How To Add An Emoji Character To Your Name In The Wire App

Because I keep getting asked.... here is how you can add an emoji / emoticon to your name inside the new Wire app on Mac OS X / iOS / Android. (The Wire app that I wrote about yesterday and the day before.)

Many people have been asking why some names have a symbol after them inside of Wire, such as Olle's:

Olle wire

Or these:

Wire emoji randy luca

The answer about how to do this is simple...

YOU JUST ADD AN EMOJI CHARACTER TO YOUR NAME!

Yep... that's it!

Adding an Emoji On Mac OS X

In the Mac OS X client, you click on your name, and then the pencil next to your name:

Wire edit name

When you are then in the edit box, you can type the magic Mac OS X keystroke to bring up the emoji panel:

Control + Command + Space

Ta da! All the emoji you could ever want...

Adding an Emoji on iOS

Similarly, you just go into the Wire app on iOS and click on your name at the top of your list of contacts. You should now be in edit mode:

Wire ios

Then you just add an emoji. Now, there may be easier ways to do this, but I had previously added "Emoji" as a new keyboard on my iPhone using:

Settings -> General -> Keyboard -> Keyboards

This then lets me press the "switch keyboard" button on the bottom of the iOS keyboard and switch to the Emoji keyboard and enter characters:

Ios switch keyboard

Ta da! All the emoji you could ever want...

Wire emoji chicken

Yes, it's that easy.

Adding an Emoji on Android

I have no idea how to do this... because I don't have an Android device right now... but I have to imagine it is basically the same thing. Edit your name. Enter an emoji.

Why Not More Than 1 Emoji?

If you can enter one emoji, why not two or three?

Sure.

Go nuts!

Have fun!

Add however many you want... it's your name as seen by the rest of the world on Wire. :-)

And now with this "problem" solved, we now return you to more serious topics...


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More Observations About The "Wire" App

After yesterday's launch of Wire, I continued to use it a bit today and am writing these notes, mostly for my own memory.

Group Chats ARE Persistent

In my post yesterday I said that it seemed like Wire group chats were "persistent" (something I'd previously written about with regard to Skype). Today I can confirm that they ARE persistent. When I fired up the Wire app this morning I received all the messages that had been posted into the group chat overnight while I'd been offline.

Further, when I went to add someone to the group chat, I received this message:

Wire add people

The Wire team also deserves credit for how smoothly they make the scrolling back through the chat history. Works very well!

No IPv6... yet

Friends tested Wire in an IPv6-only network and confirmed that it unfortunately does not yet work. In reaching out to someone at Wire the word was that they are definitely investigating this to see what can be done. The issue is that the Wire app connects to Amazon EC2 servers - so it's really an issue of Amazon's capabilities.

I will say again that Wire at the very least deserves credit for coming out with a website, www.wire.com, what works over IPv6! That immediately puts them far ahead of most other communications startups.

The Mac OS X Client Rocks!

Wow! What a great desktop client! It works extremely well. I loved the ability to drag and drop images directly into a chat window. Calls worked great from the client. So far a great experience!

The Heavy Use Of Profile Pictures Takes Getting Used To

The profile photo you use winds up being the background for the entire screen on the mobile device - or for the sidebar in the Mac and iPad clients. And that photo changes to be of the last person with whom you communicated. Sometimes that can lead to a bit of strange user view depending upon the profile photo used. Here's one that worked fine for me:

TJ Evans

... but others were a bit strange. The ubuiquitous presence of the photos does take a bit to get used to.

The Use Of Colors Is Fun

Wire lets you choose a color in the settings. This is then used for the highlighting and cursor color that you see. It also shows up in other places such as this listing of people:

Top people

... where it shows the colors people are using. I can see people having fun with this.

Pings Are Useful

At first I was skeptical of what a "ping" could really be useful for (remember Facebook's "Poke"?). But then a friend sent a ping while I was off in some other app - on my Mac I got this nice big box:

Ping

I could then just hit "REPLY" and flip over to the Wire app. Of course, he sent another ping and I then had the option to silence the pings:

Ping

It was a useful way to know there was something to pay attention to over in Wire. Obviously this could be abused... I've not yet checked into what settings there are to control this.

