Today, I have everything I can go to email. If I could get it all, I would.
I do not need or want lots of silos. I do want one store, some rules, and for it to operate off line and async.
Replacing email will take a lot. There was email before http. I have seen nothing even close to the simple utility, robustness of email, never mind anything that looks to endure like email has.
I have almost all email I have ever received. Amazing. And it just works. The better search is, the better it works. There are tons of emails to myself too. I know I can search them and read what past me suspected present me needs to know and that all weaves right in.
I wish more things worked as well and like email does.
RSS is one of those things, BTW.
USENET is another one, but well out of favor. Fact is, someone could spiff USENET up and it could very easily come back.
Async, threaded discussion is amazing. Make inline media a little easier, and... yeah.
Problem is none of those high utility things are sexy.
Maybe there should be a floor that just works well. Maybe we are not all that well served by all these attempts to disrupt and own people through what are important interactions.
Big conflict of interest there, if you ask me. It matters now, is lean, mean, near universally used.
Ok, so what is there really to disrupt?
And that is why I love email. Unlike just about every other thing I have loved, it will be there, and I will not have to think about it much. It is awful nice to have something be that way.
Nice enough for me to think long and hard about putting it at any kind of risk.
Well said. Email is the universal killer app for perpetuity.
And the lesson here is that it is so because nobody owns it, we all own it. It can't go bankrupt, it can't pivot to be something else, it can't lose all its best features when a new product manager is promoted and wants to make a statement. Things that every proprietary system will do and eventually disappear.
I have all email I've wanted to preserve back into about 1990 and I can read it just the same as back then. I will, guaranteed, be able to continue to access it with no change for as long as I live. No proprietary app will ever come close to matching this longevity.
Because it is an open standard I own my entire pipeline. I can receive, send, filter, script, trigger on content, automate.. there are no limits. It's my data.
I centralize everything to email. RSS goes to email, sites I scrape go to email, signal goes to email. If I can't pipe it to email somehow, I don't really have the time to deal with that kind of special snowflake. Email me.
Email is the unix pipe of communication, infinitely flexible to taste.
What is needed to fix email is to have structured messages, which can better be automated. Either on the MUA or MDA. But exactly this standardization of message structures is something that won't happen anymore... It's not the '90s anymore
You're right in a way that this "won't happen", because Google Wave already tried it, but I think what's really needed is a killer client that supports unstructured email and gets into a position whereby they can add structure (and get adoption thereof).
Take for example Fastmail's JMAP. They started by supporting IMAP, and they'll continue to support it for a long time. But, despite Fastmail not being the biggest provider in the world, we're still seeing adoption of JMAP by others.
I could see the same happening with a really well-made open client. It would have to be "modern" (a GUI that handles & sends HTML mail well), and it would have to have good UX to deal with the awful idiosyncrasies of closed providers (e.g. Gmail's broken IMAP, Google Accounts' non-standard auth measures, etc.). Once those work well, one could create a new Content-Type for structured metadata and start sending it as part of multipart mails: most clients would ignore it at first and render plaintext.
This might be less efficient (bandwidth-wise) than traditional email at first, but could improve on that with adoption.
Fix what again?
If you notice unwanted emails (maybe from another sender), you'll know:
- the sender is misusing the key
- if the key had been compromised / sold / stolen, the new sender is a misbehaving party (maybe can't use the key if it's linked to the sender address or domain)
You can then revoke the key, and block the sender. The MTAs can use this information to blacklist abusers.
When the key is revoked, the sender will need to re-request a new one.
The 'solution' here is that the key is now something valuable and linked to their operations, so they won't resell this. It also becomes apparent when keys have been stolen.
It would also be possible to add automatic key rotation (key update when sending an email).
If you think email is perfect as it is, you're living in a bubble and are ignoring the pains of countless people. You may have an email setup that works perfectly for your needs, but if it was easy for everyone to have the same, no-one would be trying to re-invent it.
I do not believe for a minute all this wanting to replace email is about the pain of countless people. There is pain, no doubt. I have some myself.
It is all about massive adoption being equated to massive dollars. That tends to amplify these things.
