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Video Eggcyte is Making a Pocket-Sized Personal Web Server (Video) 94

Eggcyte has been working on this for two years. It's on Kickstarter now; a personal server you can use to share music, video, text, and just about anything else without resorting to cloud-based services where one weak password can put your private celebrity photos (you are a celebrity, right?) into the wrong hands. If you suddenly decide you don't want to share the information on your Egg any more, turn it off. If you suddenly have something new to share, like a video you just shot of the Loch Ness Monster capturing an alien spaceship, you can connect your Egg to the Internet anywhere you find a wireless access point. The main thing, say the Eggcyte people, is that your data is yours and should stay that way. Facebook and other cloud-based "sharing" companies use your data to learn about you. Here in the U.S. their primary purpose may be to show you ads for things you might want to buy. In more repressive countries, cloud-based sharing services may use your private data in ways that could be hazardous to your health. Of course, our government people would never keep track of what we post on Twitter and other online services... or would they? (Alternate Video Link)

Timothy Lord for Slashdot : Thomas, you are with a company called Eggcyte and you have an upcoming product called the Egg. Can you talk about the Egg and what is it about?

Thomas: Well, the Egg is a personal server, a web server, it fits in the palm of your hand neatly. It has got 128 gigabytes of storage. It has got a unique IPV6 address. It has Wi-Fi so when you connect it up to any access point that has internet connectivity it immediately shows up as a unique website, so in my case, the website would be called Thomas because my name is Thomas, it would be It is really to store content that you and I care about. Stuff like videos of my kids for me. Videos of my family. And it is for stuff that we say people want to narrowcast. And narrowcast means things that you want to share on a selective basis. Or show on a selective basis to people that you really care about. So I would show or share content or videos of my kids with my mom in India or my relatives in Chicago. And we do that in a very selected fashion where we are always in control. It never goes up into the cloud, so there are never any opportunities for the data to be compromised. And that is how it works.

Slashdot: And you can turn it off because it is in your hand, it is not in any data center someplace.

Thomas: You can turn it off, you can disconnect it from Wi-Fi and the fact that you can delete content that’s on it. And once it is deleted, it vanishes. So that’s the added benefit of the Egg. It is always in your control.

Slashdot: Can you talk about the hardware a little bit? What’s inside?

Thomas: It has got an Atom CPU in there, it has as I mentioned 128 gigs of Flash, high speed Flash in it, it has got Wi-Fi, 802.11n support. It has got Bluetooth as well. It has got a USB port. One of the great things about the Egg through this USB port, you can plug it into any one of your devices, whether it is an SLR camera, or a iPHone or a flip camera, and it automatically gathers all of the content off of it. Without any user intervention. No need to drag and drop and cut and paste and all of those things. And it categorizes it automatically, so it knows which device the content came from whether it is a video or a movie any metadata that exists with it it categorizes all of that.

Slashdot: What’s the display like?

Thomas: It is quarter VGA and it is intended really to give the user a view into what content is on the Egg. Most of the time, when we look at stuff on PC they all show up as these big long file names. But we are very visual creatures. We like seeing stuff. And that’s why the Egg has a display so you can actually see what’s in it.

Slashdot: What sort of communications does it have? What sort of communications protocol?

Thomas: It is IPV6, so as you know, it is a 128 bit address so we could have every person on the planet have an Egg and we wouldn’t have run out of IPV6 addresses. And because of that we do all of the communications as seamless. You don’t have to punch a hole through your router to get this stuff to work. You can walk into any Starbucks and if you connect up to the Starbucks access point, your Egg shows up immediately. It is great for people—some of our trial users like wedding photographers, and some reporters, when they capture video right away and they go into a Starbucks and they show their content right away. We’ve got musicians share their tapes privately with their band members. So there are plenty of use cases for the Egg.

Slashdot: Can you show us the battery?

