Friday, August 5, 2011
Since I lost the ability to travel and talk, I use Instant Messaging to keep in touch with family and friends all over the world. Everybody seems to have their favorite client, be it MSN, Yahoo, AIM, or Google. Rather than try to force everyone to switch to a client program of my choosing, I installed all of the various programs and created accounts (I did force some to stop using Facebook chat because it doesn't play nicely with my system). This was fine and dandy, but now my boot load time was obnoxiously long and my computer's RAM was getting low, leading to performance issues. Luckily I had bumped my system up to 4GB in anticipation of my higher-than-normal demands. This led me to search for an alternative, where I could combine most or all of my clients into one ("One client to rule them all, one client to find them..."). Prior to disease, most all my computer systems in the house ran Linux. On my personal laptop I used a program called Pidgin which talked to all the major IM services. The Windows port I found a little lacking and probably not a great fit for most users. A friend then suggested Trillian. I installed it, ran through the setup to fill in the login information for my various IM accounts, and launched the application. I was impressed with the sleek interface. All chat sessions are in one tabbed window. The settings are easy to use and customize. And my RAM usage dropped by about half a GB! Trillian doesn't support all of the functionality of the native clients such as video/audio chat and sometimes the file transfer isn't available, but for regular text chat (including the overly-cute emoticons) it works great. If I need the other functions I just pop up the native client and close it when I'm done. To save boot time and RAM I disabled the natives from loading at boot. It also supports a Facebook connection but I found the newsfeed to be annoying; I prefer to leave Facebook on the web browser where it belongs. I would also caution about security: Your IM logins and conversations are not encrypted or secure and possibly subject to inspection by 3rd parties (also quite possible on the natives), so be aware that transmitting sensitive information over this is not advised. If you are a chatterbug like me, I recommend using Trillian on your AAC computer. I would even recommend it for non-disabled people.