It's been a long journey: #tincan
But we have arrived.
TinCan is now available for download in the Google Play store. It is free.
If you are not yet familiar, TinCan is a one-to-many text messaging app that doesn't use the internet or cellular service. Instead, messages hop from phone to phone over WiFi tethering. TinCan is normally a very inefficient messaging platform. However, it should work well in populated areas such as a festival, conference, or similar gathering. As TinCan doesn't use the internet or cellular service, it could be useful where these services are lost, as in a natural distaster, or blocked, as in a protest. The TinCan project started as an idea in this post.
Thank you to everyone that helped make a ridiculous idea into a reality. In particular:
JakobVirgil (yes you) for getting the ball rolling,
insomniasexx for saving the project and getting us here,
and to KVH, who volunteered a rare skillset and a lot of time.
Also, thank you to everyone that supported and promoted the Kickstarter.
Here is a general FAQ:
How do I exchange messages with other TinCan users? To the outside observer Tin-Can looks like a wifi-hotspot with the ssid TinCan_(randomID). When one TinCan finds another TinCan, they automatically exchange those messages they do not have in common.
How does TinCan identify users? TinCan doesn't identify users for delivery. Each message has a sender, and if you subscribe to that sender, the message will display if it hops onto your phone.
How are messages connected to the sender? TinCan messages contain the username, a timestamp, and the message itself. You username is followed by a unique ID. For example mk_844da is my username. You can reset and overwrite your username at any time.
How will messages appear on my TinCan? Messages are public, and you can read messages going through your phone, making the experience akin to Twitter or IRC. You can either view all messages passing through your phone, or only those from users you subscribe to.
How long are messages stored on my phone? Currently messages have a lifetime of 90 days.
How many characters can a TinCan message be? 220 characters.
What is the range of TinCan? 100 ft. is a good estimate, but it will depend on the phone. I just successfully tested it at 120 ft. and ran out of hallway.
What devices is TinCan compatible with? TinCan should work on phones with Android version 4.0 or higher. Let us know if it doesn't. As TinCan is a bit unconventional, every new device is a potential wildcard. On some phones, you may need to turn on WiFi before booting TinCan. We don't have immediate plans for iOS, and we aren't sure if it will be allowed. We are going to start with Android, and see what comes.
We plan that there will be updates to improve functionality, and/or to address bugs. You can contact me or insomniasexx here, or send feedback to email@example.com.