Direct IM Compatability

Just a quick note, as this happens a lot:

When it comes to IM, there seem to be two groups of people. One use official clients (iChat, AIM) – they’re convenient, they’re pretty, they’re well supported and sanctioned by the services involved. The other group tends towards third-party clients, either due to hatred for the official clients or, more frequently, because the official clients lack functionality they need.

I fall in the latter group, for a bit of both reasons. iChat, originally, was a huge RAM hog, was unbearably slow, and clutters up my display with a new window every time I get an IM, making conversation tracking a bit painful. I switched back to [Adium]( because it solved all of these, and added some nice new features before iChat did, like a Jabber client. I can’t live without tabbed IM; the number of conversations I have to hold open with coworkers are countless, and I have [NADD](

The downfall is, unfortunately, that as Adium is based in open source goodness like libGaim, it is not fully supported, and as such, falls short on a few features. File transfer was notably one that, for years, was particularly painful – it’s a little better now, but still not quite there. The feature that currently is painful, and the cause for this post, is Direct IM.

Direct IM is one of the AIM technologies that a lot of people don’t know they’re using, but can invoke without realizing it. Direct IM enables a tunnel from one client to another; previously, this was the only way to get “user is typing” notification before AOL added it to the proper AIM spec. These tunnels get invoked whenever you try and drag and drop an image onto an AIM conversation, especially in iChat.

I have a lot of iChat users that try and send me images. This is what happens:

– User drops image onto IM conversation.
– iChat demands a Direct IM conversation.
– Adium prompts me for it – there’s no auto-accept. This prompt is easily lost.
– iChat gets really baffled by the connection, as does Adium. As such:
– All the IMs I send to the other person are lost.
– All the IMs and pictures they send me are lost.
– The only way to recover is for both of us to disconnect from AIM and start chatting normally (and this is hard to coordinate when you can’t IM each other).

How to avoid this? I beseech you, iChat users – if you see me on IM, and you want to send me a photo, and you **do not see a microphone or a camera next to my name**, ask me to switch to iChat. Adium doesn’t do AV communications, and I always have a microphone or camera on every machine I sign onto AIM with. This is a clear sign about which client I’m using.

Thanks for your understanding.