Thomas: The battery makes the Egg last about 12 to 16 hours. And the great thing about it it is a standard battery, it is a 900 milliamp hour battery. And it gives you 12 to 16 hours. It is about half the size of a standard cell phone just to give people some perspective.

Slashdot: How long has the design process been?

Thomas: It has taken us about two years to get to this point. A lot of iterations with respect to research, one of the biggest questions that we had on the front end was: Would people want to carry another product? I mean, we noticed that if they value it, then they will figure out a way to carry it. We found out one of the things that the women that were in our research trials told us “We love this size and we love this shape because most men don’t know that women’s pockets are half the size of men’s pockets.” We found that we didn’t know before. So we did a lot of research and we came up with a shape that was very appealing almost primal in nature for our users.

Slashdot: As an embedded device, what sort of OSes are running?

Thomas: It runs Tizen, it is a Linux variant. It has got a full LAMP stack on it. So it has got Engine X on it, it has got PHP, everything is done in HTML5. So literally anything you could put on a server, can be put on this device.

Slashdot: Now you talked a bit before we started the camera, about the role of this in what you called democratization. I have to ask you then is the software open sourced?

Thomas: All of the stuff that’s on the platform other than the specific components about connectivity and the automatic gathering of your data

Slashdot: You are already using open source for them.

Thomas: Yeah, that’s right. It is all open source. So people could take it because it is already out there.

Slashdot: Now this looks like a very polished product and does not look like wires wrapped in duct tape or anything like that. It looks like something that someone could buy—is it?

Thomas: We would love for people to come and buy it from Kickstarter and help support us. Because we think democratization is very important. We don’t believe that people should make money off of our data. We think that if it is our data, then we should be making money off of it, or at least have control to decide who makes money off of it.

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Eggcyte is Making a Pocket-Sized Personal Web Server (Video)

Comments Filter:
  • Web Server? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @04:51PM (#48153921)

    You did read the TOS of your ISP provider, right? Some don't allow any server at all (email, Web, etc) on your home connection.

    • Re:Web Server? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by davydagger ( 2566757 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @04:52PM (#48153933)
      very loosely enforced, I've been running home servers for over a decade.
    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      Yet another example of violating net neutrality.
    • You did read the TOS of your ISP provider, right? Some don't allow any server at all (email, Web, etc) on your home connection.

      Who cares what it says?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You will when you wake up with your mouth sewed to someones asshole.

    • by GNious ( 953874 )

      You did read the TOS of your ISP provider, right? Some don't allow any server at all (email, Web, etc) on your home connection.

      That's going to be an issue for a lot of people, who play video-games. Many games will use one of the machines as a host, to which the others connect, basically causing that player to be running a (temporary) game-server.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @04:52PM (#48153923)
    Is that a personal website in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?
  • Revolutionary! So instead of needing to actually install DD-WRT and buy a separate thumbdrive... They'll include it all in one tidy package!

    But but but... "Cloud"!
  • Take the old laptop, remove the hard drives and battery, stick in a bootable usb stick or memory card running your favorite distro, and you have a very quiet, low-energy server for all your needs.

  • What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sideslash ( 1865434 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @04:56PM (#48153985)
    How does this address leakage of private media on the internet? Sure, you can "turn it off" to disable public access, but you can do that on DropBox too.

    The typical pattern, whether DropBox or "Eggcyte" is something like the following:

    (1) You post private stuff on the cloud
    (2) somebody else accesses it, whether it's intentionally or unintentionally shared
    (3) bad actors download the media and publish it on other outlets such as 4chan
    (4) you panic and disable the original share, although of course it is now too late.
    (5) Sad stories about you are published on news sites, along with stern and moralizing finger wagging.
    • I was just logging in to post this same thing. Just having access to the power switch on a server does not magically make it more secure.

      Along the same lines, simply having control over where your cloud server is physically located, doesn't make it not a cloud server.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @04:57PM (#48153989)

    I can buy a raspberry pi with all the addons for less then 100 USD, load a webserver on it, and have more functionality then what this thing offers.