To clarify my point: I think people try to replace email because they're frustrated with email and believe it can't meet their needs. Personally, I believe email could meet some of their needs were it improved to alleviate some of their frustrations. And I wish some people would direct their efforts toward improving email rather than trying to replace it.
Then again, maybe I should be taking my own advice.
Many people are all about how they want to work. They may or may not be about how others work, working together, or willing to adapt how they work.
And we all have reasons, no worries, no judgement.
That said, I have seen many wants framed as needs. Have done that myself. Have also adapted how I work to see those things evaporate away too.
What is worth what?
Sometimes working differently is lower risk, friction for higher value than attempting to work in a specific way can be.
What you want is not email.
So make what you want, and if it really does reduce the pain of countless people, it will see broad use, right?
And if it does not?
Send me an email, we can talk about it.
Maybe what you want to do can ride in an email?
Great, do that. And again, if countless people feel better, they can run clients that help them feel better.
What I want is email, with the pains ironed out. I do not want anything fundamentally new. I just want to use what I'm currently using, and have it work as it currently works, minus current frustrations.
These frustrations vary from person-to-person (mine are numerous, some I'd be happy to live with, but others genuinely bother me daily), so fixing enough of them to appease a large portion of email users is no small task, but I think email is a good enough foundation that doing so is worth pursing.
I don't see much value in telling everyone their complaints re: email are invalid and they should accept it as is without improvements.
> So make what you want
That's a fair point, and maybe I should. It would certainly be better than posting aimlessly about it in internet comments. As mentioned above though, it's no small task.
And that is OK, no worries.
Do make that thing. I will look at it with interest like any new thing.
There are some standards for invoicing.
Another great application is Civilization over SMTP.
Fastmail makes some attempt at blocking tracking, not perfect, depends on user preference and default is to allow remote images.  Another advantage to this method is that if I get annoyed with Fastmail, I can update DNS and they are out of the picture.
 - https://www.fastmail.help/hc/en-us/articles/1500000278102-Bl...
I’ve found my email to be unwieldy. I’ve felt like I have to apply constant hygiene and maintenance to keep it from becoming useless.
Checking out on an e-commerce site, trying out a new tool, registering a free trial...these are things I guess I do frequently enough that it seems to doom me to sort and sift through noise.
I know the common solutions are a good set of filtering rules or separate emails/aliases. I lean toward the latter and it’a definitely helped but I still find it all a bit of a pain and time sink.
That said, you make a nice case for it and I can definitely identify with some of the ‘zen’ of email you’re describing.
I feel like I’ve tried every email client out there, but is there some solution I haven’t thought of of where I get a friendly GUI but can configure mail filtering in code (i.e something I can keep in git) rather than clicking around?
I’ve toyed with ideas of bundling by sender - or quietly placing new senders into their own ‘message requests’ type bin for me to approve or deny.
Or some kind of intelligence for identifying, for example, a receipt or confirmation email (which I want indexed) vs a promotional email from the same vendor (which I do not).
A couple jobs ago, before I gave up on processing all my mail, I had a perl script that grabbed headers from IMAP (with caching, because Exchange is slooooow), and filtered with code (basically a list of pairs of code refs that took a message => what folder to move the message if the code returned something truthy (or maybe the code returned a folder... not sure anymore). This let me do things that are hard in server side filters like moving things only when it's read.
For transactional stuff a set of rules to automatically read+archive stuff that you need to keep (invoices, receipts, order notifications, etc) but don't necessary need to action.
This leaves you with only the relevant stuff in the inbox and makes it much easier to do "inbox zero". I will typically get less than one email a day actually landing in my inbox using this technique.
Yeah, one thing where even statistical filtering sucks. Usually there's not enough confirmation vs promo samples to train a filter and some senders tend to use the same templates for both.
It can only be done manually.
For Unix there are many tools with filtering as this is an old problem
Fdm, procmail, maildrop
Unfortunately despite just being text, email has become a monolithic black box for most which limits what you can do with the text.
New email services like Hey.com or Onmail.com are doing this. It looks like this kind of feature is getting some traction.
2. Try inbox zero and just archive emails aggressively directly from your phone’s notification without even opening email.
