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Old 01-28-2005, 07:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Verichat Suggestions Thread.

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Verichat Suggestions

UPDATED: February 13th, 2005

This is a Suggestions thread for Verichat features. Post your suggestions in this thread! I will begin by listing a few suggestions. (These may be relatively low priority suggestions, because of other priorities such as fixing bugs, etc.) For example, stability is always a higher priority!

  • Lower Bandwidth & Improved Reliability
    It would be nice for Verichat to consume less bandwidth, perhaps by multiplexing all chat networks over one socket connection instead of four separate socket connections. This is a fairly complicated architectural change for Verichat, so this may not be something that can be done quickly. It is reported that using one socket will make things more reliable, because BlackBerry sometimes has some reliability issues when an excessive number of sockets are used.
    Status: Reportedly, they are working on this right now. The next public release after 1.78 will probably be using this model.
    Suggested Priority: HIGH (many votes)

  • More Configurable Visual Alert Methods
    Somebody asked about a way to disable visual interruptions. Some people use their BlackBerries for business, and they don't want to be interrupted with a popup. Especially if they are showing the boss something on their BlackBerry. I recommend modifying the Preferences to give a choice of three:
    Quote:
    Method of Visual Alert
    [X] Jump Immediately To Chat
    [X] Dialog Popup
    [X] None; Audio/Vibrate Only
    Suggested Priority: Medium (2 votes)

  • Group Chats/Conferences
    Multiple people in the same MSN, AIM chat, just like on desktop clients. Also see this post.
    Priority: Medium (2 votes)

  • Improve Performance Even Further
    Verichat has some minor performance issues during these events:
    - 3 to 5 second "Incoming Message" Freeze There is a freeze upon incoming messages if Session buffer is full of lots of messages (i.e. conversation going on for 20 minutes). The freeze is caused by delays displaying new messages in the chat buffer on the BlackBerry screen. Session buffer performance needs to be improved.
    - 3 to 5 second "Contact List Update" Freeze This occurs when contact list is displayed for the first time in a long time (which automatically causes a contact list to be refreshed), especially if there's been many status changes. This could be sped up by transmitting all status changes in a single packet (once a single socket model is adopted).
    - Repeated "RemoteUser Is Typing" Freezes .. This freezes occurs intermittently once every 2 seconds whenever "RemoteUser Is Typing". This interferes when you're typing on the BlackBerry whenever the remote user is typing at the same time (Perhaps fix by eliminating repeated transmissions)
    - "Incoming Packet" Freeze. There is a freeze for every single incoming packet (regardless of packet size). Especially when someone is flooding messages to you (typing one word, hittng Enter, typing one word, hitting Enter, typing one word). This freezes the entire BlackBerry, and makes it difficult to do anything. This can be solved by reprogramming the Verichat server to transmit a batch of messages only once every 2-3 seconds. So that messages are displayed in surges (and keep BlackBerry fast performing) rather than one-by-one (which can freeze the BlackBerry whenever you are flooded with messages).
    Priority: Medium (2 votes)

  • Delivery Confirmation In VeriChat (ala WebMessenger)
    WebMessenger used a technique for delivery confirmation whereupon a character is placed next to the name indicating delivery status. WebMessenger used ">" to indicate attempting to deliver message and "X" failed to deliver message .... and dissappeared character means a success. Or using italics to represent pending delivery confirmation. For example:
    Quote:
    Mark: Blablabla, this example message is successfully delivered
    Mark: Blablabla, another successfully delivered example
    [Failed] Mark: HelloHelloHello this message failed to be delivered
    Mark: Blablabla, another successfully delivered example
    Mark: This example message is pending delivery
    Mark: This another example message is pending delivery

    Or another example:
    Quote:
    Mark: Blablabla, this example message is successfully delivered
    Mark: Blablabla, another successfully delivered example
    (X)Mark: HelloHelloHello this message failed to be delivered
    Mark: Blablabla, another successfully delivered example
    (>)Mark: This example message is pending delivery
    (>)Mark: This another example message is pending delivery
    Also, if possible, delivery confirmation packets should be batched together once every few seconds or so, in order to prevent freezes (please see previous bullet about the "Packet Freeze" issue, and why delivery confirmation packets should be batched together too)
    Suggested Priority: Medium (1 vote)

