Monday 20 October 2008

All aboard the Cycle Bus

A friend of mine was relaying a story about a cycle bus. He is part of the "two pedals better" troupe and was waxing enthusiastically about the idea of a bus with pedals in front of every seat. And, to get the bus moving, everyone had to pedal. This idea has some "green" merits in today's oil parched new world order - but, I thought this is great during rush hour with loads of legs to get the bus moving but would really suck for those people who lived near the end of the line.  And, would old women look so pleased when young men jumped up from their seats (and their labors)  to offer these poor, old dears something to sit on.

This idea got me thinking about shared transport and shared effort and as consequence of some really bad "Googling" I discovered some features in Vista that go back to XP that I was completely unaware of.

Vista supports peer-to-peer communication through the advanced Peer Name Resolution Protocol (PNRPv2) !

 In fact, going back a few years now, Windows XP supported peer-to-peer communications with the Advanced Networking Pack. Couple this functionality with the Microsoft Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) and you have the making of an offline caching service. Just think, instead of copying everything to a central server, you could share out part of your hard-drive and let other people access your local cache. Or use your browsing history as a local web cache for band-width poor branch offices.

Following on from that,  I understand there was a few features based on these peer-to-peer ideas that did not make into the final release of Windows Vista.  Notably the project code-named "Castle" which would combine peer-to-peer transports with domain level authentication. 

And, it appears that this feature may be resurrected in Windows 7 with the new Home Group functionality. 


 Peer Name Resolution Protocol (PNRPv2)

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