My inbox currently has 10 emails that one day I'll get to and the rest of spam and transactional email is just gone from view within the hour or day.
I wish I could have an "important" and a "transactional" email view, but that's not going to happen without a lot of work, so email search still sucks.
Email is a standard set of protocols and wire formats. So it doesn't make sense to say email search sucks.
If your email client doesn't support satisfactory search, switch clients. Which you can do because it's a standard, not a proprietary app.
Yes it does, because in almost every case it sucks :) The only one where it doesn't is where it's all indexed by Google (the bad option) or where you index it all locally (e.g. with mu). The second is a slightly less bad option but not by much.
I mean I get it but fundamentally it's not true. Might seem like a nitpick but it's not. If slack search sucks, that's an absolute statement. It is what it is and there's nothing you can do about other than beg a product manager at slack to make it better but they'll likely ignore you.
With email, an open standard, you can just switch clients. Or bypass clients entirely and handle search separately. There are no limits to what you can do.
I find it, potentially forward something and then carry on.
I happen to use an email client with better search and tagging than Gmail.
Gmail is good at this when splitting the inbox, but after that it’s all forgotten (unless, once again, you add a manual filter to exclude such emails)
About your important/transactional split: shameless self plug but I'm working on a project that's all about a unified list, and one part of that is splitting incoming into important and not important. If you check it out, feedback welcome! garrett@[productname].com
Fwiw this does seem to work pretty well:
> This website is powered by DFeed, an NNTP / mailing list web frontend / forum software, news aggregator and IRC bot. DFeed was written mostly by Vladimir Panteleev. The source code is available under the GNU Affero General Public License on GitHub: https://github.com/CyberShadow/DFeed
> This DFeed instance (forum.dlang.org) is a frontend to the DigitalMars NNTP server and mailing lists. Portions of the web interface (including style and graphics) are Copyright © by Digital Mars.
I've looked at dfeed a couple of times, but it seems just a little bit convoluted to set up - and I wouldn't really want an irc integration.
But the web forum is snappy and the NNTP integration seems like a great idea.
The clear problem with that is the lack of federation, but I don't think users generally care about that.
Closed, propiatary, with separate ux/client for every silo? They are not usenet in any meaningful way.
They're more like bbs forums in a world were there was no improvements made, and the internet never happened.
The only thing (most) have, is that for traffic purposes they allow spiders like Google and Bing to enable federated search.
But there are variants like Instagram that allow search, but force login - and things like Facebook groups, that are opaque.
The ux of most forums (including hn) is terrible. HNs one saving grâce is that it's simple (as it should be).
I don't mean to jump on you; I get that things like reddit is a place were all people can exchange messages - but I don't think that makes it modern usenet. Just like mailing lists were/are not usenet.
The defining characteristics of Usenet was not the license or client (IMHO the UX of most NNTP clients was pretty terrible for casual users) but the content. There was a group for everything that anybody could access as long as their ISP provided access. If you asked me if there was some place on the internet that had a discussion group for everything I'd probably say Reddit is the closest thing. All you need is a connection to the internet and a browser and you can start reading. Posting requires an account but they are free.
I agree with you that forums, BBS message boards and mailing lists are nothing like Usenet.
Threaded discussion is best done simple, and that is what we have.
That said, there's a couple of decades of horrible web platforms from nuke/phpbb thorough reddit and Twitter. It's not exactly high price to be "not as stupid" as all the the ones taking pride in their convoluted stupidity...
What we have here is dead simple, works great, very lean, effective.
We could have more and that may or may not trend toward excellent.
Since your talking about user experience, (not mentioning privacy, security, etc.). How is email better in terms of usability than say Telegram or any other app.
Which keep every chat you've ever had.
You can "Save" chats for yourself for later.
You can have usenet-style conversations in huge mega-groups.
You can follow the latest news from channels just like RSS.
All without needing to keep the data downloaded on your device, and backed up in the cloud.
Basically all those separate services you mention (with separate software required to be downloaded to view them) are rolled into in any one-stop-shop chat app. Oh, and it also has phone and video calls too.
None of this replaces email.
A big one is I am not sure I will have every Telegram chat I received a decade or two from now, and I will have all my email.
