Tuesday, September 27, 2005

MacOnMacs: Chatting on the Mac (IRC/VOIP/etc.)

Someone recently posted a comment asking for advice on an IRC program for Mac OS X. So I figured, being a responsible and responsive blogger now, I should take that as the lead for my next Mac-related post. :-) I'm going to talk about a few related programs that are free to download and how/why I use them:

iChat - this comes with the Mac OS and is worth trying out. My disappointments with iChat have been more in the realm of failed attempts to realize multipe-person video chats (in conjuction with an iSite or other web/video cam) as promised, not with text or even voice chatting. I am told that this is likely an ISP issue, but it's still disappointing. You can talk to other iChat users or those on AOL or Jabber Instant Messenger services.

MSN Messenger - I use this, and I imagine that many people use this, simply because it is what most people use (which isn't very Mac-like of us, is it :-) ). The service seems to go down a lot for me and reconnecting involves too many clicks as far as I'm concerned. However, it's free and it's likely what you'll reach the most people on.

Skype - I think Skype deserves a shout out here too. Although most people think of Skype more as dedicated VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), it also has very functional text chatting as well. Plus, it has the best potential cross-platform coverage of any of these programs. I've had no issues doing multiple-voice chats, and it even has it's own widget. Check it out - you may be surprised how easy it is to avoid paying for those long distance phone calls!

All of the above can also deal with direct file transfers (i.e. drag and drop of files through your chat window) with varying degrees of ease/reliabiliity.

BTW, I've been doing much more voice chatting online recently (for work, but also to talk with my folks, etc.), so I'll post on how to set this up within the next few weeks, including the hardware and software that you'll need.
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9/27/2005 12:24:00 p.m.  


Anonymous Steve said...

You should check out Adium, it's greatness for chat on OS X.

September 27, 2005 4:38 p.m.  
Blogger Amber said...

Ooh, yes, I use Adium! Love it ;-) (except for the annoying duck - OK, he's kind of cute)!

September 28, 2005 1:25 a.m.  
Blogger Jeff MacArthur said...

I haven't actually tried Adium, but it looks great for if you have a whole slew of different chat accounts. However, I have had a problem with dragging and dropping files for transfer with people using Adium.

September 29, 2005 4:32 p.m.  

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