Access Your Mac from Anywhere

Today is the day that I started [took over] my first open source project: WelcomeToYourMac (formerlyTelekinesis). The goal of the project is to give you secure remote access to your Mac from any web-browser. Install this app on your Mac, and you can remotely browse your files, control your screen, and stream your media! Basically, a poor man’s GoToMyPC for a Mac 🙂 And the best part of all, it works great on your iPhone!

“How does it work?” you ask? Pretty simple: it just sets up an Apache/PHP server on your mac and installs a fancy web front-end to your computer. You get a https://youripaddress:someport/ type URL that you can access from anywhere, and it’s all password protected over SSL.

Other fun features: it’s extensible, so it’s easy to add in new functionality with minimal programming. My goal is to provide some solid basic functionality and provide an API and documentation for 3rd party integration. While the core functionality is essentially already there from the Telekinesis project, I’m spending my first chunk of time fancying it up and tidying up the code to provide a standard API.

 

“Great, Adam, why would I ever use this?” I’m glad you asked!

  1. Problem: You arrive at work and realize you left your presentation file on your home computer
    Solution: Just log in and download it!
  2. Problem: You want to send a large file to a friend, but it’s too big for email
    Solution: Use WelcomeToYouMac to generate a secure temporary download URL to send to your friend
  3. Problem: You forgot to sync your favorite movies to your iPod/Laptop before leaving on vacation/trip
    Solution: Stream your favorite movies straight to your laptop
  4. Problem: You’re away on vacation for a few weeks, and forgot to turn the lights out
    Solution: Remotely turn off lights and appliances with [coming soon? 😉 ] X10 plugin built with the API
  5. Problem: You want access to all of your stuff in the palm of your hand no matter where you are – all of the time
    Solution: WelcomeToYourMac!
 
All in all, it should be tons of fun to build and easy to use. Ideas are welcome. I’m aiming have the first stable build available for download soon. 🙂

The Encyclopedia and Tree of Life

These are two sites that caught my eye about 2 weeks ago, and I’ve been meaning to write about them – I just haven’t found the time until now.

The first site is the Encyclopedia of Life. The EoL aims to make “all key information about all life on Earth accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world.” It’s a great site to just browse around – and its especially good if you happen to be researching the American Burying Beetle or the Green Anole.

StephanidaeAnother site in a similar vein is the Tree of Life. the current highlighted species is the Stephanidae; how awesomely mean does that thing look?! This site is equally awesome to just browse around in and check stuff out. At first this site might look like the same thing as the EoL, but it’s a bit different. Instead of gathering/providing information about each individual species, this site’s goal is to show how all of the species relate to each other. In its own words, “the project provides information about the diversity of organisms on Earth, their evolutionary history (phylogeny), and characteristics.”

Also cool – the sites share info between each other. The Tree of Life project is listed on the EoL’s Data Partner page.

While these sites are still fairly young, I’m excited that my daughter will have such rich resources to pull from during her upcoming years at school. I barely had computers when I was in middle school – I’m willing to bet that my daughter will barely have libraries!

photo from:
Aguiar, Alexandre P. 2005. Stephanoidea Benoit, 1949. Stephanidae Leach, 1815. Version 29 June 2005. http://tolweb.org/Stephanidae/22029/2005.06.29 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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