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Newsletter: JMP Data Plan

singpolyma@singpolyma.net

Hi everyone!

Welcome to the latest edition of your pseudo-monthly JMP update!

In case it’s been a while since you checked out JMP, here’s a refresher: JMP lets you send and receive text and picture messages (and calls) through a real phone number right from your computer, tablet, phone, or anything else that has a Jabber client. Among other things, JMP has these features: Your phone number on every device; Multiple phone numbers, one app; Free as in Freedom; Share one number with multiple people.

The biggest announcement this month is that the JMP Data Plan is, for customers anyway, no longer behind a waiting list! For those not yet familiar with the plan, this is USA+Canada only (for now) and also data only (no phone number, since if you want one of those you can use JMP!) It works like other pre-paid data plans you might be used to, except greatly simplified. Data never expires (there is a nominal annual fee to keep a plan active) and by default auto-refills whenever it gets low (up to a user-configurable limit every month). Data is purchased in blocks of 5GB and works on most major carriers in the USA and Canada.

Any JMP customer can go now to their account settings and use a command to buy one or more data plans, delivered using either a Physical SIM in postal mail, or eSIM download. People who want a data plan but don’t want a JMP number will need to wait a little longer, and can still add themselves to the waiting list for now, as we work out the billing system changes needed to support this seamlessly.

Speaking of eSIMs, we have heard from a lot of you since we first launched the data plan in the testing phase about gaps in the current eSIM ecosystem. Many people are still using devices that do not support eSIM, or operating systems that do not support downloading an eSIM with freedomware. Others just have trouble getting an eSIM moved from an old device to a new device, or prefer the flexibility to move their plans between multiple devices on a regular basis. All of this is why we have, since the beginning, offered the option to get our data plan shipped on a physical SIM card. However, we are currently investigating some options to do more, and bring the flexibility of a physical SIM (and software freedom and broad device compatibility) to eSIMs from any provider. It’s early days yet, but if this interests you, come by the chatroom and talk to us about what you’d love to see in the future.

To learn what’s happening with JMP between newsletters, here are some ways you can find out:

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful rest of your week!

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Newsletter: Holidays

singpolyma@singpolyma.net

Hi everyone!

Welcome to the latest edition of your pseudo-monthly JMP update!

In case it’s been a while since you checked out JMP, here’s a refresher: JMP lets you send and receive text and picture messages (and calls) through a real phone number right from your computer, tablet, phone, or anything else that has a Jabber client. Among other things, JMP has these features: Your phone number on every device; Multiple phone numbers, one app; Free as in Freedom; Share one number with multiple people.

Automatic refill for users of the data plan was rolled out to everyone this fall. This has been going well and we fully expect to enable new SIM and eSIM orders for all JMP customers (with no waitlist) in January, after the holidays.

Speaking of holidays, MBOA staff, including JMP support staff, will be taking an end of year break just like we always do. Expect support response times to be longer than usual from December 18 until January 2.

This fall also saw the silent launch of new inventory features for JMP. Historically, JMP has never held inventory of phone numbers, buying them directly from our carrier partners when a customer places an order. Unfortunately, this leaves us at the mercy of which regions our partners choose to keep in stock, and this year saw several occasions where there was no stock at all for all of Canada. So we now have a limited amount of local inventory to improve coverage of important regions, and may eventually be adding a function for “premium numbers” for very rare area codes or similar which cost more to stock.

We have also been working in partnership with Snikket on a cross-platform SDK which we hope will make it easier for developers to build applications that integrate with the Jabber network without needing to be protocol or standards experts. Watch the chatroom and the Snikket blog for more information and demos.

There have also been several releases of the Cheogram Android app (latest is 2.13.0-1) with new features including:

  • Improved call connection stability
  • Verify DNSSEC and DANE and show status in UI
  • Show command UI on channels when there are commands to show
  • Show thread selector when starting a mention
  • Circle around thread selector
  • Several Android 14 specific fixes, including for dialler integration
  • Opening WebXDC from home screen even from a very old message

To learn what’s happening with JMP between newsletters, here are some ways you can find out:

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful rest of your week!

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Newsletter: Summer in Review

singpolyma@singpolyma.net

Hi everyone!

Welcome to the latest edition of your pseudo-monthly JMP update!

