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You know one of the small features off our desktop IM and microblogging app that I like is that the tweet' length display changes colour and goes orange if you're getting close to the max characters, red when you're REALLY close to 140 chars and then just gives up if you hit 160 when it realises you're going to send an email not Tweet :) I just noticed does something similar now, using red to flag the length counter.

This reminded me of a feature we had in our 1999 CipherIM IM software installer which showed, using a progress meter type gadget, the strength of a password the user was creating. You see these things all over the place now giving users feedback on the quality off their password. There's another, CipherIM also had chat state notifications, in 1999, the little message that says '... is composing a message', I'm not sure if we were first with all of these but we were certainly close.

Of course the main things CipherIM had which nothing else had at the time was peer to peer crypto, public/private key with signed symmetric keys for each session, something even XMPP still lacks. So perhaps I'm in the wrong business, instead of building SaaS systems maybe I should just be patenting ideas to license to other people. Food for thought.

Published: May 30th 2009 at 2:24pm

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