Beeper makes Matrix bridges into a business model

After the long wait and some wonder if anything was going to happen. On Monday I got my invite to join a very small number of people on Beeper.

I am impressed…

I thought I had a blog post about Beeper but I didn’t write one. So in short this picture sums up Beeper in one go.

Beeper bridges

Imagine if you could use one client to access all these different networks, but unlike pidgin or trillian which needs software plugins to connect to them all. Beeper is actually a Matrix client which connects to specific Matrix bridges (server based, instead of client based) to other messaging networks.

Its one of the thing which blew me away when I saw Matrix at Mozfest 2017.

Matrix is open source and you can run it on your own infrastructure (we will get back to that soon). You can even install your own bridges.

In short Beeper is the Matrix dream in a managed service which you pay $10 a month. You can self host it and its something I may do after a while but right now I’m happy to give some money to get use to things

First thing I did is install the appimage for Linux, set it up using the code I had received via email. Then setup a few networks. Within a few minutes I was replying to friends

I tested Slack using Storyteller United and was quite impressed, although I ended up disabling it due to the amount of channels and how busy the slack can be.

I may enable it again for a few slacks I am part of but don’t want the whole of slack on. Currently I have the Slack app on my laptop and work phone but I like the idea of the messaging parts without the heavy slack app.

I noticed you can input Gifs, emoji’s, attachments, etc in almost every single message in a unified way. I haven’t hooked up my SMS yet (mainly because there is no RCS bridge yet which I would miss). I also would like to see scheduling as I’m so use to it now.

Of course the phone interface for beeper is similar, Gif and all. You can use the unified inbox which puts everything in one timeline. The spaces cuts everything by network.

To be frank, Beeper is impressive and if I could change a few things they would be.the ability to have multiple accounts. For example I would love to be able to finally have one client for the multiple Signal accounts (I have one for my personal and work mobiles). This might be a limitation of Signal, but it would be great if I could spin up 2 bridges. I say this as I added 2 slack accounts and could add more with ease.

Right now Beeper is very much work in progress, but its got most of the key features.  I don’t feel like I have fully added the networks yet as I hold on to apps like Android messages due to RCS and scheduled messages. I could add Twitter and Discord but I’m quite happy with my Mastodon clients and cross posting to Twitter. Although I might hook up my ianforrester account on twitter just to see what its like in beeper. I even consider setting up Telegram, i-message, etc accounts just because I can now without the stress.

I forgot, Beeper doesn’t replace the existing messaging systems, meaning when I finally hooked up Android messages, I can still send scheduled messages and RCS from the app. But reply and send general messages from Beeper.

The network diagram at the very top is actually slight wrong because Beeper sits within the Matrix network and once I understood this via the support channel. It became clear I could easily share things between all my mobiles and laptop with ease. Bit like how I use Signal’s personal space/notes to yourself. I haven’t tried connecting to any of the Matrix systems I’m part of like publicspaces, sdeps or redecentralise. But I’ll give it a try over the next few days.

I like Beeper, but do long to setup my own bridges in a docker container or rasberrypi in the near future. Is 10$ a month quite a bit expensive for this? Maybe but only because I am still getting use to it and not fully using it. I think if I was using it for everything, 10$ a month would great value. Its a good business model, as most won’t or can’t run their own bridge server. (I have already looked to see if Yuno host has support or not)

I look forward to the regular updates and seeing it mature into something unique.



Funny enough I heard Beeper on Twit.TV’s all about android too. The person who wrote in didn’t blur any of his conversations and contacts which I would say is super brave or not thinking things fully through? However its interesting to see someone else also using Beeper and the reaction to it from people not fully aware of

When the dead out number the living in social networks

I can’t say how good this TedX talk is, so many good points in a short video.

I noticed in dropbox terms and conditions a while, if you were to die and didn’t make very clear who your designated executors are and that you want them to gain access to your dropbox in your death. They will be denied access.

A valid court order establishing that it was the deceased person’s intent that you have access to the files in their account after the person passed away, and that Dropbox is compelled by law to provide the deceased person’s files to you

In short, if you don’t state your intent, dropbox can/will block access to your files. Or in short its won’t be simply hand over your password, as they can revoke your account if they think its been accessed by someone else than yourself. Of course this will most likely be decided by algorithms not humans.

Thats just the start…

Telepath, yawn…!