In case it’s been a while since you checked out JMP, here’s a refresher: JMP lets you send and receive text and picture messages (and calls) through a real phone number right from your computer, tablet, phone, or anything else that has a Jabber client.  Among other things, JMP has these features: Your phone number on every device; Multiple phone numbers, one app; Free as in Freedom; Share one number with multiple people.

Since our launch at the beginning of the summer, we’ve kept busy.  We saw some of you at the first FOSSY, which took place in July.  For those of you who missed it, the videos are out now.

Automatic refill for users of the data plan is in testing now.  That should be fully automated a bit later this month and will pave the way for the end of the waiting list, at least for existing JMP customers.

This summer also saw the addition of two new team members: welcome to Gnafu the Great who will be helping out with support, and Amolith, who will be helping out on the technical side.

There have also been several releases of the Cheogram Android app (latest is 2.12.8-2) with new features including:

  • Support for animated avatars
  • Show “hats” in the list of channel participants
  • An option to show related channels from the channel details area
  • Emoji and sticker autocomplete by typing ‘:’ (allows sending custom emoji)
  • Tweaks to thread UI, including no more auto-follow by default in channels
  • Optionally allow notifications for replies to your messages in channels
  • Allow selecting text and quoting the selection
  • Allow requesting voice when you are muted in a channel
  • Send link previews
  • Support for SVG images, avatars, etc.
  • Long press send button for media options
  • WebXDC importFiles and sendToChat support, allowing, for example, import and export of calendars from the calendar app
  • Fix Command UI in tablet mode
  • Manage permissions for channel participants with a dialog instead of a submenu
  • Ask if you want to moderate all recent messages by a user when banning them from a channel
  • Show a long streak of moderated messages as just one indicator

To learn what’s happening with JMP between newsletters, here are some ways you can find out:

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful rest of your week!

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Newsletter: Busy Year in 2022

singpolyma@singpolyma.net

Hi everyone!

Welcome to the latest edition of your pseudo-monthly JMP update!

In case it’s been a while since you checked out JMP, here’s a refresher: JMP lets you send and receive text and picture messages (and calls) through a real phone number right from your computer, tablet, phone, or anything else that has a Jabber client.  Among other things, JMP has these features: Your phone number on every device; Multiple phone numbers, one app; Free as in Freedom; Share one number with multiple people.

Cheogram Android 2.11.0-1 has been released, including an important fix for creating new private group chats.  For some months creating such a group (a Jabber group, not a “group text”) with Cheogram Android has resulted in a public channel on many servers.  Please double-check your private groups and change settings if necessary!  This release will also be the first accepted into F-Droid with an up-to-date version of libwebrtc, so if you’ve had any issues with calls and use the F-Droid build, we recommend upgrading and trying again.  This release also adds support for tagging channels and group chats (on supporting servers, such as Snikket), better use of locales to determine what country code to prepend when dialling, a new OLED black theme, and more.

The data plan roll out continues, accelerating in December but we know there are still many of you waiting.  Thank you so much for your patience, and to all the feedback we have received from users so far.  We are actively working on making the signup process self-serve so that the waitlist will no longer be necessary in the future.

When JMP started we were just one part-time person.  As we grow, the legal structures that fit that time no longer do.  This fall we incorporated the MBOA Technology Co-operative to house JMP, Togethr, consulting work, and other activity.  This gives all our employees full agency in the company and gives us a firm legal footing for the future.  Nothing changes for you at this time, we’re still the same team, and for the time being you don’t even change the name you write on the cheques, nevertheless it marks a milestone in our life as a company.

Year in Review

This year, JMP and Snikket CIC made a deal to offer Jabber hosting as an option for JMP customers. This service is included in the regular JMP subscription and will eventually be the default option for new users during the sign-up process. JMP customers have been able to participate in a beta version of this integration, and JMP customers can contact JMP support to set up a Snikket instance directly.

This year also saw international calling added to our list of features. JMP users are able to use as many minutes per month as they like, with approximately 120 minutes of credit to USA and Canada included by default. Customers are able to pay for additional minutes and make international calls, although users who are still paying with the old PayPal system will not have access to these features (or other features such as the data plan). We also implemented a per-calendar-month overage limit system, where customers can set their own limits to avoid unexpected charges. The default limit is currently set at $0/month.

One of our most popular features has always been our voicemail and transcription, this year we expanded that to support multi-lingual transcriptions as well.

