Product Type: dotSyntax in Communication
Newest Review: ... and Social Networks and to keep you posted "instantly" about all of the updates to each. Your starting point is the Digsby web... more
Do you Dig Digsby? I Dig Digsby!
Member Name: mattygroves10
Advantages: Easy to use, easy on the eye.
Disadvantages: Doesn't work with Mac or Linux. Video chat can be awkward. Text formatting flawed
For a while, it seemed that Pidgin was the answer. Pidgin allowed me to collect all my IM addresses into one handy program, which sat quietly in my system tray allowing me to see and message folks using different IM clients. I couldn't use video, though, so if I wanted a video chat, I still had to open the relevant client. And, I still had to check all my emails individually, and it didn't even consider the Facebook and Twitter issues.
Then, along came the little friendly green blob that it Digsby. Is he the answer to my prayers? The short answer is oh, yes - indeed he is! You can find him at http://www.digsby.com. There you'll get a very green, friendly and simple home page, telling you what Digsby is good for. There are little sections with screen shots for Instant Messaging, Email Notifications and Social Networking, and your Free Download Button. Just on the front page alone, I learn the various IM clients it supports (including Facebook, yahoo, msn, aol, google and more), where you can get email notifications from (as well as the common web mail clients, it will also look for your IMAP and Pop mail) and which social networking sites it can trawl (facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Myspace).
The Screenshots tab gives you (guess what) screenshots of the various features - you can even have your messages appear as pop ups, which you can reply to from the little pop up, thus allowing you to keep working on whatever you're doing without having to swap windows (me, I don't use that feature, as I prefer not having things pop up - I'm at work - I don't need my boss reading my IMs!). The screenshots page also helpfully tells you that you can combine duplicate contacts (so if you have a contact that also has multiple IM addresses, you can lump them all together as one contact, not worrying which client you are messaging), that you can have different themes, to personalise the look of Digsby and the little chat windows and more.
The features tab gives me yet more information on what I can do with Digsby - which IM, email and Social networking clients I can bung onto it, how you can personalise it, and how you can be even cleverer with widgets and file transfers.
By now, you've surely hit the download now button. You've given yourself a username, and you're ready to start importing your IM clients, email addresses and social networking sites. This is a dawdle. Click on the Digsby menu, and go to My Accounts, and start adding your addresses and your password (don't worry, no-one else can get to those passwords - it's just to allow Digsby to pick up your contacts) in each of the three areas - IM, email and social network, and you're ready to start instant messaging. From the menu you can also change your skin (of both the main program and the chat window) and your options (about pop up windows and the like. You can choose whether you want to log conversations, and if so how. You can choose whether you'd like Digsby to sit in your system tray, and start up when you start your computer.
Unlike with Pidgin, the helpscreens are helpful to even the newest user, complete with screen shots and clear instructions. It tells you how you can sign into and out of Digsby in general, or just of individual accounts. You can also add or block contacts from Digsby, without having to go back to the original IM program - again, the instructions for doing so are simple and well laid out.
There are some very, very cool features. I don't use all of them, but really, I should use more. You can send emails straight from Digsby, without having to visit the email client. You can (and I do) delete, mark as read, or mark as spam emails straight from the info box, again, without having to go into the email client. The help screens are actually a wiki, and there is a community forum as well. Bug reports can be filed, and user feedback is actively encouraged.
Digsby automatically checks for updates each time you login, and will notify you when updates become available. It automatically performs these updates as well, so you don't have to worry about that process. Because you set up a Digsby account upon downloading the software (and, by the way, the download is very quick), you can use Digsby at multiple locations (once you've downloaded the software at each, of course) and it will remember your contacts, clients and preferences, no matter where you set them from.
As always, there are one or two niggles. Video chat doesn't work as easily as it might if only one of you is using Digsby. It can be particularly tricky if your correspondent is using msn - I find it easier to video chat with those folks directly through the msn messenger client. You can't format individual words in a message - only the entire message, so you can't make just a single word bold, for example. Digsby is only available for Windows - it is not currently out there for Mac or Linux, and it's only available in English. You really should read the T&Cs, as you may feel uncomfortable allowing Digsby to use your spare computing power (a la SETI at home) when you are idle - however, you can opt out of this (you can get more information on this here: http://blog.digsby.com/archives/68).
Digsby has a blog you can follow (just go to the help screen once you've installed Digsby and click on Support Digsby) and you can follow them on Twitter. From the website, you can join the forum and submit feedback and bug reports - Digsby are very keen to encourage user participation.
I used to use Pidgin. Now I use Disgby. I truly, madly and deeply cannot recommend Digsby enough. And if that's not a positive review, I'm a Dutch uncle.
Summary: An excellent multi-protocol meta chat client, also supporting email, IM and social networking.
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