Another is everyone uses email. Not everyone uses other apps. So far Telegram is entertainment only. That is fine.
Email can act like chat, chat is not email.
I very strongly disagree with better. Different? Yup. More experiences possible? Yup.
But not better. Email is killer. And it is not hard, is time tested, production proven, near ubiquitous.
UX is bang on simple, and I hardly ever think about it.
"Better" needs some reevaluation to be frank. I see a general failure to understand why email is great. That means a claim of better UX may make very little sense.
The protocol that is de facto Telegram is called MProto, and is publicly available.
edit: The main difference between email and Telegram, is that anyone can host email servers, while Telegram manages theirs.
edit2: MProto being widely available to study, one could perhaps reverse-engineer their own server - but that hasn't been a desire to accomplish this from what I can see. Much of the value-proposal of Telegram is their Service as a whole.
You just did.
I was responding to the claim that Telegram wasn't providing a protocol or ability for developers to author their own clients.
Overall, email is killer, I would love to move everything toward emails that I can filter, or as the OP posted, a Unified inbox.
I wonder if there is a patent on it.
While this is true, there's no automatic process and it's limited to the desktop client. Email is much more convenient because of this. I can't "forget" to backup my emails for the past month or year. I know they'll be on my email server until I delete them.
I am a workware app hater, unless I use it for specifics, like a meeting. For that case, I love "continue in browser" because I want to do it, and then when I am done, maybe never think about it again.
No states, other features. Just launch, have the meeting, next.
I like Skype still. I use it like I used to use IRC.
None of that is email though. If I want to send complex thoughts, I send an email. Async, robust, easy.
I really like my data in an open format, stored where I want, usable on what I want, when and how I want, and with whatever app I want.
If I have to search from within the program, I find that it's basically never as fast and as powerful as what I want. If the local logs use some sort of database instead of a plain text file, I feel my hands are tied behind my back.
This is more of a client problem than protocol problem, I think, but IRC just still has the best clients by far. I really hope some other things can come closer to matching irssi one of these days. Logging, keyboard shortcuts, scriptability and configuration, not automatically re-ordering my precious channels. So many things are worse than irssi.
Also, before someone says it, I know irssi has XMPP support, but lack of OMEMO made me not bother. Similarly, weechat has a Matrix plugin or two, which was the best Matrix experience I've had in a lot of ways, but it was super buggy and would break or constantly log me out, so I couldn't seem to stick with it.
I'd call this a feature of email – I _can_ easily have all the stuff I need downloaded on my device. I can move email around without using a specific provider, back it up to an offline storage just like any other data, and use multiple clients without re-syncing all the emails.
Also it's perfectly possible to have email available over the Internet, only downloading things to your device when needed. Most modern email services work this way – either through webmail and/or using email protocols like IMAP.
(That's not to say that email is perfect. Far from. The content of email is a hot mess – broken HTML implementations, HTML email trying to do ungodly things, plaintext with hard line breaks, plaintext displayed with no line breaks whatsoever, RTF...)
Can you, though? With Telegram, perhaps. But "chat" in general does not have this. Depends heavily on the service, in my experience.
Does not compare to email and all the options one has.
> Which keep every chat you've ever had.
Telegram only promises to keep your messages for 6 months of inactivity. If you switch to something else, you're going to have to archive the messages yourself.
Worst case, I talk to them, done, next.
I need to get in on that!
I want to love email (I do love the platform) but I've just struggled to find a UI that I don't battle with. Especially one/some that work similarly across different devices.
Having used so damn many UX'es, I do not generally struggle. They work how they work. Basics are not hard. I rarely use more than basics anyway.
I quit trying for that perfect fit years ago.
Thing is it will get changed. So why bother?
Much easier to adapt and become quick to grok whatever paradigm, flow is there and get back to whatever else I am thinking about.
I have used Thunderbird and would again in a pinch. Like that one.
> They work how they work. Basics are not hard. I rarely use more than basics anyway.
I would normally agree but I'm using macOS Mail currently and it brings new definition to the word "basics". It's missing some pretty obvious things.