We also added multi-account billing this year, an alpha for JMP use from Matrix, added two employees, created new bot commands for account management, launched Togethr to help people take control of their social media identity, added support for SMS-only ports and the option to disable voicemail, built an XMPP integration for Chatwoot, and launched the JMP data plan.

This year saw the launch and rapid development of the Cheogram Android app, forked from Conversations and including these and other improvements:

  • Add contacts without typing @cheogram.com
  • Integrate with the native Android Phone app (optional)
  • Address book integration (optional)
  • Option to start group texts easily
  • Command UI for better interactions with our and other bots (you can even sign up entirely from within the app!)
  • Rich text message display (including stickers from Movim users)
  • Data de-duplication for files sent/received multiple times
  • Message retraction
  • Ability to edit tags on contacts and channels
  • Tag navigation widget for easier conversation management
  • Ability to copy any link in a message to the clipboard
  • F-Droid repositories for quick updates of official builds

Blog posts this year included: How to use Jabber from SMS, Why Bidirectional Gateways Matter, Computing International Call Rates with a Trie, Privacy and Threat Modelling, SMS Account Verification, and Writing a Chat Client from Scratch.

To learn what’s happening with JMP between newsletters, here are some ways you can find out:

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful rest of your week!

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Newsletter: New Cheogram Android Release, Chatwoot Instance

singpolyma@singpolyma.net

Hi everyone!

Welcome to the latest edition of your pseudo-monthly JMP update!

In case it’s been a while since you checked out JMP, here’s a refresher: JMP lets you send and receive text and picture messages (and calls) through a real phone number right from your computer, tablet, phone, or anything else that has a Jabber client.  Among other things, JMP has these features: Your phone number on every device; Multiple phone numbers, one app; Free as in Freedom; Share one number with multiple people.

October saw the release of Cheogram Android 2.10.10-3, the largest release in awhile.  The app now stores data de-duplicated, so if you send or receive the same file multiple times only one copy will be stored.  This also lays the groundwork for some new file transfer improvements that will be coming in the future.  The app also now supports displaying rich text messages sent by clients which support that (such as Gajim), including the image protocol needed to display stickers sent by Movim users.  A form of message retraction is also supported, and should work with most Jabber clients out there.  A reminder that message retraction is a social convention and not a security feature – the target still has a full copy of your un-retracted message if they want it.

We know lots of you have big contact lists, across multiple accounts, and that’s why this release introduces the ability to edit tags on your contacts and a tag navigation widget integrated into contact search: to make finding the right conversation just a little bit easier.  We would love to hear feedback about this UI and how well it works for you.

For those of you who start a lot of group texts, there is an easy way to do that built into the app now as well.  When you start a “private group chat” and select only @cheogram.com contacts, you will be prompted to ask if you meant to start a group text instead.  This flow seemed necessary, as many have accidentally created private channels with their SMS contacts instead of the intended group text, so checking at this point was likely to be necessary anyway.

There are also some smaller quality of life improvements in this release, including the ability to copy any link in a message to the clipboard (not just the first one), dumping app logs to a special directory on your device after every call in order to make debugging issues easier, asking if you want to keep app data on uninstall (to make switching back and forth to custom builds possible without always needing export/re-import), a new first-start welcome screen, performance improvements, and more.

As JMP grows so does our support load.  Up until this month we have been managing all our support requests using normal Jabber clients (mostly Gajim and Dino), which worked well enough but less and less well as we grew.  It would be hard to know if someone else was handling a request, who had previously handled a request, or even what the status of some requests were (if they had been resolved elsewhere in the public channel or otherwise).  We’re a small enough team that we can just talk to each other to solve these things, but that does take time, and more time as there are more things to talk out.  So this month we built an XMPP channel integration for Chatwoot and have migrated our main support infrastructure to a Cheogram-hosted instance.  So far we like this a lot, and so much we’ve decided to share.  If you have a project that handles support using Jabber (or SMS with JMP!) you can use it on the Cheogram Chatwoot instance.  Just come by the chatroom and let us know you’re interested.  Only the XMPP channel works on our instance for now, but we’d be happy to enable other channels as well if that would be useful.

And finally, we know many of you are excited about the JMP Data Plan.  Roll out to the waiting list has gone a bit slower than we hoped, but many SIMs did go out in October.  There have been some bumps as you might expect with any test phase, but overall things are looking good and we hope to speed up the roll out and even move on to the next phase soon.

