I’m currently in Johannesburg, South Africa. While here I’ve had the chance to meet a number of the bloggers and web application developers that I’ve come to know over the years. The 27 Dinner is a monthly event that switches between Johannesburg and Cape Town. It’s the one time each month where the bloggers and technologists get together to share some Stormhoek wine and swap ideas.
Dave Duarte, the MC, asked if I would be willing to give a presentation. I agreed, but it was somewhat tough trying to figure out what to talk about. You see, this type of meeting brings out the best developers and the best bloggers in the area. You can’t teach anyone anything, and you had better be right about what you say since there’s bound to be someone there that knows more than you do about any given subject.
I finally decided to discuss mobile applications and opportunities in Africa. Specifically, I wanted to discuss how developers could leverage open source tools that are already out there to layer services on top of and create something that truly bridges the web/mobile gap. It ended up being a 30,000-foot overview of how you could integrate Jabber into current applications, or create new ones that worked with it.
Neville Newey, of Muti, was kind enough to throw together a great demo of how to mashup 2 services, in this case Muti (a place to link to great stories on Africa around the web) and MXit (the 4 million-strong mobile phone chat service here in South Africa). MXit is based on Jabber, an open java protocol that allows anyone to create a server and client. Some pretty big names use it, including Google Talk. It’s useable on your computer or your phone.
If you have an account with Jabber, Google Talk or Mxit you can access this mashup (and each other) by texting the words “hot” or “new” to firstname.lastname@example.org. Muti will shoot back to you the top 5 stories for each respective area. You can then vote these results up or down.
You want to vote result #4 up.
You would type “v4u” (to vote down, it would be “v4d”
It’s simple and it opens up Muti to millions of new possible users. The next step, of course, will be for Neville to allow MXit and other Jabber client users the ability to submit stories through their mobile phone or PC client.
For those who are interested, the full presentation is available here as a video: