It’s Cool Tool Friday!

Every Friday, I’m going to start posting about little tools I’ve found recently that make my job easier, allow me to stay better organized, provide me with new and interesting functionality, or otherwise make using a computer for a minimum of 12 hours a day more enjoyable. I’ll post both Mac and PC tools since I realize there are still some PC users out there. 🙂

If you have experience with the tool I’m posting about, please post a comment letting us know what you think of it. If you use a similar tool (on any platform), please let us know about that, as well. My goal is an ambitious one: to improve my readers’ productivity and efficiency by introducing and sharing new free or low-cost tools and functionality. Of course, my posts will hopefully just be catalysts — the comments will probably end up being the more complete story.

Let’s start with an easy one. Everyone uses instant messaging, right? (Is there anyone out there who doesn’t?) And may of us probably use clients capable of handling multiple protocols. I’ve used several, and my favorite is Proteus (OS X only). It’s extremely powerful, robust, aesthetic, and even a little bit fun (cool icons). I’ve been using it for about a year, but I recently upgraded to version 4.02 which is a big improvement. Lots of little bug fixes, and very nice enhancements. Proteus also has a pretty decent community in place to help out when things go wrong (which is very rare, but inevitable when using any “unofficial” messaging client).

What instant messaging client do you use? What do you like about it and hate about it? Anyone out there have any experiences with Proteus they would like to share? Is there another client I should be evaluating?

9 Responses to It’s Cool Tool Friday!

  1. mike chambers says:

    Proteus rocks, and has the best interface of any IM client, anywhere.mike chambersmesh@macromedia.com

  2. For the rest of us pitiful folks still stuck with windows…I recommend Trillian Pro (with qualifications).Trillian has some major problems…1. The buddies.xml file OFTEN gets corrupted. I’ve taken to making a backup copy every time I modify my buddy list.2. I often get bumped into “idle” mode when I shouldn’t.3. The MSN connection gets dropped all the time. Yahoo and AIM reconnect when my comptuter wakes up. but not MSN. Maybe this is trillian, maybe M$.4. The file transfer funcitonality only works maybe 50% of the time.All that being said. If you use multiple IM services on windows, Trillian is really the best in my opinion. I like it a lot better than Odigo and, in my opinon, it’s worth the trillian hassles in order to avoid having to run 3 or 4 different chat clients.For those of you who are about to jump on my case… YES, I have played around with Jabber. But it was hit or miss figuring out how to connect it to the non-jabber IM services. If somebody has a lead on a “just install and go”, full-featured jabber client, I’d love to give it another go. But for now, I have better things to do than mess around with a Jabber install that I don’t really understand.Maybe Sean Voisen’s flash jabber client will ride to the rescue, although I haven’t heard much from him about it lately.

  3. I’m very happy with Trillian – although it started to blow up on me when my buddy list got huge. So, I took it as a chance to trim my buddy list.

  4. GriLLo says:

    I reccomend Miranda, much better, cleaner and light than Trillian, also is open-source and free, has a great list of plugins for it and supports far more protocols also

  5. I have Trillian set up on my Windows machine, and although it’s nice, and possibly the best solution out there, it doesn’t even compare to Proteus. Of course, that doesn’t do Windows users any good, but I had plenty of issues with Trillian (mostly connecting, staying connected, and retrieving contact lists from servers), however so far, no issues at all with Proteus with AIM, ICQ and Yahoo (except the email alert for Yahoo seems a little overly sensitive). I haven’t tried it with MSN, yet, though.Christian

  6. Kurt Wiersma says:

    My fav IM app on OS X is AduimX. It is open source and has a nice user community as well.

  7. Pete Freitag says:

    I use Gaim: http://gaim.sourceforge.net/ works on Windows and Linux.I like it better than trillian, and its free.

  8. proteus is what I use when I pull myself away from iChat AV. Since most of my contacts are also on iChat, I prefer to voice chat whenever possible, and even video chat on a rare occasion. So I stick with my iChat mostly.But Proteus is a good subsitute when I’m only using my personal powerbook at the office, and not the corporate pc (that’s got MSN messenger on it), thus I need msn and AIM capabilities. great secondary option to have!

  9. Clearly it’s been too long since I looked at IM clients. I have tried GAIM, but most of the other open-source options mentioned here are new to me.Thanks for the hints all… Looks like I’ll be doing some more trial-runs in the near future.ps. Christian… I really like the Cool Tool Friday idea… should prove to be fun and interesting.