Saturday, June 14, 2008

How many channels is enough? (part two)

Continuing from my rant on the multitude of channels.

Ok, maybe the everyday reality of the communications channels is not that bad in reality thanks to the tool consolidation. Both in mobile setup and from a home/work workstation I can handle all of the necessary channels with just a few tools. The question is, does it really make it any easier?

On my primary mobile (Nokia E61i at the moment) I use Fring to handle MSN, GTalk and Skype. Via XMPP it can also deliver the updates from Jaiku (or twitter, if needed) back and forth. The only missing piece is IRC for which I need to launch a separate application (putty or Mirggi). For my email on the go I use gmail, through mobile website or with the java app. The email funnels all the reminders from the social networking sites I need really to react to.

On the workstations browser is the key. At home I use OSX applications like Adium or Skype for best user experience but at work or from on the road Meebo has it all. Again, for IRC I need to ssh to my unix account. Email, Jaiku and the social sites are all handled through the browser.

Funneling everything through the browser also helps to the challenge of using one computer at the home for all the family members. Using many user accounts at the iMac does not really work for us, things need to be handled in "one session". There would be a room for development of an "identity swithch" which would authorize all the native clients with correct credentials - I wonder if anybody has been experimenting with this using e.g. OSX keyring?

With me using everything through the browser and my wife using the native clients and her own email account with separate login we can manage somehow.

With all the social sites, blogging systems, and IM networks having their more or less public and open API:s there is still room for more consolidation. Supercharging applications like Adium or Mobile goodies like Fring to handle all the listed channels could be possible, but will the projects like that take the controversial task to get "all in". Before that, only way for the end user is to be selective with the networks and bear with the fact of not reaching everybody you want - or maximize the reach and bear with the time consumption and brain bandwith overhead ;)

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