Saturday, November 6, 2010 “Cool Websites and Tools [November 5th]” plus 9 more “Cool Websites and Tools [November 5th]” plus 9 more

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Cool Websites and Tools [November 5th]

Posted: 05 Nov 2010 08:31 PM PDT

Check out some of the latest MakeUseOf discoveries. All listed websites are FREE or come with a decent free account option. You can make use of them without spending a dime. If you want to have similar cool websites round-ups delivered to your email daily email subscribe here.

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InstaComment – Adding a commenting feature to your website can end up costing you a considerable amount of time. This is mainly because you will need to code up the comments box according to your specifications. Enter InstaComment, it is a web service that provides a comment system for any website or webpage. Read more: InstaComment: Free Instant Comment System For Your Website


Meshin – Sorting, searching, and making sense through thousands of e-mails can be very messy. Even if powerful e-mail clients today like GMail and Outlook can handle being your conversation assistant, you still end up spending more time searching past e-mails to get the full picture of your conversations. Of course this is a problem of good old keyword search. While search technology has gone through a lot, people believe that semantic search is the next step. One tool that exemplifies this is Meshin Read more: Meshin: A Semantic Search Engine For Your E-Mails



Apture Highlights – Many browsers now let users highlight text and pass it through a search engine. But the results are displayed in a new tab, taking the user away from the original webpage. If you are looking for a method to view important search results while keeping the original page in view, check out Apture Highlights. Read more: Apture Highlights: Contextual Search Addon That Makes Web Search Easier & Better



Blungr – is a nice service to generate catchy domain names and then immediately buy the domains if available. You need to type two words, choose the domain type (.com,.net etc), choose a prefix or suffix for the name if needed, and then hit go. It'll mix up the two words and generate a bunch of domain names. Read more: Blungr: Generate Catchy Domain Names By Mixing Up Words



TicTacDo – Checklists can be a great help in organizing your stuff. Checking off tasks from your list and reviewing it can show you how much progress you have made so far. But at times you probably cannot remember all the tasks that should go into your list. To get predefined lists for a variety of tasks, check out online checklist repository TicTacDo. Read more: TicTacDo: User Contributed Ready-to-use Checklist Repository


These are just half of the websites that we discovered in the last couple of days. If you want us to send you daily round-ups of all cool websites we come across, leave your email here. Or follow us via RSS feed.

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The 5 Best Questions From You [MakeUseOf Answers]

Posted: 05 Nov 2010 06:31 PM PDT

MakeUseOf Answers has a lot of tough and interesting questions, the weekly top picks can only scratch the surface.

What is really impressive, however, are the excellent answers our readers provide. Today, the prize for Best Answer of the Week goes to 0ron for his answer to this question: “How can I work with windows that are larger than my screen?” Congratulations 0ron!

How can you win? Simply answer questions and make sure you use an email address or login account that allows us to contact you in case your answer is picked.

Here is your weekly dose of things you didn’t know before:

MakeUseOf Answers can be enjoyed by Latest Questions, Most Popular Questions, or Unanswered Questions. For regular updates subscribe to the Answers RSS Feed.

Need help? Ask A Question at MakeUseOf Answers.


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Desktop & Online Publishing With Adobe Rome [Free For A Limited Time]

Posted: 05 Nov 2010 04:31 PM PDT

desktop publishingDesktop publishing and graphic design applications have been around for years now. Programs like InDesign, QuarkPress, Apple’s Pages, Microsoft Word, and The Print Shop have made it easier for many computer users to create professional looking documents and with a modest amount of graphic and computing skills.

Recently, Adobe, the makers of Photoshop and various other leading image programs, released both an online and desktop content creation and publishing application called Project Rome. Rome is a “free preview program for a limited time,” says Adobe. You will need to register for a free Adobe account to access the program in either version.

desktop publishing

If you have experience with any version of Adobe Photoshop or other image or document creation programs, you’ll feel right at home with Rome. If you’re fairly new to desktop publishing, Rome will not be as difficult to use as professional programs like InDesign, but you will need to understand some of its features and foundations, such layering, vector graphics, font styles, and various tools for moving and re-sizing graphic elements.

