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Mac OS X Hacks by Rael Dornfest, Kevin Hemenway

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Top iChat Tips

iChat is more than just a great instant messenger client. Here is a collection of tips to get the most out of this fabulous addition to the iApp family.

The moment it became available, just about every Mac geek I knew dropped their AIMs, Adiums, Fires, Jabbers, and Proteuses and made the switch to iChat, Apple’s iApp-flavored instant messaging client. What’s not to love? It’s colorful, friendly, and decidedly Mac. But there’s more beneath the candy-coated surface than just another instant messenger (IM) application.

This hack is all about getting the most out of iChat through a few useful tips and delightful surprises discovered between “Up late?,” “We’re moving that meeting to Friday,” and “Dinner’s ready!”

Into the Well

Before you do anything else, be sure to put a face to your IM name. There’s nothing quite as distancing as a conversation with a generic AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) icon. Whether you choose a cartoon character close to your heart or a recent promo snapshot you were badgered into, simply drag an image into the buddy icon well at the top right of the iChat buddy list window (see Figure 3-1) and it’ll appear along with your name or IM handle in your buddies’ buddy lists.

Dragging a picture into the buddy icon well

Figure 3-1. Dragging a picture into the buddy icon well

As shown in Figure 3-2, iChat’s Buddy Icon dialog allows you to scale and position your preferred image until it’s just right. ...

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