Trouble in IMland

Stephen D. Williams
Mon, 14 Jan 2002 22:54:19 -0500 (EST)

> There are so many problems with this article I hardly know
> where to begin. But I'll try anyway.
> (1) "Demand for multimedia instant messaging is expected to
>    be strong"? Yeah, right. Text IM is enough for 99% of
>    users. Text IM has taken off while accompanying voice/
>    video apps have sat unused -- and not for lack of bandwidth
>    or microphones. In fact, text IM is often *better* than
>    voice/video, since you can more easily give text IM
>    fractions of your attention.

I had 25000 beta users that loved the instant live images of who they were
talking to.  The key, above all else, is that it has to be absolutely simple
to setup, activate, and use.  In the AOL tradition, I did this in 1996.  In
particular, I got the idea for adding video to IM so that my son (8 at the
time) and I could see each other when he was online since he was then living
500 miles away.  My girlfriend and I used it for a year when we were at work.

Too many people tried to get TV; I went for ambient video, live but low
framerate images that gave you an idea the other person, their mood, etc.

Now, the reason that AOL didn't go fully live with Instant Images: they were
afraid of bad press from the killer app: video sex.  Still, AOL was the only
service that could have policed this to prevent and punish abusers with
certainty of who did what when.  (I solved all of these problems, including
bandwidth scaling, meltdown control, etc.)

<sigh>...  Those were the good old days.

The client code for Instant Images is still in the AOL client which is why
you can import from a camera or scanner.  Other developers broke dependant
server code two weeks before I left AOL.

> (2) Sending files works just fine in all the popular
>    instant messengers. I expect they all do the reasonable
>    thing, which is to open a direct connection between
>    endpoints whenver possible, and when that's not possible,
>    either fail or use a proxy. It shouldn't take until June
>    to define an IM type that says, "HTTP GET/PUT the given
>    file here".
> (3) The whole friggin' point of pre-IM SIP was as a
>    signalling channel to start sessions in other, more
>    appropriate protocols. You mean they broke this when
>    adapting SIP for IM?

> I'm willing to chalk the muddleheadedness up 50% to typical
> tech-journalism confusion, 50% to the ill-considered marriage
> between SIP and IM/P initiatives.

I'd agree with that.

> And whatever happened to IMUnified?
> Time to bring back PIP-DEMO! [*]
> - Gordon
> [*]

Stephen D. Williams
43392 Wayside Cir,Ashburn,VA 20147-4622 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax Dec2001