Friendcamp

I have been hearing a bunch of stuff about a brand new social network called Telepath.

…Richard Henry and Marc Bodnick are. The duo, who previously worked together at the question-and-answer community Quora, today announced a wider release for Telepath, a new app for discussing your interests. The app, which like Clubhouse is available only in private beta and requires an invitation to use, resembles a hybrid of Twitter and Reddit. As on Twitter, the app opens to a central scrolling feed of updates from people and topics that you follow. And as on Reddit, every post must be created within a group, which Telepath calls a “network.”

Hearing about it, I was almost yawning. Another centralised social app trying to make its self bigger and better than whats come before using the tried, tested and very abused dark pattern of growth hacking.

For a very short moment I thought, maybe this is built on decentralised technology or works alongside other fediverse platforms? Something like hometown which powers friend.camp but heavily funded? That moment passed very quickly.

Who cares???

Its the same centralised system with a new face, its boring and I’m fed up of it all. Seriously! Don’t send me an invite, it will go straight in to my virtual bin.

 

Why oh why Vero?

Mastodon

Something is rising in the public consciousness around the social network apps we are using. Be it due to the changes in Snapchat, the massive turd which is facebook messenger (I’m using the lite version with locked down permissions) or Instagram algorithm changes.

There was a opportunity to move people away from these networks (at least in mobile) but what happened? The media and people started suggesting the use of another proprietary closed sourced startup app… this one called Vero.

I’m unsure like a lot of people, what pushed Vero to the forth front at the right time but i have to give them some credit with picking the right moment?

Ideally I’d like to see systems like Mastodon pushed forward but I think there are lessons which can be learned from Vero’s push into the limelight. Because although Vero’s end user licence looks barely reasonable right now, you have no idea when it will change or/and it will be come a roach motel just like the ones people are unhappy with now…

Maybe its not too late… ? Or its time to start thinking about the next opportunity? I certainly think it can be done, you only have to look at the way the Mastodon community made it easy for avid twitter users to shift over. Whats needed now is user experience expertise around the apps to expose the advantage of Mastodon to the user without over-loading or intimating. Aral talks about the lack of focus on the user experience and in this case, he’s dead right.

Its all for the taking; expose the natural benefits of Mastodon to the user and make them a key part of the experience.

Ello and welcome to no pesky ads

inspired by ello, the network

Been keeping my eye on the move to create ethical social networks which don’t take the living piss with our data. Things like Tent.io, Known and now Ello are gathering some momentum…

We originally built Ello as a private social network. Over time, so many people wanted to join Ello that we built a public version of Ello for everyone to use.

Ello recently got quite serious about its non-ad and no selling of personal data.

Ad-free

Ello doesn’t sell ads. Nor do we sell data about you to third parties.

Virtually every other social network is run by advertisers. Behind the scenes they employ armies of ad salesmen and data miners to record every move you make. Data about you is then auctioned off to advertisers and data brokers. You’re the product that’s being bought and sold.

Collecting and selling your personal data, reading your posts to your friends, and mapping your social connections for profit is both creepy and unethical. Under the guise of offering a “free” service, users pay a high price in intrusive advertising and lack of privacy.

We also think ads are tacky, that they insult our intelligence and that we’re better without them.

To be fair its way off being something massive, but thats what makes it interesting I feel. I’m now on the network, so if you are interested in a invite and we are friends, drop me a email or tweet…

When will social networking dethrone online dating?

Year of making love professionals

On the plane I read a number of posts including, Could Instagram Dethrone Online Dating?

The latest word is that online dating may be on its way out – and that even includes explosively popular mobile apps like Tinder – and that social networks may be on their way in.

Which leads to a post from the same people asking… Is Facebook Becoming an Alternative to Online Dating?

…over 19,000 people who had been married between 2005 and 2012, and asked them how they’d met. Those who met on social networking sites were more likely to be younger and married more recently compared to those who met online in other ways. He was surprised to find that those who met via social networking sites were just as happy as those who met online, and those who met online in general were happier than those couples who met in more traditional ways, such as through friends.

I’ve been banging on about this for yonks

No matter what the online dating sites think or even say (and I’m surprised how short sighted OKcupid and PoF CEOs are on this). They should be worrying about facebook.

So rather than go on about the obvious, I did spot something interesting in another related posted, Why Mobile Dating Is So Popular?

