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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Thursday, April 25, 2024

The Pain of IM Participation

Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
1:32 am

One of the most widely used tools of the Participation Age is Instant Messaging. I have a son who can keep a dozen IM conversations going at once, somehow rapidly context-switching between IM windows as he converses with his many friends late into the night. I lead a much more mundane IM life. The best use of IM I have found is to hold sidebar conversations during conference calls.

I most frequently use AIM and Yahoo instant messaging, with the occasional MSN chat with another son, who is a diehard Microsoft software developer. To accommodate the multiple IM services, I have used the Trilllian multi-protocol IM client for the last couple of years.

However, I recently was coaxed into using the internal Sun IM network, which uses the Jabber protocol. After many unsuccessful attempts at using the Trillian client to connect with the Sun network, a colleague introduced me to the Gaim IM client. It lacks some of the features of the Trillian client, but at least I could get it to work without crashing whenever I attempted to log into my Sun account.

While investigating the Jabber protocol, I signed up for Jabber accounts at Google, Jabber.org and borderlinenormal.com. What a pain! I am now logged into seven separate IM accounts with my Gaim client. Every account has a different user name and password. This situation begs for at least a consolidated Identity system that would control each account or, at best, a uniform system where I could use one account to Instant Message across multiple networks. The current system is like carrying around seven mobile phones to be in touch with the widest group of systems. Surely, more sanity must be just around the corner.

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