About this project
How many times has this happened: You’re traveling with your laptop, and need to get some work done, but you realize you left one of the files you need on your computer at the office.
Everydisk completely solves this problem by making it easy for you to create a secure, direct connection between the computer you’re using and any or all of your other computers. The remote computer’s hard drive appears on your desktop, just as it would if you plugged it in directly. You can then click through all your folders on that drive, or any drive or networked server connected to that remote computer.
Everydisk is one-click easy
If your computers are connected to the Internet, you can see everything on them.
No more remembering to put things in a special folder in the cloud.
Everydisk is affordable.
Direct connections between your machines mean no expensive server costs.
Your documents, pictures, and other files are always on computers you control.
Privacy power-up: achieved.
We’ve all heard recent stories about breaches, back doors, and other intrusions into all the cloud-based services. It’s hard to be sure if our personal files are safe from hackers, spies, or marketers seeking to harvest our demographic data.
Why take the risk? With Everydisk, all your files stay exactly where you put them — on your own computers, drives, and devices. You decide who has access, using account-level permissions, opt-in two-factor authentication, and up-to-date sharing features.
While there’s probably no solution that’s perfectly secure, our data is a lot less attractive stored on our own private networks than it is in a giant repository with tens of thousands of other users, where it can be harvested or stored for future analysis.
Covering all your bases
There are a variety of other solutions, each excellent in its way, but none that provide full access to all our files should we need them.
We love and use cloud sync/storage every day, but it can quickly get expensive when sharing large files or folders. A photo library containing 20,000 images fills up about 100 gigabytes and would cost nearly $100 per year on commercial cloud storage, and that leaves no room left for work files, music, or movies.
Cloud storage services make it easy to share small, but expensive to sync all.
With Everydisk, your available storage is only limited by the hard drives you have on your desk or in your network. For that same $100, you can purchase a 2-terabyte hard drive, and even after adding all your photos, you’d still have 90 percent free space for anything else, and Everydisk will make it all accessible wherever you go.
Network Attached Storage (NAS) offers lots of bells and whistles and for accessing all your stuff when you’re on the same network, but setup is complicated and connecting from the road is difficult or unreliable.
Virtual Private Networking (VPN) has for years offered the promise of an (IT department administered) secure (but famously slow and unreliable) connection to a corporate server, but there’s no help for getting you hooked up to your stuff at home. Everydisk will give you easy access to all the drives you already own, anytime, from anywhere.
Ideally, we’d use a combination of all of the above: cloud sync/storage to quickly share small files or folders with friends and colleagues, a local server to manage backups and archives, and Everydisk to make sure we have access to everything.
We designed away all the complicated implementation details and made something that’s just easy to use, secure, and inexpensive at any scale.
None your disk are belong to us
Here’s how Everydisk works:
When you want to connect to your remote computer, you launch the Everydisk app and log into Air Connect, Avatron’s “gatekeeper in the cloud.”
Once your identity is verified, you’ll choose the computers you want to connect to from your list.
Air Connect then creates a direct, AES-encrypted data channel between your computers. The remote computers will appear on your desktop, just as if they were plugged in.
And because you’re now connected to your other computer, you’ll also be able to access any of the drives, servers, printers, or other network resources available to it. They’ll all appear just as they would if you were sitting in front of that machine in your office.
The inside story [Warning: Geek-speak]
At the heart of Everydisk is our Air Connect service, our “gatekeeper.” Air Connect has the horsepower and security protocols to establish direct connections between computers or mobile devices, on virtually any kind of network.
We began work on Air Connect 3 years ago, and now have the service up and running on Mac OS X and iOS in one of our other apps. We’ll have the first prototypes of Windows and Linux ports soon.
Employing NSA-resistant 256-bit AES encryption, with keys transmitted over secure SSL connections, Air Connect establishes a direct, private channel between two devices. To tunnel through even the most stringent corporate firewalls, Air Connect uses a technique called UDP hole punching, which is also used by peer-to-peer services like Skype. In order to support such TCP-based file services as SMB and AFP, we implemented a TCP-on-UDP stack. This gives Air Connect complete control over networking parameters like latency, packet ordering, and error handling. And it allows any arbitrary TCP/IP service, from printing to music streaming to file sharing, to communicate directly and securely, despite firewalls, dynamic IP addresses, and packet loss.
Once the connection is made between devices, Air Connect is out of the picture. Your data passes directly between your machines rather than through the Air Connect server. It is never stored in any cloud.
Your data always stays on machines that you control.
Note: This Kickstarter project is focused on the desktop version of Everydisk, but once we have the desktop foundation, we plan on putting together a mobile version of Everydisk. The Air Connect stack, authentication layer, and several interface elements from our existing iOS apps will give this future effort a great head start.
Where we are now: Prototype
We’ve been developing apps for almost 6 years, mainly focused on iOS devices:
Air Sharing – the first app to let iPhone users interact with files on their computers. Air Sharing was downloaded a million times its first 2 weeks in the App Store.
Air Display – the most popular way to use your iPad as a wireless display for your Mac or PC, giving you more room to be productive.
And in January 2013 we launched Air Login. Air Login lets you remotely control your Mac from your iPad.
We’ve learned a lot from making these apps, and we’ve used that experience build a working prototype of Everydisk.
