NOTE: This is actually an article I wrote for the Cornerstone University Herald. I just thought I’d cross post.

It seems funny to me that people who use instant messenger clients often think that everyone uses one. People who don’t often don’t even know what one is. Then there’s that small group that knows, but has stayed away because they know they’ll get pulled in, and be as addicted as the rest of us.

I use instant messaging a lot. I have a group of friends that have the same sort of job that I do, and we bounce ideas off of each other all the time. It’s sort of like having a virtual office.

Not all of my friends and family use the same instant messenger though. Some use AIM, some Yahoo, some MSN, and some Jabber. So I looked for an instant messenger client that would let me log into all of them at once, and talk to people on each of them.

The one I found is called gaim. It was originally built to run in Linux, but about 6 months ago a windows version came out. Now, you may say "There are other clients that do that! There’s Trillian, and DeadAIM." But gaim does much more. Ever had conversations going with more than 3 people at once? gaim lets you keep all of your conversations in one window, with a tab for each conversation. That can save a LOT of screenspace.

Another nice feature is a spell checker. Aspell is a spell check program that gets installed when you install gaim. Then (assuming you choose it in your preferences) when you spell a word incorrectly, it shows red. Right click on the word and a pop-up list of options is provided.

I happen to be a screen bigot, meaning I run the highest resolution possible, and the smallest fonts possible, so that I can fit more on my screen. This means that I don’t miss the ads in the commercial AIM client.

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