  • Over-The-Air Download
    Provide an option for a downloadable .jad/.jar (over-the-air) files rather than just .cod/.alx (desktop). This is fairly easy to do, once you set the web server mimetypes correctly.
    Status: PDAApps reports that there's a link to an OTA version of Verichat available if you email support[at]pdaapps.com
    Suggested Priority: Low (1 vote)

  • Turn On Backlight Upon Incoming Message
    There's a new simple API call in BlackBerryOS 4.0 to turn on the backlight. It would be nice to have the backlight automatically turn on upon incoming message. Should be a configurable option in Preferences. Care should be taken so that the API call doesn't interfere with compatibility with BlackBerryOS 3.7.
    Priority: Low (1 votes)

  • Configurable Font Size
    Someone posted that they would like configurable font size separately from the system-wide font size.
    Suggested Priority: Low (1 vote)

  • Improve Multitasking Experience Further: End Session Hotkey
    I suggest adding + as an End Session hotkey while inside chat. Earlier, PDAapps added a multitask hotkey (+) which makes it easy to switch between sessions on one keypress. There should now also be an 'end session' hotkey, so that it's easy to selectively close sessions by holding and selectively hitting or
    Suggested Priority: Low (1 vote)

Last edited by Mark Rejhon : 03-17-2005 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 01-28-2005, 07:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The Verichat interface is pretty nice. Add an IRC option to it and It would be perfect. :D
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Old 01-28-2005, 08:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think IRC is different enough that it would have to be a separate software program. There are also now at least 3 or 4 IRC programs for BlackBerry now -- why not try them instead? (jmIRC, wlIRC, virca) I heard that jmIRC is the best, do a google for it.

IRC in VeriChat would be a very good user interface; but as a computer programmer, I know the programming would definitely be difficult as the Verichat architecture wasn't designed to accomodate IRC. However, you never know....
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Old 01-28-2005, 01:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default make it use the service instead of going thru verichat serve

BerryVine connects only to the actual service so there is a one time fee only. I would prefer that with VeriChat as well.
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Old 01-28-2005, 05:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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There is freeware BlackChat too, which connects to ICQ directly for free.

True, but Verichat is optimized for mobile usage. There are some rather good reasons to do it this way. These are the reasons why Verichat and WebMessenger Needs You To Pay For Server Service Annually:

- Staying connected through the unreliable wireless world, roaming, celltower switches
- Lower bandwidth protocols (lightweight proprietary IM protocol)
- Lower battery power (less transmissons)
- Better surviving intermittent reception without momentary disconnections
- Work around timeout problems

That's why many "good" instant messengers for BlackBerry requires you to pay annually. The server runs all the time, 24/7. (And there is no need to hit "refresh" like for SMS based instant messaging, whose operation is often paid by for the cellphone companies) The only ones that does not require you to do so, are ones that connect directly -- and are often not as reliable. Now you know why you have to pay annually -- you are paying for a special server service that is included with the software.
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Old 01-28-2005, 09:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Rejhon
I think IRC is different enough that it would have to be a separate software program. There are also now at least 3 or 4 IRC programs for BlackBerry now -- why not try them instead? (jmIRC, wlIRC, virca) I heard that jmIRC is the best, do a google for it
I have had no luck with jmIRC on my 7250, and only limeted success with WLIrc. I'll have to try virca.

Not being a programmer I have no idea how easy or hard it would be but 2 different open source IM projects for the pc include IRC in addition to the big 4 IM networks. So its my 2 cents. :D
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Old 01-29-2005, 03:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If Verichat is modular enough to add extra protocols like Jabber, IRC, etc. and still somehow elegantly make them work, that would be great. It might have to be an "IRC Lite" Trillian-style type of integration, if anything happened.

