A User’s Guide to Instant Messengers – I

It looks like a long time I posted last .. I was in a hectic schedule and thats it .. Anyway, I have decided to write about Instant Messengers this time, After my reviews of Yahoo Messenger and Msn Messenger, I got some very good responses .. So I start about Instant messengers, comparing the features of Yahoo Messenger and Msn Messenger , what I like and dislike in them .. I will conclude in the second part in which I’ll write what I want to have in the Instant Messenger of my choice .. So here we go ..

A preliminary

 

The instant messeging has been around for quite a long time now. What started with Unix’s chat program and slowly matured into IRC and then ICQ, was soon to become big business. I wont talk about the Irc’s history or how it matured but come straight to point .. The instant messenger users can be
classified into two types.. First, who are new to instant messeging, or email or the Internet itself and the second one who have been here for a long time . ..
The first type of people- who have just found out chatrooms, take pleasure in chatting in open chatrooms … Where they meet new people, befriend them, flirt with them, flame them and et all .. They are in process of increasing their contacts over the net .. Now the second type , since they’ve been around for some time now, they have many contacts on their lists .. Most of the time when they come online, they talk to their contacts and create closed chatrooms where the participants are invited and not everyone can join .. They may occasionally goto the open chatrooms for time pass but more often this is the case ..
My journey with Internet started long time ago .. Those days they had Yahoo’s Java chat and a program called Cheetah Chat for people not using Java chat .. As I enjoy chatting, my contact list soon grew big enough .. And now these days, for most of the time I am online, I am conversating with my existing friends and I seldom get time to goto chatrooms and flirt and all that .. So you see these closed chatrooms or just “Conferences” from here on (in YIM’s syntax) are as important as Open Chatrooms (Chatrooms from here on) …

Features

 

Now the Instant messengers have graduated from just being text messengers to Voice messengers, they support live webcams, you can send and recieve files with them, share photos and more (?) … The nuisance have also grown, the popular clients are bloated with many un necessary features, there are security threats, software called booters to crash your client. The resource usage have since increased manyfold …

Comparison

 

I will compare two popular clients here .. Yahoo Messenger and Msn Messenger. I have deliberately left AIM out because I dont use it .. And I am sure everyone on the Internet have atleast a Yahoo Id and a Msn id .. So the majority of the users wont be left out ..

What I like in Msn Messenger

 

  • 1. First thing that I like about it is its integration with my operating system .. (This is a nuisance to most people though, sometime to me too ) .. It will integrate very well with Outlook or Outlook express and tell you if your contacts are online or if you have any unread messege (if you use Hotmail) ..
  • 2. Application sharing and Whiteboard is another nice addon .. It can be very useful sometime ..
  • 3. One good thing about Msn is Passport .. The Passport Network is one of its biggest strengths .. Passport enabled website will show if you are online, and you can use a single Passport Id accross all supported websites (Liked it ? Read on, you will hate it ) .. And yeah .. you can choose your Passport Id anything as you want .. If can be [email protected] too ..
  • 4. As Public chatrooms were closed by Microsoft, only Conferences are left .. and in Conferences, you have the basic set of features .. .. ( I dont seem to find any other good thing about Msn 😀 )

 

What I dislike in Msn Messenger

 

I wont be very considerate here >:) ..

  • 1. The first deterrent in using Msn Messenger for me is sharing my email address .. So if you are in some conference, and a new person joins, he will know your email address .. I simply hate this ..
  • 2. Then there are those ugly emoticons and nudge (ewww) ..
  • 3. When you are online and someone invite you to a conference, you get added without your consent .. it never asks you .. what a crap .. I dont understand what is the logic behind this “feature” …
  • 4. I hate those ugly advertisements in every part of Messenger .. You need a pack of winks ? Pay for it .. You need dynamic avatar ? .. Pay for it .. Eww ..
  • 5. [Edit: This was added later] I just found out that I cannot ingore a person when I am in conference .. I am sure this is a bug and it wont be there in the final version .. When I tried to block a person, it said “Your block of xxx does not apply to this conversation” ..
  • 6. Whenever I click on any link in Msn Messenger .. say to check Hotmail , a new window of Internet Explorer opens and not my default browser .. And for the fact that Maxthon can handle DDE messeges for other programs too, it seems that it is hard coded in the Messenger to call Internet Explorer, so even Maxthon can not install hook on the new window The newest version of Maxthon 1.5 takes care of this..
  • 7. Having one set of lock and keys is dangerous .. So if your Passport account is compromised by any way .. say someone installed a keylogger on your system and got hold of your Passport account info, then all the sites which you access with Passport are compromised .. This is a grave security threat ..
  • 8. The messege archive is saved in text format, without any encryption .. So anyone can look whats inside them ..
  • 9. The interface of Msn Messenger conversation window is such that number of messeges that come in a window is very less .. A typical “Your friend says: ” and then a newline before the messege .. This takes so much space …
  • 10. No offline messeges support

