[UPDATE 24.06.2007, 11:00am]: The mobile web server is still running and has served a little over 5MB of data. Too bad there are no visitor statistics. Hmm, it’s an Apache server, and it does keep an error.log, so perhaps I can edit the config file to enable logging.[/UPDATE]
[UPDATE 24.06.2007, 08:00am]: The mobile web server has been running during the night, automatically connecting when the WLAN connection was lost, and serving about 3.5MB of data. Thanks sis and chregu and lexu for the feedback :-). [/UPDATE]
pieceoplastic mentioned the new Nokia Mobile Web Server and of course I had to go there and try it out. Here is my mini-review after a couple hours dicking around with the system.
First of all: What is a Mobile Web Server? So glad you asked! A Mobile Web Server (MWS) is a software that runs on your mobile phone and turns it into a (guess what!) web server. This allows you to make some or all of the content (images, files, etc.) on your phone available to the internet, either to selected users or the public at large.
1. Download and installation
I registered at mymobilesite.net, chose a subdomain for my MWS, and then downloaded and installed the MWS without a hitch.
2. First startup
After first startup of the server I had to type in my login data and select a connection type. I opted for WLAN because I have one running at home and already use my N93 with it. However, my WLAN connection is not very reliable, which means my MWS just goes offline all the time, which is quite a nuisance. What also happens is that the software just quits for no apparent reason. And of course the WLAN needs a lot of power, so I have to keep the phone plugged into the charger. So much for mobile web server.
Other than that, it’s all pretty straightforward. Setting up users that are allowed to access my site worked very well, the software even offers a texting template so you can send individual users an invitation with their credentials, and the other menu items are self-explanatory. If not, there’s the usual helpfile available.
3. Using the MWS
Administration of my site, adding content, writing blogs, allowing access to images and videos and other files etc, is not done on the phone (thank god!) but with a regular computer. Works quite OK for me.
4. What does it offer
The blog is quite basic. Title, text with HTML, Comments. No pingback or trackback functionality as far as I could see. But that’s good enough for now.
There are two features:
– A visitor can
use the Web Camera, as they put it, and the camera takes a picture of whatever happens to be in front of the lens, no questions asked. The picture then appears on the visitor’s screen, but is not saved, so if he leaves the page or refreshes it, the picture is gone.
– A visitor can ‘request a snapshot’: You get an alert on your phone, if you accept the alert the camera is turned on, and once you’ve taken the shot it appears on the user’s screen.
And you know what? On my N93, the primary camera is activated even if the screen is not in camera mode! This is beyond cool :-).
The gallery is just that. You can give your visitors access to the pictures and videos on your phone. It provides a thumbnail preview of the pictures, but no preview for the videos; however, if you click on a video, it does give you its title, date and size, so the user can at least opt not to download that 20MB video named ‘eating tuna sandwich’.
This one’s neat. Your visitors can send you an instant message or an SMS through the website. However, there’s an 80 characters limit for IM, and a 50 character limit for SMS. This must be an artificial limitation to appease the mobile operators. Which sucks.
Now this one’s really neat: I can view and edit my phone calendar throug the website! As I haven’t found an easy way to sync the N93 calendar to a MacBook, this could turn out to be really useful.
As usual, I can change access rights on a per-user basis.
Send SMS, Phone Log, Contacts: These last three are only available to me as the MWS owner. Pretty handy but nothing too exciting.
I don’t know yet what to make of it. It’s a new, powerful solution with a lot of potential, and as is the case for all such new tools, it’s not immediately clear which problems it is best suited to solve, and which new possibilities it really offers. What I’m trying to get to grips with right now is the fact that this tool turns a very intimate, personal device into a public webserver.
So where is my site? metablog.mymobilesite.net. Username is guest1 and password is also guest1. Currently you’ll get just a couple pics, a blog entry, a homepage. And of course absolutely no guarantee the site is up at all. But if you do manage to access it, please leave a comment in the blog or guestbook – thanks!