Gizmo5 - Powerful, Portable Messaging

Gizmo5 - Powerful, Portable Messaging

Summary: I mentioned recently that I use Gizmo5 for most of my text messaging. This is in part because I like the interface, which is clean and easy to read, and in part because it lets me pull most of my different text message services together in a single interface.

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TOPICS: Linux
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I mentioned recently that I use Gizmo5 for most of my text messaging. This is in part because I like the interface, which is clean and easy to read, and in part because it lets me pull most of my different text message services together in a single interface. I have my MSN and Yahoo accounts configured in Gizmo, and it is possible to do the same with AIM and MySpace accounts today. Gizmo says that they will be adding Jabber and iChat interfaces soon as well. It certainly is nice to have only one messaging program running instead of three or more!

I made an even nicer discovery yesterday. I noticed on the Gizmo5 web page that the Nokia 6230i is listed as being compatible with Gizmo5 Mobile. My old cell phone was a 6230i, so I dug it out, charged it up, and had them send Gizmo5 to it. Sure enough, it worked! Not very nice to use, though, because of the small display on the 6230i (which was one of the major reasons that I replaced it). However, I believe that my current Nokia 6234 is not much more than a glorified 6230 in vendor-specific (Swisscom) packaging, so I thought Gizmo5 might work on it as well. I swapped the SIM card back to it, had Gizmo5 sent to it, and sure enough, it works just great - and it's a lot nicer to use on the larger display.

The contact list shown on the cell phone display looks the same as the Gizmo contact list on my PC. It even has the presence/status indication for each contact, and it's correct! (Which is something that Skype is still unable to do reliably even on PC-to-PC connections.)

Now, the 6234 and 6230i are really not much more than ordinary cell phone - they certainly are not "Internet Tablets" or anything of the sort. I'm sure that Gizmo5 Mobile is even nicer on one of those fancy new devices, but I am just really pleased and impressed that it runs on my plain old cell phone.

I also got to try out another new feature that Gizmo5 has recently added, message forwarding via SMS. If you send a text message to one of your contacts, and they are not currently online, Gizmo gives you a menu to choose what to do with that message. If the contact has a cell phone number registered in their Gizmo profile, one of the choices you will be given is to deliver the message via SMS. This can be very nice if you are trying to send a message to someone and you don't want to have to wait for them to get on a computer again to receive it. Of course, there is a cost associated with sending the SMS, so you have to have some credit on your Gizmo account to be able to do this. Likewise, if they have an email address registered in their Gizmo profile another of the options is to send the message via email, which once again might get it to them before they actually start up Gizmo again. If they have both a cell phone and email address in their profile, you will also be given the choice of delivering the message both ways - I guess this is the "Blunderbuss" option, for those who are determined to get through if at all possible. The other delivery option is to have Gizmo simply hold the message and deliver it via IM the next time your contact logs into Gizmo. In this case the message is held on a Gizmo server until it can be delivered - which is vastly superior to Skype's purely peer-to-peer delivery method, because it doesn't require both of you to be online at the same time for the message to be delivered. (In fact, when you combine the p2p delivery method with Skype's horribly unreliable presence reporting, the result is that you NEVER know if or when an IM text message might be delivered; the Skype User Forums are filled with people complaining about messages not being delivered for many days.) Oh, and the final menu option is to simply discard the message, of course.

In summary, Gizmo5 IM is pleasant to use, has a nice user interface, runs on lots of different platforms (Windows, MacOS, Linux, and various Mobile devices), can pull together your IM accounts from a variety of sources in a single interface, and has a variety of useful delivery options. It's all good!

jw 2/4/2008

Topic: Linux

J.A. Watson

About J.A. Watson

I started working with what we called "analog computers" in aircraft maintenance with the United States Air Force in 1970. After finishing military service and returning to university, I was introduced to microprocessors and machine language programming on Intel 4040 processors. After that I also worked on, operated and programmed Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8, PDP-11 (/45 and /70) and VAX minicomputers. I was involved with the first wave of Unix-based microcomputers, in the early '80s. I have been working in software development, operation, installation and support since then.

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