Nest (Your PC on the Internet)

Nest

Access your files from anywhere.

If you’re like most people who have accumulated a large collection of personal photos, music, and videos on your computer at home, but wish you had access to everything whenever and wherever you are, then Nest might be for you!

Or maybe you’re a business owner who’s frequently out of the office. Install Nest on your workstation. Leave town. Open Nest on your smartphone. Start browsing your files!

Your computer + Nest = Your computer on the internet

Or to put it another way, Nest turns your computer into a “Personal Cloud“where you can access your files remotely via a web browser from almost any device, much like the new cloud music players, only you host all of your own files.

In a nutshell, Nest is…

  • A remote file browser
  • A remote music streamer with playlist support
  • A remote image viewer with slideshow support
  • A remote document viewer

Don’t allow big corporations to store and own your intellectual property!

Nest conquers new territory

The competition is rather hot for remote/cloud apps these days, but Nest sets itself apart. Nest offers universal access your computer’s files and documents while on the go, or simply any time you find your computer (and your data) physically out of reach!

Screenshot showing Nest on an iPhone 3GS, with real associated file icons and file info.

  • iTunes and App Store: Synchronization is a nuisance for many people with an iPhone who simply wish they could drag and drop music to the phone like a normal MP3 player. With Nest’s music streaming ability, you don’t need to synchronize music to your iPhone anymore; just keep your music organized on your computer and Nest will always be up to date with your collection.
  • Remote Desktop and VNC: Nothing compares to the power of these programs in a remote assistance situation, but they can sometimes be too sluggish for a mobile phone. When you just need a snappy, light-weight file browser or document viewer, Nest has that.
  • DropBox and SugarSync: the free services they offer are great, especially as a backup solution, but those who put all their eggs in one basket will soon find that they have exhausted their free space, so it’s time to start deleting some files or paying for additional space. Or is it? If you just want to share some files with yourself or the rest of the world, Nest lets you do just that, without the storage space limitations. If you have a one terabyte hard drive, then you can potentially share one terabyte of data (1000GB) with Nest!
  • GrooveShark, Andromeda and Subsonic: while these services offer some excellent music streaming and internet radio capabilities, they can’t compare to Nest’s streamlined interface and integration with cloud-based music services.
  • Last.fm and Pandora: these services make for excellent iPhone Apps, but you’ll have to pay for a monthly subscription if you find yourself using them frequently. Nest brings your entire listening experience to you wherever you are, which is why Nest lets you scrobble your playback history to Last.fm. In the future, Nest will include a music recommendation system that can generate playlists and radio stations with more of the music you like, and some you never knew existed.

The Power of HTML5

HTML5 is changing the way we think about modern day computing, and it’s freeing the Internet from the proprietary clutches of Microsoft ActiveX and Adobe Flash add-ons. It paves the way for a complete computing environment inside of your web browser, with services/components delivered remotely from various providers, and redundant offline data storage/access.

Even Google is betting big on HTML5 with Chromium and other services such as their HTML5 voice input for Google Voice and speech recognition for Chrome. Microsoft’s Windows 8 will natively support HTML5 driven applications. As the major web browsers continue to support more of HTML5’s feature set, Nest follows suit by utilizing some of those cutting edge features. Take a look at the HTML5 infographic, courtesy of focus.com, which gives us a glimpse into the very near future of web browsing and computing.

