I used Proteus before but decided to switch over to iChat to give it a try. After almost 2 weeks using it, I have found it not suitable for my needs. To keep a long story short, here are the three reasons:
- Cannot change away time
This is the feature that I need the most. I don't change the setting every time, but I need to be able to set it so that my status is set to away after 5 minutes. Why do I care? Because I do not like giving my contacts a false sense that I am there when I am not. I think iChat defaults to waiting 45 minutes before setting your status as away. That is way too long for me.
- Does not notify you of message if your chat window is open
This has caused me to miss many important messages over the duration that I used iChat. If the chat window is opened, iChat will not notify you of new messages on the dock icon even if the chat window is hidden behind every other window! There might be a setting to change this, but apparently I am not able to find it.
- Does not display message history
This is more of an annoyance than anything. If I open a new chat window, it does not show me the last few messages for the previous conversation. This is even more frustrating if I accidentally closed the chat window and now have no idea what we were taking about before. iChat does store your message history but it is a pain to go through them when you just need the last 5 messages to give you a sense of what you were talking about.
If you have only used iChat as your sole instant messaging application, you probably will not miss all those features. But trust me, once you have those features you will not be looking back. There is a reason why GAIM, Adium, Proteus have those features: because they are really useful!
I have now switched to Adium. Proteus is great but it seems to have not been updated for some time. And its file transfer support seems kind of flaky. Probably the only reason I would want to use iChat would be for audio or video chatting.
Update: Seems that there is a program the enhances iChat with some of the features I mentioned. I have not tried it out but it seems promising. It's called Chax and has an ugly icon but it gets the message across: the band-aid on the iChat icon shows that it fixes what is wrong with iChat.Tweet
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