IMBooster launches IMBooster Beta for AIM. After designing IMBooster for Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger, its creators bring forward the latest version, AIM-compatible. All the emoticons, winks, display pictures and text decorations are now available for AIM users as well.
- AIM users can now send emoticons or create their own with the Make your emoticons feature within IMBooster. Webcam required for this feature.
- AIM users can also send wink pranks in order to scare their chat partners. Some pranks include: Virus shutdown, Multiple pop-ups, Computer screen bug and others.
- Display pictures are animated and react to key strokes. The purpose of this feature is to offer more expressivity when chatting.
- AIM users can also watch TV broadcasted online by sharing the view in a small window.
IMBooster is still a Beta version so the creators are now looking for helpful people to notice any strange behavior. More info can be found on their Beta testing website: http://beta.iminent.com/
AOL today officially released AIM 6.9 for Windows, introducing new features that integrate AIM with other social networks, including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. This new version of the venerable instant messaging program acknowledges and embraces the fact that people aren’t just on a single social network — they have a presence across many networks — and keeping up-to-date with your friends, family and associates shouldn’t require you to visit a dozen different web sites. The real social network transcends any single brand.
AIM remains free to use, supported by advertising that appears in the buddy list and chat windows. AIM 6.9 requires Windows 2000 or newer, 512 MB RAM for enhanced IM functionality, Flash and IE 6 or newer. You can download it here.
Alternate versions for Mac, Linux and web-based IM are still available, but haven’t been upgraded to match the functionality of their Windows counterpart.
Do you use AIM? Will you upgrade?
AOL has released a new beta version of their venerable AOL Instant Messenger program. The AIM 6.9 Beta 3 sports new icons, new design, a return to the “running man” logo and integration with Bebo profiles.
And — hold onto your seats — you now have the option to display emoticons as text!
The new look is an improvement, but still lags behind WLM and Yahoo! Messenger. They key development with this version seems to be tighter integration with Bebo.
AOL Instant Messenger, or simply AIM, is a free instant messenger service. AIM is available on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Introduced in 1997, AIM is one of the most popular IM programs with over 60 million users. You don’t need to be an AOL subscriber in order to sign-up to download and use AIM.
AOL Instant Messenger has full range of features, including video and voice chat, status messages, logging and buddy icons (avatars). You can create custom away messages. AIM supports both person-to-person IM as well as multi-person IM conferencing or group chats.
Did I say AIM was free? What I should have said is that you won’t pay for the privilege of using it, but you will have to tolerate ads. There are ads on the buddy list and in your chat window… unless you choose an alternate client (read on).
AIM is actually offers some of the best interoperability going. From AIM, you can chat with contacts on ICQ, iChat and Google Talk (via Gmail Chat) – without having accounts on those IM networks! There are a number of good multiprotocol clients such as Adium, Digsby and Miranda, but these all require that you create accounts on each IM network you want to use.
Sometimes you need to send an instant message from another computer and you don’t want to (or cannot) install AIM. AOL provides a web-based version called AIM Express. It works across must browsers and operating systems, although it does require Flash support. With AIM Express, you won’t get video, voice chat or file transfers, but it works fine for basic, text-based instant messaging.
AIM supports a broad range of mobile devices, including specialized applications for:
- iPhone & iPod Touch
- Windows Mobile
In addition, most mobile carriers in the U.S. support text-based AIM in their handsets. You can check here for instructions on getting AIM on your phone.
Fun Stuff, Tips & Tricks
There is fun to be had with AIM. You can skin AIM with an Expression, swap out your buddy icons, or download a plugin to make AIM do new tricks.
In March 2008, AOL introduced the Open AIM initiative, officially opening up AIM’s protocol to third-party developers like Digsby, Trillian and meebo to hook into the AIM network without reverse engineering. Open AIM has spawned a series of alternative messengers, including
- AIM Lite – a lightweight, advertisement-free version of AIM
- Ahoihoi - a beautiful, streamlined version that you can recolor
- and many others. Check the AIM Gallery for the latest list.
