People are nomadic; traveling from place to place. As a user travels, he may need access to his digital information, including his data, applications, and settings. A convenient way to supply this access is to have the user carry that digital information in a portable computer such as a laptop or smart phone. As Moore's Law continues to operate, devices such as smart phones can easily perform the computing necessary for a user's work. Unfortunately, the amount of data a human can receive and convey through such devices is limited. To receive more information humans require more screen real estate. To transmit more information humans need rich input devices like mice and full-sized keyboards. To allow users to carry their digital information in a small device while maintaining opportunities for rich input, this research takes the approach of allowing users to carry a small portable device and then annex screens, keyboards, and mice whenever those devices are available in a user's environment. This research pursued the "carry it with you" paradigm first by building an ideal annexing framework which helps maximize the screen real estate while minimizing the resources—RAM, CPU, and wireless radio—consumed on the personal device. The resource consumption is demonstrated through a comparison with existing remote rendering technologies. Next, a privacy-aware framework was added to the annexing framework to help protect the user's sensitive data from damage and theft when he annexes a potentially malicious device. A framework like this has not existed before, and this research shows how the user's sensitive data is protected by this framework. Third, legacy machines and software are allowed to participate in the carry-it-with-you experience by scraping pixels from the user's existing applications and transmitting those pixels to an annexed display. Finally, when a user encounters a display space he does not own, but which he needs to control (e.g. by preventing anyone else from annexing it simultaneously, or by constraining each user to a different section of the display space), rather than forcing the user to learn and use control software supplied by the display, the user can bring his own control software and use it to enforce the user's desired control paradigm. This dissertation shows the carry-it-with-you paradigm is a powerful potential avenue which allows users to confidently use display spaces with varying configurations in an assortment of environments.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Computer Science



Date Submitted


Document Type





screen annexation, nomadic users, privacy-aware, display server