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If like me you are the biggest blether that there is, then you will ove this nifty little piece of freeware, keep in touch with the world and install ICQ.
Today there are literally thousands of chat software programs available for Internet users to converse with family and friends. The clear leader of all packages is surely to be ICQ. What the initials actually mean I have no idea but my thought have always been it means I see you? But that as I say is just a thought.
ICQ has always been available since I started to use the net back in August ’98 and has moved on leaps and bounds since then, we are now on ICQ 2001B although I am still with 2001A, just never got round to downloading the most up to date version.
So what functionality does ICQ actually have? Well, more than a few if we were to be really honest! And what a wonderful bunch of tricks they are.
Instant Messaging ~
This is probably the main function used on ICQ and is where a user can send a message to someone on his or her Contact List (you set this up by adding / inviting users to your list), messages are also received in the same way with the infamous Oh – oh alert sound that we all love dearly.
When you opt to send an instant message a little box appears on your desktop and provides all the details of the person you are sending your message to. It will have his or her unique ICQ number which you will get when registering (keep safe) you need this if you want to invite a friend to your list! It will then have their username, which you can alter for your own preferences and then their email address.
You can check all contact history from the message box and change the appearance overall i.e background, font size and style etc. You are also informed of how many characters you have typed in your message, as 450 are the maximum you can send.
Then you have the usual Send – to send! Cancel – cancel message, very straightforward huh!
This next option is good for those of you who love to share things. By choosing file you are opting to send a piece of information from your PC to someone else’s. This can be anything from a music file to a picture of you, anything that may be stored as a file can be sent. The bigger the file the longer it will take to transfer.
You can set this up to check for emails from your POP server and have ICQ alert you when received but this can only be done if the mail is sent from someone on your ICQ list, I have received a few alerts to say that I have email form my buddies but have found that it does not always work, it may just be that I have not set it up properly?
Web Page Address URL ~
If you stumble across a great web page and would love to share it with buddies on your list chose this option enter the address and ICQ will do the rest for you, it can even be sent to multiple recipients, when received this sounds like a frog croaking for some bizarre reason.
You will find that if your profile is in public view and you are over 18 you will get URL’s for all sorts of sex sites, this is easily avoidable by hiding your profile from unwanted users!
ICQ Chat ~
This is an excellent piece of Chat software and is like entering a private room of a main chat room, only you and the person you are talking to can see what is going on.
The thing I like about this is you can actually see what is being typed as your buddy is thinking it and you can keep right up to date with your conversation. Your chat room is again customisable and you can choose the colours and fonts of your choice, this is how your buddy will see your screen also and you will see theirs how they haven chosen to set theirs up!
Whilst in chat you can invite more users into your room with the permission of both users who are currently in there. It has a list of symbols and sounds that can make any chat session great fun i.e.
Pictures of happy faces, sad faces, frowning faces etc., the sounds are hilarious and one is very, very annoying to those with a short fuse and that is the most hysterical laughing sound ever, you can spark this of buy choosing the LOL function, I love it and use it all the time. If you are in chat and think that your buddy is ignoring you press Beep Beep and you get the most fantastically irritating car horn noise, superb!
Any chat sessions that you have can be saved to pick up on a later time.
Greeting Card ~
To send some one a special gift for a Birthday, Christmas or any happy event you can choose the greeting card function, you will automatically be directed to the ICQ web page for this function and be presented with an endless list of memorable occasions of which you can choose your card.
Simply pick a card type your message and it will be sent to whom ever you have chosen to send it to. If it is for someone’s birthday ICQ will remind you a few days before the event is coming up.
These are the main features that you will use for conversing with your buddies, but the list goes on of what the functions of ICQ actually are. You can check all communication history from your ICQ number, which can come in handy if you have forgot what you have spoken to someone about! You can also select a previous message you or someone you have communicated with and send it to them again to clarify and arguments!
You can build you own homepage and be alerted every time someone accesses it, you have to be using ICQ at the time to receive the alerts. The pages are restricted on how you can design them and the address is not one that will roll from your tongue and easily be remembered. You will find it will mainly be accessed by ICQ users and not all that often!
You can also check a users details to see what age they are, where in the world they come form and when their birthdays are etc, what interest and hobbies they have, but beware users tend to always leave these blank now a days.
The world of ICQ is immense and I have only added a few of the many, many features that are available with this invaluable little piece of freeware. To obtain you copy of ICQ visit icq.com and you will be able to download it from there or the best place to find it is CNET.com as this is where you will be directed to, to download it anyway.
The download will take about 30 minutes to 45 minutes depending on your system and will not take up that much room on your PC. You can have ICQ auto start when your PC is connected to the Internet or you can have it so that you can activate it yourself.
When you ICQ is active you can have your profile in a number of different statuses, these are as follows:
Available / Connect ~
This is for general use and for when only your buddies can contact you, when you choose this option you will appear as online to your buddies allowing them to contact you.
Free for chat ~
This option is the same as above but you have also opened your profile up for general viewing of millions of ICQ users. If someone carries out a random search on users and your age, sex and interest and hobbies fit the bill they are able to contact you. You do not have to respond but it is courtesy to do so if you are going to expose yourself to millions.
Not available ~
This means your buddies will see you online but know that you are un-contactable for some reason, you may be of to make your supper or having a soak in the tub.
This is similar to the above but is only intended for short periods of not answering i.e. maybe surfing another page somewhere or chatting with someone elsewhere, or maybe just of to out the kettle on.
This again is similar but indicated you will accept urgent messages only, i.e. I can see your house is on fire and you are still in! Well maybe a bit drastic but you know what I mean!
Do not disturb ~
This means exactly what it says, but you will always find that someone will persistently send you messages.
Privacy / Invisible ~
This is the most commonly used one with me as you can control who you speak with and when, as sometimes you may just be on to check your email or see if another buddy is there and get caught up in loads of conversations and never get away.
ICQ is by far the best chat software available in comparison to AOL Instant Messenger or MSN Messenger, the features are far superior and the services offered are great. You can now send SMS messages, voice messages or have a full conversation like you were on the telephone.
If you want to keep in touch with your buddies ICQ is the way to go, check it out at the icq.com site and have fun!