Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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8/10/2005
12:13 PM
Mike Elgan
Mike Elgan
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The Transmigration Of Your PC's Soul

We reported back in July on FingerGear's $149 Computer-On-a-Stick, which is a USB 2.0 flash drive complete with a bootable onboard Linux operating system and open source office suite. While that's shipping now, IBM researchers are working on another solution called the SoulPad designed to do something similar. The Sou

We reported back in July on FingerGear's $149 Computer-On-a-Stick, which is a USB 2.0 flash drive complete with a bootable onboard Linux operating system and open source office suite.

While that's shipping now, IBM researchers are working on another solution called the SoulPad designed to do something similar. The SoulPad concept is that you carry around a storage device (such as a thumb drive, iPod or just about anything else) that keeps not only your data, but a means of encrypting it and a way to "take over" any random PC with your settings. The idea is that you take your PC's "soul" -- your settings, data, icons, etc. -- with you, and can use them on anyone else's PC.

One SoulPad innovation is combining portability with security. Right now, people carry around laptops, or load documents on random PCs and work from there. Doing this puts your data at risk -- even if you delete it. The SoulPad concept is cool because it gives you maximum portability (almost any machine) and high security (no copies of your data are left behind).

It's also convenient: The OS executes in a virtual machine, which does slow down performance a bit, but enables you to just unplug and go. When you plug it into another box somewhere, your apps are all still running just where you left them.

I hope IBM can turn their prototype into a real product, because I definitely want one. : )

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