The Interface

Both the desktop and online versions of Rome mirror one another. They open with what is called the Launch Bar, which you use to start and access projects in Rome.

desktop publishing software

Projects include templates for brochures, flyers, letterheads, gift certificates, business cards, CD and DVD covers, and websites. Rome also supports other media including video and audio content.

desktop publishing software

You can even produce Flash-based animations and interactivity similar to what can be done in Adobe Flash. In addition, there are projects and templates geared towards education and classroom use.

Tools & Features

Rome consists of several dozen image tools and features, a color picker, vector images, brushes, pen, and gradient tools, and various buttons and shapes that can be used on both photo images and graphic design documents.

desktop publishing software

As with Photoshop, most of Rome’s tools are accessed in a small floating toolbar and the Insert menu in the menu bar.

Under the Help menu, Rome includes a little Flash-based, non-audio video that illustrates the use of some of the program’s features, but for users new to desktop publishing this documentation will not be enough to learn the program.

free desktop publishing software

Rome is a layers-based program, which means that you can layer elements on top of one another and move them around. Rome is built on Adobe Air technology and for the most part I found that it runs pretty smoothly, though it’s not as fast as of course as Adobe’s more advanced programs like Photoshop.


Finished projects can be exported in PDF, JPG, Flash, and HTML file formats.

desktop publishing

In addition to saving your creations and documents to your hard drive or online Adobe account, you can share them in what is Template Exchange.

Overall, Rome is a fairly clean and accessible program. The available default document templates, and no doubt many of the ones that will be shared via the Template Exchange should make Rome a useful program for home and education use.

Will Rome be a replacement for say Photoshop Elements or a graphic design program like Apple’s Pages? It’s hard to tell. I would not recommend Rome for heavy duty image/photo processing work. And if you’re producing a medium to large document, Rome will probably not suffice.

Let us know what you think about the application and how you might see it as being useful.



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4 Best Business Applications You Can Make Use Of On Facebook

Posted: 05 Nov 2010 02:31 PM PDT

how to use facebook for businessIf you operate a Facebook fan page, chances are good that there is something attached to it. Whether you’re using it to promote your blog or business, a fan page can be a useful marketing tool. Not only is it an inviting place for fans to come discuss your products and view your content, but because it’s on Facebook people are more likely to stop by and have a look.

Good fan pages, I’ve noticed, tend to have a few key things: good, frequently updated content, creative use of tabs and strong interaction with fans. Does your Facebook fan page have all of these qualities?

In this article, I’ll discuss some of the best apps from the Business section of Facebook’s application page. These applications will help you add to that fan page of yours to help boost your numbers.

Wait, I Don’t Have A Fan Page!

If you own a business/brand and have yet to create a Facebook fan page, you aren’t too late to get in the game. It’s not hard to make a professional looking fan page. Whatever you do, just make sure yours doesn’t end up looking like The 10 Most Controversial Facebook Fan Pages. Controversial is good, but not in that way.

To get started, I suggest you check the previous article called 4 Easy Steps To Promote Your Business On Facebook. That’ll walk you through the steps necessary to get you up and running with your own fan page.

Once you get your page set up, we can continue…

1. NetworkedBlogs

how to use facebook for business

NetworkedBlogs is a popular application that allows you to promote your blog on Facebook and syndicate your feeds to your wall/fan pages. It works on both profiles and fan pages and creates a visual blogroll on your profile to promote your blog and – because it’s a community – blogs like yours.

For our purposes, you can simply use it to import content from your blog. This will help bring a steady stream of content into your page for fans to interact with and should save you the time it takes to add posts by hand in the long run.

2. MailChimp

facebook for business

The MailChimp application will allow you to link your Facebook Profile and Fan Pages with your MailChimp account. If you don’t know what MailChimp is, it’s an email campaign/newsletter site that offers a great free option to its users. Email is far from dead, so if you have an online business you probably should be building your email list.