> the gmail web interface
I'm in web interfaces pretty often and I really like Fastmail's: strongly considering switching to use it's web UI everywhere and forgo local clients completely. I've found Gmail's usable but sluggish, which gets painful if you receive a lot of mail.
I use it for personal and to search my body of pro emails forwarded to an account for that purpose.
Too bad about macOS mail.
I need to look at FastMail.
Outlook, like the rest of the Microsoft Office programs, is craptastic! It will do what you want. You will enjoy doing it less than you want, and it will generally remain worth it to do what you want.
Web only email is killer. I did that for many years.
The big thing with Outlook and exchange is business calendar integration. MS has a good solution. Forward to gmail and I get Android calendar copies for essentially free and low hassle. I do enough sales related work to justify Outlook.
I do not like Microsoft mobile apps much at all. On Android at least.
Edit: I fought with / against Outlook for years.
When I finally said, "fuck it" and used it for business, I found when I do not invest much, I do not risk much and have been happy ever since.
I just don't want to think about it all that much. The contents of those emails are what I want to think about and so that's where my focus is.
USENET could come back with a proper refresh.
If it gets a "refresh" the way slack murdered IRC for work, I hope it never does. While were at it, slack can go straight into a volcano. Any value it adds over IRC is A. marginal and B. not work-relevant (because you can't upload anything containing sensitive data there, bearing in mind what it is...).
However it does not sound suitable for a work environment.
 - https://github.com/thelounge/thelounge
 - https://github.com/convos-chat/convos
Also, due to its rigidly ephemeral nature (ultimately depending on your personal preference of course, but the default for most clients these days - and opposed to something like Teams, which seems to store everything forever), it nudges its users to use a more suitable, more permanent medium to capture information that is to be persisted. It's clearly a different kind of animal than a wiki or an email archive/mailing list, whereas new "alternatives to email"-tools like Slack, Teams and their ilk are anything and everything in-between, which causes "now where the hell did I read that thing about that other thing..."-syndrome for me.
At this point, maybe they are not responding for damn good reasons?
Personally, I deal with others on whatever terms they tend to present to me.
So, if someone does not respond quickly, fine. Or they want SMS, or whatever, that is fine too.
I figure they have reasons, seek low friction amd give consideration I am given.
Many do not though, your point is good.
I love email because I rarely have to think about it. Thought is action. Same with IRC.
But those who know, know.
I also feel like I dug in to the original code for Slack and it literally was an IRC client.
Various subreddits, async communication, sharing of stuff. User accounts. Only major difference (and it is a big one) is voting.
I must admit I never realized Slack is IRC. It makes perfect sense.
But that's the key.
Can I write my own slack client to automate everything just the way I want to, relying only on standard APIs that cannot go away?
today I'm no longer integrated into the workflow of a "modern dev team" but the last time I was they forced us to communicate on Slack. If I'd have to work in such a distraction-tread-mill I'd be one very unhappy camper. It's not that Slack alone is terrible but how orgs these days expect devs to use it. Some companies I've been at they made their teams announce in the main channel whenever somebody went for a break or when they got back. That's fun with 3 people but god forbid you're working with bigger groups and end up forgetting to enter that you've gone for a dump. I first thought it was only one place that has jumped the shark on common sense, but no, it's every other company since 2016 that thinks it's a great way to communicate.
email or nothing for me. Or pick up the phone (boomer!) or video call me if it's really that important. the 50 additional more ways to hassle me can F right off lol
Slack is quite the productivity destroyer if you let it.
I turn of all notifications and let it forward any direct mentions to email. Fortunately that works. So if anyone calls on me I'll see it in email.
Aside from that, I only read the slack channels twice a day, morning and evening and close the tab the rest of the day.
If the world is on fire, email me. Otherwise I'll see your slack chat tonight.
Usenet didn't fight you if you wanted to scrape all of it. In fact, it encouraged that.
Usenet didn't require crappy "API tokens" in order to automate your interactions with it or bring your own user agent... in fact, you had to bring your own user agent; that was the only way to use it.
The only thing Reddit has in common with Usenet is good support for threaded discussions.
As for API tokens, that's unfortunately just the current trend of basically every other site with user-generated content. It's unfair to single out Reddit in particular when nearly everyone else does this too.
