Mac Marginalization: Chat/Instant Messaging
Not sure if you've covered this Mac marginalization, but I have been tortured by my in-laws for days trying to do video chats with them only to discover that AIM on Vista can't talk to AIM or iChat via video on the Mac. Finally found confirmation of this on AOL's site today. Rather annoying. Any chance this is something someone is trying to fix?
Regarding AIM/iChat video incompatibility between Mac & Vista...This is a well-known issue that works for some people and not others. It may be related to which version of AIM the PC side is using, and also port/firewall settings.
For trouble-free video chat, just use Skype instead. Works great cross-platform, installs in a couple minutes, and is free.
The multi-chat PC client Meebo (which supports AIM) is also supposed to work with iChat video, although I haven't tried it personally.
Odd. I haven't had much trouble with the AIM service. My wife recently bought an HP laptop with Vista and a webcam, and since I've had an iSight attached to my Power Mac G5 1.6 mHz for a few years (mainly to use with Delicious Library), it occurred to us to get the IM working so, when she goes out of town on business, we could do video chats. Since I already had an AIM membership, I logged her into AIM and set up an account for her.
The only difficulty I've encountered is that the Vista machine can't initiate the video connection with iChat. So my wife sends me a text message via AIM to iChat and I initiate the video message, and it always connects. Other than that, the only problems we have is when she's someplace where the bandwidth is low.
I tried a good many things to get AIM/ichat to work a few years a got with
XP and Mac, and did find a combination of an older version of AIM that
worked. But then Skype included video chat. There system works with out
port forwarding and generally problem free for text video and audio. I
have not looked back at AIM and don't think I ever will.
Skype has become the universal video conferencing software. Apple missed the boat by not creating iChat for PC. The AIM version video was never that good.
I've been a long time user of iChat and have had problems off and on making connections. This past week I had a problem connecting with a friend in Florida who also happened to have a Skype account. So I installed Skype, got my free account and was having a video call with them in a short time.
The video picture was somewhat better as was the audio. Most importantly, the connection worked when it wouldn't work with iChat. So I am becoming a fan of Skype. I hope that in Snow Leopard, OS 10.6, that iChat is improved so that it can be more reliable.
The answer for cross-platform video chatting seems to be one word: Skype. Per http://robrohan.com/2007/11/30/trying-to-video-chat-between-mac-and-windows :
"...we both downloaded Skype, and it just worked. We installed the application, created accounts, initiated video chats, and were chatting within minutes. (It is a well behaved Mac application to boot)."