More To Explore...

I continue to be quite impressed with both the iOS and Mac versions of Wire. More thoughts as I get a chance to experiment further...

P.S. If you are using Wire, feel free to find me as "Dan York" or "[email protected]" ...


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Initial Thoughts On "Wire", The New Communication App From Ex-Skypers

Wire com 400Another remarkable day in Internet communications! Today brought the launch of "Wire", a "modern communications network" that runs on iOS, Android, Mac OS X and soon in WebRTC-equipped web browsers.

My first thought was naturally - do we really need YET-another-OTT-communication app?

After all, my iPhone is littered with the dead carcasses of so many other apps that have launched trying to be THE communication platform we all want to use. (And indeed I've written about many of them here on this site.)

But what makes Wire different for me from so many other similar apps that have launched (and faded) is really the PEOPLE involved. The news announcement mentions, of course, Skype co-founder Janus Friis as one of the big names behind Wire. Jonathan Christensen is also the co-founder and CEO of Wire. The news post says this:

The company's team comprises former product and technology leaders from Apple, Skype, Nokia, and Microsoft. Christensen held leadership roles at Microsoft and Skype, and was co-founder and CEO at Camino Networks. Along with Christensen, founders include Alan Duric, Wire’s CTO, a co-founder of Telio (Oslo exchange TELIO) and co-founder of Camino (acquired by eBay/Skype); and Priidu Zilmer, Wire’s head of product design, who led design teams at Vdio and Skype. Wire’s Chief Scientist Koen Vos, created SILK and co-created Opus, the standards for fidelity and intelligibility in voice over IP that billions of people use today.

I've known Jonathan over many years from his time at Skype. Alan Duric is a personal friend from the world of SIP, IETF and more. Some of the others are names I've known - and I've been told privately of others who are there, including apparently Jaanus Kase, who was one of the first working on Skype's community relations back in 2006/2007.

It certainly looks like an excellent team!

Does that mean it will succeed? Not necessarily... but it certainly has a far greater chance in my mind than many of the other attempts.

I have a GREAT amount I want to write about with regard to Wire, but for today I just want to write a few initial thoughts.

VERY Minimalist User Interface

When they say that Wire is about "simple, beautiful conversations", they aren't joking about the "simple" part. The user interface is extremely minimalist. All based on gestures and revealing just the information you need.

It's very cool as you get used to it... but it's also a bit non-intuitive - at least for older greybeards like me. At one point I simply wanted to reply in text and wound up calling someone (Alan, as it happened).

It is definitely great to see someone experimenting with a new UI to the degree that they have.

I installed it on both my iPhone 5s and my older iPad2. It worked great on both devices. The iPad, in particular, had a very nice view in the landscape mode. I did not yet install it on my Mac but spoke with several people who did.

Chats With Photos, SoundCloud and YouTube

When you start chatting with someone, it's very easy to add photos. You also could just drop in a link to a SoundCloud sound or a YouTube video and the player would automagically appear in the chat stream. And yes... animated GIFs work, too.

Call Quality - and Chats During The Call

I made several calls today and the quality was excellent. All high-quality voice. Presumably using the Opus codec or something similar. It's great that during the call you still have the full chat capability as I was sharing text and photos with the person I called.

Persistent Group Chats

I was extremely pleased to see how wonderfully well the "group chats" worked. Someone pulled a bunch of us "early adopters" into a chat room and it felt like we were back in 2006 or so in the early days of Skype and many of the early VoIP offerings. A very pleasant experience.

The group chat also synced very nicely between devices. A message I wrote on my iPad showed up just moments later on my iPhone. Others reported a similar experience with the Mac client.

Perhaps best of all the group chats appeared to be persistent group chats. After shutting down the app and then reconnecting later, I seemed to get all the messages that had been exchanged when I was offline. I've written before about the power of persistent group chats in Skype, and it was good to see what looked like something similar here. (Need to do more testing to confirm... but it looked good.)

