mfioretti: instant messaging*

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  1. Movim
    When social network meets IM,
    you can expect some surprises…

    Our main motto? Don't reinvent the wheel. Since the beginning all the Movim communications are made using XMPP.
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  2. Mobile technology develops rapidly nowadays. Do you remember that just 5-8 years ago the most you could get from your mobile device was phone calls and text messages?

    Today your smartphone can do more than a typical computer could do 10 years go. Plus, smartphone is also mobile and very often connected to the Internet.

    One of the areas that grows exponentially now among smartphone applications is instant messengers. The ability to send your friends messages through the Internet attracts many users, especially as these messages cost many-many times less than standard text messages (SMS). "Many-many times" actually means free. You only pay for the traffic you use, which is quite cheap except for roaming cases. And you can send cross-border messages at the same nil » price as local, which is impossible to achieve for Mobile Network Operators.

    If you still don't understand what messengers I am talking about, I'd like to name two: Whatsapp and Viber. You should have heard at least one of these names.
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  3. Email is a protocol. It is an elegant, useful, even beautiful medium. Because so much of our work and so many of our decisions come in via email however, it’s easy to attribute to email itself the difficulties of dealing with that work and making those decisions. It’s equally easy to try to replace or fix email in ways that actually amplify the real problems we face.

    Over the past few years, there has been a ton of activity in the messaging space. Unfortunately, most of the new thinking and products fall into two buckets, neither of which address the fundamental problems that are really plaguing us when we complain about our email:

    1) Replace Email With Something Real-Time
    2) Build Yet-Another-Email-Triage-Tool

    in the first case:

    Beyond the drawbacks of sending our critical communication into closed, proprietary systems, there are serious behavioral and etiquette problems that arise when replacing an asynchronous communication channel like email with a synchronous one like chat or instant messaging.

    First, real-time communication tools are even more addictive than email. Because conversations that would take 3-4 emails instead show up as 20-35 chat exchanges, our brains get a dopamine hit 20-35 times instead of 3-4.

    Research shows that these dopamine hits are addictive — and that we lose focus every time one of them arrives.

    Second, these tools create the expectation that responses will be instant, creating social pressure to always make responding to messages our top priority. That prevents us from focusing on the work that matters most — work that requires deeper thought or deliberation.

    We end up spending our days just chatting with each other, or doing urgent things instead of important ones.

    Finally, the meandering nature of real-time conversations makes it difficult to catch up quickly after leaving the stream to work on something important.

    in the second case: Sure, we may be able to reduce that 3 minutes to 2.5 with a slightly better algorithm or another UI technique. But we need to be thinking about something else: the remaining 1 hour and 57 minutes we spend in our email every day to really make progress.


    It takes courage to admit it, but the real problem with email isn’t with email at all. It’s with human nature, and with the nature of knowledge work.

    In a recent study by Kostadin Kushlev and Elizabeth W. Dunn, they found that over 81 percent of U.S. employees respond to emails within an hour (32 percent within 15 minutes). What’s even more surprising, though, is that 6 percent of respondents checked their email while they or their spouses were in labor. That’s not email — that’s us.

    We have too much work to do. We have too many decisions to make. We have too many people legitimately asking for our attention every day.
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  4. We blindly relied on Google to spread XMPP and declared victory as years passed quietly, not foreseeing them deriving from the standard so many years down the road, nullifying our network effect. Now, we face the problem of recreating a network effect—except that this time around, IM clients ain’t cool anymore: the Web ate their convenience. In-browser IM, powered by social networking websites that made contact management a thing of the past—something that we could not have imagined in the early to mid 2000’s—are making traditional instant messaging obsolete for many, many people.

    Coup de grâce: with the coming of WebRTC for audio/video calls and file transfers, the Web is well on its way to conquering the last remaining technological advantages of traditional IM. It seems like we failed to provide and maintain a compelling, coherent technical offer in time. Just as an example, in nearly a decade of using XMPP, I’m still stuck with the following problems:

    Unreliable servers/services. I’m selfishly hoping that, due to its small population and our fantastic sysadmins and infrastructure, the GNOME jabber server I’m migrating to solves these issues for me. The issue remains for the public at large however. “Reliable” servers are hard and expensive, and so the promise of gratis decentralization falls apart somewhat.
    Contact authorizations randomly resetting every few months, forcing both parties to remove and re-add each other to be able to see their online status (this occurs no matter which jabber client. It appears like a “phase of the moon” bug with various XMPP servers – good luck investigating that)
    With many jabber clients:
    Audio/video chat breaking on a regular basis (if implemented at all)
    Fast file transfers (or any file transfer at all, really) working 10% of the time (if at all), depending on your network, the server you’re on, the server your friend is on, and the alignment of planets
    Remote desktop being broken (if implemented at all)
    End-to-end encryption being generally nonexistent

    Fragmentation, bugs and incomplete implementations.

    Now you might say “but aren’t audio/video and file transfers just extra features? Isn’t ‘a faster email’ what IM is all about?”… The problem with that kind of objective is that we’re a solution looking for a problem, then. If you’re limiting your definition of IM to text, this functionality now exists in two (arguably superior) forms: social web IM, and the venerable IRC.

