So I found the nifty gravatar extension for Thunderbird, and after making it work in 1.5.0.*, I was anxious to see how many of my contacts actually have a Globally Recognized Avatar. On first glance, I couldn’t find any. Well, so maybe not very many people have one?
So I went and wrote a little script that would go through my archived mails and address book, checking every sender’s gravatar. The result is shocking: Except for myself, there was only 1 (ONE!) other address, and that was the one for the Firefox newsletter (and yes, that has a firefox logo).
So while it’s a nice extension, it’s widely unused. So are X-Faces, so installing an extention for those is almost as useless. Too bad. I’m a visual person, and I would like seeing avatar icons with mail 🙂
I made true on my threat to create my own installer for Miranda IM that comes with some plugins I consider important pre-installed. If you want to give it a shot, you can get it here. Immodest as I am, I called it Miranda IM Plus (and also to reduce confusion with the official release).
This is what you get:
- ICQ, MSN, Google Talk, Jabber, AIM and Yahoo supported (and the installer lets you select which ones you really want).
- A choice of icon sets for either 32 bit or 16 bit icons, depending on whether you run Windows XP or not.
- OpenSSL libraries are installed for the protocols that can make use of them.
- Your profile is created in your profile directory (%APPDATA%), not in “Program Files”.
- KeepStatus, a plugin that automatically reconnects you when you lose contact to the servers (ICQ users rejoice).
- History++, a plugin that makes the chat history significantly more useful.
- SmileyAdd, a plugin that adds smileys to your chat window
All of those features are chosen by a simple process: If I have use for them and would recommend them, then they are included. This is why there is no fancy themed contact list, no IRC protocol and no sound schemes. Actually, I do use a sound scheme, but I’ve yet to find another person that likes it, so I am not including it :-).
[ media | Sonic Wanderer – Parallax (Wanderized) (SLAY Radio) ]
For reasons that may be entirely subjective, I think that Miranda IM is the best Messenger out there at the moment. I can’t see myself using Trillian, at least, and I’m not going to ever install 4 different Messengers just because my friends can’t agree on one.
However, there’s one thing that’s really annoying: The installer you can download from the Miranda webpage gives you only half of what you need, and insalling the rest is a pain for Joe Average User. For example, you can’t use it with GTalk because it lacks the OpenSSL libraries required to do that. You can’t use it very well with ICQ, because at the rate that the ICQ servers are going up and down, you need a plugin that automatically reconnects you. And there are no Smileys! And… there’s more, but you get my point.
So yes, I’m really considering bundling the important stuff in my own installer – if only to make it easier for friends to switch ;-P