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Synchronizing Clipboards of Multiple Computers Rob Miller Brad Myers School of Computer Science Carnegie Mellon University UIST ‘99 November 7-10, 1999 How do I move data between programs running on different computers? URLs Email addresses Phone numbers Text Files

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synchronizing clipboards of multiple computers

Synchronizing Clipboards of Multiple Computers

Rob Miller Brad MyersSchool of Computer ScienceCarnegie Mellon University

UIST ‘99 November 7-10, 1999

one user many computers

How do I move data between programs running on different computers?

  • URLs
  • Email addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Text
  • Files
One User, Many Computers
  • Desktops
  • Laptops
  • PDAs
  • Cell phones
  • Pagers
  • Car PCs
  • Live Boards
  • ...
  • Windows
  • Unix/X
  • Macintosh
  • Palm
  • Windows CE
  • ...
inter application data transfer
Same Computer

Filesystem

Drag-and-drop

Clipboard

Different Computers

Network filesystem

Pick-and-drop [Rekimoto, UIST 97]

Hyperdragging [Rekimoto, CHI 99]

Synchronized clipboards

Inter-Application Data Transfer
synchronized clipboards
Synchronized Clipboards
  • Key idea: synchronize the clipboards so that their contents are always identical.
  • User’s clipboard group consists of all computers in active personal use (ideally).
advantages
Advantages
  • Cut/copy/paste is a familiar, universal UI
    • All popular GUIs have a clipboard
    • No extra hardware is required
  • Synchronization is invisible
    • User doesn’t need to explicitly name source or target computer in each data transfer (unlike other “network clipboards”)
limitations
Limitations
  • Best for one user only
    • Two users can’t actively share a synchronized clipboard
  • Computers must be in close proximity
    • Unsuitable for long-range transfers
model 1 client server
Model #1: Client-Server

Server

X

X

Client

Client

  • Network traffic on all client clipboard operations
  • Client clipboards must be interceptable
model 2 peer to peer
Model #2: Peer-to-Peer

B

A

Peer

C

A

A

Peer

Peer

  • No network traffic for local clipboard operations
  • Clipboards must allow delayed data transfer
prototype uses both models
Prototype Uses Both Models
  • PalmPilot: client-server
    • Palm clients connected to server PC by serial cable or cradle
  • Windows, Unix/X: peer-to-peer
    • Java/RMI across the network
  • Both models interoperate
    • Just hook up server as a peer
setting up clipboard group
Setting Up Clipboard Group
  • PalmPilot: plug/unplug Palm in cradle
    • Clipboard group connection is automatic
  • Windows, Unix: add/remove hostnames
    • Automatic discovery (e.g. Jini) would help
  • My clipboard group should contain all devices I’m actively using
    • But perfect tracking is tricky
security
Security
  • Authentication by popup dialog
  • SSL, Kerberos, PGP, … would help
    • But all require some infrastructure: trusted authorities, key management, etc.
conclusion
Conclusion
  • Synchronized clipboards extend the familiar clipboard model for seamless data transfer between computers
  • Prototype (for Palm, Windows, Unix) is available at: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~rcm/RemoteClip/
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