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor of psychology at University College London, told The Times: “[Using a dating website] is almost like booking a holiday or a job application, as you try to customize your partners. Mobile dating – and Tinder is a good example – is different. It is more linked to impulse and emotions and focuses on attractiveness and looks, which is more realistic, even if it is a bit more lazy. It replicates the traditional version of dating more closely than Match.com or eHarmony as it allows for more serendipity.”

Now you may already noticed Tomas’s name from the Year of Making Love that crazy show I was involved in (well somewhat…). Anyway passing over that, its a interesting point. I don’t think its necessarily true but who knows, the behavior of people on Tinder and Grindr is questionable and addictive. Not far off a night on the town? Or at least the last part of the night when you look around for someone to hook up with?

The browsing and snap judgments are somewhat part of Tinder and Grindr. If they happen to have something in common, thats a bonus. If a friend of a friend, then thats certainly a +1.

Where have all the bloggers gone?

Jon Udell asks, where have all the bloggers gone?

Good question… I do tweet more than I blog, thats very true.

I have Published 2,559 blogs (not including this one) and Tweeted29,087 (not including this one) but there not really comparable in my mind. Not simply because of the length but the detail and thought which goes into them plus its MINE. Of course you can crosspost which I do sometimes, and like Jon I’m choosy when I do.

It’s not just about short-form versus long-form, though. Facebook and Google+ are now hosting conversations that would formerly have happened on — or across — blogs. Keystrokes that would have been routed to our personal clouds are instead landing in those other clouds.

I’d rather route all my output through my personal cloud and then, if/when/as appropriate, syndicate pieces of it to other clouds including Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. A few weeks back, WordPress’s Stephane Daury reminded me that I can:

@judell: since your blog is on (our very own) @wordpressdotcom, you can setup the publicize option to push your posts: http://wp.me/PEmnE-1ff.

I replied that I knew about that but preferred to crosspost manually.

More interestingly is Jon’s thoughts on how to make our own space/cloud better and more central.

  • Different messages to each foreign cloud. Because headlines often need to be audience-specific.
  • Private to my personal cloud, public to foreign clouds. Because the public persona I shape on my blog serves different purposes than the ones I project to foreign clouds. Much of what I say in those other places doesn’t rise to the level of a public blog entry, but I’d still like to route that stuff through my personal cloud so I can centrally control/monitor/archive it.
  • Federate the interaction siloes. Because now I can’t easily follow or respond to commentary directed to my blog echoes in foreign clouds. Or, again, centrally control/monitor/archive that stuff.

I’m currently using Disqus to mix twitter and facebook comments in with my blog but it feels very clunky. Ideally you want something more distributed like I’ve been banging on about for a while.

London Geekdinner Facebook group

Geekdinner london logo

After some minor issues with Facebook networks, I have finally sorted out a global geekdinner group on facebook. You can sign up here or search for geek dinner to find the girl geekdinner group along side the geekdinner group.

As you may have noticed in some of the blog comments else where (Regular Jen) not everyone could sign up to the previous group because I left the default network of London instead of setting it to Global. This was stupid because I even after I knew the problem I couldn't change it. So please makes ure you're signed up to the correct group (the one with the geekdinner logo not the red x).

I do make the joke that everyone is on Facebook but I won't be using Facebook as the official way to tell people about events and news. As Regular Jen points out.

The catch, as I see it, is that you still have to be a member of Facebook to view it. That is not what I would call open… it is open to members of Facebook only. That’s fine and fair and there is no reason to hold back from creating such a group, however, it absolutely divides the followers of London Geek Dinners (and London Girl Geek Dinners). You now have a group within Facebook and ‘the rest of us’

Total agreement and I expect to be using some sort of aggregation to allow good communication between the different spaces. This isn't the first time I've had this problem. It would be very easy for me to stop using our tradional geekdinner blog and setup some group on upcoming and urge people to use that instead but I don't. Instead I prefer the older comment system on the geekdinner blog and then allow sign up on upcoming.org. Ideally I would aggregate the upcoming results via there API back on the geekdinner site but this will all make sense hopefully in the near future.

I want to address something Jen talked about in the same post.

