Browse Prior Art Database

Original Publication Date: 2001-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20

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The Internet, by virtue of its size, introduces a problem for the end user: gathering distributed data of a timely basis. Ephemeral data -- data that is updated at least hourly -- exacerbates the end-user's problem. Even if the data is easily obtainable, there is the need to surf from one web site to another to view the current state of this ephemeral data. Several products are available at no cost to the end user, which "push" standard ephemeral data to the end user's desktops. Notable among this genre in the PointCast Network. TM PointCast adopts a television metaphor. End users select among channels of information such as weather, news, and stock quotes, and the PointCast product gathers this data and delivers it to the end user's desktop on a regular basis. PointCast and the other "push" products are lacking in the following ways:

They are platform dependent They are not extensible They require channel surfing

Disclosed is a personal push program which would allow any end user on any platform to gather ephemeral data in an effective and efficient means, with no surfing required. "InfiniCast" spawns agents which monitor websites, and when new data is discovered at that web site, caches the data locally on the end user's hard drive. Furthermore, InfiniCast builds a single web page to display the latest state of all web sites.

InfiniCast Pieces

InfiniCast consists of the Java TMruntime classes: InfiniCast.class, InfiniFrame.class, WebSite.clas, and WebThread.class.


    The WebSite class represents the content and state of the data residing at a particular location in cyberspace. It is assigned a channel number and it maintains the local cache copy of itself.


    The WebThread class controls the timing of interrogating a Website. The WebThread acts as the user's agent which pulls new data from the WebSite on a regular basis.


    The InfiniCast class reads in the user's channel definition file, creates and releases the various agent threads, and polls the threads for status to be displayed. This is the class invoked by the end user.


    The InfiniFrame class is the window to the inner workings of the InfiniCase program. It is not intended to be the display vehicle for the internet data. Rather, it displays the status of the WebThreads, providing a visual feedback mechanism that threads are alive and capturing data on a regular basis.

Java Console

The Java Console captures statistics and is used to tune the efficiency of the program.

Web Browser

InfiniCast builds an HTML file, InfiniCast.html which allows end users to view the data captured by the InfiniCast program.

Partial Web Pages

To allow unlimited sources of data, InfiniCast requires a data definition file. End users are expected to create a channel definition file InfiniCast.init. This file will specify all the sources of information to be monitored, and which portions of these data so...