The app, once installed, lets you select lists to be displayed on profile tabs in either location. Additionally, when you send Campaigns from MailChimp, you can choose to have them auto-posted to your profile or fan page wall.

Sending email newsletters to your customers, managing your subscriber lists and tracking campaign performance are just a few useful business features associated with this app.

3. SlideShare

facebook for business

SlideShare is the world’s largest community for sharing presentations. With this app, you can share documents and presentations with your Facebook network, upload portfolios, PDFs, conference talks and whatever else you can think of, and it supports Powerpoint and Keynote files.

If you have a SlideShare account, existing presentations can be imported. This is useful because it is just another way to give your fans a look at some interesting content. The next time you create an interesting slideshow, share it with others!

4. YouTube Channels

how to use facebook for business

Speaking of visual content, have you seen the YouTube Channels app? This application lets you synchronize your YouTube channel with your Facebook profile, pages and even application pages.

If you create and share content on YouTube, I don’t need to tell you how beneficial it can be. Adding this capability to your fan page, however, can go a long way too. People love video content, period.


There are plenty of apps on Facebook, so if you look around you should find some other goodies for your fan page. One thing you can do when you’re done on Facebook is bring your community back to your website or blog by adding Facebook widgets and buttons to your website.

Will you be making use of any of the apps in this article? Do you have a favorite app you would like to share?  And don’t forget to join MakeUseOf’s Facebook page!

Image Credit: olly

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Hot Tech Deals [Nov 5th]

Posted: 05 Nov 2010 01:15 PM PDT

If you’re in the market for a new computer, laptop, mobile phone, games and other accessories; don’t waste your time searching online. We’ve taken the liberty of locating the best tech deals and unifying them into a single post for your convenience.

For more fresh hot deals, visit our Hot Tech Deals page, which is constantly updated.

Keep reading to find out today’s Hot Tech Deals.

  1. Big Fish Games Coupon Code 50% off All Games (except collector’s edition) via code new499

  2. TODAY ONLY ViewSonic VFD810-50 8in LED-Backlit Digital Photo Frame (800×600) $39.99 Free Ship

  3. Western Digital Elements 1TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive $62.99 Free Shipping via code EMCZZYR25

  4. XFX GT240XZHFC GeForce GT 240 1GB DDR5 PCI-E Video Card $37.39AR Free Shipping

  5. Samsung SE-S084C USB 2.0 Double Layer External Slim DVD Burner $29.99 Free Shipping

Image credit: Modified from Svengraph’s icon set

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5 Social Networking Aspects You’ll Want To Make Use Of

Posted: 05 Nov 2010 12:31 PM PDT

social networking serviceAs an Internet native, you’ve probably thought something like this at some point recently: “What social networking service is worth putting my time into? What will still be around by the end of next year?”. It’s often a big decision.

Maybe you spent ages deciding whether to go iPhone or Android; Perhaps you’re looking into subscriptions or paid applications; Maybe you just can’t decide which website to use to keep track of your movie watching habits.

Whatever your decision, it’s worth having a little more than gut feeling to go on.

So I’ve analysed the sorts of things people will be looking to do and the sorts of developers who seem to be both using open data and sharing their API where possible, while simultaneously adapting quickly to consumer needs. These are the players on tomorrow’s field.

1. Smartphone: Android

If you want to know which flavour of smartphone has the brightest future: it’s Android. Apple might make great stuff which just works, but they are busy locking things to their requirements while Android is busy allowing as much as possible.

Check out some great Android sites here:

2. Chat: Multi-Purpose Client

Skype will hold out on its own for a while, purely because other applications can’t access it. Ultimately though, the multi-purpose applications like Adium, Trillian and Meebo will win this race. It’s all about easily contacting people, wherever they happen to hang out. The best tool keeps you connected to the most people you like.

social networking service

3. General Social Networks: Multi-Purpose Clients

For the moment, Facebook & Twitter will reign in their own separate ways. But in the end, the clear winner will be the network which best lets you use and share data from whichever social networks you wish to associate with and whoever is on those networks.

