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Monday's Mac Gadget
by John F. Braun


Want iChat with Tabs? Try Chax!

April 3rd, 2006

Chax 1.4 (Donationware)
Kent Sutherland

Apple's iChat has come a long way since its introduction. In the beginning, you could chat with other users via the AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) infrastructure. This would allow chatting with your Mac friends and, if you admit to having them, Windows friends, too. Then an AV aspect was added, so you could chat using not only text, but audio and video as well. Chatting with Jabber users was also added. But there are those who may want even more features, such as a tabbed interface to chat with multiple users. Chax offers this, and a whole lot more.

Chax integrates seamlessly with iChat, offering a new Chax category in the iChat preferences. The choices under this new category include General, Chats, Tabs, Away, Notifications and About. Some on TMO's staff really want iChat with Tabs, so we decided to go there first. You can select the keys used to switch between tabs, and the location of the tab bar. One may think that you may lose something using tabs, and you'd be right. Specifically, you can't see if each user is typing. Chax handles this by indicating a user's state via the color of text in their tab.


iChat with Tabs via Chax

The other portions of Chax offer other features to really improve iChat. The Notifications section allows various options for using the Dock to display messages. The Away section gives more options for away behavior, including auto-away, auto-reply and screen saver away messages. The Chats section handles how you'd like to initiate a chat, options for the message window, and settings when in AV mode. Finally, the General section offers display and font options.

So enhance your iChat experience today and give Chax a try!

Have any other gadgets that improve upon Apple's original offerings? Send an e-mail to John and he'll give it a spin.

Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you with those cool things that we all just have to have on our Macs. Shareware, Freeware, Postcardware, Emailware, and even commercial apps, Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you find and use the best of these programs.


John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line at

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