Leopard’s iChat

November 1, 2007 at 7:03 am Leave a comment

Instant Messaging is something that most of us do.  It’s great for a quick question to a friend and doesn’t have the formality of email.  Plus, there’s no chance that your IM will get intercepted by some Spam filter.  The new version of iChat that’s included with Leopard is another nice incremental step in functionality.

Greenscreen effect
The one feature that I thought looked great in the demos was the built-in backdrop feature that gives you a low budget greenscreen, essentially.  The demo looks pretty amazing if you’ve seen Apple’s videos about it, and it probably works really well in the Apple stores too, but in your home environment, it may not work quite as well.  One tip:  Don’t use a high-backed rotating chair.  You’ll get up to “step out of frame”, and your chair will move a bit, then when you sit back down, it will rotate to a different orientation and your background won’t look like you expect.  Also, make sure you don’t have anything behind you that moves.

Transcripts and Spotlight
You’ve been able to save off transcripts of your iChat sessions for quite a while, and perhaps Spotlight indexed them in Tiger, but I can honestly say that I never knew it (perhaps because I didn’t use Spotlight in Tiger often because of the slow speed), but just this morning I did a quick Spotlight search.  I noticed that there was a result item under Messages, so I selected it.  It turns out that this result was an iChat transcript.  It popped open in iChat when I selected it and I could see the entire conversation that took place on the day this particular search term was mentioned.  I can think of times when this would come in handy.  I imagine that I’ll find lots of things to love about Spotlight now that I use it more often.

Screensharing
How nice is this for troubleshooting your Mom’s Mac issue?   There’s a button right on the bottom of the main iChat screen to either share your screen with a buddy, or ask to share their screen.

Video/Photo sharing
While in a video iChat session, you can simply drag and drop photos, videos, presentations, etc. and share them.  Just drop the file to be shared on the video chat window and it is streamed directly to their screen.  No, it doesn’t show up as a file transfer, it displays in the video chat window itself and you can view it right along with them.  It couldn’t get much easier than that!  I think you can even show an entire iPhoto slideshow this way.  (You may need iPhoto 8 for that, though)
Overall, the new iChat is a solid upgrade, if for no other reason than the screensharing feature.  It comes is very handy when you are doing a “tech support” chat, since you can actually see the screen and (using the voice chat feature) actually talk to them at the same time.

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Entry filed under: Mac.

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