The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'im'
Facebook are adding a XMPP gateway to their instant messaging service, which has, until now, been tied to their web site, running in the browser frame. (Sure, there have been unsupported hacks, like the Adium/Pidgin driver, which pretended to be a web browser, but they were unsupported and less than ideal; there was, for example, no way to shut down IM in the browser whilst staying online in your chat client.) Anyway, this should be a pretty big boost for XMPP (also known as Jabber), an open instant messaging protocol also used by Google Talk and the chat services of various other sites (such as LiveJournal).
I wonder whether Facebook will use XMPP to provide additional functionality, such as allowing status updates by instant message, or sending notifications to users' messaging clients.
It's a good day for open standards; firstly, Yahoo (partly) embraces OpenID and Microsoft commit to opening their document formats, and now AOL are moving AIM and ICQ to the XMPP protocol. They now have an experimental XMPP server at xmpp.oscar.aol.com, with usernames being the user's AIM ID or ICQ number followed by @aol.com. They also seem to have a SIP server at sip.oscar.aol.com. Could this be the end of proprietary, locked-in IM networks and the start of an age in which IM is a commodity service, running on open standards, much like email?
LiveJournal (which was something like the MySpace of the 1990s, only not owned by the forces of evil and not spammy with ads) is testing its own instant messaging service. The service is technically a Jabber/XMPP server connected to LiveJournal, and using authentication and social-network data from LiveJournal's database. And, being XMPP, it can communicate with other open XMPP networks, such as Google Talk.
-- your Jabber Roster ("buddy list") is integrated with your LJ friends list. If you friend bob and bob friends you, both of you can see each other online. It has to be mutual. Friends that haven't friended you back show up as "pending subscription" in your jabber client, kinda grayed out, depending on the client.According to the comments, once the server works, there are plans to add an AJAX messaging interface, sort of like GMail's Chat mode.
-- if you add a LJ person in Jabber, it won't automatically friend them on the site, but next time you use the site, it'll prompt if you want to. It's imaginable there's people you want to chat with, but not befriend. Our strategy is "least surprises".
The latest advance in Windows worms is a worm which takes over people's instant-messaging accounts and chats to their friends, attempting to talk them into downloading it; in short, an automated form of social engineering:
According to IMlogic, the worm, dubbed IM.Myspace04.AIM, has arrived in instant messages that state: "lol thats cool" and included a URL to a malicious file "clarissa17.pif." When unsuspecting users have responded, perhaps asking if the attachment contained a virus, the worm has replied: "lol no its not its a virus", IMlogic said.Which suggests that the Turing test may be easier to pass in an environment where people start messages with "lol". If your friends suddenly turn into giggling prepubescents and start trying to convince you to download a file, you know what's happening.
I wonder whether this will lead to an arms race in worm conversational abilities. Perhaps the next one will trawl message logs and pick out phrases/words used by that contact (or use them to change its own writing style)?
Google release their own instant messaging/VoIP system. It's called Google Talk, and, unlike proprietary competitors, is based on the XMPP ("Jabber") protocol. The Google client is Windows-only at the moment, so Mac and Linux users will have to content themselves with having text-only conversations using the various other XMPP clients, though clients for other platforms are under develop,ent. Google also say that they will fully document the VoIP protocol and support SIP as well, which is very promising; unlike Skype, it will be an open, user-extensible system, and there will be nothing stopping all-in-one multiprotocol clients like Gaim from integrating Google Talk functionality (which is just as well; having a separate window for each network you're on is a waste of screen space). All it needs is SkypeOut-style facilities for making calls to telephone numbers; though, with an open system, third parties could easily step in and provide those.
The US Government looks set to pass a law jailing users of peer-to-peer filesharing software. In response, pirasite anarchoterrorist group Downhill Battle have organised a bounty for a Gaim plug-in for secure filesharing with trusted friends and people one invites. The plugin will "spread virally", allowing IM users to send friends invitations; meanwhile, all peer-to-peer communication through the IM network is disguised as messages in English (perhaps using a similar technique to SpamStego). Which is all very cloak-and-dagger.
The software urges people to not invite buddies that they did not know on a medium-term, face-to-face basis. You could also allow certain people to share your files without letting their friends share your files.
update checker - software will prompt user to update it when new versions are available so users won't get stuck with an insecure or broken version.
Unless, of course, the FBI/RIAA seize/hack the server and put up their own updates which sends lists of evidence home; encrypted, of course, and through a P2P network to disguise the telltale fbi.gov destination. The first most users will know about it is when they're rounded up in a series of dawn raids and the Attorney-General goes on CNN announcing that the FBI have cracked a major international piracy (or child pornography) ring.
