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WRU? November 11, 2006

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Odds and Ends, Ramblings, Technology.
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I.

I was checking my email on a public use computer before class when I received a surprise instant message on a pop-up window from my friend, Manny.

The surprise was that this was my first opportunity to see Google Talk in action. I hardly ever check my account via browser (I let my mail client do that for me), and the pop-ups that work on a regular PC aren’t supported on a Mac. Even if I did set up Google Talk on iChat some time ago I could never bring myself to take on yet another IM service.

I think that’s really the crux of the matter. My on and off foray into IM began with the grand-daddy of it all: ICQ. But at some point – I know not when or why – the novelty just wore off on me, and I found that IM in general did less to improve productivity and became one enormous waste of time.

Then I ended up displaced, first in Singapore and then New York. Suddenly, IM became quite useful again. And it also became unwieldy. I needed an AOL Instant Messenger account just to video chat with my parents and my girlfriend via iChat, some of my contacts were locked into MSN Messenger, others were only on Yahoo Messenger, while somewhere in the ether my ICQ account lay dormant. And now there’re my Gmail contacts, some of whom apparently have been trying to get in touch with me via Google Talk for some time now (thank you, Gmail chat history).

Times like these, I wish there was an IM client that would do it all. So far, the closest thing there is to one out there that I know of, at least for Mac users, is Adium. I’ve been resisting the urge to download it partly because it’s still not perfect (it doesn’t allow video or voice chat yet, and file transfer can be a bit dodgy) and partly because the cynic in me is certain that 90% of my chat-addicted contacts are already on two or three of the different IM networks anyway, so I’m bound to run into them online without even trying.

But for the remaining 10% that use only one or another service…why not?

II.

My former student and erstwhile look-alike, Jan Ong, brought to my attention that Google Earth now has a working Mac version. Naturally, after downloading it, I couldn’t help but look up home sweet home.

Whereupon I ended up zooming in on one world-class Philippine traffic jam.

Go figure.

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