Thursday, April 12, 2007

Future of internet

In the last few days I didn't have constant internet connection - The network was demolished about two weeks ago, just before we moved, and there's no connection yet at the place where we live now. This way I could understand the importancies of my online life, and with a little background, I realized some things. First of all, I realized that IM was my most needed feature, the second one was e-mail, then community portals I'm on came, and just then news sites and blogs came. And I also realized it wasn't an accident.

I'd like to congratulate Evgs and the Bombus team from this place: they made my life a lot easier in the past few weeks, and their client is wonderful, does more than a lot of desktop clients, yet it was suitable for my phone, even for my old k700i.

So, let's see the basic lessons I've taught:

I'm only interested in internet when there's people behind there.

That's what web 2.0 is about in fact. For years, I've been working on CMS-solutions, making portals to enable target audiences to reach the information they want - but that's not the internet I was really looking for.. I was on e-mail lists with other developers far away talking about software projects, on IRC channels with beloved girls and friends, then blogs and social-network mania came. Now the actual hype is around Twitter which is again not about great solutions.

I understood this as my possibilities to get online shrink, I wasn't interested in news portals and blogs, whatsoever. I wanted to read my mail, and get in touch with my friends on IM - most of them are already online on jabber; mostly they use gmail or gaim-like clients.

But it's just one concrete thing, let's see what it is about in general.

When I read my n-th science fiction book (this was currently Solaris, and n wasn't a too small number), I told my friend on art faculty, who's an expert on cyberpunk and SF, that "yup, it was good. Yet is about people too.". He answered: "Good literature is always about people." (Creditz goes to Kelt). Let's do a generalization from this:

Good media is always about people.

I guess you do have your own celebrity magazines in your country - at us, it's called Story, but probably you have Hello, or anything other - and have your own series, wether it be brazilian ones like Rosalinda or action ones like 24, CSI, any other. Besides the obvious action - part and the exciting story it's about people - probably that's why Desperate Housewives, or ER or Grace Clinic is so popular. But they aren't real people: celebrity magazines have the need to write about our false friends: we see them every day, and probably some of us are interested in their personal lives. But what about the people around us? You can not see this at a magazine... Oh you can: that magazines are called myspace, facebook, twitter, you see this every day.

Mobile internet is about realtime communication.

Heard it that 'develop for mobile, use css because soon mobile clients will came and flexible layout would be important, everyone would read e-books so paper books are at risks and anyway, mobile is the future, ahoy, mobile internet!' I've been hearing this for years now. But I remember when my mother gave me my first mobile phone - none of my friends had mobile that time - that she gave me this to "always be available". But mobile doesn't do a good job at this: I don't know if I call somebody where will the call find her: at home, at bus, at school, being with her lover... you just don't know that simply. Probably you fear that it will find her at wrong time, that's why you send an SMS: not too interactive, although it has delivery receipt feature, yet you don't know if the recipient was really available and when will an answer come if any.

I used my mobile phone to tell my friends where I am now, and mostly to ask help - they were besides real computers, with enjoyable internet connection (mine was gprs 4+2, which means basically dial-up speed), not to mention that firefox and opera maxi (tm :) were compatible with "normal, usual hungarian web pages" where most of the information I wanted to reach resided. It was fun to have the instant availability of my friends in my pocket, that I could chat along a long journey with them if there were nothing else interesting. And I always knew who I can chat with, and answers came instantly.

(Note: I was using T-Mobile GPRS Net subscription, which contains 50MB of data transfer per month bundled in the subscription fee - since I use it for jabber only, I'm not talky enough to overrun this just by chatting :)

Of course, not "realtime" and "always-on presence" are the only key concepts of future mobile technology, but I'm sure they're one of them. Sorry for bothering you with such general posts - I'm preparing some research papers now on Jabber, so next time I hope I could provide you with more concrete, protocol and a bit implementation-related things :)

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Freemail and jabber

[This post was originally in Hungarian on my personal blog, and was sent to some people inside and near Hungarian ISP T-Online, which owns freemail. Freemail is the oldest e-mail service in Hungary, with roughly 3 million users, that wasn't updated for many years. In March, T-Online announced the public beta of the new freemail, which has a built in IM-client in javascript built on jabber, and a SIP client (for which T-Online has already a desktop VoIP client, called Klip, since 2005 or so) in java. But the jabber service is only available through the web interface (yup, http-binding), and no s2s is allowed.]

Dear T-Online developers,

First, I'd like to express my happiness about that freemail has chosen the standard, open source - rooted Jabber / XMPP protocol instead of proprietary solutions. This - because of the amount of users - is a big step in the history of jabber service too: to the usually cited 50 million users this 3 million growth is significant, let alone considering the internet penetration in our country [it's about 30-40% on 10 million people]. I hope that soon every Hungarian internet user could have a Jabber account, what could cause an innovational movement unprecedented in Hungary. I believe, that there's much unexploited potential behind this technology, and that it can develop further in an open competition, in a market-oriented environment.