iChat

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iChat
Overall Rating: 4
Experience Date:Mar 01, 2004

Good:
UI matches OS X and is easy to configure, Logging capability, Stable, No ads, built in video-conferencing and rendezvous, Window popups are perfect
Bad:
Some things are hard to find, messes up Windows AIM buddy lists, Log files aren’t plaintext

I started using iChat when I started using OS X. It downloaded my buddy list from the server and away I went…the next time I logged on to AIM on Windows, my buddy lists were a little messed up. It’s hard to say how, because I don’t really pay attention to AIM on that machine anymore. The software can log all of your conversations with people, but the files aren’t just text…there’s some other stuff in there that makes them not fun to parse (if you were a geek and wanted to). It hasn’t crashed on me yet. One of the coolest things about it is how extremely easy it is to add a buddy icon to one of your friends. It takes me about 10 seconds from finding a picture I want to use to perfectly scaling it down and applying it to that person. It is one of the best examples I can think of demonstrating how Apple really knows what they’re doing with interface design. I really like the fact that no screen real estate is taken up by ads. I haven’t used the videoconferencing, but I bet it’s nice and simple. Rendezvous is Apple’s way of giving Mac users a network without having to have an internet connection or server. Apparently, if there were a bunch of mac users in a room with wireless cards and iChat, they could all start up conversations. I haven’t seen it, but it’s a cool idea. I still don’t understand quite how the integration with the OS X address book works, but that’s because I haven’t tried. Also, I can’t figure out how to see someone’s away message without sending them a message. Something else I like: When I get a new message from someone, it’s almost always placed on top, like should be. Even if I’m using a full screen RDP session to our server, OS X knows to let me see the messsage. I like that. I have other complaints, but they’re more related to the AIM protocol and not iChat, so I’ll leave them out of this review.

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