Zipit Wireless IM problems
Someone asked, on the Zipit Wireless Yahoo Group, why their Zipit was having problems connecting to Yahoo Imstant Messenger. The zipit is an 802.11b instant messaging device available from Amazon.
The problem is that the Zipit comes preinstalled as a multi-protocol IM client in a world where IM servers are continually changing their IM protocols. The IM servers continually change the protocols in order to prevent third party, unofficial, IM clients from connecting to them. This means that if a third party IM client is to connect to an IM server then they need to be locked into a continious upgrade cycle fixing their IM protocol as fast as the servers intentionally break it.
A solution to the continual upgrade of the firmware on the Zipit device is to use an IM protocol which remains constant. Jabber is such a protocol and, conveniently, also acts as a bridge to other IM protocols including Yahoo. Consequently, you need only connect your Zipit to Jabber in order to access Yahoo, MSN, and AIM IM buddies. The problem with this simple solution is that the software which comes on the Zipit does not support the Jabber protocol, yet.
There is, however, a way to allow the zipit access to Jabber. To do so you will need an intermediate PC to act as a bridge. After installing Linux on the Zipit you ssh into your PC and run the ncurses IM application CenterICQ which then connects to Jabber and subsequently your other IM servers.
Note that the use of Jabber as an IM protocol bridge does not eliminate the problem of the continual upgrade cycle to fix intentionally broken IM protocols, it merely allows the upgrades to be centralised onto a Jabber server and allows you to keep the firmware on your Zipit static.
Have fun modifying your Zipit, if you have any comments please let me know and if you have any other questions which you'd like me to answer for free please send them to Ben Dash at firstname.lastname@example.org