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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Time Capsule: how soon before it becomes a BitTorrent client/server?

Time Capsule
One of Steve Jobs' most intriguing announcement at his Macworld 2008 keynote was "Time Capsule". Apart from its name, which only Apple's marketing folks could've come up with, it also opens the doors to new possibilities. It's meant to be a companion device to Mac OS X's backup program, Time Machine.

But a quick rundown of its features suggests that it could be more than what it's designed for:
  • Small: 20 x 20 x 4cm,
  • Light: 2kg
  • Lots of disk space: 500GB or 1TB (that's 1,000 GB)
  • Built-in Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
  • Firewall
  • NAT support
  • Works with both Mac and Windows
From what I've heard, there's a mini-Mac OS X in the machine to make it operable. If so, then this is no dumb machine. It's practically a full-fledged computer that does one thing really well: file storage.

Which means that it could function as a huge -- and stylish -- BitTorrent client/server (servent). (Ok, maybe "huge" is subjective. I'm sure that there are people who have 1TB of disk space and still complain that it's insufficient!) Essentially, BitTorrent software could be installed on it, then controlled remotely though the host computer to manage its file transfers.

There are already similar devices in the market, but I don't know if they've caught on with the pirates downloaders. However, their advantages are two-fold: you don't need to leave a computer running (which means less power), and the devices are Wi-Fi routers too, so they can be used as backup devices as well.

Therefore, Time Capsule is a BitTorrent servent in reverse; it's already a backup device, now it just needs BitTorrent capability. And since BitTorrent is open source, some enterprising genius could put a program together and load it into Time Capsule. Hey, if folks can hack the iPhone, then Time Capsule can't be that big of a challenge!

And even if Time Capsule doesn't have an operating system, I doubt that it'll be long before a talented hacker or two installs Linux (or Mac OS X, for the purist hacker) and loads BitTorrent on it to fulfill the function.

Time Capsule take 2: Apple-branded BitTorrent servent.



Anonymous said...

I was thinking exactly the same thing this morning (this is why I found your post)

am now looking for custom firmwares for time capsules, see if we can open this baby up a little bit.

Yuhui said...

Hey Anonymous, good to know that I'm not the only one who thinks along the same lines. Hope you share what you've found!

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