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The argument for Open Media Management Interfaces 101

By Harold Gilchrist

Media Management Systems need open methods and interfaces.  Specifically, the vendor community needs to support standardized interfaces to input and output the media objects contained within their proprietary Media Management Systems.  This is not to say the standard way would be the only way or even the preferred way.  The point is to makes the interfaces to Media Management Systems open to other's software and other systems through standardized openly published methods.


The advent of digital cameras, audio recorders and now integrated cell-camera phones has given us ways to document and share details of our daily lives.  As the industry moves forward will be faced with choices of how, where and when to store and access the media objects we produce with these new and future digital inputting and outputting devices.

One of the things we have taken for granted for many decades in our techno life's is how we get text data into our computers.  The keyboard has always been there.  It doesn't matter if the system is UNIX, MAC, Windows, VMS or even PDP 11.  The input interface is the same.  Even with the invent of the mouse and the move to other systems like the BlackBerry we keep going back to the same simple input device we know and love.

We are at the point in producing personal Media where we need to standardize the ways we enter data and media objects into our and other's Media Management Systems.  The inside mechanics of the systems don't matter.   A standardized interface also does not stop vendors from creating their own proprietary methods either.


You should note I am not saying input device.  We know devices will differ vendor to vendor and across vendor vertical markets.  Interface and ergonomics features are the things that should differentiate the market players.  Not system lockin. 

Standards like TCP/IP, USB, Firewire, WIFI and Bluetooth will take care of the data getting to the device or across the network.  The protocol, we need to speak and universal language needs to be the same dialect and open.  The layer that talks to the media system needs to be open.

How to we start

We start by bootstrapping with the standards we have today.

Because the input devices will come from many vendors we need to buy and use devices that use today's and tomorrows standards.  To get this rolling we need to try to use the standards that exist.  As we move this forward we can evolve new standards that will expand on what we learned and need.

What's next

We need to formalize the model for inputting using these methods.  We need to start asking and answering the hard questions.  What is the right way to send email to media systems  How do I include category in with the title of the email?  Can or should I add any other metadata about the object with the email?

If we use ftp to put information into the system how to we communicate the name of the object to the system? The file's name?  Can I include other information in the name?  How do I do that?


Here are examples of a few products that are supported by new and different vendor Media Management Systems:

HipTop - The hiptopô is a wireless all-in-one device that combines a fully-featured mobile phone with Web browsing, email, instant messaging, personal information management features, games, and a digital camera accessory. Designed and developed by Danger, Inc., the device is being marketed and sold by T-Mobile -- under the name T-Mobile Sidekick -- across all its markets nationwide.

Hiplog is blogging by hiptop. Send email from your hiptop to The subject of your message becomes the title of your hiplog entry. The text of your message become the text of the entry. Want to make your hiplog a photojournal? Take snapshots with your hiptop and send them to hiplog. It's as easy as sending email.

The revolution will be syndicated

hiplog headlines can be syndicated -> Your hiplog headlines can be syndicated on other news sites using your blog's RSS channel. RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a standard way for blog sites to share information with each other. The XML image on your hiplog page links to the RSS channel for your hiplog. Look for this image: XML

Nokia 7650:

  • Integrated digital camera
  • MMS
  • GPRS
  • Joystick navigation
  • Color display

Use the Nokia 7650 with Club Nokia. With Club Nokia you can have fun with your photographs online at Photo Zone. Photo Zone lets you store your images online. In addition, you can share the photos by sending email invitations to your family and friends from Club Nokia.

  • Conclusion

    Media Management systems will come in many flavors from many vendors.  Very quickly our media will be stored in these systems.  Standardized interfaces and methods to input and output our media inside those systems will increase productivity and innovative use of the media objects in/with other systems. We need to work with vendors of these systems to make sure we don't wind up with incompatible devices and our media data doesn't get locked into their system.

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    Last update: 4/6/2003; 3:00:41 AM.
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