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Newsletter: Multilingual Transcriptions and Better Voicemail Greetings

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.

As foreshadowed last month, the new voicemail transcription engine is now live for all customers who have transcription enabled (which it is by default).  This should improve speed and accuracy, and bring support for many more languages to the system.  Let us know if you notice any issues with the new transcriptions.

From the beginning of the voicemail system we have supported a default text-to-speech greeting if a custom one is not set.  The name used in this greeting is sourced from the customer’s legacy vCard if they have one set up.  We now also support modern vCard4 and PEP Nickname specifications to get this data, which should result in it working for many more people with many more clients.  Check the voicemail FAQ for details.

Many new JMP customers are also new to Jabber in general, and so our signup process usually suggests one or more free-to-use volunteer-run Jabber services that one can sign up with to get a working Jabber ID.  These services are best-effort by volunteers, and this month one of the ones most popular with our customers experienced an extended outage.  The best protection you can have against any kind of outage at your Jabber service is to have your Jabber ID be attached to a DNS name you control.  With or without your own name, we also include the option for any JMP customer to get an instance hosted by Snikket at no extra charge.  Please contact support if you have any questions about this.

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: Command UI and Better Transcriptions Coming Soon

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 the team has been hard at work on a new major feature for Cheogram Android: the command UI.  This feature will get rid of the need to configure your account with a clunky chat bot on mobile, replacing it with a fit-for-purpose native UI that can be viewed under the cheogram.com contact.  And because we are implementing it using only open standards, the UI will also work for other command-using entities out there.  The feature is not quite ready for first release, but if you want to come test a pre-release just drop by the chatroom (see below for how to get to the chatroom).

Almost since the beginning of JMP one of the favourite features has been our voicemail.  Reading your voicemails instead of having to “dial in” somewhere and listen to them is a real advantage for many users.  However, the transcription is far from perfect, sometimes being slow and completely missing support for any language other than English.  We are now testing an alternative engine with anyone who is interested, this new engine gets you the transcription faster and supports dozens of languages.  Come by the chatroom if you want to help test this out before we roll it out as a full replacement.

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: Togethr, SMS-only Ports, Snikket Hosting

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 our team launched a new product to help people looking to take even more control of their digital life by hosting their own social media instance.  Read about Togethr, what it is today, and a glimpse of our future plans.

JMP now supports SMS-only ports.  Landlines and most numbers with VoIP providers (but not numbers with most mobile carriers) are eligible to have JMP provide SMS/MMS messaging services for the number, while voice and other services would remain with the current carrier.  This feature is in Alpha, contact support if you are interested.

This month also saw the release of Cheogram Android 2.10.6-1.  This version merges in the latest upstream release of Conversations, as well as fixes for the contacts integration and playback for some media types (most notably 3GPP videos).

Finally, our integration with Snikket hosting is coming along.  For all of this year JMP customers have been able to get into the Snikket hosting beta with the promise of never having to pay for the JMP-using Jabber IDs they host there.  Now, JMP customers no longer need to contact Snikket staff to be put into the regular beta queue.  Contact JMP support and we can set you up with a Snikket instance directly.  We will continue to work on this integration until someday it becomes a fully self-serve part of signup.

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 Staff, New Commands

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 JMP team is growing.  This month we added root, whom many of you will know from the chatroom.  root has been a valuable and helpful member of the community for quite some time, and we are pleased to add them to the team.  They will be primarily helping with support and documentation, but also with, let’s face it, everything else.

The account settings bot has a new command for listing recent financial transactions.  You can use this command to check on your auto top-ups, recent charges for phone calls, rewards for referrals, etc.  There is now also a command for changing your Jabber ID, so if you find yourself in a situation where you are changing for any reason you can do that yourself without waiting for support to do it manually.

This month also saw the release of Cheogram Android 2.10.5-2.  This version has numerous bug fixes for crashes and other edge cases and is based on the latest upstream code which includes a security fix, so be sure to update!  Support for TOR and extended connection settings has also been fixed, a new darker theme added, and UI tweaks to recognize that messages are often encrypted with TLS.

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: Cheogram Android Release, Matrix Alpha

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 marks the first release of the Cheogram Android app we have been sponsoring.  This app is a fork of the excellent Conversations, and will stay close to upstream going forward.  Some of the improvements relevant to JMP users include:

  • Add contacts without typing @cheogram.com
  • Integrate with the native Android Phone app (optional)
  • Address book integration
  • Messages with both media and text, including animated media
  • Unobtrusive display of subject lines, where present (such as on voicemails)
  • Links to known contacts are shown with their name (improves group text UX)
  • Show timestamps for calls
  • Missed call notifications

All of these features have been built in a standards-compliant way and do not rely on anything particular to Cheogram or JMP at all, so they could be reused with other gateways as well.  You can also get the app from F-Droid.