What's Missing?

I realize today was the first day of the launch and that the product will evolve considerably, but some initial things I found missing:

  • Perhaps the biggest surprise was the lack of video, purely because that seems to be included in almost every other OTT communications app these days.
  • Not having a Windows client also seemed odd, given that they had a Mac OS X client. (Not that this mattered to me personally, but it just seemed odd.)
  • I also missed the ability to edit a message you've already posted.

So Now What?

I'm definitely intrigued by what I see... I'll keep using Wire and will install the Mac OS X client.

There's still the larger issue that this is yet-another-silo-of-communication that is separate from all the other mobile apps and services out there... but that's the topic for another post.

And there's the ever-present "directory" issue, i.e. how will Wire grow the directory of users so that you find the people there that you want to communicate with? But that, too, is a topic for another post. It's not clear, too, what the business model is.

I was also initially intrigued by the idea that Wire might work over IPv6 ... but while the www.wire.com website DOES work over IPv6 (yea!), further examination and network sniffing shows that the traffic going from the application goes to Amazon EC2 servers that are only on IPv4. I'm looking forward to learning more about what might or might not be true here.

All that aside, Wire looks so far like a very cool new entrant into the realm of mobile communications apps... and I'm looking forward to more experimentation and usage in the days and weeks ahead! If you are using Wire (or decide to try it out), please feel free to contact me in the Wire app as "Dan York" or via "[email protected]".

Congrats to Jonathan, Alan, Jaanus and the rest of the Wire team for their launch today!

More Articles To Read

What Do YOU Think?

Have you tried Wire out yet? What do you think? Will you use it?


An audio commentary on this topic is available at:


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How To Test Firefox Hello, Mozilla's New WebRTC Video Call Service

Wow! Mozilla's new Firefox 34 includes a great new WebRTC-based feature called "Firefox Hello" that lets you call people without requiring them to have an account with Firefox. You simply send them a URL via email, chat or some other method - and they can start calling you from within Firefox.

Here's all you need to do to try it yourself. First, you need Firefox 34, of course. Once you have upgraded or installed the software, you should see a "Hello" button over on the far right side of the browser's top bar:

Firefox hello button

If you don't see this button, as I didn't, you may have to perform the following steps, as documented in a Firefox help page:

1. Open the "Customize" section of the browser to add the "Hello" button to your menu bar:

Firefox customize

2. Drag the "Hello" button to the browser bar or to the drop-down menu.

Now, in my case, that still didn't work and I had to use the additional trick mentioned in the help article of going to http://about:config and changing "loop.throttled" to "false" (simply by clicking on that setting). After restarting Firefox I was then able to go into the Customize window and add the Hello button to the browser.

Initiating A Call

Once the Hello button was visible I just had to click on it to get a URL that I could pass along to someone:

Firefox hello url

I posted it, somewhat ironically, into a Skype chat where a number of us who are "early adopters" of VoIP tech hang out... and Dick Schiferli (of Pamela fame) soon clicked the link. The call request window appeared in the lower part of my Firefox window:

Firefox hello request

The first time we tried Dick was signed in to a Firefox account but I was not. We got an error and the call couldn't connect:

Firefox hello call failure

Now, I don't know if this was a transient error caused by so many people trying it out... or if this was an issue with the "guest" access, but a few minutes later when I was also signed in Dick and I had no problem connecting:

Firefox hello call in browser

And there we were talking!

Cross-Platform Testing

In a good test of cross-platform interop, Dick was using Firefox on Microsoft Windows 8 and I was using Firefox on Mac OS X. The quality both in terms of voice and audio was great. We did notice one interesting difference between the platforms. On OS X I had an arrow that let me "pop out" the Hello window into a separate window that I could then resize and move around my screen:

Firefox hello pop out

There was no way for either of us to simply click a button and make the conversation go "full screen", but with this pop-out window I was able to resize it to take over most of my iMac's screen.

Missing Chat...

Interestingly, one of the things I found missing from our experience was any form of integrated chat. I wanted to share with Dick a link to a screenshot of what I was seeing on my computer and wound up sharing that link through a Skype chat.

