Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Is Anybody Out There?

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One thing that impacts us all is in the area of being alone. For the disabled, it is unrelenting since we cannot go out to the corner Pub or go Bowling or whatever takes our fancy. Even going shopping for “toys”, clothing, or food is difficult if not impossible. So, what to do? Communication with others is the only answer. For those that aren’t disabled, the problem still exists but in a lesser degree. So how do we do that?

We could use the telephone but calling a friend becomes expensive when you are separated by large distances. Long distance charges pile up rapidly and that isn’t good! Email works well but it’s more like sending a letter. There is a definite delay between sending and receiving messages to a friend, We need something close to actual conversation! Enter Instant Messaging. There are several Messaging systems available but which one is best? I have a few that I like and one I don’t.

The one I don’t like will surprise you but I have a good reason. That one is ICQ. When first introduced it was pretty good. Easy to use and flexible enough to meet the needs of all the subscribers! But, the reason I’ve turned my back on ICQ? SPAM! Yes, the ugly phenomenon of useless, annoying, and major waste of resource messages have infested ICQ. If I want to talk/chat with a friend, I don’t want to spend my time skipping lengthy messages from who knows where selling toothpaste or whatever when I’m trying to share the day’s events with a friend. You also become involved in fending off unwanted requests from people you don’t know but are selling something (another type of SPAM) of questionable Moral value. Don’t waste your time and resources on it. There are others available that don’t have that problem..

AOL Instant Messenger doesn’t have the SPAM issue since you connect with specific people you chose to talk to and you have control over message sources. Yahoo Instant Messenger is also a good choice for much the same reason. Likewise Windows Messenger. With all three of these, setup is easy and doesn’t take but a few moments. Selecting a screen name appears to be the most difficult Part of the process. Actually, since the three use different communication methods, you can use the same screen name for all of them if you wanted all of them. Windows Messenger is part of Microsoft Windows. If you DON’T have it, you can get it from the Microsoft Web site

The Yahoo IM is downloaded from the site. Nice thing about Yahoo’s version is that you sign up and you get access to Yahoo mail and other stuff in addition to the Messenger. Free Email, Instant Messaging, and various chat groups. Talk about communicating! You wind up with an entire community of people that share common interests. Wander around a few chat areas and see what is going on. Just be aware that sometimes the folk in those chat areas may not be who or what you think they are so be careful. Some chat areas can also be confusing since everyone seems to talk at the same time. It’s sort of like trying to talk to someone in a noisy bar or pub. You have to filter out ‘noise’. But, just as you can see everyone else’s messages, they can see yours. Instant Messaging gives you the ability to chat with someone privately. No ‘noise’ of other people’s chatting to distract.

So, check my favorite download sites and pick one to try out, Call a friend and have them do the same, and have fun.


At 12:46 PM CDT, Blogger WizzieBob said...

MSN Messenger is also very good. It's the IM service I use. Very similar to Windows Messenger, except with tonnes more features. And free!


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