This means the future lies with the Tweetdecks and Seesmic‘s of the world. Whichever developer can combine your multi-service updates, multi-service friend updates with a multi-service profile (like FriendFeed, Soup or something using widgets well) will ultimately win over any individual network. If it can combine multi-service chat too, it will be a winner for sure.

4. Online Collections & Specialised Networks: Open Data Applications

There’s a massive amount of specialised social networks online, many of which also double as a profile to display some sort of collection you own or like: books you like; movies you own; your exercise history. Without doubt, the specialised networks that will do best will be the ones which have their own thriving community and internal communication.

However, to build that community and make it easier on their users, the better networks will offer to update user data from more general social networks, send data back out as RSS or directly to other general networks, offer widgets and make available the API to use their data. They’ll try to use open-source databases for managing their collections if possible. They’ll also do their best to make your interaction with this network easy from a smartphone.

social networking software

Good examples of niche networks and collection managers:

5. Smartphone Applications: Interactivity Within Apps

Interactivity in applications means many things, but most importantly it’s about the applications being aware of other related applications and events, then behaving appropriately.

It shouldn’t be hard to access applications either. Users shouldn’t need to wade through piles of applications alphabetically: they should be able to indicate they want music and get pointed in the direction of the installed apps that will provide it. Until Android/iPhone and the apps work together to make something like this work, there’s apps that will help you to make sense of your apps.

I’d love it if I were standing under the Eiffel Tower, pulled out my phone and it said “Location: Eiffel Tower. Info? Share?” then allowed me to quickly get information from any of my location-aware or information-rich applications or share my location through an update or a check-in. The phone software would need to know the semantics of the applications, in the same way that when you share a picture it is able to suggest a method of sharing.

Applications which interact with information on a social network are also accessible online. Believe it or not, there are social networks out there which are not accessible via anything but your phone application. A good network will allow as many forms of interaction as possible, not limit it!

Then there’s interactivity between applications. For instance, an application which can scrobble tracks to from almost any music player, or an alarm clock application which offers to start any music application when it goes off.

social networking service

All Of The Above

Imagine if Meebo, Tweetdeck, FriendFeed, Foursquare, Google Contacts and Google Profiles got together, added a bunch of widgets from your other profiles and offered a great smartphone app. Here lies the answer to the ultimate social network: It’s everything working together.

In the end, wherever you’re making noise, it’s not social unless that noise gets to someone. If it’s not easy to share information, people won’t. If you join a new social network, there should be interactions with other members of the social network and/or information getting back to your real friends, wherever they happen to be contactable. Talking to yourself is not social: talking to your partner is social; talking on the phone is social; recording your voice for a podcast is social (as long as someone listens). Social networks online will either keep this in mind or fall into obscurity.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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5 Video Channels For Learning Basic Job Interview Skills

Posted: 05 Nov 2010 11:31 AM PDT

job interview skillsHaving a job interview probably comes second to a stage performance when it comes to calling up butterflies in the stomach. An average man or woman will change quite a few jobs in their lifetime. And unless their father-in-law owns all the places, they have to sit in front of a grand inquisitor at least once in their lifetime.

Let's just say that job interview skills are something that shouldn't be left to rejections and experience: especially when you have a web-full of resources to coach you towards interview success.

A previous post on 5 Sites with Job Interview Tips to Help You Ace Your Interview is a great place to start.

YouTube gets the fifth mention. Coaching yourself using videos helps a lot because you can see for yourself not only what's being spoken, but also how it's being spoken.

So, let's scour the web for some videos on interview skills that just might help you nail the next one that comes along.


job interview skills

Getting ready for an interview starts from dressing up for it. The eHow video series has eleven videos that explore the basic facets of giving interviews successfully. One of the valuable tips you can learn relates to the technique of presenting your weaknesses in a positive manner (How to Positively Present Your Weaknesses in a Job Interview).

