Version 1.0 of the Application had a very crude chatroom which was taken out at version 2.0 and reintegrated into version 3.0 with audio chat functionality which was again removed and is now being reintegrated into version 6.0 (which might properly be called version 0.6 as the application at present with features spread in an unintegrated fashion across several incompatible versions is not exactly competetent against Squarespace or Wordpress or such like.
Chatrooms are being re-introduced but to prevent in the issues of how crude they were in Version 1.0, they are being built very slowly and carefully thought out. When I say "re-integration of a feature" it generally means "had to write the whole source code again from scratch". The way plug-ins work in version 6.0 is more settled than they were in previous versions and rewriting a feature does not mean rewriting the whole site so much nowadays. However, this is the second write of the chatroom feature as the previous chatrooms plug for version 6.0 of the application was put together with selotape and sticky back plastic making it not very robust or easy to mend if a bug was spotted. Race conditions when two people are trying to write to a chatroom at the exact same moment would have taken weeks to discern and even longer to debug, so version 2.0 of chat for version 6.0 of the application is now being alpha tested at The Chatrooms Page.
This version of the plug-in integrates with the website theme and offers
a variety of categories which can be easily changed (only if you have FTP
or cPanel access at present). It allows logged in users to text chat to
one another but there are a few features missing and a few things that
dont quite work as well as I would want them to. There's no private message
facility available as yet, albeit that the user interface for it can be
seen in the background by the appearance of a dead
the main chat window. This is where PM's will pop-up for users who receive
them. There is also the issue of the same user being in the same room twice.
I'm not quite sure if this is a desirable feature or a bug. Suppose they
switch devices but dont want to miss a thing as they log into their phone
while they are still logged into their desktop? Suppose they just open up
ten browser tabs and take up lots of bandwidth for no good reason? Design
is a decision making process.
There's no audio-chat. To be fair the version 3.0 audio chat functionality was never quite completed and was featured as a special kind of forum rather than a chatroom feature in version 3.0. The audio-chat functionality will be the last feature of the chatrooms to be developed, not only because there is no full code example to just adopt and adapt like some of the feature re-integrations of the past and present but because it's the most difficult part for a single developer to debug. How do I talk to myself on two channels at the same time?
It will not be using WebRTC but it may support video in later versions. The whole point in WebRTC seems ill founded when most people are accessing the internet throug their phones which require a TURN server due to port blocking NATs on the ISP side. To run an audio conference, most participants will be needing to you to supply a TURN server which will be a pseudo "them" on the internet taking all their bandwidth and supplying it to the site where TURN servers all the other participants of the audio conference are using. Ultimately, its not really peer to peer which would takes the bandwidth required of a traditional audio conference server and places this burden on the peers themself. Due to port blocking NATs by mobile phone ISP's, the modern audio conference is peer-TURN-peer rather than peer-peer and the person running the audio conference has to supply the TURN or most people wont be able to participate. Since the host has to supply that bandwidth anyway, why go to the complexity of providing TURN and STUN servers just to cater to the needs of the very few. May as well provide the bandwidth directly throug the main server until phone providers stop the port block antics which are really about restricting people from running webservers without relying on big businesses capitalising on designed obsolecence and inoperability.
There's a Japanese car manufacturer who has built a car
with heated seats but the heated seats are kept switched off unless you
pay a monthly premium to rent the heaters in your own car seats. The way
the internet used to work, businessmen were shysters and tech-know-how had
the internet as a place of freedom of communication but when Julian Assange
is the icon to represent those incarcerated for promoting human liberty and
denouncing human injustice, you get the idea that the tech-know-how has to
up its game and get the shysters in the cage they belong in so as to liberate
humanity in the way the internet was originally intended by its founders
when the words
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression;
this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to
seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and
regardless of frontiers.
were part of a promise made by the people in the highest places to the
posterity of those who fought against fascism in World War 2.
