:: Running from the Thought Police ::

Reality-Based Thoughts, Ruminations, and Unsolicited Opinions of a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student alumnus and employee.
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:: Monday, January 02, 2006 ::

Ready, AIM, Fire

AOL released a new AIM client, called AIM Triton, about a month ago, and I finally got around to downloading it. There's some good and bad things about it, which leaves me with mixed feelings.

First off, the Good:

::Tabbed IMs - for Firefox addicts, this is a godsend, reducing the number of windows on screen at any time even further.

::Deletion of buddies from the buddy list window itself - this was a feature long needed, especially since the ability to modify the buddy list within the main window has been standard on the other clients for years.

::Reduction in font support - I've seen a good deal of complaining about this one, but I support it, since my computer has fewer fonts than most. Forcing people to use a standard font rather than their favorite unreadable flowery one is a definite plus.

::AIM expressions actually look nice - I don't use these myself, but having been IMed by those who do, I can say that the backgrounds and such actually look nice and show through well rather than become some weird splash panel on the side of the box.

::Doesn't install over AIM 5.9 - I can go back to that client when I want.

The irrellevant:

::New graphics and slightly re-arranged interface - the graphics have needed an update for years, so that's not unexpected. The interface rearrangements will be familiar for those who've used MSN's or Yahoo's messenging clients, but may be a bit confusing for people who never strayed from the AOL reservation.

::No support for old-style chat - this really doesn't matter, because like MSN messenger, other people can be invited into conversations.

::Buddy Icons in the Buddy List - good if you don't like reading loads of text, but would be better if it actually worked more often and showed all the buddy lists.

::Plaxo address service thingy - I dunno how it works, because I was smart enough not to set it up. I'd like to uninstall it too, but that's just me.

And the Bad:

::Idle times are gone, and online times only visible when first IMing a person - this was mildly useful on the old version, and it shouldn't be that hard to restore to the new one.

::Installs AOL Explorer with NO uninstall - I am truely not happy with this one. I want Firefox to do everything, and I know that it can. Forcing the use of another browser that I don't want or need isn't a way to make/keep me happy.

Overall, I think that the new AIM client's off to a decent start. Am I thrilled with it? No, but I didn't expect to be. Each client has its own positives and negatives, and Triton definitely has its fair share of both. That said, I think it'll grow on me just like the XP start menu did. Once AOL adds back some of the features that people really wanted, then I might actually be happy with it.

:: The Squire 10:10 PM :: email this post :: ::


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