The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Community News Network

February 12, 2014

I built the “so-and-so is typing” feature in chat

NEW YORK — How do you feel about the typing indicator - "David is typing" - that appears on your buddy's screen while you're composing a message in chat? Does it make you feel self-conscious about how long you're taking to write a message? Do you feel paranoid when your friend appears to be typing for ages but the message you finally receive is only "ha ha"? Do you hate knowing that your "friend" is not typing anything and must be multitasking on something else? Do you hate it when you are multitasking and your erstwhile best friend keeps sending messages like "Are you still there? What are you doing? Do you still like me? Have I fallen in your heart?"

If so, you have me to blame, because I was one of the people who invented it. But I can explain everything.

The first professional software project I worked on was Microsoft's instant messenger client, saddled with the unwieldy name "MSN Messenger Service" - chosen by the same marketing experts that gave us Zune, Microsoft Bob, and .NET My Services. It shipped back in 1999 after a few years of development. During that time one of the issues that the team discussed was Gee, wouldn't it be nice to know whether the other person is responding, or waiting for you to say something?

The typing indicator tells you that something is going on, but leaves you to wonder what it is.

Back then, chatting in real time via text was for most people a very new thing. A good chunk of communication is knowing when it is and isn't your turn to speak (another chunk is vocal nuance, which is partly addressed by emoticons); on a line where only one person can speak at a time like a walkie-talkie, you really do have to say "over" to make sure your partner doesn't miss anything. But latent full-duplex, where people can talk at the same time but transmission is delayed until you, say, hit Enter, like instant messaging, has its own problems. If your chat partner's gone silent, it might be hard to know whether she was typing some huge message or if she was waiting for you to say something. We couldn't enforce any particular etiquette among users, hence the typing indicator.

 

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • When your doctor commits suicide, things get complicated

    When they call for appointments, patients are told they can't see their doctor. Ever. The standard line: "We are sorry, but your doctor died suddenly."

    July 15, 2014

  • NWS-HB0713-HowardMartin-004.jpg Airman laid to rest back home in Indiana six decades after death

    The mystery of what happened to a military transport plane that disappeared in the fall of 1952 into an Alaskan glacier was solved two years ago when a helicopter crew spotted the wreckage. But it took another two years to retrieve the remains of Airman Howard Miller and 16 other servicemen passengers. Saturday, Miller was laid to rest in his hometown of Elwood, Ind., with full military honors. Hundreds turned out for the funeral and burial services.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • This is what happened when I drove my Mercedes to pick up food stamps

     I climbed the ladder quickly, free to work any hours in any location for any pay. I moved from market to market, always achieving a better title, a better salary. Succeeding.

    July 8, 2014

  • Nation's first soda tax could come to Berkeley

    The Berkeley City Council unanimously decided last week to put the 1-cent-per-ounce tax on the ballot this November. Approving the tax would mean a major defeat for the soda industry, which has spent millions to crush the effort nationwide.

    July 7, 2014

  • President Barack Obama mug Best president? Worst president? Don't read too much into those polls

    The questions about who are the best and worst post-WWII presidents are useless. What they mainly show is that Republicans are far more unified around a single story than are Democrats.

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • What states can do on their own about immigration

    It's official: Congress won't take up immigration reform this year. This week, President Barack Obama said he'll use executive actions to change policies unilaterally.

    July 1, 2014

  • The Internet has changed how we curse

    Relatively recent technologies — cable television, satellite radio, and social media — provide us with a not-too-unrealistic picture of how often people swear in public and what they say when they do.

    June 24, 2014

  • May 2014 was the hottest may in recorded history

    According to new data released this week, May 2014 is officially the warmest May in recorded history.
    Both NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency have tentatively ranked May at the top of historical measurements, though NASA's numbers are preliminary because crucial information is still missing from China.

    June 18, 2014

  • facebook.png Facebook making big changes to its advertisements

    Facebook is making significant changes to the advertisements on its network, and said Thursday that it will give users more control over which ads they see on its network.

    June 12, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Clinton Herald Photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.

Poll

What are your plans for the weekend?

Enjoying the outdoors
Staying in out of the heat
Traveling
Other
     View Results
AP Video
Olympics 2014
Featured Comment
Featured Ads
Blue Zones Project
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.