News

  • July 20, 2011 – it has been a busy month so I wanted to post an update. In my development I’ve hit a major bug with Nest where the HTML5 audio element stops playing on an iPhone after the element is hidden with CSS. This doesn’t happen on IE9, FireFox, Chrome or Safari, which is making it really difficult to track down. I’ve even created several test projects in an attempt to mimic this bug – all to no avail. I am considering a rewrite of Nest’s javascript code to see exactly what code or logic introduces this bug. Stay tuned!
  • June 22, 2011 – CNN reports that in a recent programming blunder affecting DropBox’s authentication mechanism, ALL DropBox accounts (that’s over 25 million) became fully accessible through the use of any password. Once again this demonstrates the problem we are facing with cloud services; one company owns the key to millions of people’s data, makes a simple mistake, and *poof* everyone’s data is exposed to the world.
  • June 17, 2011 – Just checked out a reddit.com discussion and noticed a pdf.js library is being actively developed, which gives me high hopes that Nest will support viewing pdf files in the Document Viewer using purely HTML5.
  • June 17, 2011 – Nest might not pick up your Default Web Site in Windows Vista/7. If you have this problem, please try installing the IIS6 compatibility components for IIS7. You can find out how to do that in this eHow article.
  • June 16, 2011 – Finally got these Javascript closures working! I can now finish up the framework for Nest Apps and convert the rest of the components into Apps. Special thanks to this closure article from Jibbering.com.
  • June 14, 2011 – I’ve been liking jQuery more lately, as I’ve discovered that all of the extra helper functions I had been writing for Nest were already hammered out and bug proofed in jQuery. So what I’m working on now is overhauling the Javascript entirely to allow for much cleaner code using jQuery and also taking the opportunity to develop a lightweight Javascript framework for creating and sharing “Nest Apps”. The beta components – File Browser, Media Player, Image Viewer, Remote Control – will be converted into these Nest Apps, and I’m hoping to enable Nest users to build their own Nest Apps. I don’t plan to get carried away with Apps just yet, rather, It’s a necessary evolution for the codebase..
  • June 11, 2011 – Beta version 0.2 has been released. Fixes some big ones.
  • May 27, 2011 – The Washington Times reports how the government currently has the right to gain access to any data which you have stored online for more than 180 days on sites including Yahoo, Google Docs, and some backup services. Nest eliminates this legal loophole by putting control of your intellectual property back into your own hands. Nest doesn’t store files on the web, you just store them on your personal computer like always, and Nest simply makes them available on the web.
  • May 3, 2011 – Published this landing page for Nest.

Features

  • Uses ASP.NET/IIS/AJAX/CSS3/HTML5 technology.
  • The Nest front-end is accessible from most web-capable computers and devices (iPhone, iPad, PC, Android) and is compatible with most major web browsers (FireFox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari.)
  • Nest reads embedded meta-info from MP3 files to show the Artist name, Album name, Album artwork, Track title, Track number, Genre, Comments, etc.
  • Fully integrated AJAX playlist with easy playlist management (touch gestures for iPhone supported).
  • Integrates with Last.fm for scrobbling streamed songs to your profile.
  • Works on the iPhone without an App Store purchase; it’s a web app baby!
  • Multitasking: stream music while you browse photos. Quickly switch between apps by tapping the title bar in any app.
  • Remote control your keyboard and mouse.
  • Open/view common document formats such as text and Microsoft Word files.
  • Open/view common image formats such as bmp, jpg, tif, gif, png, etc.

Possible-upcoming mind-blowing universe-shattering features:

  • File upload/download/rename/delete/cut/copy/paste.
  • Save and load playlists.
  • Save user sessions after log-off.
  • Music recommendation system.
  • Edit and save documents.
  • Join Nests together.
  • Build Nest Apps that incorporate new functions or support third party applications running on the host system.
  • Implementation for Apache, Cassini, and other web servers.
  • Linux implementation.
  • PHP implementation.
  • Automatic/UPnP port mapping.
  • Media Center Remote Control with macros.

Screenshots

System Requirements

  • Windows XP or better with Internet Information Services.
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.

Downloads

  • Nest Setup 0.2 (Beta)
    Fixed in this version: Media Player: Last.fm now playing submission and scrobbling (at song end if played longer than half the song duration), Winamp button on media player (Downloads playlist as m3u file to play in Winamp/iTunes/Window Media Player), fixed Play button on first play, fixed Repeat button functionality, fixed on/off state for Repeat/Shuffle buttons, if album artwork can’t be loaded no longer load last successful artwork. Configuration: Nest will now set the NTFS folder security on the content folder automatically on Windows XP (ASPNET account) or Windows Vista/7 (DefaultAppPool account).
    NOT working in this version: video streaming, Microsoft Word files, Image Viewer slideshow, Remote Control, some ID3 tags, some buttons in the various apps still do nothing…
  • Nest Setup 0.1 (Beta)
    Working in this version: streaming music and repeating/shuffling playlist, view text files, view image files.
    NOT working in this version: video streaming, Last.fm scrobbling, Microsoft Word files, Image Viewer slideshow, Remote Control, some ID3 tags, some buttons in the front-end do nothing.

