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It looks like I’ve finally got 30 minutes to write this post. So here goes.

Just about a week ago, the XSF held yet another successful XMPP Summit in Brussels in conjunction with FOSDEM’10.

As I had to miss the Hackfest on Friday, let’s start with the important things: The FOSDEM Beer Event.

It was nice to see, that this year, the Beer Algorithm allowed us to actually get a seat, unlike the last years where we had to stand in front of the Delerium most of the time.

On Saturday, the XSF had the Stand and Devroom at FOSDEM. We were happy to see, that the devroom was packed throughout the event. There were some great talks, including a very popular “Stump the experts”, where the audience was able to ask our XMPP Book Authors and Council members this amazing technology called XMPP.

The booth was also not left unattended. Although this years T-Shirts proved to be harder to sell, GREY?! REALLY?!, we were able to sell about half of them.

We also had some odd people visiting the booth, such as a lawyer, that wanted help the XSF help to defend their copyrights. The thing we noticed though was, that not that many people are aware of the fact that they use XMPP every day, in their favorite websites, such as GMail and Facebook.

The thing that people really seemed to like, were our “Shiny Toys” (N900’s nicknamed by Dave; reference here), and the other Mobile XMPP demos, like Ooros‘ NFC Demo, and Buddycloud. We’ll try to have more of those next year round!

Speaking of “shiny toy”, I’d like to thank Nokia for lending us the 20 N900’s and MobileVikings for being so generous and giving us SIM cards with Mobile Internet to take advantage of all the functions of the N900’s. I had my first Jingle call that JUST WORKED! It actually worked so well, that I got a wake up call on the N900 early in the morning from other people on XMPP Jingle – Nokia, please implement auto away.

Of course, after people had played with the N900, many started hacking software together in order to try and keep the N900’s provided by Nokia. Here you can see Remko porting Swift to the N900, and Dave finding the accelerometer API.

Sunday evening, it was time for the big XSF Dinner. It was less spectacular than last years, but that’s because we had a coach bringing us to the restaurant and back, which resulted in less running in the Brussels Metro stations, and a short 15 minute drive. With 54 attendees, the dinner was full up, and we might need to restrict it to XSF Members and Sponsors only. But we’ll see.

I’d also like thank Auberge Bretonne for another successful dinner.

On Monday, we had the actual Summit. There were some talks about mobile optimizations, server to server security and of course Jingle. More info about these can be found on the official XSF Blog.

I’d also like to congratulate Frank Scholz and Philippe Normand, who gave a talk about their Mirabeau application, and won the XSF Developer Challenge.

It’s a pity that I didn’t find time to talk to everyone personally, and learn about all the cool XMPP projects out there, but I’ll try to catch up next time.

I’d just like to thank some people personally, without whom, this weekend wouldn’t of have been the same:

  • Nokia and specifically Kristian Luoma and Petri Liimatta, for their continued support of the XSF and the cool N900’s.
  • Our Dinner Sponsors, who paid for the great dinner: Nokia, Vodafone, Collabora, Isode, TANDBERG, Buddycloud, Collecta, and Ooros.
  • MobileVikings, for giving us the SIM cards with Mobile Internet, that saved us from FOSDEM’s flaky WiFi and allowed us to keep in touch over the weekend.
  • Auberge Bretonne for the great dinner.
  • Everyone in the XSF community, who joined the events.
  • And the rest of the XSF Board, for organizing the event!

I hope that everyone who attended enjoyed the event, and I hope to see you all next year (or maybe earlier – if I am able to attend OSCON).

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The XMPP userbase just took a big leap forward! Today 400 million users got their XMPP accounts!

Facebook enabled their XMPP support today. And unlike AIM, I think it’s here to stay!

How do I log in?

Well, just use your Facebook Username and Password, and use the server chat.facebook.com.

So, what does it do?

Well, so far as I can see, it only does Chat. I heard from some people that vCards work, but I cannot confirm this. Service Discovery / Disco is also currently not available. The resource name is your pre-defined one in lower case, followed by a long hash (probably cluster routing information), here my example for Homer-LAN: homer-lan_5769bd69_47F44ABA3F597

I am sure that more and more functions will become available over the course of the next few months. It’s just a matter of slowly scaling it.

One thing which would also be cool is S2S connectivity.

But we’ll see how it goes.

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Yes! The JIM Hitmix 2009 is here, and it’s amazing!

Take a look at the trailer:

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Can’t wait to see the full TMF Yearmix 2009.

