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Making Computers Disappear: Appliance Data Services

Huang, Andrew C.; Ling, Benjamin C.; Barton, John; Fox, Armando


Keyword(s): appliance; ubiquitous computing; Internet; infrastructure; service

Abstract: Digital appliances designed to simplify everyday tasks are readily available to end consumers. For example, mobile users can retrieve Web content using handheld devices since content retrieval is well-supported by infrastructure services such as transformational proxies. However, the same type of support is lacking for input-centric devices, those that create content and allow users to share content. This lack of infrastructural support makes input-centric devices hard to use and less useful. The Appliance Data Services project seeks to explore a vision of an appliance computing world where users move data seamlessly among various devices. Based on this vision, we formulate three principles that guide the design of an architecture that helps realize this vision: bring devices to the forefront, minimize the number of device features, and place functionality in the network infrastructure. We evaluate our implementation of the ADS architecture based on these principles, and build applications using the ADS framework to evaluate the ease with which appliance computing applications can be built using the framework. We find that it is relatively simple to build and extend applications on ADS that make using digital devices easier, and results in the devices themselves becoming more useful.

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