I don't know that I need chat... but I found it curious that I would just expect chat to be available. Given that Skype and Google+ Hangouts both offer this, my expectation does make a bit of sense.

Further Testing...

Given that I just created my Firefox account today, I couldn't test the use of contacts as documented in the Mozilla blog post about the beta of Firefox Hello. I look forward to doing so. I also want to go back and try it again when I am not signed in to verify that guest access does indeed work.

All in all I was quite impressed with the ease and quality of this first public release of Firefox Hello!

More info about Firefox Hello and Firefox 34 in general:


An audio commentary about this topic is available on SoundCloud:


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Today At Noon EST: Matrix.Org Distributed Communications On The VUC Call

Matrix 300What is the Matrix.org distributed communication system all about? What is an "open source federated signaling standard"? In about 30 minutes you'll be able to find out LIVE on today's VoIP Users Conference (VUC) where the guest will be Matthew Hodgson, one of the co-founders of Matrix.org. As the site says:

Matrix is a new open standard for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP, providing pragmatic HTTP APIs and open source reference implementations for creating and running your own real-time communication infrastructure.

Our hope is to make VoIP/IM as universal and interoperable as email.

You can watch it live on YouTube at:

Or join in on the Google+ event page. As noted in the #VUC show notes, the team is going to try a number of different ways to get people connected today.

It's probably best to also join the IRC backchannel where links are shared, questions are answered and other comments occur. You also can visit the Google+ event page for the VUC #517 session today where there may be additional links and info.

If you won't be at your computer, you can also call in via:

  • sip:[email protected]
  • +1 (646) 475-2098
  • Skype:vuc.me

The session will of course be recorded so you can listen/watch later.

Given that I've long focused on the need for "distributed and decentralized" communication systems, I'm intrigued to learn more about what the Matrix.org team is intending to do. More links for background information can be found at:

I'm not going to be able to join live today due to the holiday here in the USA and some plans with our family... but I'm definitely looking forward to listening to/watching the archive of today's show and giving it a test myself!


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Disruptive Telephony... ... disrupted?

Disconnected handsetIt's been a while since I've written here on Disruptive Telephony... too long. :-(

It's not for a lack of topics ... my queue of things I would like to write about continues to grow and grow!

It's easy to say that my day job has consumed much of my writing time... and there's definitely a great bit of truth to that.

There's also the fact that I have two young children and a wife whom I adore and want to spend time with... as well as other priorities in life that have taken me away from writing as much as I used to.

I do, though, want to get back to writing here, and indeed across all my sites, a bit more.

Stay tuned...
 


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Join Me On VUC Today At Noon US EDT To Talk IPv6, IoT, WebRTC and more...

Today at 12 noon US Eastern (in about 3.5 hours), I'll be part of a panel on the VoIP Users Conference (VUC) talking about IPv6, WebRTC, the Internet of Things (IoT) and much, much more... you should be able to watch it live at live.vuc.me or embedded here:

VUC host Randy Resnick had a scheduled guest be unable to attend and so he asked a group of us to come on for what he is calling a "VUC Vision" session. I will be on there, as will, I believe, Tim Panton and a number of others. I expect the discussion should range over good variety of topics. It should be a good time... you're welcome to join in the discussion.

It's probably best to also join the IRC backchannel where links are shared, questions are answered and other comments occur. You also can visit the Google+ event page for the VUC session today where there may be additional links and info.

If you won't be at your computer, you can also call in via:

  • sip:[email protected]
  • +1 (646) 475-2098
  • Skype:vuc.me

The session will of course be recorded so you can listen/watch later.

Vuc vision 20141003


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Talko Looks Very Cool, But Needed A Firewall Change To Work

Talko directoryThe big telecom story today certainly seems to the be launch of Ray Ozzie's new "Talko" application for iOS. Tons of attention in the tech media, and many of my friends on social media have been trying it out. There's a brilliant article posted on Medium about the "Brave New Phone Call" along with a great blog post from Ray Ozzie about how this new app will revolutionize the voice experience.

