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Show HN: Textter, Live letter-by-letter messaging for iOS (textter.com)
24 points by jfaat 326 days ago | 48 comments



This both a technically cool project and something that might do well in the market, but looking for a patent on something that existed on non-mobile for decades seems like it might be a waste of lawyer fees. Will that hold up to patent office scrutiny -- I actually hope not.

Putting that aside, I think this is really nifty. Your marketing really should target the fact that people can respond before you've finished typing. That can probably save 50% of keystrokes in a lot of cases, which gives your product a concrete leg up over others.

Nice launch, good luck.

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Thanks for the feedback! I will not comment on the patenting process, suffice it to say I understand your point. I am working on the marketing angle as well, and will definitely pursue keying on the immediate response.

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Your site calls it "The World's First Live Messaging System" and says it "is changing the way we send messages for the first time in a staggering 21 years" - but what about the "talk" command on Unix systems since at least 1983?

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ICQ, which was much more recent, was designed for cross-host large scale, and is one of the key brands in this market that people starting such a product should have intimate knowledge of, also had this feature (though it was removed, I believe, while merging with AOL).

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Wow. Developers today don't know their history. 21 years, haha.

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Limited to local networks or VPNs, but iChat was doing this over Bonjour almost 10 years ago. I believe iChat AV 3 had it in OS 10.4. So that's a big consumer-facing one.

I always disabled it because it was weird and I frequently revise messages after I typed them out and read the whole thing. Less tech-aware people might be impressed by it as a shiny novelty, but I'm not convinced that it's better.

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Yeah, this is totally BS. I worked on a BlackBerry app that did "live" texting a few years ago.

This has been tried a few times before, but it turns out, no one really cares to read anything except the complete message.

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This might be useful for some situations, but I won't use it. I often choose to communicate by text specifically because it means that I can compose a message, review, edit, and then send it without someone watching every part of that process.

How many times have you written something, and then decided not to send it in favor of something better suited for the situation (or even nothing at all) ?

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Wasn't it a big thing to see the other person type their e-mail when Google Wave (remember wave?) was first announced? And wasn't one of the things that people did not particularly like about Google Wave? I'm not sure, it was a long time ago.

I think the technology behind this is probably pretty cool, but I don't wan't anybody seeing how big a mess I make when I type. I'm a terrible typist.

[I already edited this post twice, I'm glad nobody got to see me do type this live]

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I thought, it was pretty hilarious of Google Wave to have that "live chat" function. Maybe, it needed some kind of a "live editing" period after which you could not just edit/delete your message. But it's hard to say as it was not a big success. I wonder, what's the influence on bandwidth used on "live chat".

P.S. I miss Google Wave occasionally :(

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Not trying to be negative here, the app looks cool, but "The World's First Live Messaging System" - no its not.

And patent pending? I remember ICQ, there have been other services mentioned, and I'm sure 100's if not 1000's of other applications in the past have done this so called 'live messaging'... so good luck with the patent ;)

There is even a wikipedia page on it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real-time_text

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I hope that they aren't seriously trying to patent this.

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98% of Text Messages are read within minutes of receipt, which means there is a need for texting in real-time.

Not so sure about that. 98% of text message being read within minutes of receipt suggests that the existing system works just fine, to me. The page doesn't really ever seem to address why I would want this.

A less relevant aside:

50% of American Teens send 50 text messages or more per day

Not sure why this is on the home page and not the investors page. Why do I, prospective user, care?

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I'm just blown away at that second statistic. 50% of teens sending 50+ messages a day? That's excessive.

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A habit I've gotten into since using fb messages, Viber/WhatsApp/Telegram is sending lots of messages with less words. So instead of one long text I might send 4-5 short ones. That will get you to 50 messages easy if you're texting a lot of friends.

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I guess group messages would make the most sense with this stat.

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At first i thought it sounds a little high, but then i started thinking about my average communication protocol(IRC). I send a lot more than 50 messages a day over IRC, but i may not be average.

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That's around 4 per hour. Doesn't seem unlikely to me, especially when you consider the general melding of texts and IM.

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Your "what textter's are saying" has an issue. The `hover` pseudo-selector doesn't apply when on a child element. As a result, that section turns green when hovering over the containing div but not when hovering over the section title, for example.

You'll need JS to accomplish what you're trying to accomplish there. You've already got jQuery on the page so you may as well use the `.hover` method to toggle a `hover` class on the div and replace the pseudo-selector in your CSS with that class.