    As part of the Pitivi, GStreamer and GNOME communities, I find myself realizing that everyone I need to chat with (besides the closest friends and family) are on… IRC. Why would I add these people to my jabber contact list when I’m going to talk to them the same way on IRC anyway? What does Jabber really offer in a compelling way that IRC doesn’t? You may say that IRC is room-based and doesn’t have the notion of a “contact list”, but that’s just a superfluous client UI detail. A contact list is just pinning down the names of those you care about, so theoretically there’s no reason why we couldn’t have such a thing in, say, Polari.

    It seems to me like there is a place for multimedia-intensive telecommunications over WebRTC, and a place for many-to-many traditional text chat with IRC; but the middle-ground between them is kinda going extinct. I will still be showing my Jabber address publicly on my homepage for the foreseeable future, but maybe a day will come where nobody even knows what this artifact is for anymore.
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  5. Tornando a Wire, l’app esiste già per Android, iOS e Mac OS X, mentre una versione HTML 5 – per pc e altri dispositivi web based – è in via di rilascio il prossimo trimestre. L’app si basa su conversazioni a due o in gruppo, nelle quali possono essere trascinati elementi multimediali avanzati sia in upload dal dispositivo di ciascuno – come filmati e foto; sia già in rete – come video da YouTube o tracce audio da Soundcloud.

    I due punti di forza di Wire sono comunque qualità del suono e sicurezza delle comunicazioni: l’app utilizza un avanzato algoritmo di comprensione del segnale capace di garantire qualità e stabilità delle comunicazioni anche con una larghezza di banda disponibile relativamente bassa.

    Inoltre, sul fronte sicurezza c’è di mezzo la nuvola. Le comunicazioni vocali di Wire godono infatti di codifica end-to-end
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  6. I'm surprised to find myself, well into the second decade of the 21st century, doubling down on a technology invented before I was born: email.

    Through a lucky accident, no company owns email. It's like language: used by all, controlled by none.

    Also lucky is email has, to a first-world approximation, 100% population coverage. An email address is as required as a physical address to exist in the modern world.

    Email is also stable. A simple way to estimate how long something will stay around is to ask: "How long has it been around?" Email has been with us for decades, so it's reasonable to guess it will last for decades more.

    If you are, or want to be, a professional creator email is your platform.
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  7. la ragione per cui Whatsapp ha interesse a imporre la spunta blu (e non per esempio a renderla opzionale come altri software fanno) è perché il flusso informativo è il suo business e tutto ciò che lo incrementa fa parte del processo di espansione dello strumento. La spunta blu serve insomma a farci usare Whatsapp sempre di più, serve a consolidare una supremazia dell’interfaccia sui nostri pensieri e in termini più generici stigmatizza la nostra aderenza ai desiderata del software.
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  8. La richiesta di Facebook alle autorità europee arriva con le compagnie telefoniche europee che hanno messo in guardia contro l’acquisizione di Whatsapp, che mette Facebook in una posizione dominante nel mercato della messaggistica in Europa. Ricevere il placet della Commissione all’inchiesta, quindi, potrebbe spianare la strada Facebook, evitando di dover rispondere una ad una alle singole autorità garanti nazionali, i cui lavori sono peraltro spesso improntati su approcci diversi alla medesima tematica.
    Voting 0
  9. Su Android, i messaggi Whatsapp vengono automaticamente salvati ogni giorno sulla memoria del telefono, quindi eliminando Whatsapp dallo stesso si perdono anche i backup. E’ possibile, però, eseguire un backup manuale prima di eliminare l’applicazione e ripristinarlo così in un secondo momento.

    Per farlo è necessario aprile l’applicazione e andare su “impostazioni”, poi “impostazioni chat” e attivare, se non attivo, il backup automatico dei messaggi tramite l’opzione “backup delle impostazioni“. Questo andrà a salvare in locale, nella memoria del nostro smartphone, tutte le nostre conversazioni in database criptati.

    In seconda battuta bisogna collegare sempre lo stesso smartphone Android ad un pc e proiettarsi nella cartella WhatsApp/database, quindi copiare tutti i contenuti presenti in questa cartella sul computer, poi scollegare lo smartphone

    Sul nuovo smartphone Android in cui si vuole installare Whatsapp è necessario non avere la app configurata. Quindi si può procedere con l’installazione di WhatsApp ma non con l’apertura! In seguito basta collegare ora lo smartphone Android al computer dove presente il backup, andare nella memoria interna del telefono e cercare la cartella WhatsApp.
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2014-05-05)
    Voting 0
  10. there’s a logic to giving Paper some more features, or “bloat,” as engineers derisively call such additions. Although it’s awkward to cram more information into a hidden tab on Paper — if birthdays are so important, why aren’t they in Paper’s main news feed? — the additional information also helps Paper live up to its billing as a place for news and stories from your social graph. For some people, birthdays and invitations are a vital part of that news stream, even if, for others, such information is trivial or better placed in the core Facebook app.

    As the Nearby Friends and Paper episodes show, Facebook’s route toward total disintegration into discrete apps will not be a straight one but rather a windy path, a course that adjusts as needed to nurture new products, which can benefit from an incubation period inside the main Facebook app. And additional features, bloated or not, can bolster new apps, which inevitably become more complex as they struggle to attract and retain users. In both cases, the challenge to Zuckerberg is how to nurture a billion users, encouraging and cajoling them to let go of the familiar as Facebook grows into its next incarnation. Breaking up, as they say, is hard to do.
    Voting 0

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