I think Talko has great potential to do so, particularly after using it.

But...

... I had to change my firewall rules in order to make Talko work. :-(

And I don't know how long it will continue to work.

Perhaps worse than that... it wasn't clear initially that I had a firewall problem. Frequent testing partner Jim Courtney sent me a message and after installing the Talko app on my iPhone I tried to talk to him, but all I seemed to be able to do was send him a voice message or a text message.

Subsequently I tried connecting to Tim Panton and again could only send voice messages. It made for a very asynchronous "walkie-talkie" style of communication that clearly seemed to not be what was described in the article.

At that point my many years in VoIP kicked in and I realized the firewall at the edge of my network was probably blocking something. Sure enough, when I pulled up the live firewall log and filtered on my iPhone's IP address I could see blocked connections from my iPhone that were intended for an IP address in Amazon's EC2 cloud. These blocked connections happened when I tried to initiate a voice conversation within Talko.

I first tried to create a firewall rule that would allow specific ports through, just by guessing from the firewall logs what ports Talko might be using. However, they jumped around and what I ultimately had to do was create a rule allowing any connection from inside my network to the specific IPv4 address of what I assume is one of Talko's servers on Amazon EC2.

Once I did this, I was able to have a voice conversation with Tim perfectly fine. It was actually rather cool how it would record the conversation and let me easily go back, listen again, advance through it, etc.

But...

... poking a hole in my firewall to a specific IP address is very definitely NOT the way to have a telecom application work.

And... Talko will only work on my network as long as that destination IP address doesn't change. If they add more servers or change their architecture, it's dead to me. At least... dead on my home WiFi network. Presumably it could still work on my mobile data network (at a cost to me).

Now, to be fair, I'm a bit more security-paranoid than the average home user and so I run a Linux-based firewall/server/gateway on the edge of my home network with a fairly restrictive set of firewall rules. The default policy is to deny outbound connections unless they fit into various rules. I've had to add rules allowing VoIP and IM protocols... and it's not uncommon for me to have to add new rules for applications like this. For instance, I had to do so for Tox when I was playing with it a few months back.

Odds are Talko will probably work fine for the vast majority of connections from WiFi networks with less paranoid firewall rules.

But... for an app like this to really challenge the existing telecom infrastructure, it needs to work from almost anywhere. This is why Skype usage is so ubiquitous - Skype "just works" and has its ways to work around firewalls. Within the SIP and WebRTC communities there are all the STUN / TURN / ICE servers and technologies that enable this kind of transit of a firewall. The technology is out there. And there will certainly be some enterprises and other businesses that set up firewalls at least as restrictive as mine is.

I realize today's news is the initial public launch and that this is early days for the app. I hope the Talko team can figure out a way to make the voice conversation work through firewalls. I really like what I see inside the app.

Meanwhile... I'm just hoping they don't change the IP address of the server with which my app is communicating!


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Three Years At The Internet Society

Internet sign london

Today marks three truly amazing years at the Internet Society.  It was September 19, 2011, when I visited the main office in Reston, Virginia, and began this wonderful journey.  I wrote back then about why I was taking this job to fight for the open Internet - and in truth the reasons haven't changed.

If anything, the situation has only gotten worse.  

There are now far more threats to what I've taken to calling the "Internet of Opportunity" ... the kind of Internet we have today where anyone can start any kind of service or publish any kind of information.  

Within the Internet Society (or "ISOC" as we are often called) we call this "permissionless innovation", not needing to ask permission of anyone to innovate.  If you have a new idea or a new service or product... you can just do it. You don't have to plead with a "gatekeeper" or pay someone in order to launch your service out onto the Internet.

But that could change.

Some of the legacy telecommunications companies who have lost out on revenue as everyone has moved away from phone calls would really like their revenue back.  Some of the entertainment and traditional media companies would like their revenue and control back, too.  And many governments would like to regain some of their control - and tax revenue.

Money and control.

