Hardlink - Connecting the On-line and Off-line Worlds

By: Mark K

This first time I saw this it took me a bit to get my thoughts around what I was seeing. To explain, a good friend has been a member of a local Corvette club for years and as I sat in the passenger seat of this monster fast Z06 vehicle he points out a fellow club members car ahead of us. As we crawled along in freeway traffic he pulls out his cell phone and hands it to me and asks that I enter the license plate number of the other Corvette. I did just that and I was presented with information about that car, including a picture, the club he belonged to, his forum user name and vehicle modifications - this was cool, but not really rocket science from my assumptions. What I learned next allowed me to see the scope of the application I was using.

I asked if this was their club web site and the answer was no, surprisingly. The dot mobi web page (Internet for cell phones) that I entered the license plate number is only a web page in the most limited sense, basically just a blank text box referred to as a database portal that anyone can use. To access it yourself, enter hardlink.mobi into your cell phones web browser.

It is from this portal that you have access to all hardlinks, which is basically a hyperlink from the real world. Once there you enter a name or number found on some object and it searches a database and returns all links with that identifier. It does not search the Internet - that is a key point here. In fact, Google and this portal never even cross paths and the content is said to not be directly search engine discoverable (referring to Google).

What I found after my investigation is that there is a lot of stuff in this database. There is a lot of equipment, including automotive equipment and other industries. The sites that support this project do not publish the links in their databases but I was given some to review. One was an alignment machine that offered some basic tips on how to use it based simply on its part number of '5030'. To the other extreme, I was shown that you can enter words such as 'shrimp' and find that one company has provided cooking instructions. I also looked at businesses that use their phone number as a link ) showing directions and product information.

The site that I tested my links on is found at, www.buildhardlink.com and they also have a cell phone simulator in case you do not have Internet access on your own cell phone.

Mark K

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