Mirra: The power of personal publishing plopped into your house

Point: Complete "personal publishing" hardware/software/services solutions with the power of a media company's IT infrastructure are already here.

For the last year, we have advised San Francisco-based Mirra on the launch of its Mirra Personal Server. While the product and its related Web service are not specifically designed for the types of personal publishing we speculate may begin to steal time-share from media consumption as a part of daily life, the Mirra device could be used today for the following scenario.

Imagine that Jim is planning a wine tour to Napa Valley in two weeks and he knows that Susan is going there this week. Susan did research and made Web reservations for wineries to visit prior to her trip, but Jim wants to get firsthand photos and reviews from Susan while she's there before making his reservations.

Does this have to mean a lot of emails with attached photos and cell phone calls from Susan in Napa to Jim? No. With a $400 Mirra Personal Server installed in the Susan's home, once she starts snapping pictures in Napa and putting them on her notebook PC, she can 'publish' a journal and slideshow to her Personal Server in near real time for Jim to privately and securely access off of her Mirra. How? From any hotspot, the uploading of copies of the pictures and notes to her Mirra at home is almost automatic. Yes, Susan could also upload slide shows to an online photo service such as Yahoo, but this requires more effort, and is less personal and secure.

The point of this rather unrealistic user-experience scenario (today at least, but soon enough not) is that the barriers in technology devices, services, ease-of-use and costs are crumbling for personal publishing versus media publishing.