Instructions

Host setup

  1. Download and run the setup package.
  2. When the installation wizard appears, choose Next until complete.
  3. In your Start menu, locate the Nest program group, then open the Nest Configuration Utility.
  4. Using the Nest Configuration Utility, create the Nest Virtual Directory, and add any number of shared folders that you wish to make available through Nest.
  5. Click the Local Address link or Public Address link to open Nest in your web browser.
  6. You should see the Nest frontend and be able to browse through your shared folders using Nest’s File Browser.
  7. In the Nest Configuration Utility, make sure to click OK when you’re done to save your changes.

Try it out

  1. Open the Nest Configuration Utility and click the Local Address or Public Address link to open Nest in your web browser.
  2. When the Nest front-end appears, click the File Browser, browse to an MP3 and click on it. The song will be queued into the Media Player. Click the black title-bar that says “File Browser” at the top to return to the main app screen, then click the Media Player. When the Media Player appears, click the Next button to start playing the first song that you just queued.

Public access setup

Here’s where things get a bit advanced.

  1. Visit www.No-IP.org and register for a dynamic domain name.
  2. Configure your firewall NAT to forward HTTP traffic to your host computer, or designate a specific port, forward it to your host computer, and configure Nest to use this port using the Nest Configuration Utility.

Make it secure!

Security options will be implemented in the Nest Configuration Utility in a future beta!

You’ll definitely want to think about securing your Nest so that only you have access to it via a username and password. I should warn you though, make sure all of your accounts have strong passwords before you do this, because it is possible for someone to hit your login page and try to guess your username/password until they guess it correctly, giving them access to an account on your computer 🙁 Although if you implement an Account Lockout Policy, you shouldn’t have this problem!

  1. Open the Nest Configuration Utility, click the Advanced tab, and choose Open IIS.
  2. Once IIS is open, drill down the tree on the left until you find your Nest Virtual Directory.
  3. Right click your Nest Virtual Directory, choose Properties, then choose the Directory Security tab.
  4. Click the Edit… button, then unselect Anonymous access and select Integrated Windows authentication. This will make it so that a visitor must type a username and password of a user account that has been setup on your computer (typically the account you use to logon to Windows).
  5. Click OK twice. You may now close IIS. The next time you visit your Nest from a web browser, you will be prompted for a username and password.

You may also use IP Address and Domain Name Restrictions in IIS for more security.

Disclaimer

All of my software comes with the same disclaimer. I do test and use my own software programs, and while I’m pretty confident there are no dire consequences to using them, I can’t be held liable for any damage caused by the use of my software, whether due to bugs, unforseen functionality or any other reason. I always recommend that you test my software on a sample before attempting the real thing. This will give you an idea of how it works and what to expect. Thank you for your interest in my software!

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6 Comments

  1. bill murphy says:

    Dear Perry….I’m intrigued by “nest” …it appears to do all & more that i-cloud, Google docs, etc do.( although I haven’t actually tried it ) and more. Do you plan to sell it ? At what price ? Would you consider using a rep ?
    My one criticism is that it needs better graphics ( that’s what HTML does ) I’m a web designer maybe I can help.
    Bill Murphy

  2. Bill, thank you for the kind offer. I have yet to determine the pricing model. With the beta, what you get is a free product (but not free of bugs). If Nest does end up having sales potential I would consider selling it for a small price, or perhaps offer a free version and a premium version. I agree that it needs better graphics. The UI is still undergoing some changes and ease-of-use criticism, so I’m not focusing heavily on the graphics or CSS yet, I’m just doing enough graphics to implement the core functionality and not look like a Geocities page 🙂 While I bring more features and ideas to the table, it sometimes requires an overhaul of the graphics/CSS, which of course sets me back on time.

  3. Gekkor McFadden says:

    Absolutely worthless work. What I want to know is why you felt the need to publish this tripe?

  4. It looks like it has a whole lot of functionality for a remote file management application, with the added bonus of sticking it to The Man. An appropriate response to the “cloudwashing” that’s been hitting the ‘nets and airwaves lately.

  5. Wow, incredible weblog layout! How lengthy have you ever been running a blog
    for? you make blogging glance easy. The overall glance of your website is great,
    as smartly as the content!

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