In other news, we’ve heard for some time that some users want to try using JMP from Matrix.  Since we are so big on bidirectional gateways, we have decided to add support for signing up with JMP using a Matrix ID.  This should be considered an alpha test at this time, and most notably voice does not work with the gateway yet so you will need to use SIP (or forwarding) for voice if you use a Matrix ID.  SMS, MMS, and Voicemail will all be delivered to Matrix just as they are to Jabber.  For this we are using the excellent gateway instance at aria-net.org.  To get started, just head to JMP.chat, choose a phone number, and select “I am a Matrix user” on the next page.

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!

Art in screenshots is from Pepper & Carrot by David Revoy, CC-BY. Artwork has been modified to crop out sections for avatars and photos, and in some cases add transparency. Use of this artwork does not imply endorsement of this project by the artist.

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Newsletter: JMP is 5 years old today, and now with international calls!

denver@ozg.ca

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.

Today JMP turns 5 years old!  We launched on this day in 2017 with a fairly basic set of features: bidirectional Canada/USA SMS and MMS, with incoming calls directed to a pre-existing phone number.  Since then we’ve kept pushing further and further toward feature-parity with the most popular mobile phone number providers, adding outgoing calls, international texting, and group texting.

We have been actively testing the final piece of this work, international calling, and are pleased to announce today that we made it!  With the addition of international calling, which is available to all JMP users as of right now, we are now phone-feature-complete.

What does this mean?  In short, we now support all the features that other providers of mobile phone numbers support: bidirectional MMS (including group texting), domestic and international SMS, and domestic and international calling.  So if you or your friends have been waiting to try JMP until we finished all these features, now is the time to get the word out and try it!

On top of international calling, we now support using as many minutes per month as you like (with 120 Northern America minutes worth of credit included by default) - see our new comprehensive pricing page for details.

You may be wondering: Where do we go from here?  Well, we still have much work to do, and many more newsletters like this one coming up to let you know about it!  There are two main areas of work left:

First, we want to keep our finger on the pulse of telephony, specifically making sure that we add any features that mobile carriers are adding to their phone numbers, like RCS.  If we find such a feature supported on at least Android and iOS, we’ll get it into JMP as soon as possible (for RCS, the rollout is limited, and only on Android so far - if you know of other phone number features we’re missing, reply to let us know!).  Also, we have not forgotten about the many kind requests we’ve received for JMP numbers outside of the USA and Canada.  Those are on our list!

Second, we want to make JMP as easy to use as possible.  There is still much work to do here, particularly on simplifying signups, adding and managing contacts, and group texting.  We want to make sure that group text threads are easier to follow, which requires a little bit of development work yet.  And we are actively working on improving the Cheogram app that many of you have started using on Android, to include these fixes and an easy way to signup for JMP.  In the not too distant future you’ll be able to install the Cheogram app, pick a JMP number from the app, and start using it right away.

In other news, Dino 0.3 has been released which brings with it voice calling features compatible with those used by Converations, Snikket, Movim and JMP! It’s still early days and so there may be some compatibility issues, but reports say the features are working for people.

Lastly, as part of JMP’s 5 year anniversary, we are unveiling our new logo today too!  You can check it out at the usual places, such as https://jmp.chat/ and elsewhere.  Our old logo (which is still live at its old location for the nostalgic) has served us well for the past half decade, and we appreciate all it’s done for us.  The new logo reflects how increasingly close we’re getting to JMP being easy to use for the average person, and hopefully our approachableness.

As always, we’re very open to feedback and would love to hear from you if you have any comments, questions, or otherwise.  Feel free to reply (if you got this by email), comment, or find us on any of the following:

Here’s to many more years of JMP!

Newsletter: Snikket Hosting, Billing Overage Limits

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.

We have made a deal with Snikket CIC to include their Jabber hosting as an option for all JMP customers.  Anyone with a paid-up JMP account may get an instance hosted by Snikket CIC at no extra charge.  Your Snikket instance will be covered by your usual JMP monthly subscription.  This will eventually be the default option for new users without a Jabber ID as part of our signup flow.

Many customers have asked us how they can use more than the included 120 voice minutes each month.  Starting soon, JMP will let you pay for as many minutes as you want, and along with this will be coming outbound calls to international destinations as well.  Note that users still paying with the old PayPal system will not be able to access more than the included 120 minutes or international calls, so now is a great time to make the switch.

We have already published what the initial calling rates will be, so go check that out to get an idea of costs.  Once the new pricing goes live, we will convert the 120-minute limit into a dollar equivalent that will give you 120 minutes to the USA and Canada, but will also allow you to use that included limit to cover international calls if you prefer (or a combination of both).

Speaking of costs, we know a concern for many people is getting billed for more overages than they can afford.  Of course, JMP being pre-pay helps with this a little, but if you want to pre-pay for many months and know you won’t accidentally burn up the credit, what can you do?  We have implemented a per-calendar-month overage limit system where you decide the limit.  The default for all customers is $0/month for now (so you would continue to pay the same amount every month, with no overages), but you can raise your limit using the plan settings command in your account settings so that you can take advantage of these upcoming features.

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!