Making something very clear: this isn’t about London Geek Dinners, but the recent LGD Facebook group creation solidified a feeling I already had forming in my subconscious about Facebook dividing people. I posted about Facebook last week. I caved to social pressures and joined the service. I wish I hadn’t. I have only me to blame for that (well, and Facebook. Bastards. /images/emoticons/happy.gif.
What I hope I’ve brought forward more than anything is that every time a link is posted to a page within Facebook to the world outside of Facebook, that link (and its poster) excludes people. The ‘welcome’ page non-members get is a stark, uninviting login screen with no other content— it’s the equivalent of a giant, muscly body guard outside an exclusive club’s door. You aren’t welcome to the content within the Facebook walls unless you give up something in return, and in this case, it’s your data. Forever. I have never felt so unwelcome on a site. Even without the information brought to light by the video I linked to in another post, I felt this way.

This is not the way to start or nurture relationships. It’s high-level data mining wearing a social network cloak and at the same time subtly creates social outcasts out of the ones who want nothing to do with it.

I joined it and now I can never truly leave. Sounds dramatic, but Rachel called Facebook a new Hotel California. She’s right you know

 

 

 

I hate social networks for the sake of social networking, this includes Facebook. Facebook is the new roach motel as one of the gilmor gang use to say. I like Jen resisted till the bitter end but once they included a developer API and I started to see some applications being built I signed up.

I heard rumors that the facebook guys didn't sell to Yahoo because they are working on a operating system or something. Well currently you can certainly see how once your in facebook it would be easy to ignore most of the net if your thinking that way already. Its like the portals of the late 90's but with social networking layed through-out it. This may be all good for most people and at this very moment just about bearable for me too. I still can't find a way to put my blog rss into my facebook profile for example and I'm a sucker for owning my own data.

I think Facebook is almost unstoppable without some radical game changing from someone else. I'm hoping that other thing is open and decentralised (the first person to make the concept of FOAF work or the concept of FOAF work will bite a huge chunk out of Facebook) and puts a end to facebook but till then i'm forced to use it because thats where the attention and people are right now. Sad but true.

Please note I haven't mentioned Plaxo 3.0 or Plaxo Pulse which I'm sure will come up when I decide to do a post about lifestreams.

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Dopplr now supports Microformats import for contacts…

…but wheres the FOAF? via the Dopplr blog

If you’d like to try importing from GMail, Twitter, a local vCard file or using a contact list from a site supporting the HCard/XFN microformats, please try out these new capabilities and send us feedback.

Plaxo support would be nice but at least I can export everything out of Plaxo as Vcard and other formats.

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Titbits from the last few weeks

So there is a few things which I've twittered but not blogged recently. Rather that use up tons of entries with one liners (tom), I prefer to roll them into one large entry.

Linked-in

I caved in the other day when Plaxo added support for Linked-in. I had been thinking about it for years but choose not to be involved because I simply didn't see the point. The one which almost tipped me over the top was Linked-in support in Particls (touchstone). I wanted to see what extra information it might add to the APML file but didn't have an account to try it with. But now I do. I would just add, Chris and the team you should add linked-in support as a input adapter not bolt it on to the Feed adapter. This code might be useful too, because I and others might be able to hack together other input adapters for Flickr, Delicious, etc. I still want to play a lot more with my FOAF profile because I think thats so much more powerful. So anyway, you can link to me using my bbc email address or search for my name.

Particls

Recently something has gone wrong with Particls (touchstone) it happened when it tried to swap my account from Touchstone to Particls directory. I need to sort it out as my APML file is too neutral now and I'm not getting those good sharp posts coming through like before.  The RSS screensaver (sent to lifehacker btw) is also doing lots of repeating, so I suspect the Pebble output isn't work correctly. I got a feeling I might end up doing a complete post with screenshots because its changed so much since I last looked at it.

Trusted Places and Dopplr

I've been using reusing Trustedplaces recently when I go away to a different cities. Now I have trusted places in New York, San Francisco and of course London. I have also started using Dopplr which tracks your trips and shows your friends trips. Its really cool but I wish it would keep your old trips so you can compare in the future and maybe hang things off of it like flickr pictures, trusted places reviews, etc. I look forward to when Trustedplaces and Dopplr get APIs or tons of feeds.

Dopplr my map

Xtech: Pipelines

I'm wrote the paper for Xtech recently and I'm in the process of writing the presentation. I'm still playing with my flow * setup but the presentation is the most important thing. I'm hoping to get the Eurostar to Paris but it looks like I'll be getting a plane because the BBC don't have a eurostar account. I'm in Paris for a week but the last part will be with friends from Minneapolis.

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