IM is the new email

IM is the new email

Summary: In response to my piece yesterday about video chat bugs in iChat AV, many of you IM'd me to suggest other IM clients for the Mac - the most popular being Adium X.

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USB-device-tree.pngIn response to my piece yesterday about video chat bugs in iChat AV, many of you IM'd me to suggest other IM clients for the Mac - the most popular being Adium X. I have used most of the IM clients for the Mac (Fire, Proteus) at one time or another and was a two-year user of Adium until I got my MacBook Pro. I switched back to iChat because the MBP has a built-in iSight camera and Adium doesn't support video chats.

Video chat is a potentially killer application (Apple's iSight camera sales prove this) but the implementation is busted. The other problem is that until video chat is more reliable, less and less people will even bother trying it. I'd venture to say that 95 percent of the people that purchased iSight cameras don't use them anymore. The most common reason? "There's no one on my buddy list to video chat with."

So it's a vicious cycle, no one uses their cams, so no one video chats. I believe that more people would be compelled to use video chat if the experience was better. But it's not, it's disappointing and people slowly stop connecting their cameras to their notebooks because, what's the point?

Several people pointed out that video chatting works just fine for them, but most were only chatting one-on-one and/or under very controlled situations. Just as many people IM'd me to say that video chatting (or "VIM" as I like to call it) is mostly busted in iChat AV.

Serious iChat AV users are spectacularly underwhelmed with the image quality of the iSight cameras that are built into the iMac, MacBook and MBP. This is mostly because the new iSight camera is USB-based whereas the external iSight runs on FireWire (if you look in System Profiler you'll see the iSight hanging off the USB bus.) The other problem with video chat is that you're dealing with packet-based transfer as opposed to continuous, which is much better for video and audio.

Two other features that need to be added to iChat AV are multiple protocol support (Yahoo, MSN, ICQ, Jabber) so that I can log into multiple services and once and have cross service conferences and support for logging into multiple accounts at once. And while I'm at it, Apple should acquire Chax so that they can finally have tabbed chat windows in iChat.

What do you like/dislike about iChat? My IM handle is in the comments below.

Topic: Social Enterprise

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6 comments
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  • Post your comments then IM me

    The best way to reach me is via IM, in fact I prefer it to email. If you want to IM me via AIM/iChat my handle is "PowerPage95"
    Jason D. O'Grady
  • iChat AV or any IM for Mac

    My disapointment is in the compatibility of IM software.
    Why can't iChat AV talk to MSN or Yahoo or AOL(properly)?
    It doesnt make sense to have so many IM clients and none of
    them talk to each other...

    I would be happy if iChat AV talked to yahoo and MSN myself...
    full support for Video and Audio... no reason why not.

    Let people choose the IM they like and let them talk to
    whomever they want.

    Lack of support on the Mac side of all these IM clients is
    horrible. I like yahoo but it hasn't been updated in 3 years for
    the Mac... the windows version leaving it behind by 5 upgrades...
    what is that about? Yahoo seriously doesnt care about its Mac
    users.

    I could go on but I wont... comments?
    mmcquade
    • Protocols

      I think its important for the multiple protocols esp MSN but as we
      have seen in Adium is just adds complexity. MSN has so many
      extra features now such as personal messages, folder sharing,
      photos etc that keeping up and adding all these features is a lot of
      work.
      petewhite
  • ichat works great for me on a daily basis

    Hi

    I recognize some of your criticism of iChat, such as problems with bandwidth error messages, but it is actually rare I encounter them. I video chat almost daily between Sweden and the US (California, Tennessee, Indiana). Yesterday my brother in California and my family and I in Sweden watched the soccer World Cup match together between Sweden and England. My brother was on full screen on my Powerbook watching the game on his TV and we watching on our TV. That's typical for us. We often play online games together with the video chat enabled to make it as live as it can be. I speak with my parents and my sister very often and only rarely have issues. I thought you might want to hear a positive experience.

    David
    Davidoo
  • One Viable Alternative...

    for video chat, especially cross-platform, is SightSpeed. I tested this app over the weekend and easily video chatted with a Windows user in Thailand. SightSpeed is free (for its basic plan)...works well with my iSight.
    Brich
  • cckpxnu 07 dcf

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