To learn what’s happening with JMP between newsletters, here are some ways you can find out:

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful rest of your week!

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Newsletter: Voicemail Changes, Opt-in Jabber ID Discoverability

singpolyma@singpolyma.net

Hi everyone!

Welcome to the latest edition of your pseudo-monthly JMP update!

In case it’s been a while since you checked out JMP, here’s a refresher: JMP lets you send and receive text and picture messages (and calls) through a real phone number right from your computer, tablet, phone, or anything else that has a Jabber client.  Among other things, JMP has these features: Your phone number on every device; Multiple phone numbers, one app; Free as in Freedom; Share one number with multiple people.

This month sees the release of Cheogram Android 2.10.10-2, based on a new upstream version and with many bugfixes and small improvements, especially around the Command UI. We also now have our own F-Droid repositories for quick update of official builds from us. We have a repository for releases and for those who want to help testing new features as they are developed we also have a repository for pre-releases.

Some JMP customers forward their calls to another voicemail service, or otherwise do not have need for the JMP voicemail.  This month we added an official option to the Configure Calls command that allows disabling voicemail completely for users who need this.

The default voicemail outgoing message has been changed from saying “a user of JMP.chat” to specifying what JMP number has been reached.  Anyone with a name or nickname or custom voicemail greeting set is not affected by this change.

As a small improvement for multi-account billing users, renewal transactions now specify what number is being renewed by the transaction.

Cheogram (and thus JMP) is now allowing all users to opt-in to Jabber ID discoverability.  This is to allow users to discover the true Jabber ID behind a phone number so they can upgrade to end-to-end encryption, video calling, high quality media sharing, etc.  This is opt-in only, and most features that make use of this are not built yet, but we wanted to give people the option to express their consent now.  This is done as part of the registration process.  For existing users, if you do not want to opt in, there is nothing you need to do.  If you wish to opt in, simply run the Register command, choose JMP, and it will ask for your consent (it will show if you use the bot as Current Value true for technical reasons, but do not worry it is set to false unless you explicitly answer yes to that question.)

This month we have also made some progress with the early test phase launch of our data-only SIM and eSIM program.  The program is slowly rolling out to the waiting list over the course of the next month, as we gather data and feedback from early users.  If you are interested, adding your Jabber ID to the waiting list is still the best way.  We have also heard the interest in having these available for people who are not otherwise JMP customers, and hope to have that ready for testing soon as well.

To learn what’s happening with JMP between newsletters, here are some ways you can find out:

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful rest of your week!

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Newsletter: New Employee, Command UI, JMP SIM Card, Multi-account Billing

singpolyma@singpolyma.net

Hi everyone!

Welcome to the latest edition of your pseudo-monthly JMP update!

In case it’s been a while since you checked out JMP, here’s a refresher: JMP lets you send and receive text and picture messages (and calls) through a real phone number right from your computer, tablet, phone, or anything else that has a Jabber client.  Among other things, JMP has these features: Your phone number on every device; Multiple phone numbers, one app; Free as in Freedom; Share one number with multiple people.

This month sees the addition of a new member to the team, you will see him in the chat as seki.  Seki joins us as a software developer and general team member, be sure to say hi!

Cheogram Android 2.10.9-1 has been released.  This release includes a major new feature: the Command UI.  The best place to see this feature is when talking to the bot at cheogram.com.  You will see a new tab labelled “Commands” that lets you interact with the bot using a nice UI instead of by sending specially-formatted chats.  This release also includes several fixes to URI display and copying, and is based on Conversations 2.10.9 upstream.  We have added a long-press menu on the list of all active conversations to perform quick actions (such as “pin to top”), added support for muting yourself from the dialler integration, changed the ringback sound to be more familiar to USA and Canada users, and various other small bugfixes.

JMP is actively working on providing cost-effective data-only eSIMs and SIM cards for users.  Pricing is not yet final, and there is some work to do before this is ready for the general public, but if you are interested please sign up for the wait list at the link above.  Our first launch will be with USA and Canada coverage, but other areas are possible in the future if there is interest.

This month we are also pleased to announce the launch of multi-account billing.  This feature allows customers to have one account be billed for all their JMP accounts, or those of their family.  To get started with this, please contact support and indicate the accounts that you want linked together.

To learn what’s happening with JMP between newsletters, here are some ways you can find out:

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful rest of your week!

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