Yahoo Instant Messenger have changed their protocol yet again, locking out third-party clients. Cerulean Studios, makers of Windows multi-protocol client Trillian, crack the new protocol within 24 hours; shortly later, Gaim announce a new version, with a number of fixes, including the Yahoo fix. Which will probably filter through to the Debian package system sometime within the next 2 to 4 weeks
(Hmm; do I wait for the Debian package, or download and compile my own Gaim, taking charge of that package? I'll wait. A funny thing happens when a vendor shows the will to lock people out (as Yahoo have done before); people stop relying on them and move to other systems. At the moment, I don't expect Yahoo IM to work and generally don't bother with it. Though some of the other features, like MSN file transfers and user-icon dragging, look good.)
Speaking of MSN, it's reassuring that Microsoft haven't made good on the vague noises they made some time ago about locking unapproved clients out of their network. Perhaps they've realised that that would encourage people to move to other systems (read: AIM/ICQ); or perhaps they just haven't gotten around to it.
"Upgrading" is as simple as changing a version string. We already have it updated in Gaim 0.69. This was a no-brainer easy-to-fix thing, as was MSN.
If any Slashdot staff are watching, please, please refrain from posting articles related to IM unless you consult someone who knows what's going on. Too many trollish comments occur, and we get too many questions in Gaim support, all pointing at Slashdot as their source for the inaccurate information as to what's happening in IM.
Though wasn't it implied that from October, MSN's servers will require clients to produce a license certificate of some sort, which identify the client as a Microsoft-approved one, prior to connecting?
(If you don't want your IM network to be at the mercy of a profit-oriented corporation whose management may at any time decide to maximise profits by asserting control over your client, there's always Jabber, an open, decentralised, XML-based messaging system. Though nobody seems to be using that; I know of only one person on Jabber. Maybe if someone came up with some cute smiley themes for it...)
Fuck. Yahoo are following Microsoft and blocking third-party clients from their IM system, starting in a week's time.
Analysts believe Microsoft and Yahoo don't want third-party clients on their networks because they use their own clients to deliver advertisements and direct users to other services. "Both Microsoft and Yahoo value the control over the clients and the last thing they want is for their users to be using third-party clients on their networks," said Michael Gartenberg, a research director with Jupiter Research.
(Yes, they have a Linux client; but I'm not going to download it and give Yahoo my bandwidth to blast ads at me. Bugger that for a game of soldiers. If you want to reach me, use Jabber; my ICQ or AIM accounts will still work, at least until AOLTW lock those down.)
Futurephones seem like a bit of a gimmick to me. I mean, it would be cool to have something with a naff 640x480 camera that can zap blurry, authentically crappy-looking pictures to your friends/moblog in realtime, and that you can kill hours of your life playing Java games on. And polyphonic ringtones would be cool too; I must confess that the bleepy version of the City of Lost Children theme on my Nokia 3310 is getting old. Nonetheless, I couldn't justify the enormous financial millstone of buying one of the damned things, while my 3310 still does the job I use it for and does it admirably, and there are CDs/VST plugins/airline tickets I could better spend that money on. But this has made me think again about my priorities, and has nudged a Java-enabled phone up the list a little. The ability to run ICQ on a mobile phone, keep in touch with people on the Net worldwide -- and pay a fraction of what SMS messages cost for the privilege -- would be hella doovy.
Now let's hope they port Gaim or Trillian or something to J2ME, so AIM, Yahoo and Jabber (and MSN, if Microsoft don't insist on being asshats about it) work as well.
(Btw, does that mean that each futurephone has an IP address and is pingable whilst switched on? Or would Mobicq and such apps open a socket through a proxy at the telco's gateway to the Internet?)
Microsoft to lock third-party clients out of MSN Messenger, to
protect market share prevent freeloaders from not viewing ads crush the opposition upgrade security and protect you from viruses/terrorists. (After all, everybody knows that software not from Microsoft is a security risk, right?) This will happen from the 15th of October. Unless Gaim manage to not get kicked off (and if this is about protecting MS's ad revenue, that's unlikely), chances are I won't be using MSN after that.
Ultramagnetic is a fork of gaim for paranoids. While gaim is designed to let you chat with your friends on several different instant-messaging systems at once, Ultramagnetic is designed to allow you and your anarchovegan agitator comrades, anti-NWO militia buddies and/or fellow UFO conspiracy researchers to communicate without Them watching you. It uses libcrypt and Hacktivismo's 6/4 anonymous routing protocol. No idea whether it looks like AIM/ICQ or whatever else under all that or whether it interfaces with the overt IM networks at all. (via bOING bOING)
Surprise, surprise: If you use web-based email or ICQ from work, your employer can read your mail, regardless of what the banner ads say. (via Slashdot)