    Yeah it has a screen and yeah its probably easier to set up. But that is what I'm buying then. A screen and an easier set up... for twice the price.

    As to sticking it in your pocket... The whole web domain thing is great but subdomains are nothing new. I can get a free subdomain from any of several services. I do it all the time. Any system I work with on a regular basis that is on a dynamic IP gets a subdomain synced to it so that I can always login to that system. All they're doing is setting up a subdomain on a server they own and selling this unit... which is nice but isn't really competitive with a raspberry pi.

    Am I missing anything? The thing is neat... its just redundant.

    • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @05:12PM (#48154127)

      Actually, you are missing something ... a revenue stream.

    • by RoverDaddy ( 869116 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @05:18PM (#48154183) Homepage
      If you'll read my other comment you'll see that I basically agree with your assessment. However, for a consumer product, this amount of markup is probably reasonable. You'll never get a raspberry pi, wifi adapter, bluetooth adapter, battery and video screen to fit into that form factor. That's where engineering design and packaging, and custom circuit design come into play. And the software has a price too. Even if you or I could cobble up the basics of this product on our own, it still might be useful for the average consumer.

      All that said, I do wonder whether the market can bear a $200 price for this device.
      • Well, sure... but why do we need all that crap?

        1. Why does it need a screen when it has a web interface? Totally pointless.

        2. Why do you need to be able to upload things to it directly without a network interface? Also totally pointless.

        3. Why does it need a wifi adapter? This thing is going to live on someone's desk. This notion of bringing it around your purse... why? The unit will work most effectively plugged into a router sitting on a shelf somewhere.

        So subtracting those three features which are utterl

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You'll never get a raspberry pi, wifi adapter, bluetooth adapter, battery and video screen to fit into that form factor.

        Why wouldn't I. That's called a smart phone. A Huawei Y300 (for example) has a faster processor than a Pi, the same amount of RAM as a Pi, Wifi, Bluetooth, battery and a touch screen. And since it's a phone, it also has GSM and 3G. Plus it runs reliably on USB power. And it costs $100.

        • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

          my ZTE F930 has all except wifi, is smaller than a WD Passport hard drive, is currently equipped with an 8GB SD card (it'll take a 16), and cost £35 in 2010. Still works, no need for an "upgrade" which pretty much means I get to keep my battery that's still good for a week between charges :)

      • Notice that you can reserve your sub-domain for only $9. Whoopdee doo ding dong! Now, is that per year, forever, or what, they don't say. And when you go to the demo link [], it's "currently offline".

        You see, the cloud services companies take advantage of the fact that most of us don’t know how to buy a domain, set up a website and program it to do what we want. So, what choice do we have but to click the "Accept" button when they show us the license agreement to use their service.

        So instead you want us to buy a subdomain and tied hardware from you, hardware that isn't upgradeable. I can use an old laptop and get a much better screen, much more storage, much better performance, and a wider choice of software. And unlike Tizen [], where "the entire SDK has been published under a non-open-s

    • For a lot of people, "a screen and an easier set up" are easily worth that extra $100 over a Raspberry Pi.
    • by uolamer ( 957159 )

      I agree, before I would do all that I would just setup a server maybe at.. []

      and run a site from there.. I can can setup any level of encryption, authentication, etc I want and not have to charge, carry that thing around, rely on wifi and sell out $200.

  • Almost everything (maybe everything?) this does could be done with a Raspberry Pi, but the result would obviously be a bit larger to carry around. It does seem like they've added some nice polish to the software in the form of the automatic data gathering (from a USB connected device), and they obviously need a back end system to give each Egg a subdomain under
  • by kuzb ( 724081 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @05:07PM (#48154083)

    Now that everyone has a smartphone in their pocket there doesn't seem to be a lot of need for something like this. Why would I buy another device to carry around when I already have a perfectly capable computer in my pocket?

