Chibimagic's Weblog

iPhone interface to my cloud

Posted on: February 27, 2009

I think I use computers a lot differently than most people. I prefer the desktop-laptop setup, where I have a nicely-specced always-on desktop at home and a light laptop for when I’m not home. I leave AIM, Twitter, email, RSS, and iTunes constantly running on my desktop, and it’s the master copy of all my info. After some annoying RSS syncing issues this week, I realized I didn’t like my options for checking my updates on the go. Syncing never works quite right, VNC takes a lot of bandwidth, and SSH just isn’t cuddly enough. So, I decided to roll my own.

This is a screenshot of a web app I wrote to check what’s going on on my desktop from my iPhone. I pull the data from AIM, Apple Mail, Twitterrific, NetNewsWire, and iTunes with AppleScript running on my computer, and deposit it into a set of plain text files. I parse the files with PHP and style it with a bunch of CSS. The whole thing is hidden on my server with htdigest.

You can see a static sample of it, populated with dummy data. This is primarily a way of getting a quick digest of my information from my iPhone when I’m not home, not meant as a full featured interface for these streams. It’s my version of cloud computing, and took 3.5 days to do. One day on the AppleScripts, one day on the PHP, one day on the CSS, and half a day making little tweaks here and there. Updating everything takes about 10 seconds, with AppleScript being the primary bottleneck. Sections can also be updated individually. So: highly customized solution to a very individualized problem. It makes me happy.

1 Response to "iPhone interface to my cloud"

Have you considered using Dropbox for syncing actual files from your desktop to laptop and vice versa? It’s what I use for backups as well as desktop-laptop syncing.

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