How-to videos on interviews aren't just limited to the eleven, you can check out a few more from the sidebar which lineup related videos. eHow has a dedicated channel on YouTube but I have always had a problem searching videos on it. The above video series is a good place to start.

BrianKrueger’s YouTube Channel

job interview tips

Brian Krueger runs a website for the entry level job seeker. The 68 video strong YouTube channel is an archive of useful job interview tips in a video format. The videos cover the entire spectrum of job search from writing a cover letter to negotiating a salary.

Although the videos are three years old, when it comes to interview pointers they are timeless. For instance, even the more cocky among us will stumble when asked – tell me something about yourself. Here's the right way to respond with a hint from this 1 minute clip. This is probably one of the best interview resources on YouTube.

DenhamResources YouTube Channel

job interview tips

This YouTube channel also goes into the most fundamental (and the most penetrating) of interview questions. The 16 videos in the playlist cover almost all the basic questions you can expect to be thrown at you. The video format is more interactive as it is enacted as a simulated real world interview. You can pick up a few ideas from the videos which show the good, the bad, and the ugly ways of giving an interview.

Interview Dos and Don’ts

This four minute video from again goes into the ABCs of good and bad interviews. Something like turning off our cellphone wearing the right amount of perfume are oft-neglected preparatory steps. is a career management website for the entry level and the hardened professional.

Career Strides

job interview skills is a resume and a career service for students and professionals. The 68 promotional videos on interview challenges are presented with the aid of drawings, dialogues and captions. But the tips are on the button. For instance, how do you handle a job hopper image? The answer as the video shows is not to get defensive as in spite of your resume you have been invited to sit in the interviewee's chair.

An interview is the first make or break moment one encounters on the job hunt. But unlike earlier times, now you have resources like YouTube and specialized interview coaching websites that help you cover all the bases. Apart from these channels which have bunched up interview coaching videos, there are a host of standalone videos. For instance, I came across the one below which goes into the very origins of job interviews…

Do you think job interview videos are a viable medium to lull those butterflies into silence? Let us know.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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Two Apps To Use Your Android Phone On Your Computer

Posted: 05 Nov 2010 10:31 AM PDT

how to connect android to computerUsing a touch-enabled cellphone is a great improvement from old-style cellphones, at least for me.

Nevertheless, sometimes you just want to integrate your cellphone functionality into your computer. When you’re working or in class, sending messages fast, easy and covertly is a huge advantage.

Strangely, although Symbian (Nokia) devices have long supported this feature, it’s not that evident using Android. Below are two applications you can use cross-platform to blend your computer and your cellphone over WiFi.


Droid2Desk is a mighty impressive application that will do just that. It’s written in Java, so it’s effectively platform-independent. In theory, Droid2Desk will work with any Android 2.0 phone and any kind of computer. Spending half my computer hours on Mac, that’s a big plus.

You can use the application to view notifications and phone data (e.g. battery), receive and send SMS messages and send files to and fro over a wireless network. You can even view the camera on your computer and snap new pictures. Video feed support is reportedly being worked on.

how to connect android to computer

You’ll need to have Java installed and a working WiFi to connect your phone to your computer. You also need to install 2 applications; one on your computer and one on your phone. To set up, transfer and install the latest APK file on your phone. Open it, tap the screen to stop the service and add a name and password.

Download and extract the Droid2Desk zip file on your computer. On some computers you’ll be able to run the application by double-clicking Droid2Desk.jar. Otherwise, open a Command/Terminal window, enter “cd folder-path” and hit enter to navigate to the correct folder (e.g. with folder-path being C:\Droid2Desk). Finally run “java -jar Droid2Desk.jar” to run the application. If anything doesn’t work, or for more advanced instructions, check out the Droid2Desk wiki.


