Thoughts about Messenger (MSN) beta 8 and invites @ tk here on Thursday, January 19, 2006 11:12 PM
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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Thoughts about Messenger (MSN) beta 8 and invites

Recently I received an invite to the messenger beta. The weird part about it is the fact that I wasn't really looking for an invite. (I have actually gotten all my invites from strangers, like Gmail, Newsvine and this beta.) After all, I haven't used the messenger software before (I use Miranda). I have nearly no idea about what is actually inside the messenger software except that it allows you to chat via text, audio and video. Since that was the case, a new beta of the software is not something to look forward to as Miranda may require an updated plugin. Of course that is not as bad as being forced to upgrade everytime a new version of messenger appears.

Now that I've installed and used the beta for a few days, I think that I'll stick to Miranda. Seriously, I'm not sure what is supposed to be appealing about the beta. Other than the new sharing folders feature, nothing else is that fantastic. Some have said that Miranda provides too many features or too much customization. I think that messenger suffers from a lack of features, in fact, a great deal of features.

The first thing that hit me is the advertisements. I use adblocking software so I don't actually see any ads, nevertheless it annoys me. I have to waste some screen space on ads that I don't see but can't hide. Occasionally I keep the contact list on top so screen space is important to me. (Yes, I know this is adware and Microsoft needs some way to support messenger, but Miranda has no ads.)

The most important feature that I find lacking is tabbed conversation windows. This simply reminds me of Internet Explorer vs Firefox/Opera. I'm not sure how people actually cope with multiple conversation windows open. And it's really weird that Internet Explorer is finally getting tabs while messenger stills spawns new windows for separate conversations. The tab idea is so old I'm wondering why it is still not included.

When I had my first conversation with the beta, I had trouble keeping up with the conversation. This was because of the colors of the text by default - my nick had the same color as my friend's nick as well as my own conversation text. So I started looking for a way to change the colors. And I found none. I discovered I could only customise the style of my own conversation text, which made it a bit less difficult to differentiate the text. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The text was set by default to exactly the same color/style as the nick and there was absolutely no way to change the styles of outgoing/incoming nicks or incoming messages. Contrast this with Miranda where the colors of outgoing/incoming messages and outgoing/incoming nicks can be changed such that it is easy to differentiate between the nicks and messages at a glance.

There are plenty more things that could be said about what the beta lacks. I do know it is beta software and new features may be added. Perhaps the new shared folders which allows synchronisation of files with a contact is its saving grace, plus the fact that Miranda doesn't support audio/video conferencing (at least not at the moment). However, I was already getting weary of using the beta. I was comtemplating returning to Miranda and ditching the beta altogether. But like any new software, I decided to use it a bit more to get to know it better (not like there's a lot to know about it). So here I am with this post with 5 invites to give away, if you still want one after reading this post. Leave a comment and you should receive one in your inbox if available.


2 people had something to say! Why don't you join in? The more the merrier!

On 23 January, 2006 07:36, Loud mouth said...

Hey, i'd like an invite


On 23 January, 2006 12:45, tk said...

Sent :)

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