Ever wished you could instantly communicate with someone without being tied down to a telephone? I know e-mail is one way to converse, but it's not instant, or real time. Cell phones are great (especially the iPhone), but in certain situations, like when you're at the movies or in a meeting, a voice conversation just isn't an option. What to do? Well, if you're part of the Internet generation, you're no doubt familiar with the term instant messaging. With instant messaging (IM), also known as chat, you can have a text conversation via the Internet with someone across the room or across the world in real time! In today's world of "tell me now—oops, too late" conversation, IM is a fantastically handy tool to use.
There are myriad chat applications for Mac OS X. In this chapter I concentrate on Apple's offering in this arena: iChat. iChat is IM at its best, in my opinion, but the third-party alternatives will be given some coverage in this chapter also.
iChat is Apple's take on instant messaging, and as usual, it's among the best applications of its type. iChat has a great interface that makes for the most Mac-like chatting experience around.
While iChat is fantastic at sending and receiving text messages instantaneously, it's also quite adept at video chatting, screen sharing, file sharing, and saving audio and video ...