AIMswering Machine

Unsynchronized Communication Over the AOL Instant Messenger Protocol

Users of AIM cannot send messages to receivers who don't have 'presence'. If the other user's internet connection goes down, or if they decide to leave the service, senders have no recourse within the AIM framework. For many users of the service, this can represent a time consuming or even impossible dilemma. Possible reasons for this include:

  1. Lack of familiarity with other message software, such as email, icq, or msn. For many users, especially younger ones, AIM is the only service they understand.
  2. Lack of contact information in other software. If a sender doesn't have the receiver's email address, the existence of email as an alternative is irrelevant.

Even for those who do have other software and the relevant info, switching to a different medium makes the AIM software less useful. It takes time to switch programs and enter the person's contanct info, and for the short messages that AIM is often used for, the sender will often give up.

My system creates a new, always-on screenname, that holds messages until the receiver is available. The sender can continue to use the same software, and needs only remember one additional piece of information – the screenname AIMSweringMachine. Furthermore, the system will register popular misspellings (this was misspelled mispellings before) of the name, in the style of domain parking, that will redirect to the correct name.

The system will be implemented in Perl, since it is lightweight, common, and has already existing AIM interfaces. There are three main components:

  1. Parser/Receiver – When the bot receives IMs, it check if its formatted properly (send )
  2. Buddy List Manager
  3. Send Queue

-to be continued…


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