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Re: [tlug] Skype or Something Better?

On 2017-02-21 16:46 +0000 (Tue), Darren Cook wrote:

> BTW, what is the reasoning behind this?
> I.e. I have to install an app on my...Android phone... And then the
> desktop version (Linux WebApp or native Windows/Mac app, as far as I
> can tell) is basically acting as a dumb client connecting to a
> server running on my phone. (IIUC?) That is so weird, there must be
> a good reason for it.

I suspect that this is realated to the question of what you do with
messages when a client is not available. Even encrypted, you probably
don't want them hanging about on the server for ages. And how do you
even know when to delete them, anyway? When all clients you know about
have received them? When just one has? Are people going to be ok with
bits of their chat history being missing on various devices? (Typical
scenario: I get off the airplane and turn on my phone; get through
customs and to Starbucks, boot up my computer, and discover I have
none of the new messages that are sitting on my phone.)

Making everybody have only one client, which is either on or off, and
which has all history, simplifies both the programming and the UI

I've just started playing with Signal again, now that they allow more
than one computer client to be installed at the same time. (Lack of
this was a deal-breaker before for both Signal and Line--I use 3-4
different computers on a daily basis, and have another two or three
that get occasional use (e.g., when I want to take out my tinyest
Chromebook because size and weight).

It seems the signal clients are independent to the degree that I can
turn my phone off and the Chrome Plugin still communicates fine. So
that's good. Turning the phone back on a few minutes later I found all
the messages had been sent over to my phone as well, which is also
good. When hooking up a new client, however, it will have no history
of previous conversations (unlike Telegram). I'll have to see in the
long run what happens with clients that are off line for hours or days
rather than a few minutes. If anybody has any references to precisely
how this works, I'd like to hear about it.

Oh, and my other big complaint? I"m happy to live without sticker
packs and whatnot but it seems a lot of these clients don't even do
basic Markdown. (Telegram can do `fixed-width text` but that's it.
Signal has nothing.) That's pretty frustrating given the limitations
of written communication. Personally, I want them to have not just
full Markdown but also render LaTeX math.

On 2017-02-22 16:59 +0900 (Wed), AbH Belxjander Draconis Serechai wrote:

> Maybe they started with everything permissible,  developed the app and
> haven't trimmed the permissions back to essentials only is also possible.

Or maybe the app just needs a lot of permissions. Chat apps are being
turned in to SNS applications these days (Line being a particularly
notable example) and that's part of it. Another part is just all the stuff
one does in a chat app. Looking through my Telegram permissions list:

    * Read phone status and identity (because it identifies you by
      your phone number)
    * Receive text messages (SMS) (for authing itself without you
      having to copy the SMS message and possibly to allow it to
      replace the SMS app)
    * Take pictures and videos (so you can send them to your
      chat-mates without leaving the app)
    * Record audio (as with pics)
    * Approximate location (network-based) and precise location (GPS-based)
      (not sure about this, though sharing location seems a reasonable
      chat feature--maybe Telegram uses it for time zone detection?)

Ok, I'm too lazy to bother with the other sixteen, but you see what I mean.

Curt Sampson         <>         +81 90 7737 2974

To iterate is human, to recurse divine.
    - L Peter Deutsch

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