Monday, April 6, 2009

Lesson 4: Instant Messaging

IM Services

There are several free IM services that you can register with. An account with one of these services allows you to talk to other users of the service. So, if your friend uses AIM and your brother uses Yahoo! you will need to sign up with both services. When you sign up for IM, you are also signing up for email. If you already have an email account with a service, look around on the email screen to find a link for IM.

AIM sign up screen
Google Talk
Yahoo! sign up

You can use these through a web browser. Additionally, most have a client that you can download which some people prefer. In either case, you will need an Internet connection in order to chat online with others. There are free services, but these are the most popular ones in the United States.

This tutorial about Google Talk covers the specifics of using Google Talk. Additionally, there are tutorials available for installing the AIM desktop client and setting up MSN Messenger. So, sign up from a account or two or three and get chatting!

Instant Messaging aggregators

Aggregators allow you to bring together all of your IM services. So, you can register with AIM, Google Talk, MSN and Yahoo! but only log in one place. Once you are logged into the aggregator, you can talk with people using any of the services. You will need to have accounts with all of the services, however.

Pidgin – requires a software download
Trillian - requires a software download
Digsby - requires a software download
Meebo – can log in through a web browser, no software download

A good explanation of aggregators is avaialable at "Pidgin - Free Instant Messenger: AIM, YIM, MSN, IRC, GMail."This is specifically a tutorial for Pidgin, but the basic explanation of an aggregator is useful even if you decide to use Trillian or Pidgin.

You only need one aggregator, since an aggregator will bring all of your accounts together. So, look at a couple, choose one, and then chat with anyone using any IM service from just one place.

There will be a hands-on lab session in room 314 on Thursday 4/9 from 10-11 AM. No need to register.

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