Tag Archives: im

Avoid Communication Overload

I am convinced that there are too many ways for us to communicate with each other. We have social media sites, text messaging, cell phones, land lines, snail mail and email – and likely a handful of ways I didn’t even remember to list. It can actually be annoying and time consuming trying to keep up with so many options. I actually had someone email me recently to ask for my phone number. I replied and received the phone call, only to find that the person was wanting my snail mail address. Seriously, people? You couldn’t have asked that in the original email? Having multiple ways of contacting others has its drawbacks, as well as being a good thing.

Step back a moment and think about all of the communication tools in your arsenal. I’m willing to bet you can name a person that you could contact at least ten different ways: and there are likely many people you could do this with. Is this the best use of your time, though? You have to decide which way to get ahold of them, hope they reply or answer and move on to a different way if the first doesn’t work. Tracking someone down isn’t always in your best interest. You should be asking each contact their preferred method of communication and stick with that unless an emergency arises.

Let’s say you need to contact me. I will tell you that email is your best bet. I have that open pretty much every moment I’m awake. I don’t like talking on the phone or Skype and I prefer to not use instant messaging clients. Those are fine for quick questions, but email provides a “paper trail” of sorts that we can refer back to if need be. Yes, there are times when we may need to connect on a call or in person, and that’s fine. But my first preference is always going to be my Inbox.

Instead of trying to send me an IM on every account I have, leaving me a voice mail I may not listen to for a few days or even trying to Skype me, why not just shoot me an email? You’re bound to get a much faster – and more detailed – response.

Now, everyone is different. There are people who may prefer a quick phone call, and that’s fine. My point is to ask people you regularly talk to which method they prefer. Keep other lines of communication as a backup. Heck, you can even break down your daily communications and organize them by type. Respond to and send emails first. Grab people you need to on IM after that and then perhaps schedule phone calls for the afternoon. Separate your correspondences this way so that you avoid overload.

Jumping back and forth between types all day long is going to drain you, frustrate you and maybe even confuse you at some point.

Trillian 5 for Instant Messaging


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Derrick is a fan of instant messaging applications, just as I’m sure most of you are. Each of us has our own preference when it comes to an all-in-one program. Some may love Adium while others swear that Pidgin is the only way to go. However, Derrick feels strongly that the newest version of Trillian will make you want to leave other IM clients behind.

Derrick admits that he was never a fan of Trillian 3 or Trillian Astra. He feels that #3 was lacking in nearly every way… and that Astra had the same shortcomings with an interface that was seriously overdone. He says it was too busy and over-crowded, and I have to agree.

The beta for Trillian 5 was recently released into the wild, and it has been seriously improved. The first thing you’ll notice is how quickly it starts up – and how much it looks as though it was made for Windows 7. That is likely because it was designed for the newest OS from the Microsoft campus. The interface was carefully designed to integrate with your operating system.

The client is more comprehensive, with more types of feeds – including Facebook events and Twitter searches. It’s flexible and will store feeds in your contact list or system tray. Instant updates to all of your services are just one click away, which is likely why Derrick feels this is the fastest IM client he’s ever used.

Links and pictures are expanded automatically so that you don’t ever have to open a web browser if you don’t want to. You can also view things such as “likes” directly within the client, as well as being able to read and write comments.

In past versions of this IM client, users had issues receiving files coming from friends using different clients, and not being able to video conference with people who weren’t also using Trillian. With this new version, that is no longer an issue. Derrick reports that he was easily able to video conference with a friend of his who was using Digsby.

Trillian can connect you to AIM, Windows Live, Yahoo, Google Chat, Facebook Chat, Jabber, Skype and more. It even has support for Foursquare and LinkedIn! There’s a comprehensive library of plugins, skins and skin packs. This lets you customize Trillian in whatever way suits you best.

Going by what Derrick has shown us, this Alpha release is definitely worth a try – and one to watch grow into full release. I have a feeling many of you will be making a switch (or upgrade) to this as soon as it’s available.

Thanks, Derrick, for a fantastic screencast.

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How to Understand Teenagers


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Have you ever wondered what those teenagers are saying when they type acronyms like LOL, WTH, etc? Community member Lamarr Wilson created this video to showcase a website that will help you figure out what the heck (WTH) your kid is trying to say.

Teen Chat Decoder is a free service that helps you make sense of the gobbledy-gook that is rampant in text messages and IMs from teenagers. Heck, I even know many adults who type this way! If you’re constantly confused when reading these types of messages, then this site is going to help you.

To use the service, you only need to start typing the acronym in the white box and then wait for the database to return results. For example, if you type in LOL, you’ll see that it is a way of saying they are currently Laughing Out Loud. The service will also give you other results that are similar (or which use portions of that same acronym).

