You'll get your Mac news here from now on...

Help TMO Grow

Subscriber Login

Advertising Info

The Mac Observer Express Daily Newsletter

More Info

Site Navigation

Columns & Editorials
Mac Links

Monday's Mac Gadget
by John F. Braun

Want AIM/ICQ/Yahoo! In Mac OS X? Fire It Up!
March 26th, 2001

Fire 0.22.a (Public Beta)

After getting over the initial excitement of Mac OS X, we decided to see how many of our OS 9 applications we could bring over to the OS X world. When we thought about Instant Messaging, we were lucky to find a new application via our iDisk. The application is called Fire, and it can communicate with different systems at once...

At present, Fire advertises being able to communicate with AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) ICQ and Yahoo! Pager. We were able to confirm operation with AIM and ICQ. Although we didn't try them, there are also entries in the Fire Services window for irc, JABBER and MSN, hinting at future expansion.

Fire Buddy List

Fire Buddy List, Showing Multiple Services

What makes Fire different is that it incorporates libraries (code to communicate with the various messaging services) available under GPL, or the GNU General Public License. This license encourages developers to release their code (including source) to the development community at large. Since Mac OS X incorporates GNU development tools, Mac developers can both take advantage of, and contribute to, this effort.

Back to Fire... the first thing you'll want to do is to import all of your contacts into Fire from other programs. With AIM this is easy. Just choose Export Buddy List... from AIM, which will write your buddies to a text file. A handy place to put this may be your iDisk. You can then import this list into Fire. For ICQ, this is a bit more tedious, since there doesn't seem to be a way to export your contacts with the current Mac client.

Once you've imported contacts, you can then use Fire to chat. It will show both online and off-line users, no matter what service they use. The service is indicated by a unique icon for each service, so you can keep track of everyone. At times, the Fire application would quit on us, but it is at version 0.22, so this was not unexpected. What was nice is that this didn't take the whole system down.

So start chatting with all your friends under OS X, no matter what service they use, and check out Fire.

Have any other Mac Gadgets that you'd want to share with your buddies? Let John know via e-mail, so he can review it.

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

You can also Post Your Comments below.

Current Monday's Mac Gadget

Visit Monday's Mac Gadget Archives for more great Mac Gadgets!

Today's Mac Headlines

[Podcast]Podcast - Apple Weekly Report #135: Apple Lawsuits, Banned iPhone Ad, Green MacBook Ad

We also offer Today's News On One Page!

Yesterday's News


[Podcast]Podcast - Mac Geek Gab #178: Batch Permission Changes, Encrypting Follow-up, Re-Enabling AirPort, and GigE speeds

We also offer Yesterday's News On One Page!

Mac Products Guide
New Arrivals
New and updated products added to the Guide.

Hot Deals
Great prices on hot selling Mac products from your favorite Macintosh resellers.

Special Offers
Promotions and offers direct from Macintosh developers and magazines.

Browse the software section for over 17,000 Macintosh applications and software titles.

Over 4,000 peripherals and accessories such as cameras, printers, scanners, keyboards, mice and more.

© All information presented on this site is copyrighted by The Mac Observer except where otherwise noted. No portion of this site may be copied without express written consent. Other sites are invited to link to any aspect of this site provided that all content is presented in its original form and is not placed within another .