Thursday, March 13, 2008

iPhone SDK and TinyBuddy IM stats

Two quick things:

1) Apple released the iPhone SDK last week, and as part of the announcement, AOL demonstrated an AIM client that was built with the SDK. Hopefully AOL will continue the AIM client development so that in the June timeframe there will be a "real" AIM client for the iPhone/iPod Touch.

If you want to see the AIM client demo part of the announcement, you can view the video from Go to this link:

Then click on "View Presentation". Warning: this link may not be valid over time. The video you want to watch should be titled "Apple March 6 Event". The AIM part is around the 52 minute, 51 second mark.

Rizwan Sattar from AOL does the AIM demo -- we work in the same office! Rizwan did a great job with the demo.

2) With the Open AIM launch last week (, I now get stats for how much my API key is used. This in turn gives a rough idea of how much TinyBuddy IM is used. For a 7 day period (last Wednesday to this Wednesday), the stats are:

Peak Simultaneous Users: 183 (how many people used it at one time)
Sessions: 116,943
IMs Sent: 513,384
IMs Received: 566,301

So every minute (averaged), that equates to:
11 sessions per minute
50 IMs sent
56 IMs received

That is certainly much better than I thought it would be. It is nothing like the usage of a full AIM client, but I'm happy to see that much usage out of a fringe product. Thanks for using it!

Although, I hope in the June/summer timeframe there will be a "real" AIM client that works natively with the iPhone and iPod Touch so we do not have to suffer with the limitations of the pure web-based approach that TinyBuddy IM uses.

Monday, February 25, 2008

TinyBuddy IM v3.50 released

Version 3.50 is now available. Use your iPhone or iPod Touch and go to:

It is usable in other browsers besides Mobile Safari, but it looks best in Safari-based browsers.

If you do not see "v3.50 release" below the Start button on that page, then you should try refreshing the page or clearing Safari's cache and try again.

v3.50 has the following changes:

* Avoid multiple sign ins! I was being too aggressive with my sign-out code. I fixed it, and now the AIM sign-in server will give you an option to save your sign-in credentials. The checkbox will show up after the second time you try to log in, and if you still have authentication cookies. You still may be prompted once in a while for a password, but it should be a much easier experience to get back online if you get signed out. Just click the Start button again.

* You can type status messages. Once your buddy list shows up, touch the green sphere under your name at the top of the app. A dialog will come up that lets you type in a status message and/or change your presence state to Available, Away or Invisible. Your status messages show up with your name in your buddies' buddy lists. You can also play with status messages on the AIM Buddy Info site and AIM Dashboard.

* Support for showing Recent Buddies. By default, TinyBuddy IM does not show buddies in your Recent Buddies group since most of the time they are not buddies  you explicitly added, and it helps performance if they are not shown. However, now there is a hyperlink you can click on TinyBuddyIM's start page that will change the app's URL so that it will show buddies in your Recent Buddies list. I would prefer a more elegant preference you could toggle, but I was having style issues getting that to work, so this is an intermediate option.

* Initial support for receiving offline IMs. If a buddy sends you an IM when you are offline, then you might see it now in the app. I was having trouble testing this completely though, so there may be layout issues with it, or it may not work completely.

* A new webclip icon! Thanks go to Justin Kirk for creating a much better icon than what I had before. To get the new icon, remove the previous icon from your home screen, go to the web app, then add it back. It now looks like this:

Also remember you can use .mac accounts -- when you sign in, be sure to add to your account name.

Special thanks go to David McCormick for actually getting the code up where you can use it.

Things to remember about TinyBuddy IM

TinyBuddy IM is a web application that works in Apple's iPhone/iPod Touch's Mobile Safari web browser. The iPhone/iPod Touch do not treat web sites/web applications in Mobile Safari the same as other native applications on those devices.

In particular, the device will stop TinyBuddy IM from running if you switch to another web browser window/page or if you switch to another native application on the device. When that happens, the AIM servers will wait 30 seconds, then sign you off. If you return to TinyBuddy IM after those 30 seconds, you will have to reconnect, and if anyone sent you IMs within those 30 seconds, they will be lost.

Given those limitations, TinyBuddy IM is best used for doing quick IMs with a buddy to avoid SMS charges, but it will not work very well as something you run for a very long time on the device.

Also be aware that you may be charged for data transfers unless you have an "unlimited" data plan with your phone service. I believe the unlimited data plan is standard for AT&T in the US, but you may incur costs if you go outside of the US. To be sure, check your phone plan.

Friday, January 18, 2008

WebClip Icon for TinyBuddy IM

With Apple's 1.1.3 iPhone update and the iPod Touch software upgrade, it is now possible to put an icon on your device's home screen that maps to an URL in the Safari browser (called a WebClip).

Normally, the device will generate an icon based on the look of the web page, but there is an option to specify a specific graphic. An icon update was just pushed to TinyBuddy IM, so now you should see this icon on your home screen (if you click on the + then "Add to Home Screen" in Safari):

It is not the best icon, but it is what I could do given my very poor graphics skills. And it should be better than a screen capture of the web page.
(Edit Feb 25, 2008: The icon above is actually a new one done by Justin Kirk, and is light years better than my goofy original icon)

If you previously added TinyBuddy IM as a WebClip on your home screen, you might try removing it, reloading TinyBuddy IM in Safari, and adding it to the home screen again.