Newsletter: New website, new forums, new app feature

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 we launched a full rewrite of our website.  While this rewrite was mostly precipitated by changes at our primary carrier partner, we managed to get a few improvements in there as well.  First of all, the search box on the homepage now accepts more than just area codes: a city then comma then two-letter state or province code is accepted, as well as zip codes or vanity patterns (like ~woof or ~1234).  This search is also now powered by XMPP commands in the backend, so you can now get a JMP number entirely without ever visiting the website, just talk to cheogram.com and send register jmp.chat to get started.

Next, our community has been testing more features in the pre-release Cheogram app.  This app is available to anyone who wants to test it by coming by the chatroom and asking for access.  When the app is a bit more ready, it will be released on F-Droid, hopefully in Q1 2022.  The big new feature right now is dialer integration.  This allows anyone using the app with cheogram.com added to their contacts to head to their native Android dialer and visit Settings > Calls > Calling accounts in the menu.  From there it should be possible to enable the calling account associated with your Jabber ID and then dial out directly from your native Android dialer app over JMP!  Any questions about this feature or the Cheogram app in general should be directed to the chatroom.

As our community grows it makes sense to reach more people where they are at, and not just hang out where we are most comfortable.  This month the freedomware project we sponsor and rely on, Sopranica, is opening two more venues where you will be able to get news from JMP or discuss the project generally: Lemmy and Reddit.  Here is the new complete list of official ways to communicate with our community:

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

Newsletter: Action required for SIP accounts, new inbound call features, and more!

singpolyma@singpolyma.net

Hi everyone!

Welcome to the latest edition of your pseudo-monthly https://jmp.chat 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 the launch of our new inbound voice and SIP account system! Due to changes at our major carrier partner, all inbound call handling had to be rewritten and the SIP accounts some people use are moving to a new server with a new server name. As part of this rewrite you can now use the configure calls command to set call forwarding to any XMPP, SIP, or tel URI without involving support. If you haven’t used the JMP bot before, you do so by sending a message to your cheogram.com contact with the text of the command you want to run. You can send help for a list.

If you have not tried it yet, now would be a great time to try our features allowing calling from your Jabber account. All your regular SMS contacts can be called as well with no changes on your part, from any client that supports voice calls. Inbound calls can be routed to your Jabber ID using the configure calls command.

If you still need a SIP account for some reason (such as to use with a device that does not support Jabber calls) you will need to use the reset sip account command to get a username and password on the new server, as the old server will be going away soon. Be sure to use UDP as the transport!

In other news, our founder Denver Gingerich (ossguy) has returned from his leave and is rejoining us in day-to-day operations. You will see him more often in the chatroom and sometimes answering support.

There has also been a bit of movement on the mobile app front. We have been partially sponsoring development work on the now-released Snikket iOS which is now our recommended client for all iOS users. When paired with a Snikket server this client should receive calls and messages reliably, and also supports DTMF (entering digits for phone menus) during calls.

We’ve also had a volunteer working with us to clean up some of the features in our prototype app for Android. Not many visible changes yet (except for a much better icon to open the DTMF pad) but watch this space for updates.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reply to this email or find us in the group chat per below. We’re happy to chat whenever we’re available!

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

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

Newsletter: Blog, New Registration, New Billing, New App!

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.

In case you haven't seen it yet, we now have an XMPP-powered blog! All newsletter updates, as well as other content like technical deep-dives will be published there. If you just want these updates, don't worry, the mailing list isn't going away. You can check out the blog at https://blog.jmp.chat and follow in your RSS reader or compatible Jabber client such as Movim or Libervia.

JMP also has a new registration flow. This flow properly integrates with our new billing system and represents a lot of behind-the-scenes work to our architecture. The most important part of the new billing system is the referral system. That's right, JMP users can now get single-use invite codes to refer users. The new user gets one free month, and if they decide to upgrade to a paid account the original user will get a free month of credit too! XMPP server operators for closed or vetted groups can also contact support to ask that their server be added to an approved list where all Jabber IDs coming from that server will be given a free month, with the resulting credit if they upgrade going to the server operator.

Speaking of our new billing system, many users have been fully migrated to the new architecture which says goodbye to PayPal and hello to automated credit card and Bitcoin deposits, as well as official support for payment by mail or (in Canada) Interac e-Transfer. Payments can also be made in Bitcoin Cash by contacting support. Users on the new system now have a prepaid balance they can top up any time they like, with the option to automatically top-up a low balance with any amount $15 or more from credit card. Deposits over $30 get a 3% bonus added, and deposits over $140 get a 5% bonus. This paves the way for calling minutes over 120 / month (which will soon be available at the rate of $0.0087 / minute) and also international calling at per-minute rates to be announced later this year. Those who prefer to pay the same amount every month or year, as is done with our legacy PayPal system, will need to wait a bit until we integrate that option into the new system.

We've also had a volunteer working with us to prepare some new features for Android users, most notably DTMF (punching in numbers during a call) so that all phone calls can be done from inside Conversations. The code isn't quite ready for upstream yet, but drop by the chatroom if you want to try out a prototype.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reply to this email or find us in the group chat per below. We're happy to chat whenever we're available!

To learn what's happening with JMP between emails like this, here are some ways you can find out:

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

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