I have accounts on many of the various messaging systems since I can't get everyone I know to stop using whatever they are using and switch to just one. There has been some progress towards inter-op-ability of the various clients, Yahoo Messenger users and Windows Live Messenger users can now send messages to one another, but you still need to run three or four to stay connected to everyone. There are features that are unique to each client and features, such as webcams, that you can only use within an individual client, and so I do download and install each one that I use. But for general purposes, I have stopped using all the different ones on a daily basis and switched to Pidgin. I set the other clients not to load on system startup and enter all my accounts into Pidgin.
Pidgin, available at www.pidgin.im, let's you send and receive at least the basic text messages from users of:
- Google Talk
It is an open-source program, released under the GNU General Public License (GPL) and runs on Windows and a variety of Linux distributions. There is also a related program called Adium designed for Mac OS X.
According the the Pidgin website, "Pidgin supports many features of the various networks, such as file transfer, away messages, and typing notification. It also goes beyond that and provides many unique features. A few popular features are Buddy Pounces, which give the ability to notify you, send a message, play a sound, or run a program when a specific buddy goes away, signs online, or returns from idle; and plugins, consisting of text replacement, a buddy ticker, extended message notification, iconify on away, spell checking, tabbed conversations, and more."
I haven't used all of these features, but I do appreciate having to only run one program to talk to people from a variety of networks at the same time.
God's blessings on the ministry you do each day,
Pastor Andy Arnold
ELCA Youth Ministry Network's Tech Geek
P.S. - It was great to see some of you regular readers at the Extravaganza!