Back when I was a kid, I always smiled about how grown-ups were so dismissive of computers and all the new IT-technology in general. “I don’t need this new stuff, I’ll keep on writing on my typewriter“. I told myself that I would never become like them, that my generation was different. I admit, I was wrong. The older I get, the more reluctant I get about “new features”. I just want things to work the way I am used to.
That said, I’m not only using a dinosaur OS™, but I’m also a dinosaur when it comes to communicating with others over the net. I’m a 90s internet guy. I remember when I sent my first e-mail (selling an old SEGA game) back in ’96 and how excited I was to receive an answer so quickly within minutes. Another fond memory was ICQ, which I ran into in 1999. Instant-Messengers made communication so much easier and have since then become an everyday companion. While all the cool kids hang out in Facebook Chat today, I remain using ICQ. So do my friends & family. However, I keep running into more and more obstacles.
There have been a lot of Instant Messengers for Tiger. Many of them support multi protocols, which means you can write to people on yahoo messenger or AIM using only one client. (instead of separates for each protocol)
The most popular one for the Mac is arguably Adium. Adium offers support for multiple protocols, a nice interface and it can be customized. However, they were pretty quick about dropping support for Tiger. When ICQ changed something in their protocols, they announced that there won’t be a fix for version 1.3.10, the last one that supports Tiger. While e.g. the Yahoo Messenger protocol still works fine with Adium, ICQ is out of the race. And so am I.
There is an official ICQ app that I use since that day. Lo and behold, it is a carbon application from 2003 which will even run on OS 9. To my surprise it works fine, except that it doesn’t deliver offline messages and looks a bit quirky. It’s also very basic in its functions. I find it interesting that ICQ stopped developing a Mac version of their messenger back in 2003, when Macs were finally on the rise again. Odd decision. Anyway, it’s dated, it’s ugly and it’s “basic” BUT it works.
That’s more than other Instant Messengers (IM) for Tiger. In my attempt to find a more recent one, I found Psi. It looked promising and I like the list of features but for whatever reason I couldn’t get it to work. It wouldn’t connect. The project also doesn’t look very lively, as so many open source projects.
Then there is also Proteus, an IM with one of the most bizarre websites I’ve ever seen. Close your eyes and run for the download. Version 4 is said to still support 10.4 Tiger. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to use it with ICQ and eventually gave up after unsuccessfully trying to set it up for half an hour. Maybe some Proteus user can enlighten me?
While digging around for an Instant Messenger supporting ICQ on Tiger, I found that there is a Web ICQ which can be executed in the browser window. Unfortunately, it requires Flash *sigh* and it doesn’t save the message history. Plus whenever my browser crashes (not too often, but still) it crashes as well. I also expect them to “flip the switch” every day now and setting Flash 10.2 as a minimum requirement. (10.1 is the last version for PowerPC Macs) So I’m not really too fond of it.
That said, I’m still waiting for someone to come around and presenting us an easy-to-configure, fully Tiger & Leopard compatible multi protocol instant messenger that will allow us to save a message history, send offline messages and doesn’t look ugly. Anyone up for the task?