Totally hilarious that you posted this on a discussion site whose API doesn't require tokens.
(They also track every link you click on, but that's a separate issue.)
"Email" doesn't allow that. If your email client does, that's a flaw in the client but clients are replaceable.
I use mutt and no links are ever followed.
If most clients disabled remote resources then senders would include them in the message.
I pretty much don't.
Now and then I may allow one, depending.
Last info found googling was from 2013 though:
So a spammer will know if and when you opened email; but they would not know your IP or user agent.
The former is usually the most important part, and it is not blocked at all.
Would it really? I have no idea what the dollar cost of that would be. I can see not wanting to pay for a feature most people wouldn't use, but I certainly think Google could afford it.
The biggest question would be what percent of pictures are loaded now and at what cost?
Of course slack also can't handle markdown so my messages end up looking weird, but better weird than unreadable.
The upshot is that my messages end up impressing people because they are not just a garble of words, but have such features as headlines, paragraphs, lists and have been run through an actual spell checker.
Whether or not this is an 'aim', chat (slack, texts) is a distinctly different medium than email, in the same way voice chat is.
Voice is synchronous, real-time communication. It's very immediate, but demands 100% attention while taking place.
Email is asynchronous, with an inherent delay from the slow workflow and turn-around time. It takes at least a few distinct actions to read and send a reply, and there's no indication if the person received your message or is replying (unless you're a sociopath that uses read receipts, anyway). You can of course reply quickly back and forth and get close to a synchronous medium, but it's at best awkward and just really doesn't work well for this.
Chat lives in the middle ground where it is kind of both: though it's really async, most platforms have an indicator of online/offline, typing, etc, and the friction to reply is very small, so it works well synchronous.
More importantly, in my mind, is the expectations that come with the medium.
Chat is casual, ephemeral, and has no expectation of response. After some minutes/hours/days (depending on context) a message goes stale and that's just how it is. It's also perfectly fine to reply "sorry, in a meeting until 2" or "not sure, maybe ask @otherperson?".
Email is more formal, long-lived has an expectation of a useful response. This turns your inbox into a todo list where all the items are added by other people as they see fit. The types of deferrals you can do in chat don't really work in email.
There's definitely disagreement on these, and that can cause a lot of friction between people that treat them differently (for example: people that use email as if it's chat drive me absolutely crazy -- let's just chat and finish this conversation in 1/2 the time, or have a voice call and finish it 1/10th the time!).
It was mid-December of last year. So almost 6 months.
See for example:
But this gets into my similar point where you end up having to use tools like an extension or bot to fix functionality reddit leaves out.
It's gotten pretty annoying for some things already. Old reddit doesn't support polls but in a weird way you can still see it from old reddit like an embedded piece of media.
Overall it's already feeling pretty hacky and I'm sure it's just going to keep getting worse. I've tried to switch to new reddit multiple times and it's just so much slower. I'll admit it "looks" better, but I still get the same functionality but in a more efficient manner on the old reddit. The new reddit just feels slow and bloated.
Cambridge analytica is a well known issue of what happens when these platforms have open APIs as well.
Especially for Facebook it began to seem like a downside that created PR damage I think - people were far more interested in attacking it for “privacy violations” rather than celebrating the openness of the api and data.
One doesn't have anything to do with the other. As a user, having an open API meant that I could choose which client to use to interface with FB messaging. This has no bearing on CA having access to user profiling data.
You could use Outlook for both work and home, create a different icons for each, and merge multiple personal or work accounts together. You could pause notifications based on calendars, or on certain days, or quickly pause them for several days.
On the other hand, Teams on Android just won't shut up, and the longest you can make notifications snooze for is 2 hours. You have to block them entirely to get peace.
Work Profiles added this behavior to Android recently also; with a quick toggle to disable Work Access completely. (Outlook, Teams, etc all sandboxed and separate from host-applications; seperate marked icons/etc)
Google obviously wants to do the Unix "lots of small tools" app composability thing, but that depends on having a strong shell.
The contact list should be a shell. Let me click a contact and see all my texts, hangouts, calls, etc. in one unified log, and initiate whatever communication protocol be it video-chat or chess from there.