Lamarr will be doing a video for us every Monday, talking about things relating to technology and social media. He’s entertaining as heck, so keep your eyes peeled for his contributions.

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Do Teens Text Too Much?

According to a study done by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, young people between the ages of 12 and 17 send more than 100 texts a day. This may be due in part to the many unlimited plans offered by most cell companies. Texting beats out every other form of communication for this age group, including instant messaging, phone calls and face-to-face conversations.

Texting is also easy to get away with in certain situations. Kids text right under the noses of their teachers during school hours. Most of these kids are so good with their keyboards that they don’t even have to look at the device while composing and sending a message. Text messaging has become so much a part of teenagers’ lives that 87 percent of those who text said that they sleep with – or next to – their phones.

“It’s a way that their friends can easily and discreetly reach them at tiny moments during the day,” said Amanda Lenhart, senior research specialist at Pew. “It allows them to stay constantly in touch with people who are important to them. Texting is a much different experience than calling somebody on a land line, where you might get their parents. There’s an element of ownership for teenagers around texting.”

Teens feel that it’s easier to communicate with people when they cannot hear their voices or see their faces. As evidenced in several reports about this subject, teens will confront each other more often over issues via a text. It’s a good thing that they are talking more to each other, and seemingly becoming able to work through differences and difficulties without the hindrance and nerves that come with face-to-face confrontations.

However, I can’t help but wonder how this will affect these kids’ verbal communication skills later in life. We grew up having to talk to people… in person. Kids today are relying more heavily on digital methods of communication. Their “speech” is now defined with easy-to-remember word abbreviations, such as “wut r u doing.” I cringe every time someone sends me an email full of “language” such as this.

Another concern has to be privacy. Teens likely cling to their phones due to the fact that they feel they have more control over their content. It’s not as easy for parents to see what’s going on as it was when they could listen in on phone conversations. I admit that my mouth hit the floor when I read where one teen stated that his mom gave up trying to read his texts when she couldn’t crack his phone password. If this were my child, they would no longer HAVE a cell phone. While parents don’t necessarily need to “police” their children and know every single thing they are doing, they DO need to be aware of what’s going on in their child’s world.

What are your thoughts? Is widespread teen texting a good thing? Do you wonder how these kids will communicate in the “real world” when they become adults? Heck, will we even stop needing to communicate face-to-face in the future? Maybe I’m a fuddy-duddy. Perhaps everything will be digital one day, and we’ll never hear another human voice.

How to Talk to Strangers Online


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Growing up, my parents warned me to never talk to strangers. It’s really never smart to talk to random strangers. However, I’m going to tell you about a service that will connect you with a stranger, and provide hours of entertainment. Be forewarned – some of the conversations you have may be “blue” in nature!

Omegle connects you with random people that you would otherwise never have met. You click one button, and tell it to start a chat. Off you go! Omegle is a brand-new service for meeting new friends. When you use Omegle, we pick another user at random and let you have a one-on-one chat with each other. Even though the chats are totally random, you should never divulge personal information!

Anything can and will happen. So, if you are bored and want some random, wacky fun – check out Omegle!

Keep in mind that the best (and safest) place of all to meet strangers is on Geeks! You can meet others who are just like you, share videos and pictures, create blogs and forum posts – and more!

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Windows Freeware

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ComputerNerd called in to ask what IM client I used when I “used to use Windows”. I had to remind him I haven’t switched away from anything. I still use Windows every day. In short, I use Miranda on Windows. Miranda IM is an open-source multi protocol instant messenger client for Microsoft Windows. It’s smaller, faster, easier! My first IM client was Trillian, but I got tired of it after awhile, because I felt it was running too slow. Miranda is fast on Windows, let me tell you. I really love this program. It’s sleek. It’s configurable.

If I am on the road, I tend to use Meebo. If it ran as a desktop widget, I’d be thrilled to death. meebo.com is a website for instant messaging from absolutely anywhere. Whether you’re at home, on campus, at work, or traveling foreign lands, hop over to meebo.com on any computer to access all of your buddies (on AIM, Yahoo!, MSN, Google Talk, ICQ and Jabber) and chat with them, no downloads or installs required, for free!

I know a lot of people use Pidgin. Pidgin is free software. It is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2. This means you are free to use it and to modify it, but if you distribute your modifications you must distribute the modified source code as well. It supports a wide variety of IM clients, making it quite popular.

However, I choose my IM client based on what works the best for me. At this point, it’s Miranda FTW.

The caller also asked me about andLinux. andLinux is a complete Ubuntu Linux system running seamlessly in Windows 2000 based systems (2000, XP, 2003, Vista; 32-bit versions only). This project was started for Dynamism for the GP2X community, but its userbase far exceeds its original design.

