Advantages Allows you to chat to your friends simply and easily by typing or chatting if you have mic & speak
Disadvantages For the first time in a very very long time I can't think of any disadvantages to this!
MSN is an Instant Messenger service - basically that means it's a way of communicating instantly with someone else who is online at the same time, so that you both can see the messages the instant that you've finished typing them and either pressed rtn or hit the send button. It's a great way to communicate with people, and although the idea has been around for a few years now, the current MSN system is the best incarnation yet.To be honest, I'm quite a conservative person when it comes to PC's. I use Windows XP, Internet Explorer, and Outlook Express for example, these all being the systems that came bundled with the pc I have, and the ones I know best. I don't like change much, so although I have tried one or two other IM services over the years, this is the one I choose to stick to.
Set up is incredibly easy. Download the small piece of software from the www.msn.com website, and it takes you through it's own installation and asks if you want to add friends who you have on your e-mail set up. It also lets you add any other friends you choose. If you don't already have an e-mail address, they will offer you an msn or hotmail one when you go through the set up process too. - You do need an e-mail address to use MSN as that's how your friends will be able to add you to their lists.When MSN starts up, you get an oblong box pops up each time you use it that has a button for you to click to sign yourself in. The oblong window then shows your list of contacts. Now contacts can be divided into groups. So you can have Family in one group, friends in another, work mates in a third etc. You can make all but the first category hidden if you want to, and you will know which people are online, and which aren't by the colour of the little icon next to their name. If there's a little Green square there, then they are Online, If it's Red then they're online but have marked themselves 'busy' - an excellent feature that protects you from people bugging you too much if you need to get on with things, but still lets them know you're online. Then there's yellowy orange for 'away' and pale blue for offline.
Talking to people is really easy and for me is the whole purpose of this software. You double click on their name and a new box window opens and it's in here that you talk. You type your message to them in the box at the bottom of the window, and then when you press the rtn button, or click send, it appears in the window above the box. That's the simple version of how to use MSN. In actual fact it's got one heck of a lot more going for it, and you can send files to your friends via it, you can play games with them through it, and if you have a camera, microphone and speakers, you can even have proper voice conversations with them where you can see what they're doing and they can see you too.For me one of the most useful features is the ability to have conversations with more than one person at a time. My mum, sister in law and myself do this on quite a regular basis and it lets us all talk together and sort out our plans to get together with ease.
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