All they had to do was keep focused on their actual demographic (high-end office workers), allow their other demographic (drug dealers / buyers), and let everyone else worry about consumers.
Always refine the keyboard, unquestionable notifications, ignore the “single pane of glass” trend, and definitely not even a single phone with Android.
Their user-base would be “small”, but so what. Noone needs 8 Billion users. 100M is plenty to sustain R&D.
To use an old adage: If Henry Ford had asked people what they wanted, he would have given them a faster horse.
But I think that analogy proves my point. If Blackberry asked people what they wanted before they saw iPhone, they'd say "better physical keyboard phone" (faster horse). But after the iPhone took off they pointed to that instead (wait.. cars are better).
Single pane of glass is nice, and has benefits, but it’s a definite tradeoff as the on-screen keyboard is no longer tactile
Then there was Verizon pushing them to release phones that would work well on their new 4G networks, while Blackberrys were being optimised for 2.5G as one of their CEOs was determined to preserve the selling point of great battery life.
The companies they relied on were not letting them fall into a niche product-producer role. They would have been pushed out of the market, not even by their competitors, by their partners.
Thanks for mentioning it.
Having said that, I am not sure they could have withstood the app revolution without participating in. I do think they made major mistakes in their strategy at critical points, but simply focusing on their core business demographic might not have been enough. The get corporate IT on board, IIRC, you had to run a Blackberry Enterprise Server (?) for security and corporate connectedness. This was not cheap. That was becoming increasingly problematic as the iPhone and Android infrastructures caught up security-wise. In the end the cost to maintain the Blackberry servers was no longer justifiable as many people wanted the shiny new phones with all the apps.
You’re right about the BES requirement but they could have easily gone SAAS-optional when the industry shifted to the cloud.
I found it to be way better than the Blackberry. If they had forced me back to the BlackBerry I probably would have found a new job.
And, a huge number of colleagues who saw me using it at work got excited and put in requests for their own iPhones. It was just so much easier and more pleasant to read on the iPhone.
If they had opened up BBM, WhatsApp would never have happened.
It was just at exactly the right point in history: it was better than the rest in some ways, had great FOMO, SMS was super expensive, and I don't think anyone else had real-time messaging on mobile when they first did.
Yes: I think they could have eaten the market until the iPhone, and Apple would have been playing catch-up to BB.
Just recently, the've destroyed it and now SMS / voicemails are in "Messages", disconnected from chats.
It was also really nice when there was an iOS app named Talkatone that combined Google Voice calls, SMS, and voicemail into one. Circa 2012 that stopped working and Google rolled out separate Hangouts and Google Voice apps and nothing has been as good since.
In the meantime I became sickened by Google's ethics and behavior and have migrated all of those services to a combination of Fastmail and Anveo.
Also, you could do the following things which Voice doesn't support:
- Have multiple chats open (and be working on several responses) at the same time
- Star chats (nice workflow for remembering to respond later)
Although there were a couple things which, annoyingly, never worked right:
- Receiving contacts (vcards) from iOS.
- Starting a new group text (more than one recipient) from within Gmail. You could respond to an existing group text but to start a new one, I had to do it from the hangouts app on my phone.
I had some very minor flakiness with receiving certain SMSs with Fi/Hangouts, and various anecdotes on the internet suggested not using it for SMSs as a solution. For me, that didn't make a difference, but it's like they've given up on whatever complexities there are around unifying, and going back to two lowest-common-denominator siloed applications.
Another part of it is probably that Hangouts / google chat is a channel (network) that they completely own, whereas SMS is a generic, third party protocol, and history tells us that XMPP, MSN/Yahoo Messenger integration, Facebook RSS feeds etc can't last because each company wants to be the sole owner of a walled garden, and not a slice of a larger pie.
I host a public Matrix instance that offers bridges to signal, Telegramm, whatsapp and instagram. This in Addition to tge Matrix native contacts, results in a single ui wäre all my messages arrive.
I could als bridge E-Mail, but the combined inbox of k9 mail works good enough. Bonus that this works independant oft my phone.
I still miss my blackberry Bild from a Hardware perspective.
Companies want your full attention and wallet. They don’t want to share you.