Also, there is a newer version of jmIRC -- maybe give that one a try. The early jmIRC had some problems. I do not think wlIRC is very good.

It'll have to be PDAapps' call if it is a feature in high demand, but it's my opinion that it should concentrate on improvements to the mobile instant messaging experience first before adding support for other types of chat networks...
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Old 01-30-2005, 05:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi Mark,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Rejhon
The only ones that does not require you to do so, are ones that connect directly -- and are often not as reliable.
Besided BlackChat and BerryVine which ones connect directly? I don't know of any other ones. I must say that I have no stability issues with BerryVine Messenger 1.1, which released this Friday. What are your experiences with BerryVine?

Take care,

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Old 01-30-2005, 03:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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GroupWise plugin would be nice.
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Old 01-30-2005, 05:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I think that plugins would become more feasible once PDAapps multiplex everything over one socket connection -- basically using a "chat network ID code".
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Old 01-31-2005, 08:03 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Good news. PDAapps is rewriting Verichat to multiplex all networks over one socket connection. Right now, four socket connections are currently used, one for each network, which uses up extra bandwidth. This is causing various problems including slight reliability issues and bandwidth cost, including my $600 bill to Rogers ($300 per month) for my so-called capped "unlimited" BlackBerry plan.

This rewrite to a single socket connection, should have the side effect of the following:
  • Making Verichat even more reliable
  • Lower bandwidth if used 24/7 always-on (No need to use wasteful keepalive pings on 4 sockets)
  • Less BlackBerry reboots needed (hopefully eliminate "Max connections open" errors)
While Verichat is already finally very reliable, it is starting to approach the limits of BlackBerryOS4 (bugs in OS4, even in 4.0.0.185). This rewrite will work around some OS4 bugs in the OS4's handling of multiple concurrent socket connections.

As a result, since it is also connected to reliability, I have reclassified the priority of this task in this thread.
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Old 02-13-2005, 04:21 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Updated suggestion list with new suggestions and requests. ;)
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Old 02-24-2005, 04:11 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Here are some excellent suggestions posted by RyanNobrega in this thread.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanNobrega
Quote:
3) Are you using Verichat Version 1.91? It's much more stable than older versions of Verichat. I have never had it crash before on me, and it successfully automatically reconnects after returning from weak reception. It may not be as graphically fancy as the Sidekick stuff, but version 1.91 is pretty polished compared to the older Verichats (i.e. 1.48 which often crashed)
I'm using 1.78b. I think Verichat is a great app and actually haven't had problems with it... never had it crash and it seems to maintain / recover the connection well.

Many of the Sidekick strengths for IM are feature level stuff that the Verichat guys could prob replicate quite easily (don't know if they have played w/the Sidekick, but would be worth the investment to pick one up for comparison).

Some examples:

o non-disruptive online/offline messages and "previews" of IMs received while not in a chat session (I.e.- just like your PC behaves w/the little Yahoo! IM notifications on the bottom right of the screen)

o new IM message indicator w/numerical counter in the status bar (similar to new voicemail message)

o active IM session indicator in buddy list to tell you which users you are chatting w/

o shortcut keys to easily switch to / cycle through active chat sessions (equivilent of ALT+[0-9], where 0-9 is the # of the chat session you want to switch to)

o all Yahoo! IM sounds (nice little touch)

o full Preferences control just like you have on your desktop client (without things like "Webcam" of course)

+ Yahoo! IM and AOL IM on the sidekick are both free.
Here are some of my (Mark Rejhon's) comments:
  • If the BlackBerryOS API's allows, maybe the preview feature might be possible by popping up some tiny dialog box near the bottom of the screen on a 2-second delay. On top of this, there should be an option to avoid Verichat from displaying a dialog or jump-immed-to-chat as well.
  • Multitasking is already provided with the + keypress to switch between chat sessions.
  • An active IM indicator might be useful. This could be done by displaying "+-(0)" next to non-empty chat sessions....
    By the way, I have always wondered why the indicator is shaped like "+-(1)", why not just display it as "(1)"
  • Sounds may be difficult on a BlackBerry. Personally, I don't want any Yahoo sounds.
  • A status bar indicator would be great in the same place as email/voicemail indicators, but I do not think the BlackBerryOS API's allows this at this time. Not 100% sure on this one for BlackBerryOS 4.
  • More preferences is always nice. However, it shouldn't be made too complicated for new users though. Just look at how complicated the WebMessenger configuration is with tons of preferences that confuses the new user.
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Old 02-24-2005, 06:10 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Another excellent suggestion:

