Jabber me

Volume 10, Issue 76; 01 Aug 2007; last modified 08 Oct 2010

I find that IM strikes a nearly perfect balance between the latency of email and the invasiveness of a phone call. And I think Russell is right, jabber is the way to go.

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

Dorothy Nevill

For years (maybe decades), email has been my preferred communication vehicle for most purposes. If you send me email on an average day, I'll see it within a few minutes. (I may not answer it for hours, days, weeks, … well, you get the picture, but that's a different issue.)

What's important to me is, your email won't interrupt my debugging session or my conference call or my attempt to think deep thoughts.

But sometimes a lag of even tens of minutes is too long. Sometimes my friends and colleagues need information (or need to know if I have the information they need) right now. That's the perfect case for IM. If you send me an IM, I'll see it in a few seconds. But if I'm deep in debugging, I can still ignore you for a few tens of seconds.

If you call me on the phone, you're demanding all of my attention right now. Debugging context: gone; conference call: missed; deep thoughts: evaporated. That's fine, if you really need all of my attention this minute, of course. But how often is that? I'm just not that important.

Conversely, I know my friends and colleagues are busy. “Do you have any items for the agenda for tomorrow's meeting?” is a question I would like answered in the next few minutes, but I don't think it requires interrupting you with a phone call.

That's a long-winded way of saying I quite like IM. Via Tim, I found that Russell Beattie is blogging again (Welcome back, Russell!)

One of the first of his new posts that I read was I Am Jabber Powered! in which he argues for using Jabber. Convincingly I think. (He's also trying out Mercurial, coincidentally.)

Anyway, henceforth, my preferred IM ID is this one: ndw@im.nwalsh.com via Jabber.