Like Droid2Desk, you’ll need to have Java installed to run Texdro; you can download it here. Also similar to Droid2Desk, Texdro can run on any platform that supports Java. For only $2.99, the pro version allows you to connect over Bluetooth or USB, but you can use the free version without limitations if you don’t mind going over Wireless LAN. Your computer can be connected to the internet using a wired connection, but the WiFi is needed to connect to your phone.

Why promote an application that’s so similar to Droid2Desk? Texdro can be used to import contacts and receive and send SMS messages over your computer. It doesn’t do much more than that, but it does it well. If you don’t need the extra buff of Droid2Desk, Texdro is a wonderful lightweight alternative.

how to connect android to computer

You’ll need to install an application on your computer and on your Android. You can download both of these from the Texdro website. The application should open when you double-click it. If it doesn’t, open a command screen or terminal, navigate to the folder and run “java -jar TexdroDesktop.jar“.

Do you know any other ways to access your Android phone from your desktop? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Go On Space Adventures With Vega Strike

Posted: 05 Nov 2010 09:31 AM PDT

space adventuresDo you remember those cool space exploration games from the 1990′s like Sentinel Worlds and Wing Commander? These were games that you could play for hours on end, without any set script and without anything that you had to do except whatever you wanted. You could jump through galaxies, explore distant planets, or earn money by shipping cargo or becoming a bounty hunter. The virtual universe was all yours.

Well, an open source game called Vega Strike lets you experience those space adventures all over again. The moment you install and run this game, you’ll find yourself staring at your first cargo ship – the start of your interstellar career. From this moment forward, the game is all yours, and whatever you want it to be.

Here at MUO, we love anything to do with outer space, such as my article on ExoExplorer, John’s list of cool astronomy websites, or Jorge’s view of Celestia.  So, let’s take a look at the sort of things you can do in the Vega Strike universe.

Installing & Controlling Vega Strike

Unlike most other 3D virtual worlds like this that are graphic intensive, installation is very easy and the game isn’t at all very laggy. The reason for that may be the fact that even though much of the graphics are pretty impressive and larger-than-life, there are very few areas with animation. If you do have any issues, reduce some of the settings in the program configuration.

space adventures

Also make sure to check out the included PDF players guide before you get started. The ship has controls like auto-pilot, speed settings, targeting and navigation, docking, communications and a lot more. The player’s guide outlines it  all in this 72 page document.

space strategy games

When the game finally launches, you’ll find yourself at the main menu where you can load a past game, play a new campaign, or enter into multiplayer mode where you can join up with any of the hosted Vega Strike servers your friends may be running (or run your own!)

space strategy games

Once you get started, you’ll find yourself in the hanger of a trading station. That ship in front of you is your first cargo ship, and one that you’ll be starting your adventures with. Navigating through the game is just a matter of moving the mouse over glowing dots that represent the exits.

space strategy games

If you go to the main concourse just outside the hangers, you’ll see terminals where you can find work and missions to earn money. Don’t forget to go to the shipyard and spend some of your starting credits on a few jump drives and some other upgrades to your ship.

space simulation games

The computers at each trade center that you visit as you travel through this virtual world features a wide range of missions and jobs. You’ll never run out of things to do. Click the mission and you’ll see how much you can earn if you complete it. Once you choose and save a mission, it gets loaded to your ship computers and you’re ready to roll.

space simulation games

Go back to the hangar, launch your ship and you’re off. The flight controls is where you’ll spend most of your time in this game, so spend time getting use to all of the controls. As you can see here, the mission instructions are at the upper left (use pg-up or pg-dn to scroll). Ship or planetary targets (N or T) that you’ve selected are displayed at the lower right corner of the screen. If you select a target you want to travel to quickly, click A (autopilot) and your ship will take care of the rest.

space simulation games

Changes views (1 through 9) to view out your ship at all angles, or get a view from outside your ship. Here I am headed toward my first jump-point.

Once you’ve got the target selected and in autopilot, just enjoy the ride until you get to the jump point. When you arrive, Tab controls your thrusters so you can navigate into the point until you’re close enough. Then press J to make the jump. This is how you travel from galaxy to galaxy through this massive (and very beautiful) universe.

