Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Version 0.3 Beta

What's new:
 -Visual/interactive topic map
 -Private link feed
 -Window/tab notifications
 -UI improvements

What to look forward to:
 -Whispers and emotes
 -Top comments
 -Device alerts
 -Audio and video integration

(Update 9/16: v0.33 - visual and functional enhancements)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Version 0.2 Open Beta

 -Implemented moderation tools
 -Improved sharing interface
 -Functioning topic previews
 -UI adjustments

Monday, June 1, 2015

Moderation, Anonymity and Profiles

Fire is built to assist communications between both friends and family, unmet acquaintances and complete strangers. Fire provides a clear visual and functional distinction between private conversations with individually known 'contacts', and public conversations among user-created 'topics'.

Users moderate their own private conversations by clearing their "conversational slate" or by simply removing/ignoring unwanted contacts. Moderation of "public topics” is a more democratic affair. Each user is able to cast a vote in favor of, or against, individual comments. Comments “positively-voted” via this interface will frequent the 'preview' view of a topic and gain longevity, whereas negatively voted comments will risk being omitted or negatively impacting the service for that user. Users decide what is reprehensible behavior, and act, by stating their preference towards comments and behaviors, as a 'first line of defense' against malicious activity. Such “user-assisted moderation” should ease the necessity of active moderation, allowing its deployment only for outstanding instances of spamming, bots, scamming, and immoral/illegal activity.

Similar to other 'login providers', fire references a user's e-mail address as a proof-of-individuality and a means to communicate outside-of-service. Instead of linking to a single web service (which may entail a person's real identity*[*a topic due its course]), each of a user's 'profiles', referred to as 'cards' in-app, provides users, under a header and moniker of their choosing, with a custom collection of links to their own works and interests, blogs and social-media accounts. A "default card" is provided for, and will be assigned to new contacts and topics. Beyond which, users are free to associate with any 'card' (or 'profile') they wish, offering a unique 'online presence', for example, to each; friends, family, co-workers, classmates, teammates, cohorts, roommates, and any number of web communities and other groups with common topic of discourse.

A cohesive solution, amplifying users' ability to engage with one another, restricted only by an individual's ability to access a web-enabled platform. A solution with an accessible user interface, respect to open policy, community moderation, and motivated by 'best practices' and ‘value added’. A solution which may find common appreciation enough to support and promote vibrant communities.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Open Source & Intellectual Property

Open source contribution is regarded as a "virtue" for hackers, and intellectual property as a foundation for modern 'creative economies'. Ideally these contrasting ideas needn't conflict, but special consideration is warranted during pivotal moments in the growth of a business.

Open source code offers a reserve of knowledge and wealth, without which, this project (along with many others) simply would not exist. Publicly available code enhancements and solutions can be likened to 'good-faith donations' to the community, the value being inherent in the coder's investment of time and effort. The philosophy of 'open source' fosters environments in which one can't help but occasionally wish to 'pay it forward' by personally contributing to the priceless reserves of available code. Intellectual property law, by my shallow understanding, offers, in exchange for demonstrable novelty, limited government-mandated financial protection (a temporal buffer, if I may) against mimicry. All things able to be replicated eventually (to date this post, '3d printers' will soon be able to reliably reproduce [for example] musical records, which could have unforeseen implications on the music industry), 'intellectual property' offers financial security as incentive towards innovation.

Unfamiliar with every detail, and without proper council, I am left to lean towards the merits of intellectual property law, temporarily eschewing any attempt to foster an open source community. But if I abide by one, I must regard the other. As such, I (as 'Fire') currently seek technical partners and legal protections, intending to revisit open source involvement at a later date.
(Edit: specifically, Fire will become involved in the open source community once its core business and functionality has been established, and begins producing excess, well polished code.)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

On mass communication

As an unofficial motto, the phrase "reunite the tribe" begs elucidation.
I offer only, "reconcile our inborn communicative tendencies with the current state of technology", as a vaguely less vague imperative, recompense for any perceived offense, and an intermediary toward a proper embellishment of the idea...

Earth-wide, mankind has tended, particularly recently, towards improved self sufficiency and increased autonomy for small groups and the individual.* Evidence of the "rise of the individual" includes the proliferation of the cell phone, automobile, and the single family home, habitable remote establishments and dense metropolises, as well as general equality. We as a species have earned ourselves unprecedented leisure time and personal and creative freedoms - no longer must we toil in the fields to feed ourselves or endure bondage to be fed.  In our brave new world with prolific access to information, I look to the devices which have loyally accompanied our journey: originally newspapers and the telephone, which made distances obsolete, next the television and radio, tools for sufficiently capable entities to broadcast content to a wide audience, making way for computers and the internet, allowing anyone with the intent, to distribute content and engage an audience, finally "smart phones" and tablets, which, in our most impressive turn yet, have endowed individuals with unlimited information access, at any time, in any place.

Popular media and empirical evidence will attest that more than an insignificant portion of people's lives are spent engaged with devices. And yet, devices often bear the brunt of the burden for the blame of what has been deemed a modern "malaise", or "neurosis" in both people's personal and social lives. Though subtle, something as simple as dismissing a device only to reengage it moments later, not to talk to anybody, not to look up information nor jot down an idea, but apparently just to stare in anticipation, or feigned interaction, makes me question the merit of these devices. The more engaged with our devices, it would seem, the more susceptible to or entrenched within this undiagnosed neurosis we become. It is as if the culmination of humanity's interminable drive towards progress and innovation were not inherently existentially satisfying. It is as though we have collectively developed a physical and emotional reliance on our own creations, a symbiosis less with natural processes and communities, and more with the worldly manifestations of our imaginations. The unspoken malaise threatens to worsen. While the content of newspapers, television or radio used to supplement conversation; "Did you see X?", "Have you read Y?", they now have become replacements for interaction altogether; we idly scroll through "image macros", short quips and video clips (don't let me undermine the impacts of modern social apps [I personally thrive on 140 characters]), affirming to ourselves the value in them.

The goal of fire is to remove or diminish the social and technological barriers that prevent individuals from actively engaging groups and other individuals in an immediate and meaningful way. To imbue the modern layman's luxury of globally unconstrained information access with uninhibited real-time communications, pandering to whatever aspect of the human persona bears genesis to cooperation, community, belonging, purpose, and happiness - which allows us to engage a person or group of people with a voice as meaningful as any other. To remove the technological boundaries isolating people within real-time ecosystems by providing a universally accessible, functionally transparent, non-intrusive, platform-independent 'chat' application with an attractive, intuitive and inherently useful interface, and to diminish the inter-personal-psycho-social concerns of meaningfully engaging people by tailoring to every conversational preference from impersonal anonymity to intimate formality. To emphasize our ability to empathize through technological immersion, giving clear purpose to modern devices.

*Mention of human progress as pertains to mass communications would be remiss without mentioning political systems. So to speak briefly to democracy - we have tended towards individual freedoms in exchange for the mandatory tolerance of a governing body (to manage the details, tax collections, roadways, utilities, petty squabbles and the like). And we further lean (perhaps in retrograde) toward the importance of the individual voice, which has been drowned by noise since the days of town hall meetings, wherein every family in a community had not only the potential to voice their concerns, but the opportunity to inform their decisions. A proper communal discussion (in addition to information dispersal) helps to expose flaws in arguments and prevents hypocrisies from manifesting, contributing to a more educated consensus.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Version 0.1 Closed Beta

-Functional browser interface
-Functional chat
-Functional profile/card system


To the individual.

Special thanks to everyone who helped me keep it.