Minh’s Notes

Human-readable chicken scratch

Minh Nguyễn
March 12th, 2005


Jabbering on about fine print

Who said that the government was trying to do away with our privacy? Look at AIM’s newly-updated Terms of Service, under the “Content You Post” heading:

… You waive any right to privacy. …

This puts Microsoft’s assumed evilness in perspective. In any event, I urge my readers to gradually transition from AIM to a more powerful, more user-friendly service, like MSN Messenger or Jabber.

You’ve probably never heard of Jabber before: think of it as the Linux of IM. Linux offers a lot more power and flexibility than Windows; likewise, Jabber lets you do a lot more than software like AIM. Like Linux, Jabber comes in many varieties, called Jabber client. The types of features and the amount of eye candy you get depends on the client; I prefer neos.

Via gateways, the program can connect to a number of other networks for you, including the networks of AIM, MSN Messenger, ICQ, Yahoo! Messenger, and SMS. If I’ve chatted with you online during the past three years, chances are that I’ve been chatting with you via Jabber.

Jabber is in the process of becoming an international standard at the ISO. Unfortunately, I don’t think AIM will be changing its policies as a result.

Thanks to Ralph Meijer for the heads-up.


  1. John Ariosa

    do you know if you can get a jabber plugin for trillian though?

  2. There has been a Jabber plugin for Trillian Pro for some time now. According to the folks at Cerulean, a plugin for the free version of Trillian will come soon. Gaim has also supported Jabber for awhile, in case you’re interested.

    I personally prefer Jabber over Trillian or Gaim because AIM and MSN Messenger frequently decide to change their protocol to thwart Trillian and Gaim users. When that happens, you have to wait for Trillian or Gaim to come up with a new version that you upgrade to. With Jabber, the updates occur on the Jabber servers overnight, so you don’t have to do a thing.

    Also, if AIM were to ever try a lawsuit on Trillian (which as I recall, they did), you’re at less risk with Jabber because it’s widely distributed – so no one can actually “shut Jabber down.”

    If I’m not mistaken, that’s how some of those post-Napster file-sharing networks have stayed alive. Coincidentally, there are now Jabber clients that let you connect with file-sharing networks like Napster, send and read e-mail, and read and update blogs.

  3. John Ariosa

    sounds cool, I might have to make the switch

  4. I'm trying to use neos now, I'm just confused about changing my AIM Profile.

  5. If you’re using neos, you probably won’t be able to change your AIM profile or buddy icon. My experience is that although others can still see your buddy icon etc., you’ll need to get back on AIM if you want to see it.

    Jabber also has profiles, but they’re more structured, and at the moment, AIM users can’t see those. For example, neos’ profile manager might ask you what your latitude, longitude, and altitude are (optional). Some Jabber clients (like BuddySpace) actually display your buddy list with each of your buddies plotted on a map – provided that some of your buddies have filled in that information. I’m actually going to try out BuddySpace sometime soon; I’ll update all of you on that later.

    If you have any other questions for me, feel free to post a comment here or IM me at my Jabber address: mxn@myjabber.net (that’s not an e-mail address!).

  6. how come not too many people know about firefox??