System Presence Integration Idea

Chris Warburton chriswarbo at
Thu Mar 13 20:09:27 UTC 2008

On Thu, 2008-03-13 at 12:07 -0700, Ted Gould wrote:
> I think that this is an interesting topic, and one that we do need to
> solve for the desktop.
> I think that one thing that needs to be in your list, 1a perhaps, is
> looking at the way that people think about their status.  For instance,
> when I'm at work I really don't want my buddies sending me pictures from
> the party over the weekend.  But, e-mail from my boss probably had less
> importance while I was at those parties.
> I know that in the spec you mentioned gathering such information from
> the WiFi hotspot being used, which is interesting.  I'm curious if that
> is enough.  Also, how much configurability would someone want?  Status
> on every IM network for every hotspot seems like a crazy matrix.
> 		--Ted
Hi thanks for the input. I realise that such a proposal is quite open
ended, thus I tried to split it into relatively clear steps to go
through to try and prevent both blue sky designing and worrying about
issues that end up not appearing in the implementation.

I think stage 1, the discussion, should be a quite technical discussion,
ie. throw some ideas into the aether and decide which of those is
possible. My own train of thought was about having Telepathy running as
a central, standard system to use for presence. Presence would cover
general key:value type data, ie. Location:Home, Status:Busy, Activity:On
The Phone, etc. (those are just examples). There may need to be an
agreed upon standard for the naming here, if multiple programs and
desktop environments are going to use it.

The model for broadcast of these would be, I would think, XMPP's
Publish/Subscribe system (I've heard good things about it, but haven't
used it personally). For other networks it could perhaps fall back to a
generic status message containing the pairs.

What I think is the most interesting aspect is using presence locally,
ie. having a way to tell your computer what you're up to and configuring
it to take some actions based on that. Local presence can be taken
straight from Telepathy itself or a local account inside Telepathy, thus
legacy network issues aren't too important for this.

In terms of UI I think everything should be opt-in, so the Wifi example
I gave would have a user explicitly saying "this Wifi network means
Home" and "this Wifi network means School" and then the machine only
acts when those two are detected. A lot of the possibilities this could
enable may be annoying to have on by default, so I think options should
be opt-in to begin with. These UI issues are the 3rd stage I proposed
though, and I imagine will mainly consist of a few widgets added to some
already existing preference dialogues.


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