There's a Japanese car manufacturer who has built a car with heated seats but the heated seats are kept switched off unless you pay a monthly premium to rent the heaters in your own car seats. The way the internet used to work, businessmen were shysters and tech-know-how had the internet as a place of freedom of communication but when Julian Assange is the icon to represent those incarcerated for promoting human liberty and denouncing human injustice, you get the idea that the tech-know-how has to up its game and get the shysters in the cage they belong in so as to liberate humanity in the way the internet was originally intended by its founders when the words
It's like this dream of a freedom of speech worldwide was achieved in the late 1990's distrubing the silence of practices which were going on unreported and the whole internet has been turned on its head so that today, you can be called to account for being more than half a mile from your dwelling place because you're mobile phone told the police you were breaking a curfew which would never have been feasable to impose within the west until the internet wen't sour.
I either sound like a terrible criminal who wants a world which can
commmit crimes undetected or an old man hankering for the times when there
was liberty and the law meant the same thing as justice and not just the
capriciuous will of those in power. Back in my day, freedom of speech was
such that you could even engage in hate speech against the ruler of a
democratic country without expectation of some kind of punishment. The
idea of bing punished for such free speech sounded like
as we used to say before the smoking bans and fines and forfeitures for
poltical organisation, the repeal of the Magna Carta and such like.
Almost as soon as the internet gave us our liberty, there were those who used such liberty to destroy everyone elses but for a time in the late 90's and maybe for as much as a decade, there was liberty across the world, a liberty which does not exist in the current age. It was a strange thing before this era and a strange thing after this era that a man from Scotland could speak to a man from India and agree that regardless of the political system, despite the propaganda each touted in favour of their own system and against the other, both systems were the same thing, restricting liberty while pretending to protect liberty, burdening the poor while pretending to lighten their load, and all in all, that humanity was the one valuable thing and not the nation states filled with seekers of powers over human kind.
As someone heavily involved in computer technology during the rise and
fall of the liberty the internet had to offer, I almost feel apologetic
that I did not do enough to preserve what we once had for a short time but
I will continue to piss against the wind to restore such
opinion and expression across all frontiers until the wind changes. I
hope you will join me.
Next on the Cards
Well finish writing these long overdue news items for a start and since
they are almost complete, it's bathtime, shoptime, then I will be getting
stuck into the
One user logged in twice design choice and then the
mechanism for Private Messaging. Don't quote me on it but the text chat
should be fully complete in less than a week and then its moving on to the
audio chat which, quote me on it, will be penned in to take
to develop, will take a second week to do an entire rewrite, will take a
third week to work out the problems that come up on the live site and yet
one week to fix the issues. Hopefully if I brace myself for
the worst, the storm wont be so bad right?
Having completed chat, there's a bug on the profile page flagging an
error on the live site that doesn't show on the local development site that
isn't a fatal error but it's bugging me (pun intended). When this is done
I intend to write a paypal plugin using the code from a previous version
as a starting point but the previous version had paypal integrated into
the app itself and this will be a plugin for this application and it will
not only support
buy now and
well which will open up the
subscriber member category which has
been around since version 2.0. Subscriber members are paid up members who
enjoy features that make it worth paying for. Perhaps I will restrict
audio chat such that everyone can hear it but only subscribers can talk.
Perhaps it would be better to allow everyone can talk in only a few rooms
but allow subscribers to talk in other rooms and in private messaging
which incidently are already more than three-quarters written since they
employ the same code as the main chatroom with an alternative entry point
and audio chat should work as well on those as normal chatrooms. Design,
design ... and what was I saying about designed inoperability? Well, these
aren't your car seats, these are mine, or the owner of a website who has
paid for this software and you are being allowed to use restricted features
for free unless you pay something toward keeping the website running. Have
some free beer, but stay away from the 40 year old malt as thats only for
the people who pay for the lights right?
Well ta ta for now. Bathtime ...