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February 11, 2007 10:45 PM   Subscribe

How does MSN Messenger track your typing activity?

I've wondered about this for a while now. MSN Messenger will display "XYZ is typing a message" when your contact is, ostensibly, typing a message. Having recently started using webcam more often, I've noticed that the statement remains for several seconds after they stop typing.

Were the message to stop displaying before they stopped typing, I'd just blame it on lagging time.

Anyway. How does Messenger track this? If I just move my cursor into the textbox, will it display as me typing? Sometimes a message pops up without "XYZ is typing" at all, so does that mean that short messages/single letters don't get logged? How long does that "is typing" thing stay after someone's stopped typing, and why? What prevents them from picking up the halt?
posted by Phire to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
 
If I just move my cursor into the textbox, will it display as me typing?

No.

Sometimes a message pops up without "XYZ is typing" at all, so does that mean that short messages/single letters don't get logged?

Either that, or they configured a client not to send the typing notifications (this is easy with most third-party clients.)

How long does that "is typing" thing stay after someone's stopped typing, and why? What prevents them from picking up the halt?

It's more likely that your webcam is lagged, although a delay is programmed in to prevent 'typing/not typing' from flashing too much.
posted by aye at 11:23 PM on February 11, 2007


According to this guide to the MSN protocol, when a user starts typing the client sends a TypingUser command:

"The official MSN client sends a typing notification every 5 seconds if the user has been typing". Also, the official client will remove the typing notification after 1) a message has been received or 2) 10 seconds after receiving the last typing notification.

It's possible that other clients will send the message at different intervals...
posted by DrSkrud at 11:29 PM on February 11, 2007


It doesn't know the difference between "not typing" and "hunting for the next key", so it basically just displays the message for N seconds after you type a key into the box. That way, even if you're a slow typer, the "slow_typist is typing" message doesn't disappear and reappear while you're huntin' and peckin'. Also, based on DrSkrud's comment, it has to add even more time because one of the packets that indicate typing status may have been delayed or lost, so it waits until two packets have not arrived before it decides that the other guy definitely isn't sending them. It's really going out of its way to not flicker the indicator.
posted by breath at 11:37 PM on February 11, 2007


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