a good hyped-up post on Krawler[x] without using more than 3 buzzwords — the 3 being erstwhile buzzwords namely p2p, LMS and Social Networks. Tough task, you’ll agree.

Krawler[x] is p2p + LMS + Social Networks. If you know what a LMS is — or rather what it used to be, that is.

Krawler[x], termed as “Social Collaboration Network” (change that to Learn, Share, Done), is a tool that lets one setup personal networks, create, find and publish content, and find new people to network with – all this with the ease of a desktop client.

So you might ask, why Desktop — when the whole flocking world is flocking towards Web. I’ll leave that for my next posting. Let’s rather talk about what Krawler[x] is about.

Krawler[x] is p2p social networking platform that lets you view not just your friends’ profiles, but their shared content and more as well. No Browser. No more silly bad bad server with nuts. No sucky logging in to read your messages. No sucky orkut. And Krawler can perform p2p search as well.

P2P Search.  Krawler[x] search reaches the innards of Office Files (doc/ppt/xls), Acrobat Files (.pdf) and the regular stuff like HTML and Text Files; which means that one can efficiently full-text search within files shared on a network(shared through Krawler[x]). The search being distributed, queries propagates rapidly through the P2P network and provide amazing speed.Krawler[x]

Does that sound like a mini-Google for a small scale lan, which uses no server ?

Yes, you heard that right.

Then, as a Yet Another Social Networking Platform, Krawler[x] impresses. Being on the desktop has its advantages — unless ofcourse you’re a Web 2.0 Ajax freak. Krawler[x] comes equipped with an Instant Messenger, a p2p email, p2p forums, communities etc. It also has a tool (oddly termed as friend-mapper) that lets one visualize one’s network of friends in the form of a connected graph. Krawler[x] users are displayed in a graph represented by nodes connected to each other with edges related as friends. The friendship graph visualization uses a spring-layout and focus-context techniques. That means it wiggles smoothly if you drag a node representing your friend, and that you can drag an edge to connect to any other node/user you see in the graphical network.

Krawler[x] Friend Mapper

And then comes the notorious feature – file sharing. The file download is extremely fast – as fast as Bram (of Cohen fame) would want it – Yes, Krawler[x] has its own torrent based sharing architecture. And that’s not all, sharing permissions can be set for each file, from allowing access to a specific user, to allowing everyone on the Network.

Krawler[x]’s Content Creation tool makes it unique. Krawler[x] has a set of WYSIWYG tools where you can create rich text content with all the nice features that you get on any word processor. The tools allow one to create interactive quizzes and monitor results of other subscribers. The Content Designer is definitely the cream on top, it’s a tool to set the workflow for the interactive content created on Krawler[x]. So you can set rules deciding what the viewer will see depending on how he/she performs in the quizzes. And for that you need not write complicated instructions, but simply draw arrows in a flow-chart like application.

Wait, did someone just mention Quizzes?

Yes, Krawler[x] has all the tools to create any type of content — plain old text, office content and assessment based content. So quizzes are an integral part of Krawler[x]. Sweet.
Krawler[x]’s tabbed interface makes it possible to drag and arrange windows/tabs and have customized layouts. There’s tabbed browsing for all content, files and profiles. Bookmarks provide easy management, along with the Drag-drop support for all files and images alike.

Can Krawler[x] leverage Dan Bricklin’s “Cornucopia of the commons” — technology that gives control “from the desktop” ? Anyone’s guess.

As for the hype-meisters, enough with Web 2.0 hype. P2P 2.0 anyone?

Next-Generation File Sharing with Social Networks

December 26, 2005

Ok, Take it with a pinch of salt.  But it does make sense.

Copying select text below:

Open file sharing systems like Kazaa welcome everyone on the net and enjoy a broad selection of content. The selection is so vast that Cory Doctorow calls it “The largest library ever created.” (Personally, I’d call it the “largest and messiest library ever created,” but that is another essay entirely.) However, this vast selection comes with a significant risk attached — outsider attackers who want to stop you from sharing files and would like to throw you in jail or pilfer your college fund. 

Social policies dictate who can be invited to the network…The social policies of these networks have a direct impact on the security of the network. A loose network with few rules and lax reputation verification is more susceptible to compromise. A tight network with many access controls will be more secure, but it will have more restricted search horizons. The key for the tribal elders is to pick a set of policies that balances security with the utility of the network.

The social policies also determine what sort of social network will be created. Loose connection policies will yield more chaotic systems that look like Friendster, and more refined policies will yield systems that resemble systems like LinkedIn. Social policies will need to address the most pressing social issues before they arise. For instance, Friendster should have anticipated Fakester accounts and set a policy for these accounts before it ever opened its doors. Changing terms of service and social policies radically after a network has been formed only serves to alienate its users.

Perhaps these social networks can influence some change and shift users away from a “I’m looking for this track!” mentality to a “What are my friends listening to?” mentality. Napster exemplified this focus on quantity; it is time to consider quality above quantity and use the network for discovery as well as sharing.

Makes a good read.  http://www.openp2p.com/pub/a/p2p/2004/03/05/file_share.html