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instant messenger frustration


  

48 members have voted

  1. 1.

    • AOL
      1
    • Windows Live Messenger/MSN Messenger
      12
    • Yahoo Messenger
      4
    • ICQ
      1
    • Gaim
      2
    • Trillian
      8
    • Miranda
      16
    • Other
      4


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Instant messenger frustration...

I have to admit, like many, that it seems impossible to find any one instant messenger program that meets my needs.

Miranda is free, open source, and can be skinned to look like nearly anything you can imagine. However it's also nearly sickening in complexity to get it setup correctly (unless you happen to have a masters degree in computer science or something). On top of that, since its not a priority for developers, there is no webcam support for Miranda.

Trillian has some webcam support but since version 3.1 came out it hasn't been updated whatesoever. Trillian is supposedly being worked on for a major version update. Yet the official Trillian blog hasn't been updated in some time, and team members aren't replying to posters on the official forums about their progress. Trillian also eats almost as much Ram as XP itself does at times. Trillian also suffers from repeated problems connecting to both the AIM and Yahoo Messenger networks due to being slow to update to network changes by AOL and Yahoo. It also suffers from a rather large number of problems with file transfers, especially to/from people on Yahoo Messenger.

Gaim wasn't originally a Windows product, and it shows. Many of the features, such as support for skins, webcam support, etc. that Windows users have come to require in a program, simply aren't there and likely never will be. So, to date, there is simply no multi messenger client that meets my needs.

As to the official messenger clients... arrrrrrrrrg is all I can say.

AIM 6.0, formerly AIM Triton, still has no native support for skins. At least AIM 5.9 and previous were possible to skin with some 3rd party plug-ins like Aimutation. Despite AOL now being free for broadband customers, AIM still cannot connect to or chat on offical AOL chat rooms. Likewise, AIM still cannot view user profiles of actual AOL users. In addition, the webcam window is tiny and there is no way to adjust its size.

Yahoo messenger is skinnable, but for some reason skinning developement has slowed to almost nonexistance for it. It is now currently on version 8.1, and I haven't seen more than a small handful of skins for it since the time Yahoo Messenger 6 was out. Worse still, you can set it to "classic" mode to make use of a custom skin in use by Windows....or wait...no you can't. If you are using Windowblinds and not a visual style, then Yahoo will crash when set to classic mode. So you can make Yahoo Messenger look nice, but the instant you try to actually use it, it crashes. Sure, you can set Windowblinds to ignore Yahoo Messenger, and that solves the problem....but the end result is that Yahoo Messenger looks like complete garbage on the "classic" skin. Sure, it will have a similar color scheme to your Windowblinds skin, but that's it. So, you end up with an instant messenger that looks like it was written for Windows 95 and not XP. Both Stardock (the creators of Windowblinds) and Yahoo have known about the incompatiblity issue for months, and neither seems to care to address the issue and come up with a solution. The sad thing is, there are some older versions of Yahoo Messenger that will not crash when run in classic mode with Windowblinds. Why is that sad? Simple. Users get bombarded with restrictions on features and harrased with update messages if they do not use the absolute latest version of Yahoo Messenger. So, again you can make it look nice, but it still won't work properly. As to the functionality of Yahoo Messenger, it does offer a lot that I like, but I just can't get past how much of a complete and total eyesore that it is. Even with the few skins that were made for previous versions (that still work for Yahoo Messenger 8.x) applied, the program looks like trash when compared to the rest of your OS when using Windowblinds.

So, that leaves MSN Messenger, now called Windows Live Messenger. Unless you really love the appearance of Windows Vista, which I admit I am sick of myself, it's not even worth bothering with. From what I've read on various forums, Microsoft changed the method in which skinning was implimented between MSN Messenger 7.5 and Windows Live Messenger. As result, none of the previously released MSN Messenger skins will function on it. Despite the final version of Windows Live Messenger being out for a few months, there seems little interest in developing skins for it.

Is it really too much to ask? I mean really. How hard can it be? I'm no programmer but it can't be that hard. Here's all I'm looking for and asking for, and yet it seems impossible to find this in one program;

1. Support for accessing the AOL/AIM, Yahoo, and MSN networks.

2. Full webcam support with a resizable video window that won't make the image look like garbage at a larger size.

3. Full support for file transfers of any size to any person on my contact list, regardless of what network they are using.

4. Skin support that either allows the program to have beautiful looking skins designed easily for it, or simply a program that is 100% "theme aware". This meaning that both visual styles and Windowblinds can skin the app without producing crashes, instability problems, or graphical errors.

5. A consistant interface design that is not significantly changed between versions, unless a major bug is found. Thus, anyone who puts in the hard work and effort to designg a great looking skin for version 1.x won't have to completely redo the skin for it to work properly on version 2.x, 3.x, and so on.

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Looks like you're asking for iChat...it's not perfect but fulfills most of your needs. I think that it's impossible to create a perfect app unless you do it by yourself. Then it'd have all the features you need and it'd work just as you expect it to work.

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Looks like you're asking for iChat...it's not perfect but fulfills most of your needs. I think that it's impossible to create a perfect app unless you do it by yourself. Then it'd have all the features you need and it'd work just as you expect it to work.

And then someone will still say that it's doesn't have all the features that they want in a chat program. ;)

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And then someone will still say that it's doesn't have all the features that they want in a chat program. ;)

This is why I made "you" bold :) It's obvious that one can't please everyone with their work so the perfect IM client is impossible to develop.

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