As I wrote in that article three years ago, there is a great quote from the 1992 movie Sneakers:

“There’s a war out there, old friend. A world war. And it’s not about who’s got the most bullets. It’s about who controls the information. What we see and hear, how we work, what we think… it’s all about the information!”

That is definitely the case.  And that war is only gotten stronger... and it's going to get even more fierce in the years ahead.

I'm personally glad that there are a group of organization including the Internet Society that are dedicated to shining the light on the changes that are happening... and arguing for why we need to keep the current "open" nature of the Internet so that we and our children, and their children, can all benefit from the kinds of opportunities we've had to date with the Internet.

Last year I wrote a good bit about how pleased I was to be part of the Internet Society.  That hasn't changed!  My passion for the work that ISOC does around the world has only grown stronger in this past year as I have learned more of the amazing things happening around the world.  I continue to love my own work with the Internet Society Deploy360 Programme - I wake up each morning excited to write more and do more to help people learn how they can deploy new technologies to make the Internet work better, faster and be more secure.  I absolutely love what I do!

But I was reminded this week of how many other things are done by my colleagues all over the world.  I just game back from a 4-day all-staff retreat at a hotel in Virginia.  This was the first time an event like this had been held in over 3 years and we've added so many new staff that many of us had never met each other.  We spent the time talking about what our priorities should be... where did we see the organization going... how could we best help the Internet... what could we do......

It was an amazing time.  VERY intense... although certainly with some time for fun mixed in.   We came out with some great ideas and plans that I'm looking forward to making happen in the weeks and months ahead.

What struck me most is that the people are amazing.  It's truly an honor and privilege for me to serve with them and to do what we do.

The mission of the Internet Society is quite simple:

To promote the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people throughout the world.

It's that mission that brought me here... and that's the reason I continue to be as excited as I am about what I do. As I celebrate three years with the Internet Society, I'm very much looking forward to the next three years... and the next beyond that!

P.S. One great way you can help is to join the Internet Society to stay up-to-date on current issues affecting the Internet - membership is free for individuals. You can also subscribe to my infrequent email newsletter where I hit many of these topics.


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Watch Live TODAY (Sept 19) - CITI State of Telecom 2014

Citi logoWhat is the future of telecommunications and the Internet? As more entertainment moves to being over the Internet, what are the implications for the media and for the technology?

Today, September 19, 2014, there is an interesting set of presentations happening at the Columbia Club in New York City, organized by the Columbia (University) Institute for Tele-Information (CITI) called the "CITI State of Telecom 2014". Subtitled, "From the Internet of Science to The Internet of Next Generation Entertainment Implications for Content, Technology and Industry Consolidation", the session description states:

The goal of the early Internet was to connect research institutions. Yet today 71% of all Internet traffic consists of video, games, and music, and that number is growing. This transition raises issues for media content, technology, industry consolidation, business strategy, and regulatory policy. Media companies, academics, policy makers, and technologists must think ahead.

You can watch it all live at:

http://new.livestream.com/internetsociety/citisot14

The sessions are being recorded, too, and are available at that address.

The session agenda and list of all the speakers is available on the CITI event page. The quick summary is:

  • 9:00am Welcome and Introduction of Topic
  • 9:15am Session 1- Technology and business drivers of the transformation of the Internet
  • 10:25am Session 2- Emerging business, marketing, and transaction models for Next Generation Video (NGV)
  • 11:35am Coffee Break
  • 11:50am Session 3- Public Interest Dimensions in Next-Generation Video and Networks
  • 12:50pm Lunch
  • 1:50pm Session 4 - Consolidation in the network platform industry: drivers and impacts
  • 3:00pm Coffee Break
  • 3:10pm Session 5 - New TV and (video) OTT issues for telecom and media policy
  • 4:20pm Session 6 - Defining the future: initiatives to lead the next generation of internet video
  • 5:30 Closing remarks and reception

The sessions began 3.5 hours ago at 9:00am US Eastern and will continue for another 5 hours. I've learned a good bit from a number of the sessions - and am listening right now to the discussion around the challenges of getting Internet infrastructure deployed in rural areas of the USA.

Great sessions to listen to!


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