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Something I talk about frequently in my seminars is the concept of ubicomp – or ubiquitous computing. The best way to describe it is: the internet isn’t something you go to or sit down to access, it is a layer over reality. That is why I get my socks knocked off with services like Twitter and now IMified.
Remember the command line? Like in DOS where it is all text? You’d have a monochrome or green/black screen with the prompt:
And a cursor. You’d type something in and press ENTER or RETURN and then hope that you’d put it in the right syntax or get a dreaded error message. That is called a CLI or command line interface because the computer’s functions and software are accessed by typing in commands in single line texts.
Which brings us to Twitter and IMified.
I saw a promo for IMified – a service which allows you to access numerous services via your IM account – and found myself typing in 1 line commands and hitting enter… I thought to myself, this is just like ZORK! And then, this is just like DOS!
Try it, open up your instant messaging client and type in ‘hello’ and send it.
For AIM send it to alias IMified
For MSN send it to alias email@example.com
For Google Talk send it to alias firstname.lastname@example.org
(the Yahoo bridge was currrently offline)
The system responds immediately with a menu and options to get set up with reminds, to-dos and notes. No registration, no confirmation, no hoops to jump through, just instant utility. I about crapped my pants and immediately IMed Peter he had to try it out as well.
Things go even sexier when I hooked my Google Calendar up to my IMified account, now I can access my calendar through my instant messenger client. I am tinkering with similar functionality with my cellphone and accessing my Google Calendar via SMS/text messaging.
And each time I simply type in a small phrase or letter or command and a system responds within seconds.
Pretty. Damned. Cool.
My minimalist side loves this because it is so bare-bones and basic: just text, command-and-response. Much like my post a bit ago about the 140 character limit in Twitter – it forces you to constrain your thoughts to haiku heigtenedness (height?).
The command line never went away – it is just on every other device besides your computer.