What I like in Yahoo Messenger

 

  • 1. The best thing in Yahoo Messenger is support for multiple profiles. You can have as many as six aliases to your default Yahoo Id and when you login to Yahoo Messengers, you can select which profile you use when talking to anyone .. This takes care of sharing email address problem .. No one can find out your email address lest you tell them ..
  • 2. Offline messeges support. A weakness in MSN Messenger is YIM’s strong point .. This together with Mobile support makes a great combination .. Your contacts can reach you even when you are not online too ..
  • 3. Stealth settings: Another great feature, you can set whom you want to appear online or offline .. Comes very handy when you are talking to your friends and not want to appear online to office people .. There are more utilization too 😛
  • 4. I like the Yahoo Search integration in YIM since version 7 onwards .. The s: searchword shortcut is very usefull for me ..

What I dislike in Yahoo Messenger

 

  • 1. The offline messeges support have been made somewhat jerky since version 6. All the offline messeges are deleted when you see them and they are not saved even when archiving is enabled .. The only way to save all offline messeges is to reply to them .. Bad point ..
  • 2. Less features in Conferences .. The Conference starter should atleast have power to kick users out of the room .. Photo sharing and Yahoo Search integration should also be done in Conferences too ..
  • 3. What is the use of “hidden emoticons” ..? I mean what is the logic behind making some emoticons hidden from user ..? They can always find them out .. “Hidden emoticons” should be also added to emoticon list ..
  • 4. Resource utilization: Yahoo Messenger is slowly becoming a bloatware .. The resource usage for YIM 7 is around 42 Mb on my system .. further open IM windows add to that .. MSN Messenger 7.5 on the other side takes very less resource .. It takes around 18 Mb with a conf window open ..
  • 5. So many booters around .. I have to run antibooter software most of the time to discourage booters .. This also adds to resource usage of YIM .. Most of the time Antibooter + Yim (1 Conf and around 3 IM windows generally) takes around 74 Mb of Ram .. 😮 .. I remember 64 Mb was sufficient for Win 95 (an operating system) and this is a software .. Eek ..
  • 6. What is the point of Online Installation ..?? If you want to upgrade Yahoo Messenger, you have to run the installer which downloads the files from Yahoo servers to install .. If network connection fails (very frequent for me), installation fails .. And you cannot run Yahoo Messenger while its downloading new installation files .. I dont see the logic behind this .. Anyways, you can find out the installation file by checking your firewall log and then download it with your download manager ..:P
  • 7. I dont understand why Voice Chat was replaced with complicated Call feature .. Only addon that I see is you can now save voice messeges as archive ..
  • 8. That advertisement frame in chatrooms .. It irritates me a lot ..Sometime when it gets refreshed, it changes it size and takes more than half of the chat window .. Ewww

Hmm.. So those were some of the issues that I notice daily while using messengers .. I havent added many bloat things to dislikes as you can disable them through preferences .. As most of the time Audibles and IMVironts are disabled on my system … In the next part I will talk about features that I want to see in my favorite IM Clients .. So .. keep a watch ..

15 Replies to “A User’s Guide to Instant Messengers – I”

  1. hi, i know all this things before but am searching how to trace out a default id of a person if he is chatting with multipleid in yahoo messenger.
    i hope u have answer for this if u hav r hav any clue about it plz mail me

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