Apr 27 2009
By: Brian Burnham
At last it’s Friday, and time for another featured download of the week.
The Joy of Chat
Back in the early days of the net when chat was born, many of us found ourselves on IRC (internet relay chat). Today the world’s chatters are broken up over several major chat networks.
The problem of interpolarity
Fortunately, there is a solution without having to simultaneously run multiple chat clients. Enter the universal chat clients:
Fire is perhaps the oldest chat client out there for OS X. It came out in the beta days. Since then it has steadily improved to a veritable bonfire of features. These include support for PGP security, limited file transfer and undocumented “smileys”.
Features and frequent updates make this my at-home chat choice. Fire, like most universal clients, supports ICQ, Yahoo, AIM and MSN
Proteus is a newer OS X client, very similar to Fire. Though initial releases lacked Fire’s stability, current releases nearly match Fire in features and stability.
Proteus has two extra features that set it apart from Fire. First, Proteus has a corresponding menu bar icon (and you know how I love those) and its configurable windows make your chatting more subtle. This is useful if you chat at work and don’t want others to notice. Proteus supports the same chat networks as Fire.
So, “what do I do,” you ask, “if I’m still running OS 9?” Well there is hope. While I have not found a true universal chat client for the “classic” OS, there is another solution. While the above clients do the translating themselves, the Jabber network is composed of servers that do the “interpolation” of the different chat networks, similar to the way IRC works. Thus all you need is a Jabber client, like Jabbernaut. The down side? The Jabber networks can be unstable, as it is constantly being updated. However it is a solution worth investigating.
Also, if you get hooked on Jabber and upgrade to X you’ll be able to use Fore or Proteus to access your Jabber account.
So, until next week I’ll expect to see you on AIM, MSN, ICQ, Yahoo…