Working from home can be a lonely experience. There isn’t anyone to have coffee with or bounce ideas off. Things you usually take for granted, like being able to catch up become alot harder when everyone else is working or in a different timezone. That’s not to say there aren’t any avenues for human interaction, going out and working in public areas is always an option.
Even when working in public areas, you’re close to folks, but not quite either. Walking up to someone random and starting a conversation is a tricky proposition for most. Interactions with strangers is not a new idea though; mediums like IRC have been around for ages.
IRC chatrooms had some nifty features for their time. Though you had to connect to a server, you could initiate a direct chat or transfer using something called Direct-Client-to-Client. In fact, many clients supported scripts that allowed you to run bots like fileservers and trivia games.
When MSN Messenger came along, you could even do things like initiate games between clients (Solitaire showdown anyone?) which was still alot easier than what you’d probably have to do if you wanted to do a two player game on your phone today.
So here’s what I hope PAF #4 will look like.
- Multiple folks jump online to a site, based on their location a chatroom is created or joined
- They can chat with each other (multi party chat has been done to the death, which should help :P)
- They can send files to each other
- They can see in relative terms how far they are to each other (e.g. 25m away)
- They can enter an email address or login with FB/G+ which will pull down their info/gravatar
- They can join another chat room if they know its secret
Initially I thought of using Go, but it turns out there isn’t any free online hosting available for it. Too efficient resource utilisation maybe? So I might try to get a micro EC2 instance or switch to something else.