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I guess you all know the track “I’m on a boat” by The Lonely Island.

Well, now there’s a new version for all you Mac users out there!

The Pantless Knights are at it again with a sequel to our “Mac or PC Rap.”

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.
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It’s official! I am a Hero!

They got some facts wrong though. I’m not Swedish but: Danish / German / Belgian, and I did not pay for a TV licence. But hey, I’m still a hero right? 🙂

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Top Gear on iPlayerDon’t you just hate the fact that you can’t access Hulu? Or BBC iPlayer? Or the good music on Spotify?

If you look up Internet on Wikipedia, it is described as:

The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) to serve billions of users worldwide.

However, as we’re getting ready for 2010, the internet is getting less and less global thanks to our “beloved” media institutions.

Services like Hulu don’t work outside the US. Why? If I can’t watch the stuff legally, on Hulu, or buy the shows on iTunes, I go about getting the same show somewhere else. It’s not that I wouldn’t pay, it’s just that no-one wants my money. How is this possible?

Hulu outside the USFrom a technical point of view, it would cost Hulu (or it’s ISP) a bit more to have traffic go out of the US through transit, but hey, I would be willing to pay a bit more for it. I thought Hulu was ad supported anyway? So where’s the problem? The license owner (the TV network) would make more money that way. They aren’t seeing a single cent if I were to get that show elsewhere.

What about the BBC iPlayer? Why isn’t that accessible globally? I can watch BBC on cable TV, or via Satellite for free too, just like people within the UK. Ok, I don’t pay any TV license, but then again, I don’t pay that in the UK either. So no real reason there either.

And then there’s my favorite app: Spotify.

Spotify Track not available in the UKIn an age, where I can get any music track within minutes, why do you still have a different catalog in every country? It’s ridiculous. I’m paying £9,99 per month, to get access to unlimited music. But then I find out, that I have to switch my account between UK and France, to get all the music I would like. That’s the only reason, I still open iTunes from time to time. It could be so much better!

It would even save Spotify storage, as you seem to be keeping the same track from different CD’s with different track IDs.

The US roll-out, I can understand. It’s all a matter of scaling the backend, but you could at least allow Premium signups in those countries. Again, you don’t seem to want to make money?

And don’t start blaming it on the music / TV / film industry. We all KNOW it’s their fault, but you are owned by them! So point out to them, that censorship is something that we can bypass. Heck, I’ve got IP blocks, and there’s VPN services for the rest, in nearly all European countries and the US, so I can get around the limits. But at the end of the day, you’re the loosing party! (I should build a product with this!)

So this is where we’ve come by 2010. The internet is getting limited on a per country basis, and net neutrality is the fancy word that the industry doesn’t like.

So I’m begging you guys: Please make more money, by making your services global. Isn’t that what the internet is all about?

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As most of you know, I’m online most of the time one way or another.

Before I left for London, I used to use my laptop or WiFi on my E61. That resulted in me getting my laptop out in Airports, Cafés and nearly any other place. Some would call it an addiction 🙂

Having left for London more than a year ago, I finally had the possibility of getting more or less unlimited internet on my phone, without having to sell my soul. That was a huge game changer. I could now check my E-mails, track support tickets – do anything really!, anywhere without having to get out my laptop. Great!

Then there were those weeks I had to head back to Belgium for family festivities etc.. I quickly realized that my 3 UK contract gave me way better rates for data in Belgium than my Belgian Proximus Pay&Go card. It wasn’t really cheap, it was just the lesser of two evils.

But now there’s a solution!

Mobile Vikings, a Belgian “next gen” MVNO finally saw what’s missing in Belgium. In the age of Twitter and hyper-connectivity, people want to be connected at all times. Either with their E71, BlackCherry or iPod Touch with phone capabilities. Pushed E-mails, Twitter streams and of course XMPP are just a few of the things people will start to use more. Just look at any other country where there’s contracts for mobile internet that are affordable.

Anyways, I immediately ordered my free SIM and ported my number. The SIM arrived 3 days after having ordered it, in a very nicely designed envelope (kudos to Mobile Vikings for that!). The accompanying letter told me to send a text from my old SIM in order to initiate the number porting process. That took about 2 hours, and I was ready to go! Topped up €15 and got my 1000 texts and 1GB of data. Worked like a charm.

Seeing as I was driving round the country quite a bit the next few days, I decided to put the Network to a test. Unlike the UK, Belgium has a mobile network that’s worth a fuck, so I was pretty optimistic. From experience, I never had any low coverage with Proximus. Never. Always good signal, and 99% even 3G (Three could learn something from them)!