I just think anyone who can run more than one Operating System should be doing so. I do… every day. In this day and age, you shouldn’t be arguing over which OS is better, or which OS you should choose. You should be exploring what is out there, and running as many as you possibly can.

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Trillian Astra Instant Messaging Alpha Preview

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Have your meeting online, with GoToMeeting. You can get a free 45-day trial at GoToMeeting.com/ChrisPirillo.

During the GoToMeeting, racedude showed us the Alpha version of the new Trillian Astra. There are some very cool new features and enhancements.

Trillian Astra is a free program that integrates all your instant messaging applications into one program. It cuts out the need to have several different programs running all at once. Not only does Trillian Astra integrate your instant messengers, it also provides instant access from anywhere, and allows you to showcase the real “you”… via a dynamically updated instant profile.

So what’s new in Trillian? For starters, the skin and colors are completely different. The look and feel of the application itself is just unlike any previous version. There are many themes and color schemes to choose from, and now they can be changed inside of the program without having to restart it!

The contact list is much more organized and detailed. You can easily manage your contacts and widgets using the easy interface, instead of having to use a wizard like the old versions.

The message window has dramatic changes to it. There is a drawing mode, pause during file transfer capability, instant knowledge bar, and much more.

Lastly (but NOT least), the overall performance has improved. Between loading multiple plugins, parsing and initializing XML-driven skins, and establishing connections to your IM accounts, the time it takes to fully load Trillian has a tendency to decay over time. We’ve improved performance across the board when loading Trillian to eliminate the needless “wait time” between launching the application and actually using it.

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The Difference Between The Internet And The World Wide Web


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http://live.pirillo.com/ – Think of the Internet as an umbrella. Underneath that umbrella, you will find online gaming, email, IMs, FTPs to share files, and P2P programs that share even more files and Web sites. The World Wide Web is everything that you can see or access from within a Web browser. Therefore, while the Internet is not the same as the World Wide Web, the WWW is definitely a part of the Internet.

Waaayyy back in 1992 when I first got online, things were much different than they are today. The first browser I ever used was Lynx. That allowed me to browse the Internet in text. The first graphical Web experience I had was either using O/S 2 from IBM or Mosaic, which later became Netscape. That first experience was full of stolen .GIFs, and a lot of centered, blue, underlined text. Those underlined text words were, of course, hyperlinks. The pretty blue color turned purple after you had clicked it at least once.

The World Wide Web is a series of hyperlinks. For instance, chris.pirillo.com is one of my Web sites. On there, I may have a link to you. And on your page, you may have links to others. They have links to even more people and places! Soon, we have this giant mish mash of connecting links. Welcome to the World Wide Web!

A Web site is comprised of Web pages, and a Web site resides on the World Wide Web. The Internet, then, is not the same as the WWW, but the WWW is definitely a part of the Internet.

In a poll of our current chatters at live.pirillo.com, 58% listed Web browsing as their favorite Internet activity. 18% chose IMing, 14% chose online gaming, and only 11% listed email as their favorite thing to do online. What is your favorite? What do you think will be the next generation of the Internet? We’re always interested in your feedback and comments.

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Miranda vs. Trillian

As reported tonight, I’ve switched from Trillian to Miranda (for several reasons). It’s been a pretty good experience so far, save a couple of random crashes. Here’s what I love about Miranda:

  • Active development community cranking out updates frequently
  • Slick interaction with popular and minor IM protocols
  • Polished skins are readily available through the directory
  • Fast startup and shutdown, relatively small memory footprint
  • My buddy list is transparent (read: no background)
  • I can see what IM clients and versions all my buddies are using
  • There’s a decent “Find Updates” plugin available
  • It’s a nice upgrade from Trillian 2.x’s feature set
  • Individual message windows can contain useful info
  • It’s open source – bonus!

Things I dislike about Miranda:

  • It took a full day to configure to my liking
  • Options are all over the map (in a disorganized config hierarchy)
  • no full support for Skype (read: Skype must still be open)
  • Skins aren’t applied program-wide (very frustrating)
  • I can’t undo a specific font change I made
  • You can’t set a universal buddy icon easily
  • User experience lacks the polish of Trillian’s
  • Some cryptic error dialogs
  • It was designed with geeks in mind
  • I’ve been having problems with MSN connectivity
  • Random crashes with no easy way of recovering open convos
  • I can’t access more than one account on any single network
  • It doesn’t auto-organize incoming IMs by preset protocol groups

I’ll stick with Miranda for the time being. If Trillian 4.x can lick the performance issues that dog 3.x, I’ll go back to it. No word on when the new version will be unleashed, though.