Let us impact the material world

Knight Walker moko at kobran.org
Wed Jul 2 20:09:46 CEST 2008

On Sat, 2008-06-28 at 12:24 -0500, Nelson Castillo wrote: 
> Doesn't IM requiere permanent connection? For status updates, etc?

Not necessarily. A lot of us used IM back in the old dial-up days.

I've done a lot of thinking on this subject over the last several years
and tried several systems with my existing phone and GPRS connection.

If the IM protocol in use (I'm thinking XMPP) supports offline storage,
distributed servers, and connection encryption, and preferably a robust
message delivery system (e.g. requiring an ack for messages sent) then
it should be usable, provided the phone has a data connection. It
could/would shorten battery runtime keeping the GPRS up all the time,
but a lot of that depends on other power-saving in the device.

If the user has very limited data connection (e.g. only WWW (Port 80),
and MAIL (Ports 25, 110, 143, 587, 993) then a proxy of some kind would
be necessary. The proxy would need to maintain the user's login to the
IM network and provide storage of messages sent by the client program
(running on the phone).

For those with no data connections, something involving SMS (And
eventually MMS if/when it's ever ported) would need to be created. A lot
of provider IM programs (At least the ones I've used) rely on SMS to
transport messages to/from the phone.

> I'd like to know what you think about two things:
> 1) We know email is broken (at least unsafe and prone to spam)
> 2) What is the best alternative for this scenario? Is it really IM?
> 3) Are there other (IP-based) protocolos suitable for delivering the
> encrypted messages?

Honestly, for the usage pattern I reckon most people will use (based on
my existing usage of SMS and the various people who I correspond with),
SMS is just phone-based IM, so extending real IM to the phone,
especially with an extensible format like XMPP can be a real boon.
E-mail is still (IMHO) a bit heavy (More than 1k in headers to deliver a
one-line message).

I don't remember right now if XMPP provides for a compressed transport,
but I do know that by default it encrypts the connection.


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