IM just for Wifi
April 15, 2003 9:11 AM   Subscribe

IM just for Wifi - Trepia has developed a new method for wifi users to connect to each other. Imagine turning on your laptop and seeing the other wifi users near your physical location and being able to chat with them.

There's only a Windows client at this time. I asked where the Mac & linux clients were and the CEO told me they were coming in the future once the Windows version takes off. I'm betting that if enough people ask, they'll accelerate their plans.
posted by Argyle (14 comments total)
Well, Mac OSX's iChat already does this, so there's less of a rush for a Mac client, I guess. (In iChat, open the 'Rendezvous' window with cmd-2 to see all your local area friends.)
posted by neustile at 9:17 AM on April 15, 2003

This exciting new technology will allow us all to communicate with the people in our immediate vicinity! Think of the social benefits!

posted by atbash at 9:23 AM on April 15, 2003

posted by nthdegx at 9:38 AM on April 15, 2003

Holy connected future. This type of product is something I used to fantasize about while milling around on public transportation during the past 7 years. Absolutely great. And if wifi and wireless enabled devices continue to take off, this will not only have a dramatic effect on interpersonal communications, but it will be on the vanguard of the next generation of computer applications and technology. (I was not paid to say that).

It's really easy to say "Why would you need a computer to communicate with people next to you?" -- but it ignores the significantly different social dynamic of Internet chat vs live human chat.

I can think of dozens of situations where verbal communication isn't comfortable or accepted in public environments, but where Internet chat would work.

* Someone is being made uncomfortable by the person sitting next to them late at night on the train. Asks for some help/company/distraction for that person.

* On the other end, someone's looking for some love on the train. Rather than walking around the train asking everyone for love, they can just "trep" their car and ask if anyone wants to wiber. (wifi-cyber-sex? wuck? wintercourse? wifu*k?)

* Talking about anything casually... get on the train with a bunch of people that just saw the same movie as you, but are uncomfortable talking in person.

* Being in a library or other quiet place and chatting in a more respectful way.

* Interacting with wifi avatars to learn more about monuments, buildings, etc...
posted by VulcanMike at 9:42 AM on April 15, 2003

I'll say right now that the use of the word "fantasize" and the examples listed at bottom are not directly connected.
posted by VulcanMike at 9:44 AM on April 15, 2003

I have a hard time believing the people in the screenshots represent a good cross seciton of WiFi users at the moment.
posted by cmicali at 9:53 AM on April 15, 2003

Given a good enough range, it would be interesting to see what kind of effect a slow-moving vehicle would have on your "local friends" list. For example, you're using your laptop in the car during a traffic jam, or on the subway.

Skilled communicators would have to get their information across as quickly as possible. Of course, knowing us (us being humanity with gadgets) the first few attempts would probably be the equivalent of "Nice Ass!" and "Great Rack!"
posted by thanotopsis at 10:44 AM on April 15, 2003

This makes me want to get a nice tiny ibook for travelling.
posted by dreamling at 11:56 AM on April 15, 2003

i'm always curious if the others at the cafe are online or if they are "working on their novel" or whatnot. i really don't want to talk to them though --- unless they have a nice ass or a great rack. [thanks i'll be here all week!]

i may install this thingy to see if it does show any other peeps in the places i go.

sidenote: i'm at a schlotzsky's writing this via its cool cloud hotspot. there appears to be no one else in range.
posted by birdherder at 1:17 PM on April 15, 2003

Yeah Rendezvous (zeroconf) seems to be the way to go. Why use a proprietary solution when there is an open and standardized way to go about this?
posted by gyc at 1:52 PM on April 15, 2003

wifi-cyber-sex? wuck? wintercourse? wifu*k?

So, what would you call masturbation?

Wank? Uhh... Wink?
posted by armoured-ant at 2:35 PM on April 15, 2003

I had this idea a while ago (I'm sure I wasnt the first) but couldn't figure out how to do it properly without putting the card in both ad-hoc mode and infrastructure mode. Not to mention the issues regarding software firewalls.

It looks like it sniffs out MAC addresses and tries to directly connect to those clients by spoofing the packets pretending to be the access point. Anyone? Just guessing here, but I don't think this would work if I was using my laptop on an encrypted connection to an AP.

Its great someone got it to work. Hopefully this will hit critical mass soon. Why am I picturing tons of trepia stickers on every coffeeshop in the US?
posted by skallas at 9:37 PM on April 15, 2003

Couple this with wifi antennas that can reach a few miles distance and you may have something. These guys have some ideas, as do the fine folks at Wireless Anarchy.
posted by luminol at 10:14 PM on April 15, 2003

Just tried this. It works on my local ad-hoc WEPped network as well as an infrastructured one.. but compared to any modern IM client, it's unuseable. Needs work before I'll install it again. Maybe they should team up with Trillian.
posted by cell at 8:23 AM on April 22, 2003

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