Monopolistic behavior seems to be a principle of modern tech. You either win everything or lose everything.
My friends often complain about having different chat apps, but I quite like being able to see a single icon pop up on my lockscreen and having a fair idea who it's from.
Beeper is a product founded on top of Matrix, which is a standard for interoperable, decentralized, secure communications. Think email, but E2E encrypted and modern. One of the core features is bridges - the ability to reach out into other communication silos and bring them into Matrix. https://matrix.org/docs/guides/introduction
No affiliation, but I'm quite excited about the Matrix ecosystem. Element is a great client already.
For those seeking a comparative app for todays platforms, here are some that were mentioned on HN.
Today everyone has to have their own UX, so the notion of, say, message _transports_ (which is what you had in, for instance, cross-protocol IM clients like Adium) is dead.
iMessage, Facebook, Whatsapp, Signal, etc. all have their own UX, and that is impossible to unify today.
Android _almost_ got that right as you could (theoretically) build unified front-ends to front for separate activities back in the early revisions (and I believe PalmOS nearly got there as well) but today every service wants to own the UX to shove their "experience" in your phone...
...Both of which are now getting a bit long in the tooth, yet still commanding a lot of money on eBay :(
There is maybe a slightly different implied ephemerality but at the end of the day they seem basically the same.
It's a complicated history but the wilful ignorance by a lot of industry people and even fairly intelligent consumers was amazing to watch back in the day.
The iPhone is of course an amazing product, but the amount of distortion it wields is still unnerving
CRM for humans.
You can search as well but it doesn't sync, so the "viewable from any device" bit is not possible. It also deletes notifications older than 3 days by default, though you can configure this.
I still find it very useful occasionally when I dismiss a message notification and then forget which app it was from.
That may have been fine when your Blackberry was issued by work and used 99% for work. Now I'm not sure what mixing my work emails/slack with the saturday evening hangout group chat on whatsapp would help with.
Tbh not even mixing work emails and slack would help, since we tend to use slack for the present and email more for passing long term goals/reference info.
Or maybe you don’t. There will never be a one-size-fits-all for these things which is one reason why walled gardens and full vertical integration are horrible.
Either way, I think to achieve this, we need an open platform. I'm not saying open source, but I think we have to have an easy way to access to our data. Can I curl gmail to get my email. nope. Can I curl facebook to get my message. nope. I like Telegram because I can literally just curl it to fetch my message.
I think about this a lot and apparently go and build my own email platform which you can literally just do this:
curl https://api.hanami.run/v1/mails and get a nice JSON mail.
Once all the platform has an easy API like that, I imagined we will see many 3rd client to create a unification UI for all kind of content.
https://cancel.fm/ripcord/ is a client that unify slack+discord.
We're far from perfect but I think first steps for anyone building a chat service or an email platform is to have a very easy and user-friendly API to access their own data.
Similarly the https://matrix.org/ protocol is very promising and if enopugh people adopt that protocol we may have that dream come true, as long as anything speak that protocol, we can hook it up to our chat app.
Does it count as a "unified inbox" of sort?
The issue I see is for my parents. They tend to get confused if they have multiple messaging options.
Apple has a stranglehold on their ecosystem just like Blackberry did. They could easily require any new vendor to integrate into their own messaging app, or require apps to use a unified messaging framework which their app could pull from. They could kick out any app that didn't play by their rules.
The reasons for not doing this are almost assuredly either legal or business conflicts, or clinging to ideals like the screen wouldn't be as pretty. There is no technical hurdle.
Years later, I still greatly miss it.
I'm very skeptical of something that is basically reading data from every app I have. I'd worry that this provides a single weak point that can be compromised (obviously a bad update could just scrape all your data, but also presumably it'd open up more surface area to vulnerabilities?)
If it is secure enough to trust with my personal data, that'd be a wonderful solution to my current jumble of apps!
It was a bad purchase and it doesn't inspire much confidence about their other products.
I have spent several days over the last year or so to try and get an alternative open source Android distribution on it but no success yet. I wish I could install LineageOS on it so I can at least have a functional device.
> No cloud processing, no 3rd party services, no compromises. Ratio computes everything on your phone.