A couple of months ago we completed the creation of a post by phone system. We had it working in the office but wanted to make sure our new bandwidth (Akamai) and disk space (NetApp filer) situation was working first.
LiveJournal PhonePost allows users to call in, authenticate, and record an audio journal entry all by phone, then automatically post to your journal. You can choose on the phone to have the entries be public, friends-only, or private. Private might be useful to just leave yourself a note to get later.
Your friends (or yourself) have the option of listening to your PhonePost and then transcribing it for other people who don't or can't listen to the post. This also makes it easier to find a PhonePost later, and is an alternative for deaf or hard of hearing people.
We know we're not the first company to do it, but we're still excited about it. So-- we're giving it away free to all paid users! All paid users will be able to make 15 phone posts per month with a limit of 5 minutes per call.
Here's a demo of Brad and I playing with it: http://www.livejournal.com/~example
To set up your PIN for PhonePost access go here.
We're launching this service with audio files in the .ogg file format. We've provided some information about .ogg files here. We may add mp3 support in the future, but due to licensing restrictions have decided to go forward supporting this open format.
Our phone list currently includes phone numbers in a number of different regions. We don't have an 800 number yet, but will consider it going forward if we find enough demand for it. Any long distance or cell phone charges for using this service of course would have to be covered by you.
Other questions may be answered by reading our FAQ: How do I record an audio post to my journal? and FAQ: How can I play Ogg Vorbis files?
All paid/permanent users now have 50 MB of disk space on our servers for PhonePosts, userpics and other upcoming features requiring file storage. Text journal entries do not count against this.
To prevent us from having to store your PhonePosts and paid user files forever, we reserve the right to purge your files after your paid account has expired and gone back to a free account for 6 months. We'll be amending the TOS to reflect this.
More userpics for paid users!
We're happy with our Akamai+NetApp setup, so we upped the limits and now all paid users have 15 userpics instead of 10.
Posting by email with PGP
You can now post by email without sending a PIN in clear text across the net. If you use PGP or GPG you can just digitally sign your messages and we'll validate the signature on our end and post. Just upload your key and read the instructions.
Pretty network diagram
Ever curious how LiveJournal works internally? We discuss that in lj_backend. Here's a pretty picture.
In our endless rush to stay ahead of growth, we just bought a bunch of new hardware. Oh, and we're done pushing out a ton more stuff from our "global cluster" (see picture above) to the user clusters, so the global cluster won't strain so much. But one of the new machines we bought is a new over-powered global cluster, so that'll be fun.
Friends page via POP3
This isn't available yet, but soon paid members will be able to check their friends pages via POP3. That's right: you'll just have to add LiveJournal as an incoming mail server in your mail client, and let it check for friends updates in the background. All the details aren't worked out, but it's looking good so far.
Additional PhonePosts and disk space
Currently extra phone calls and extra disk space is not available for purchase, but it will be shortly.
I think that's all for now.
We'll try and read most the comments and make another news post answering major questions/concerns where everybody can see them. Please stay on-topic in the comments and we'll be able to get through it all easier... thanks! And enjoy!