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For all those Instant Messaging freaks out there check this out if you haven't already! ;) Instant Messages....you've got to admit they can be funny at times and provide that personal and intimate environment when spreading the latest goss or having that little heart to heart when you just can't keep away from your loved one. Alternatively when you're bored and just want to meet someone new if only for a while then this tool is perfect! Though I’ve used ICQ before in the past, I wasn’t much for it and preferred something easier to use. I also have MSN but find this very limited in that you can only communicate with people who have hotmail/msn e-mail accounts.
I was introduced to AIM a couple of years ago by a friend of mine and found it incredibly easy to use and jam packed with lots of cool little features. If you haven't figured it out by now this is an instant messaging program very similar to ICQ and others like MSN. As with many of these programs the person on the other end i.e. the subject of your instant message must also sign up with the service though they don't have to have it installed on their machine to communicate. I'll get to this little feature in a while but it's definitely handy if you are away or at work, etc. It can be used to communicate with users of AOL's internet access as well though let me point out that you don't have to have AOL's internet access to use this!
Now down to the nitty gritty!
The one site you'll need to visit for signing up, downloading software and further help and information is: http://www.aol.co.uk/aim
********** * FEATURES * **********
Set up personalized buddy list Store comments and phone numbers for each buddy Set privacy options Talk via microphone Send attachments like pics, latest holiday snaps, etc Create a mini chat room with selected buddies Sort your buddies into groups like work mates, family, etc. Share buddy list with friends Receive e-mail alerts Get latest news headlines and check stocks and shares Play games (I mean literally…hehe though you’re free to play other kinds of games if you wish ;) ) with your buddies Search for people all over the world Enter limited chat rooms for AIM users Send AIM greetings (similar to E-greetings but INSTANTLY!) Set up a personal profile Receive buddy alerts Set up privacy options and block those irritating buggers! Choose buddy icons Customize sounds
***These are all the ones I can think of but I think you get the point that it’s totally jam packed with features by now!***
Although there are LOADS of features here the one thing I like about this over other similar software is the ease of use. It’s really very simple to use and to set up.
*********** * SIGNING UP * ***********
Before you can use this you need to have a registered screen name. Alternatively if you are already signed up to one of the following services then you can use your existing screen name if you choose to from:
To sign up just visit the following link and follow relevant links to register. You will need to think of a username and password and supply an e-mail address so that a confirmation mail and welcome to AIM message can be sent to you. That’s all there is to it! Now you’re ready to drive everyone crazy with your instant messages! Don’t worry you don’t get any junk mail from AIM. In fact I haven’t received any e-mail from AIM apart from the welcome message I received when I signed up - so that suits me just fine.
************* * DOWNLOADING * ************* Downloading will take approximately 2-20 minutes depending on the speed of your internet connection. The size of the application is 2.56MB. System Requirements: •Intel 486 or Pentium computer •Windows 95, 98, 2000, ME, XP or Windows NT •8 MB of free memory, 5 MB of free disk space •256-color display •Internet connection
******************* * EXTRA COOL FEATURES * *******************
If you’re desperate to get IMing whilst at work or school or college then have no fear because if any of the regular ports have been blocked AIM can easily locate a port to connect through. It will also work from behind a firewall all at the click of a button!
If you don’t want to use AIM without installing it on your system, maybe because you’re at work, etc then you can quite easily log on via the web. To do this you will need to visit the main site and click on the AIM EXPRESS links. This will open up a little window in which the application will run like normal. However, if you choose to access the service this way, not all the features will be available.
AIM has its own set of system sounds for when buddies sign on/off or send messages. These can be customized to suit your preference or if you prefer you can disable them.
AIM also has its own set of emoticons which are great for expressing yourselves and I find them quite amusing. These are larger and in my opinion better than those on MSN but there are fewer emoticons in comparison.
If you’re like me and can’t remember anything about the last person you talked to, there’s a handy little feature that allows you to store comments on each of your buddies like name, age or anything else. The one that features most on my comments list for several buddies is “total w***er” or “prat” and the good thing is they don’t know a thing about it! Hehehehehe.
AIM allows you to search for people to talk to from all over the world. You can search for people by name and address if you know who you’re after or if like me you want to find any random person to torture then search by hobby. There are loads of categories to search under ensuring you find many weirdos – sorry…people to talk to!
************** * FIZ’s VERDICT * ************** It’s simple and easier to use than ICQ and MSN. You can access it even if behind a firewall or other such software. It’s packed with loads and loads of features and you’ll definitely be having a lorra lorra laughs! (no...it’s not sponsored by Cilla Black!)
The only disadvantage I can think of at the moment is that to my knowledge it doesn’t support video conferencing or anything similar but since I don’t use this feature myself it’s no problem for me.