Something like,

    $('#u3397').hover(function () {
      $(this).addClass('hover');
    }, function () {
      $(this).removeClass('hover');
    });
Also, minor point but I believe that shouldn't have an apostrophe. That said, grammar has never been my strong-suit so might want to double-check on that.

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You're right on the grammar. Thanks for the input, and for reading through the whole page! Thanks for the .hover tip as well ;)

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This brings back memories of ICQ and it's built in live chat thing

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I was just about to ask if anyone else had ICQ flashbacks. Nice to see I'm not the only one :)

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I so often have to edit messages before sending I'm not sure I see value in this-- but I'm also becoming vastly more lame by the day. There's a good chance I don't get it.

It also seems like it might be problematic to go through a history of messages as replies may be incomplete due to temporal context which I personally find hard to remember when just reading plain text.

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When I started college (in 2000) my dad and I used to communicate using this method via ICQ. It's strange but he still pines for it.

I do see the appeal. There's something very informal and personal about it.

I think the problem nowadays is that people are so used to multitasking they have ingrained habits to just switch out to another task while waiting for a reply.

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I think this is great and if the overhead is low it's a great solution (not that text takes much overhead). The issue I have is that I've actually typed out a text then deleted it because I thought twice about sending that message. Not sure where a situation would arise where this type of service would be of value.

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I would not ever use this personally. I prefer to always type and edit something ahead of time. That's the advantage of typing in the first place. I get to flesh out and edit my thought into a piece of writing, something that truly says what I intend, not the first thing that comes to my mind.

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The idea is not new but could be a cool product. I think the problem is there is no single powerful use case shown in the website why people should give-up editorship. The flaw is that if people really in urgent wanting to communicate in real-time, they would probably use phone call directly.

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Other non-mobile IM clients had this. I'm not sure which ones but I recall using one. It freaked me out when I got an answer for a question I had not finished typing. I didn't like that feature then and I won't like it now. I edit too much to have someone watch me as I type.

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I like it. But I would never use it for the same reasons many others have mentioned - I'm self-conscious and need to edit before I send. I could see this working well with a mechanism like Snapchat's new messaging feature. Messages self-destruct unless purposefully saved.

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Oh shit, it's talk(1).

WATHC OUT GUYZZZ THIS IS GONNA CHANGE MESSAGINF FOREVAR!!1

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Yeah, us geeks are very good at dismissing amazing potential businesses. I mean, why would anyone use Dropbox when there's svn and git!

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When Dropbox posted what is now usually called a "Show HN", someone did post a comment like that:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9224

Although to be fair, it was a good comment and it elicited a good response from Drew.

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I love the idea, but it takes so long to register and find friends. Way too long for an app that is supposed to cut down on the time it takes for me to communicate. I'd think about having people login through various services.

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Ah yes, we hit the front page of HN and signups slowed a bit. Do you have any suggestions on where to cut back on signup time? I agree on oAUTH and the like, and plan to integrate it soon.

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In case anyone's interested in how this could be done, have a look at rfc4103 & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real-time_text.

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Yea this would be a great example of building something no one wants.

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Interesting concept, too bad you overide scrolling. I wanted to check out your website but it was too annoying on mobile. Can your target customer not afford browsers that scroll?

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Cool idea. But I personally hate this. I need time to formulate my thoughts and the idea of typing while someone else is watching me is a major turn-off for me.

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Great point! Maybe you'd like the option? I do like the idea of giving users the option (maybe in _some_ cases it makes sense for you) but I didn't want to debut this app with a "turn our main feature off" option.

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Didn't someone experiment with a chat system similar to this within the HN site (as a Chrome extension)?

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That was me. Still up for fun and giggles at http://chox.co. Best of luck to these folks. I can't stand waiting for people to hit return before I can read what they're typing. It's not efficient.

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Killin' app! Thanks for the encouragement. I'm interested to see how you created chox.

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Just AngularJS and Firebase. Firebase is pretty amazing.

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What about a send text later app. Like Buffer for texting. I needed that feature today.

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Isn't this why people stopped talking on the phone?

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Seems down now. "Server Hangup"

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Sorry! We hit the front page and had our first stress-test. Things seems smoother now and we're analyzing our weak points.

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"patent pending" = bad sign for a mobile app startup.

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