If putting a unread messages indicator in the main BlackBerry screen is not possible ....

Verichat should provide some kind of an API for another application to determine how many unread instant messages there are. That will allow other standby-screen authors like PocketDay or BBToday, to display the number of unread instant messages.

This would also work best when Verichat is also configurable to avoid visual interruptions for those who desires no visual interruption (no dialog popup, no jump-immed-to-chat)
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Old 03-04-2005, 10:46 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Here's 2 suggestions I have from recent experience:

1. Any way to put a signal strength indicator on there? Numerous times I've been in the middle of a session when I lost conectivity altogether, walking around. I would have stopped if I had known.

2. When I miss messages, the first thing that happens is that verichat asks me if I want to chat. It asks me, however, one time for every line that the person has entered. In the last 2 days, I've missed chats that were over 10 lines. Imagine having to answer that question 10 times in order to close the session cause that person is no longer online. It doesn't matter if I select yes or no...it still asks.
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Old 03-05-2005, 01:36 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I have a sugggestion. Often I'd like to refer back to a chat I had a few days or weeks ago. How about adding a chat logging feature? I use something that does this on my PC (Messenger Plus! written by Patchou www.msgplus.net), but it would be good to log my chats with the BB as well...
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Old 03-05-2005, 11:07 PM   #17 (permalink)
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How about icons that show the actual status of the buddies on the list. Little notepad for "Away" Italic or dimmed icon for "Idle" and a cellphone icon for "Mobile" etc...

Also, the ability to accept messages from users not on buddly list. Currently a dialog pops up, asking whether to add non-buddy to list, ignore this non-buddy, or ignore all non-buddies. Just add one more option in this list: "accept message from non-buddy."
Currently the only way to accept the message is to select add buddy, and when adding buddy, it doesnt prompt what group to add them too, it just adds the buddy to a default group.

Lastly, similar to above. Option to send a new message to a user not on buddy list, without actually adding them at all. (type in screenname manually)
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Old 03-06-2005, 11:53 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Here's another useful thread to monitor:
Verichat 1.91 Bugs
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Old 03-06-2005, 11:56 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdutta2000
2. When I miss messages, the first thing that happens is that verichat asks me if I want to chat. It asks me, however, one time for every line that the person has entered. In the last 2 days, I've missed chats that were over 10 lines. Imagine having to answer that question 10 times in order to close the session cause that person is no longer online. It doesn't matter if I select yes or no...it still asks.
That's why I like to use "Jump Immediately To Chat" -- which is surprisingly less disruptive than the Yes/No popup dialog! Turn on "Jump Immediately to Chat" in the Verichat Preferences.
(Important note: There may be a bug on this in the OTA 1.91)

I also recommend that "Jump Immediately To Chat" becomes the new default in Verichat preferences, because it's easier to press the Esc button twice to go back to where you were -- easier than selecting "No" in a BlackBerry dialog box.

However, you are right, this dialog should be made even less disruptive.
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Old 03-07-2005, 12:11 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Rejhon
I also recommend that "Jump Immediately To Chat" becomes the new default in Verichat preferences, because it's easier to press the Esc button twice to go back to where you were -- easier than selecting "No" in a BlackBerry dialog box.

However, you are right, this dialog should be made even less disruptive.
I agree. They should leave the check box option for "Jump Immediately to chat" in the options list, but if the option is left unchecked, then only the audible and/or vibrate alert should occur (depending on profile options) and nothing else should happen.
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