Updated on March 14, 2009
Ever wanted to create your own AIM Expression? This tutorial describes the basic process. I won’t really go over any design aspects as to how to make the Expression look good, that’ll be left up to you to figure out. This tutorial will only work if you keep all the files in one folder. Read more
Do you want to hide something that isn’t really hidden? Use AIM’s F2 trick to send hidden messages to your friends. Sure it’s pointless, but its kind of neat and you will surely prove that you are IM savvy.
What is the F2 Trick?
The F2 trick uses the timestamp feature of AIM. The assumption is that most people have timestamp turned off. Pressing F2 toggles AIM’s timestamp on/off. Time stamping just lets you know when the person said what they said. Notice the time next to the name. The trick allows you to fool AIM into thinking that your message is part of the time stamp. Here’s an example of a normal conversation with timestamps turned on:
How to insert your “secret message”
Now you just open up Notepad (any other text editor will do) and type in the secret message that you want, inside of these brackets: <!– MESSAGE –>
Copy the text of whatever “secret message” you want to have. To quickly copy all the text, press CTRL-A, then CTRL-C.
Head back to AIM and type in the normal message. Paste (CTRL-V) the secret message wherever you want in the normal message. Here is an example of a successful “secret message”
- Make sure you place ANY character type in front of and in back of the hidden message. If you fail to do so, you will be punished with horrible things like: </FONT></BODY></HTML> in your “secret message”, shown in this nifty image:
- This character can be anything, such as C * $ or even just a space. What I like to do is leave the “secret message” at the end of the normal message followed by a space; the other person can’t even see it!
- Note that if you have timestamp turned on when you paste in your “secret message”, this will make your horrible, horrible secret clear to everyone! Shown in this picture below:
*NOTE* Whatever you type in as your secret message could and probably will be read, so don’t go putting your deepest and darkest secrets here unless you don’t care if other people know.
*NOTE* These tricks only work with AIM, not with AOL’s built in messenger.
- One other use of the F2 trick is in your profile. To do this, go to My AIM, then Edit Profile.
- Click Next twice to reach your More Info section. Here is where you will place a ~Secret Message~.
- Follow the same rules as above and you can insert hidden messages in your profile, too.
Here is a glowing example of my very own My Info page:
*GASP* And no one would’ve been the wiser if not for……… F2!
What are AIM Expressions?
First released with AOL Instant Messenger 5.0, AIM Expressions are a way to personalize AIM. Expressions add custom graphics to your buddy list and instant message windows. They aren’t a true application skin because they don’t change the interface, but they can be fun just the same.
Do my friends see my Expression?
Unless your friend has specifically loaded it, no. Expressions, unlike Yahoo IMvironments, are not automatically shared with the people you IM. Only you see it. They will, however, see the buddy icon used by your Expression.
Can I create my own Expression?
The short answer is yes. You can download an older, desktop program: AIM Buddy Expression Creator. They have a free trial version that they claim lets you create up to five Expressions, but when I tried it, it expired after creating only one! Otherwise, it looked pretty good and it did work.
But I would recommend the official (and free) web-based Expression Creator at http://expressions.aim.com.
What you need to create the various images
- Buddy List Background: 130×160 BMP
- Buddy List Top: 120×60 GIF (you have to include an image, although it won’t actually be used by the Expression; AIM will automatically display an ad there)
- Buddy List Side: 60xAny GIF (the height is up to you)
- IM Background: Any sized GIF (experiment with different sizes to get the result you want)IM Side: 125xAny GIF (pick your own height)
- Buddy Icon: 48×48 GIF (if non-animated) or 50×50 GIF (if transparent or animated) must be smaller than 7 KB!
The tricky part for most is that the Buddy List Side and IM Window Side actually must be web pages hosted somewhere on the Internet (if you want to share the Expression). Set up the web pages with the images and use <BODY scroll=”no”> to turn off the scroll bars. Then enter the location for all the images and files into Expression Creator and save the Expression. That’s basically all there is to it!
If you want to share your Expression, all you need to share is the ARF file. Again, if you host this on a web server, you can create a hyperlink in this format:
<a href="aim:GetExpression?URL=http://www.bigblueball.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/civilwar.arf">Civil War Expression</a>
Replacing the URL with the proper address to your ARF file. If you’re running AIM 5.0 or newer, you can test the link and see my first attempt at creating an Expression.