Under the Hill

so tired…

Connecting odd ends with Pidgin

with 3 comments

Pidgin is actually one of the most comfortable and feature-rich Instant Messengers around. Still, there are some things missing. I think there always would be something lacking, as trying to get to please all possible people with just one program is close to the plight of Sisyphos. Still, the open architecture of the orgram llows for people to create own replacements for things they believe to need. Still, there are some amazing toys around because of that. And while there still is no support for Audio/Video-features like there is in other clients (that would be my favourite), they are working on it. (At least it looks like that).

There are a few interesting plugins for the application around, but concerning the usability I find these the best of the lot:

1. The Skype plugin

Skype lately has become one of the most important instant messenger as well as the VoIP Client. Unfortunately it has had some problems in all his incarnations until now. Connections are regularily lost, or off really bad quality, even when both parties have a perfect connection, the interface is unintuitive,  and, what counts even more when using multi-client messenger like Pidgin, it doesn’t work inside any other client than it’s own. Which leaves me running it as the only other client next to Pidgin, a waste of precious memory and difficult to navigate when taking to different people at the same time. The Plugin by Eion Robb doesn’t get rid of that either, Skype still must be running in the background for it to work, but at least you can switch between chat-windows now without having to first call up another program from the taskbar. And you can use the more simple and familiar design from Pidgin with Skype chats. Basically, it mostly is a timesaver. But a useful one.

2. Facebook Plugin

I am not really that fond of actually chatting in Facebook. For me the idea of chatting inside a browser window is rather  a substitute to the real one than really a thing to strive for (of course, meebo.com schows that some people actually like to do that as well…), and the page of a social network in my opinion might not be the best of places to actually do so. While the idea of course fits perfectly into the  whole concept (after all, the ability to connect is part of the whole social networking shtick), I am always kind of at a loss to not navigate away from the page by accident. Or even notice that someone had been writing me in the first place, seeing how the whole chat-thingy now is located somewhere in the lower right corner of the page. Luckily enough Facebook actually opened the protocol so people could access it; et voilá: a Plugin which allows you to chat with people online Facebook from inside of Pidgin. The only drawback is that some people now believe I’m on this site much more often than I really am.

3. Original Protocol Icons

The default smiley theme in Pidgin is actually rather nice in my opinion. It is practical and fits the minimalist style of the application quite well. It doesn’t look as screaming as other client’s smileys do look like. Unfortunately it also is rather limited in scope. It mostly has all the common smileys. But the fun thing is, smileys present as much a way of communicating as the emoticons earlier did. Many people are uing their specific smileys to tell quite a lot of things, and when you are using just a defaut smiley set, something like (piwo) in Gadu-Gadu‘s protocol will mean nothing to you. Which ends up in confusion as your buddy will be confused why you don’t react in the right way while you are confused why she all of a sudden throws bracketed Polish words at you. At least that’s what happened to me, more than once, and not only in GG. The solution to that is using the original icons, which incidentally have been collected and compiled together already by wonderful Andrei Neculau.

Written by G. Neuner

27. December 2008 at 7:42 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Hey. Thanks for the link ,)
    Could you please change the hyperlink for my name to point to http://andreineculau.com
    I’m re-organizing my domain, and the link to my blog-post regarding the smiley pack, will be come obsolete soon.

    Andrei Neculau

    27. December 2008 at 8:52 pm

  2. done^^


    27. December 2008 at 9:19 pm

  3. […] I checked up upon the article I posted last, I noticed a small area under the article showing a automatically created list of similar articles […]

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