|added Thu July 15 2004 at 10:34 PM
|[Jo-Pete's note: This was originally going to be a full review of the pros and cons of AIM Express, but I'm getting really tired really fast, so maybe later I'll beef it up. Probably not, though. A commentary on AIM Express will get the point across almost as well as a full review.]
For the past couple weeks, I've been debating whether or not to install AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) on my computers at work. On the one hand, David uses iChat which only talks with AIM. Not Trillian, and definitely not MSN. On the other hand, I hate AIM. AOL is, for reasons beyond the scope of this review, of the devil, and AIM is fast approaching spawn-of-satan status. Let me first explain why I dislike AIM, then I'll move on to AIM Express and why I actually *do* like it, then I'll put them side-by-side (quite literally) for a comparison.
I remember three years ago when I was first exposed to AIM, thinking that it was a rather ugly interface. It looked like it was designed in the early 90's by programmers. Functional, but very boring, and not always the most convenient. Over the past three years, I don't think they have changed it one bit. But one of my friends used AIM and didn't use MSN, so I was forced to keep it around. Generally, I found it a waste but rather harmless, at least until the release of the most recent version, in which multiple cases of malware were packaged in the installation. There was one point in the installation where you could deselect those programs, but if I recall correctly, AIM games require WildTangent. Plus, I worry when any software comes packaged with malware with or without opt-out that they might be hiding more of it somewhere.
Lest you think that I am crazy for not joining the AIM wave, go check out the reviews at download.com. I think that AIM is the only program that I can remember ever seeing getting below a 50% approval rating and maintain the "popular download" status. So if it's so horrible, then why are people using it? For the same reason I am... first of all, if you have any mac friends, they want to use iChat which only talks with AIM. Second, there are still (unfortunately) millions of AOL customers, and you may be friends with one of those poor souls. Every once in a while, I run into somebody who uses AIM because they like it, but that's rare.
There's more to read. Read the extended entry.