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Monday, June 27, 2005

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


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a bummer, I wish the zipit did Jabber. it sux that you have to keep updating it all the time!

11:19 PM  
Blogger Gregg said...

No problems the first couple of times right out of the box, but later on in the same day it started having problems logging on to yahoo, to the point I thought I did something wrong and decided to reset it with no results.

The next day it had problems the first couple of trys and then started logging on to yahoo like it first did right out of the box.

It only took a couple of minutes to set it up again after the reset but am still glad I came accross this message enough to know where the problem was and no doubt still is comming from.

Note; reset does not solve the problem at all while your the closest thing to a cure.


12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my zipit-it can't connect to the net ,the problem is from today,any ideas?

2:01 PM  
Blogger Ben Dash said...

Definitelyly check out the yahoo message board for help with the zipit:


5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have a Z2 and i looked and looked but i could not find a serial number so i can not register when i need to !!! :( pease help me

9:58 PM  

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