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Newsletter: Threads, Thumbnails, XMR, ETH

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 released Cheogram Android 2.12.1-1 which includes several new features.  One of the big ones is an interface for having threaded conversations with other Jabber users (watch the demo video).  This feature will also make it easier to reply to the right message if you use the email gateway.  The app has grown support for more media features, including an ability to show an image right away if you already have it, without waiting for a download, and blurhash based placeholders for images from MMS you have not yet downloaded.

There is also a new user experience when receiving group texts that will actually show the sender’s name (and even avatar, if you have one set for them locally) the same way as any other group chat in the app.  This is made possible by a new draft protocol extension we adopted for part of the purpose.

This version is based on the latest 2.12.1 from upstream, which among other things has added the ability to function as a Unified Push distributor, so if you use any compatible app you may want to check that out.

For the JMP service, this month we shipped the ability to make top-up payments using XMR or ETH directly from the top up command.  This simplifies the flow for users of those currencies, and we hope you will find it useful.  Integrating this support into registration is also coming, but not ready quite yet.

If you are planning to be at FOSDEM 2023, be sure to check out the realtime lounge in with the other stands.  Unfortunately no one from JMP will be there this year, but people from Snikket and other projects around the ecosystem will be present.

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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