Sure, the good folks at America Online do offer an OS X version of their AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) client. However, it is still has a "beta" status, and lags behind the other version in terms of functionality. If only someone offered an alternative to the AOL offering...
Fortunately, our friend Adam Iser has come to the rescue and developed a rival client called Adium. It is already a favorite with several members of The Mac Observer staff, and with good reason. This things has more options that you can shake a stick at. Or, as Adam puts it on his web page "So many settings, you'll crap your pants."
One of your author's favorite features is one that seems to be missing from most other clients, namely, the ability to view people by a name other than their "screen" name. If your Buddy List starts growing, you may not remember the exact identify of Joe3489. But with Adium, you can display both their screen name, and a name that you specify.
More Options Than the Competition
(Click for a larger image)
Another compelling feature is the information that Adium can display about what state a user is in. Sure, the regular AIM client can do this, but Adium takes things one step further. The color of both a "status dot" and the name of your buddy will reflect what state they are in, such as idle, away and so on. But this information can also include the amount of time they have been in a certain state, so you know if your friend has stepped away for a few minutes, or hasn't touched their computer for hours or even days.
Other interesting features include live spell checking, a single or multi window chat interface, and the ability to define exactly what, if any, meaning a bouncing Adium dock icon has.
So make the most of your AIM chat experience, and give Adium a try.
Have any other Mac OS X gadgets that help you communicate? Send an e-mail to John, and he'll think real hard about reviewing 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