Once you arrive at other locations across the universe, such as other trade centers or planets – any place you can dock will feature green squares when you press “d”. You can request permission to dock by pressing zero. Once you dock, you’ll find yourself inside the facility and ready to explore. Visit the bar, search for new missions, or visit the trade center to pick up or sell goods.

space adventures

While the game is nowhere near the level of commercially available space shooter games, that really isn’t the point of Vega Strike. This game is all about space exploration and creating your own experience by choosing missions that suit your tastes. If you just want to transport cargo back and forth across space – enjoying the view and building a shipping empire, that’s your choice. If you like danger and want to escort transports and fend off enemy ships – have at it. You’re in complete control of your own space adventures, and your own destiny.

So give Vega Strike a try and let us know what you think. Do you know of any other space exploration games? Share your own resources in the comments section below.

Image credit: Nino Satria

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Trillian For Mac – A Real Alternative To Adium?

Posted: 05 Nov 2010 08:31 AM PDT

trillian macRemember the days before multi-platform instant messengers? In that long-lost time the instant messenger you chose to use said something about you. “Do you have an Instant Messenger?” friends would ask. “Yeah, I use ICQ” I'd reply. Nods or approval or disapproval followed depending on their choice of IM client.

Now, of course, you can easily side-step this problem by using multi-platform IM clients capable of logging into multiple services at once. Adium is widely regarded as the best IM for Mac computers, but it now has competition in the form of Trillian, which has hopped the waters between Windows and OS X.

Platform Support Showdown

trillian mac

If you're downloading a multi-platform IM client, platform support is obviously important to you. You're downloading the client so you won't have to open a lot of different instant messengers at once, after all!

Trillian for Mac supports AIM, Bonjour, FaceBook, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, MySpaceIM, schuelerVZ, Twitter, VZ, Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger.

That's a fairly comprehensive list. It isn't as comprehensive as Adium, but it's near-as-make-no-difference. There are also some trade-offs. For example, Adium supports LiveJournal, but Trillian supports Twitter.

There is just one thing missing that I'd really like to see – Skype. I'm not sure why it isn't included, because Skype is supported in Trillian for Windows. Adium also doesn't support Skype, however.

User Interface

trillian for mac

If there's any single element most likely to trip up a Windows developer that makes the leap to a Mac it is the user interface. OS X has very different interface elements that Windows and OS X users expect the programs that they download to integrate into the operating system more smoothly.

Trillian does a pretty good job of making an interface that looks at home on a Mac. There is only one real button on the main IM window, and it is located at the very bottom beside a search bar. Large icons and text indicate contacts, and you can read about a contact's status by hovering over them with your cursor.

Adium sets the bar high, however, and Trillian doesn't quite match up to the example it sets. Trillian looks nice, but Adium looks as if it could be a program installed on our Mac from the factory.


trillian for mac

Adium is well known for its customization features. Although the default settings look brilliant, Adium does not take the typical Mac approach of offering only a handful of carefully selected options. You can change all sort of things including contact icons, the color of interface elements and even the shape of the IM window itself.  A robust community that offers various add-ons and new themes supports these customization features.

trillian mac

Trillian, well – it doesn't really have any of this. What you see is what you get. Trillian does offer Growl support, just like Adium, but there are no serious customization options for the interface. You can change the font size of contacts and alter the way notifications appear, but that's about it.


Is Trillian an alternative for Adium? Sure, I suppose it is. It does most of the same things and it is fully functional as an IM client. You'll have no problem at all using it day-to-day, and chances are good that whatever IM program(s) you use are supported (except Skype, dagnabit).

With that said, I don't see any reason why someone using Adium would switch to Trillian, and I don't see any reason why someone needing a general multi-platform IM client should download Trillian instead of Adium. I'm sure that the folks developing Trillian will continue to plug away at their new Mac version and add new features over time, but for now Adium remains the heavyweight champion of the Mac instant messengers.

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