    • by gnupun ( 752725 )

      Lots of storage and the ability to share data with other computers and only a select group of people (i.e. exclude strangers, and companies like dropbox, facebook etc.)

      • by kuzb ( 724081 )

        If I'm really that worried about people at a company potentially seeing pictures of my kids I'll set up my own server at home with an SSL connection and stream from that.

  • So my website goes down everytime I'm not in wifi range?

    • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

      I think the idea is that you have not only control of the killswitch, you have instant control over access to individual files on the device instead of adjusting settings over a web interface and waiting x number of hours for the new settings to propagate. Nice idea, not new, but the implementation is fairly novel in a "I want one of those but in shocking pink" kind of way.

  • FreedomBox (Score:5, Informative)

    by PineHall ( 206441 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @05:28PM (#48154279)
    Eggcyte reminds me of the work of the FreedomBox Foundation []. Both talk about being in control of your data and both are aimed at very small servers. FreedomBox appears to be more privacy oriented than Eggcyte, but both are responding to the same need of being in control of your internet life.
  • by davydagger ( 2566757 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @05:32PM (#48154301)
    For a low end webserver, the HW of a cellphone will do, as will many ARM development boards like odroid xdroid, beagleboard.

    In addition there is pogoplug, plug computers, etc....

    This has been done already, and there are already many viable solutions, commericially
  • Encryption? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @05:34PM (#48154317) Journal

    The Kickstarter page makes no mention of encryption between my device and the Egg.
    Nor anything about encrypted storage on the device itself.

    If your selling point is personal security, you should really be mentioning how your device is meaningfully secure.

  • But a lot more expensive?

    • by gnupun ( 752725 )

      Pogoplug costs $50/year. Why should you pay that much to store on your own device? You can get get your own shared hosting webserver for that much money.

      • by El Rey ( 61125 )

        I'm not saying you should. I have a Pogoplug that I bought for $20 on clearance and put Arch Linux on it. It works fine as a light web server for static pages and file sharing.

        I'm just saying it's not exactly an original idea and the hardware is more expensive than other plug computers. The hardware only Pogoplug (i.e. before they added cloud storage) didn't seem to have great success and I'm not seeing anything in this product that is so different than the original Pogoplug concept that seems like it would

  • I used to use an ICQ account (redirected via a domain account on 123reg) and client as a webserver for various files, when I didn't want the webserver on I just switched my computer off (or just killed the ICQ client). Worked very well for years.

  • by Zenin ( 266666 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @07:41PM (#48155255) Homepage

    Why not just run a web server App on your smart phone?

    -No second device to buy, carry around, or keep charged.
    -No second device to constantly "sync" with.
    -Far easier to keep patched with security and feature updates.

    Of course, that's putting aside all the issues around trying to run a web server on personal internet access accounts (cell, public wifi, home wifi, work wifi, any of it). The bandwidth issues of trying to share a video of your kids with your family alone will trash most any common internet connection, and that's if it'll be allowed at all (inbound port 80/443) or legal ("no servers on this connection!").

    This project has Epic Fail written all over it.... So I'm sure in classic Kickstarter fashion it'll get funded 10x over it's target. Because, sheeple.

  • The Eggcyte is immune to discovery, hacking and theft.

  • The solution to insecure devices connected via cloud services is supposed to be another insecure device connected via another cloud service?

    If you want secure hosting, run your own server. You can do that on your desktop, a phone (current or old), or something like the Raspberry Pi.

  • It's a really cute idea, but from what I've seen so far is lacking a few fundamentals.

    Firstly, there's little mention of user interface design, which if you want this to be used by average Joes and Janes is about the most important thing.

    Secondly, sharing your stuff on your own server is cute, in fact we've only had it for about 30 years, even before the Internet with BBS etc. - the problem is connections, networks. Facebook solved that problem and that's why it works and people use it. If everyone has myna

  • USB drive, For idiots.
    Lets be honest.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"