Right now we’re able to surf files across Macs sitting on multiple networks. Most of the time. But not yet PCs. And there’s no user interface. And sometimes it still doesn’t work quite the way we want (but it will).
We’ve travelled this road, and we’ve solved these kinds of problems many times before, and with your help, we will do it again.
Help us shape Everydisk
The prototype is working, but we’ve got a lot of code to write before it’s ready to go.
We’re asking you to help us fund the rest of the development process, to add your input on potential features, and — if you’re the adventurous sort — to beta test Everydisk in the real world.
Your backing will give us:
Development time. We want to dedicate our team exclusively to Everydisk until it’s ready. We aim to ship both Mac (first because we have a head start) and Windows versions sometime in the back half of 2014.
Infrastructure. We need to build up our testing lab to include all the flavors of Mac, PC, OS X, and Windows out there, and to create a variety of network setups to properly test Everydisk in every environment.
You. We have mapped out a giant array of tests to simulate how Everydisk will work, but there’s no substitute for the real thing. Backing our project will give you the opportunity to be the first to try Everydisk.
The team behind Everydisk
My name is Dave Howell. I started Avatron almost 6 years ago after managing software teams at Apple. Before Apple, I was an independent developer for years, but am so happy to work with the incredibly talented people at Avatron. The best thing about Avatron is that we get to work with people we like, use tools that we love, and make software that helps us get things done better, faster, and more elegantly than ever.
We’re a small team of 12 and we all wear several hats, depending on the stage of the project we’re working on. We’re very excited about Everydisk, for the development challenges we’ll get to tackle and for the new way we’ll be able to interact with our data when we’re done.
Please come along for the ride by backing Everydisk. It’s going to be great!
Risks and challenges
With a software development project like this, the biggest risk and challenge is shipping on time. To combat delays, we’ll share our scheduled milestones with our backers. We plan to build Everydisk in modules and allow beta testers time to real world test each module to make sure its functionality is solid before we build on top of it.
There’s always a struggle between shipping on time and features, and while our aim is to hit all of our scheduled milestones, our higher goal is to ship software that is sturdy, secure, and delightful. The primary challenge to this effort will be to achieve full cross-platform compatibility. We have recently added a dedicated Windows developer to our team, and we’re hiring another Mac and iOS engineer. With Kickstarter backing we’ll be able to deepen our bench even more.
We’re certain that we’ll be able to figure out any issues that come up, but we'll let you know if our schedule slips, and if it does it’ll most likely be because we’re chasing down some fussy issue that swims in the technology gulf between OS X and Windows. We've navigated these waters before, so are comfortable that we can chart a fairly accurate course.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
A couple of backers and browsers have asked about the strange phrases in our reward and project descriptions. These are geeky references to a long-lasting Internet meme derived from the badly translated video at the beginning of the 1991 European Sega Mega Drive version of the game Zero Wing. For more information, go to http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/all-your-base-are-belong-to-us.
When we started this project, we planned on supporting first Mac and Windows, then iOS and Android. In several conversations with backers (Hi Berten, Katrina, William, Tom, and Martin!), we've learned that Linux is more important to our backers and friends than we first thought.
As a result, we ARE planning Linux support, but are not yet sure how that's going to look. We want to do something true to the open spirit of the Linux community, so our model might have to be adjusted a bit.
Our team has a good idea, so all our backers will be the first to know when we are ready to talk more about it.
Everydisk (via Air Connect) provides a direct connection between two computers on different networks. It does NOT itself implement a file transfer protocol. Rather, it lets your two computers use file sharing mechanisms that are already implemented in the Mac and Windows operating systems. (Windows shares via SMB; Mac OS shares via SMB or AFP.) So Everydisk enables, but does not itself implement, file sharing between networks.
The upshot of this is that the security around SMB and AFP works exactly as it does on your local network. And while Everydisk is based on a proprietary networking transport, the SMB and AFP hosts and clients are open-sourced. You can download the Mac source code in http://opensource.apple.com, for example.
That said, Everydisk is the first line of defense, so we have put a lot of thoughtful work into Everydisk's security. We employ Diffie-Hellman cryptographic key exchange, over secure SSL, to ward off man-in-the-middle attacks. We apply 256-bit AES encryption to all peer-to-peer communications. Our plan is to have a security expert perform a thorough security audit to evaluate our architecture and implementation, and then to release a white paper detailing those findings.
We plan to ship rewards as soon after the project concludes as we can. The date of June 2014 refers to the date we hope to invite you to the Everydisk beta.
Some of you have asked about the shipping charges on the rewards. This is our first project, and we feel like we should have done that differently. Unfortunately Kickstarter's rules prohibit us from changing things (even things like removing the shipping charges) once the project is rolling.
We are working on two ideas:
1.) if you pay shipping, we'll over-deliver on what we promised. It says you'll get a sticker, but we'll throw in another item (or two) to your thank you gift.
2.) if you back us at some higher level, you can choose "THE TWENTY" as your reward, and we'll make sure you get the goods from your reward level. For example, if you back us at $50 but choose "THE TWENTY", you'll still get the non-expiring subscription and the sticker, but won't pay shipping.
It's a workaround, but given the rules it's the best we can do.
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