Mobile Vikings use the BASE Network. First disappointment was that BASE has no 3G, but only EDGE. Having done a bit of research, it looks like BASE wants to enable the 3G network in the next few weeks, so keep your fingers crossed for that. Having said that, I was quite surprised how fast the EDGE network is. I could play Spotify tracks with only short buffering times (2-3 seconds) without any major issues. That’s really the beauty of Belgium. No one uses the data network, because it’s so damn expensive, hence it’s extremely fast! So I can’t wait until BASE fires up their 3G Network. That should be amazing.

Having spent 5 days with Mobile Vikings, I have to say, the network isn’t as bad as I expected it to be. I had issues getting signal in the Cinema (Proximus worked fine), and in some parts of Mol. But for the rest, it’s all good.

The only thing I still don’t get: How is the traffic accounted? On the site it says:

€2,50 per MB consumed,
starting from the first byte of each megabyte started.

That translates for me into: I use 1 byte, I pay 2,50€ for it, and my signal drops then, so I just paid 2,50€ for a byte. Right?! One thing I would urge every operator: charge per byte. Yes, indicate the price per MB, but the charging should occur per byte.

It’s nice to see that a group of people are getting Belgium prepped for the 21st century! So definitely get your Mobile Vikings SIM card today and join us! Just head over to: mobilevikings.com

PS: It is a great name for a Mobile Network!

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E71 with SpotifyFinally, it’s here! Spotify for S60! It was worth the wait.

I have spent all morning playing with the App, and it’s as beautiful as the client for Mac. The entire UI is not as “chunky” as Nokia’s Media Player, it’s more like an iPhone app, in the sense that it has smooth transitions between the different panels, which makes the entire experience very nice. As you can see on the picture on the side, you have something similar to Apple’s Cover Flow, which shows you the current previous, current and next track cover art. Another thing you should check out, is skipping in a track. It gives you big digits on top of the cover art.

All in all, very very sleek.

Spotify Playlist SyncOf course, it wouldn’t be Spotify, if it wouldn’t sync your playlists in realtime. This is, pardon my french, fucking awesome! Like on the iPhone or Andriod, you can select which playlists to sync, and you’ll see it syncing.

Just a note at this point: Don’t even bother syncing a few big playlists like mine via 3G, unless you’ve got a data plan that allows you to download the entire Internet. I synced my Calm Mood and Various Goodness: Dance playlist via WiFi, which generated 1,15GB of traffic. So yeah, I wouldn’t even try that.

Screenshot0010But the guys at Spotify have thought of everything. They added an option under More, which allows you to say that it should only offline-sync stuff when you’re connected via WiFi, which is probably a setting you should not change.

However, don’t be afraid to listen to Spotify tracks via 3G/HSDPA. Just listening to a few tracks on 3G won’t cost you too much traffic. It’s about 3-4MB per song.

I tested it on Three UK, and it worked surprisingly well. Just as good as the Desktop client, which I think is an amazing accomplishment!

So all in all, if this doesn’t make you upgrade to Spotify Premium, I don’t know what will! It’s amazing! The only thing missing is the possibility to queue tracks.

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I had some spare time today, so I spent it by re-configuring my EyeTV. If you don’t know what EyeTV is, it’s probably the best DVB-T client in the world!

So, after having realized, that you need a huge antenna here in the UK to actually get some signal, I set that back up. Now, turns out you also need to tilt that in the correct angle to get any signal. But once that is done:

Screen shot 2009-11-22 at 18.43.46Woop woop! 392 channels!

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After having had a very productive Sunday, I seem not to be able to stop doing stuff 🙂

So I started playing with chat.facebook.com (Facebook’s XMPP Server).

Having read P1’s article that Facebook would be using Ejabberd made me curious, as I don’t believe Ejabberd would scale anywhere near the needs of Facebook.

So I investigated the XML responses, and got a hint by Artur that the message IDs look nowhere near the message IDs of any server.

Now, if Facebook would’ve used an existing piece of code, they wouldn’t rewrite the message ID generation. That would be useless.

So, I checked every server I had access to, and I can say, it doesn’t behave like: Tigase, M-Link, Ejabberd, Jabberd14, Jabberd2, Prosody and Google’s XMPP Server.

Thus my conclusion: They have written their own XMPP server.

Update: Or maybe they are actually using EJD.

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