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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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Computing, Libraries, Tennis, India & other interests of Vikas Kamat


Computing via E-mail Durable Link to this BLOG
Computing via E-mail

I have begun work on an e-mail server (it is really a client -- tentatively named Remokon) that responds to requests sent to it via e-mail. The requests can be anything -- requests for content, cgi-bin/ submits, just anything. Just stick the http request header in the body of the message, and you get the results back via e-mail.

Except that the communication now is asynchronous, thus allowing for very sophisticated processing of the request. In my small mind, this has wide ranging applications:

Content Scheduling -- When I am on vacation, I can do my stories ahead of time, and send an e-mail to the Content Manager to publish the story (basically use of e-mail message as trigger).

Deep Searching Agents -- The Harvard University for example, has 204 libraries. Let's say you want to search for a criterion in all these libraries --their OPACs, Microfiche archives, electronic and non-electronic sources... you could submit a search query via e-mail, and get the results tomorrow or next week or whenever... still earlier than several lifetimes it would take to search all the libraries !

Bridging Digital Divide -- The folks at WorldSpace have some very cool technology to bridge the digital divide. They can broadcast Web content via satellite to homes in remotest corners of the world (in Africa, Afghanistan, and India) just like cable television channels. But this satellite feed is not interactive. I call it the One-way Web -- you can only receive. I plan to implement a search results via e-mail feature at Kamat's Potpourri. Our patrons in these countries can send a e-mail to a mailbox and receive the contents via satellite (or e-mail).

Access to Offline Content -- We have tons of content not online (not on the Web). It is in CD-ROMs, databases, or simply on my hard disk. I can make all of our electronic content available by e-mail.

Foreign Language Content -- No matter what you hear, non-English content is hard to adapt to web. But with the e-mail, you don't have to adapt. One of the first content I will make available is articles and books which are in Kannada language.

You can send code (and I have tested this!) to this mailbox and have it executed! this means you can send script rules involving if then rules and loops.

Anything -- I am foreseeing sending a message to an Airline's mailbox via Blackberry from my car to get the latest flight information, updating blog by e-mail, purging web access logs.....

Massive Distributed Computing via P2P Networks -- See, we've really moved computation from a web server to a desktop! Imagine what this technology could do with a network of 30 million computers (the number of people on AOL network)...

Update on March 17, 2002

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, August 23, 2001
Last Modified: 3/18/2002

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