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Monday May 9, 2005 11:18 am

Versoworks Messenger:Mate Review


Messenger:Mate LogoIn today’s world, communication is of great importance. That is why instant messaging has become so popular in the business sector as much as in the personal web experience. However, sometimes the standard features that come in two of the biggest names for instant communication is not enough. Versoworks seeks to customize your instant messaging experience with its latest offering – Messenger:Mate. The software comes in two flavors: Messenger:Mate for MSN messenger and Messenger:Mate for AIM. I took a look at the AIM version of Messenger:Mate and took it for a spin.



Software Tested

AOL Instant Messenger version 5.9.3702
Messenger:Mate for AIM version 1.1.2

The Sign up Process

Versoworks offers two flavors of its messenger:mate add on – one for AIM and the other for MSN Messenger. You must first decide which one of the two you would like to purchase (you may purchase both if you prefer). After a decision is made, you must make sure the requirements are met and that other add-ons or plug-ins that may be have been previously installed are removed. For this review, AIM v5.9.3702 was used. After filling out the form and paying the necessary $5 via PayPal for the one year subscription, an email was sent to my mail box with the serial number for use with messenger:mate for AIM. With the serial number copied to the clipboard, I logged in to Versoworks.com which then took me to my membership page with a listing of my active subscriptions on the left. Clicking on the link for Messenger:Mate for AIM initiated the download.

The Set Up Process

Messenger:Mate installed with out any problems and was a painless affair. The typical install process of any application, read this, check that, click next, click finish and your set. Once installed, you have to set all the settings via the Messenger:Mate control panel that is launched by clicking on the menu item on AIM. You can set your preference in buddy aliases, the buddy list, instant messages, themes and other general settings. Aliases are straight forward, you enter the screen name of the person you want to set an alias for and specify the name you want to see then click “Add”. Under the “Buddy List” preferences you can set things such as hiding all the useless buttons or advertisements as well as customize the look of your buddy list by changing its color scheme. The “General” settings allow you to set user profiles, toggle whether you want the window to flash on new messages, set a lock feature which protects your settings, idle control, back up/restore Messenger:Mate settings and allows you to set the ever so popular “Chat while away” feature. The “Instant Messages” settings allow you to set your log preferences and IM window grouping preferences as well as a very useful tool to confirm if you really want to close all your IM windows. The last section is “Themes” which allows you to use themes that you download from the internet or customize yourself.

Usage

Using Messenger:Mate is as easy as using AIM. If you have used similar AIM add-ons such as Dead AIM, then you are familiar to the standard features such as removing all the useless tool bars and ads as well as using “tabs”. Messenger:Mate is actually the only third-party application that works with AOL’s newest version of AIM. All the functions of regular AIM work perfectly fine. One thing that is great is that you have access to so many more emoticons – why use the standard yellow yellow smily when you can send a smiling cow? It’s madness! Customization is a nice feature as well; you can change the colors of virtually every aspect of AIM to suit your Window’s theme or your own preference. Instant message “tabs” are great as well. Anyone who has ever used other IM clients such as GAIM or AdiumX knows how great they can be. However, one thing many people may not like is that with this version of Messenger:Mate the tabs are placed on the right side of the IM window instead of on the top or bottom. While this may be annoying at first, there are talks of this aspect of Messenger:Mate to be customizable in the next version.

Customer Support

Support is offered in two ways: forums and support tickets. You can find answers to most questions or to new questions through the use of the Versoworks forums. However, if you have a question you don’t want others to see, then a support ticket is your answer. Either method yields a fast response. Messenger:Mate’s support is its greatest strength. Maurizio, Messenger:Mate’s creator, reads every feature request and considers incorporating them into the product. If you have any suggestions on how to improve this application, voice your opinion and it wil be considered. Software updates are made often. Just in the process of this review I endured two full updates and many beta updates.

Conclusion

Bottom line is this add-on for AOL’s instant messenger customizes your instant messaging experience to make it a more enjoyable experience. This may not be a free add-on, but its well worth the $5. Best of all, you’ll enjoy a full year of software updates.

Note: Some features such as the tabs have been improved. The tab group placement is now customizable to display on top, bottom, left or right.


Verso Works product page

Purchase Messenger:Mate for AIM

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