Share, Present and Collaborate with Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6 iChat
I am a big user of Apple’s iChat, a built in chat client that comes with Mac OS X. I was a early adopter of iChat and have tried other software and web based services like Facebook, Yahoo and Google. Mac OS X iChat remains my go to chat application since it has a lot of features that integrate with the Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6; most of which Mac users are not aware of.
Included with Mac OS X, iChat provides a comprehensive application that works with your AIM, Jabber, Mobile Me and Google Talk accounts. With Mac OS X iChat you can easily stay in touch, collaborate, show off your kids and share friends and family using text (SMS) sound or video. Even if the person you are trying to talk with doesn’t have a Mac you can still use iChat as long as they have an AIM or Google Voice account. Lets get started looking at all the cool features that are found in iChat.
Down to Basics
Start by setting up an account. When you launch iChat for the first time a dialogue will appear asking you to press ‘continue’. You can use iChat with your MobileMe, AIM or Google Talk accounts. In Account Settings you will need to:
- Select Account Type
- Enter Screen Name
- Enter Password
- Click ‘Get an iChat Account’
Use Facebook Chat (IM) with Mac OS X iChat.
This is a great way of taking advantage of all the features of iChat and combining it with the social networking reach of Facebook. Start by opening your iChat Preferences:
- Go to the Menu Bar iChat > Preferences…
- Click on Accounts Tab.
- Click + to create a new Account.
- Select Account Type: Jabber Account.
- Account Name: (Facebook usersame)+@chat.facebook.com – find it in your profile.
Enter your Facebook Password.
- Click Done.
Once the account autheticates it will enter all the server information for you. Voila!
Show off Slideshows – Anywhere.
I have been in a lot of Skype interviews lately and and there is always a moment you wish the candidate could show a visual presentation. In most cases you need to be technically minded to get through a presentation; not to mention calm before giving a presentation online! With iChat you can give a Keynote presentation remotely using iChat Theater. To start select 1-4 buddies, next:
- Click and Drag your Keynote presentation to the iChat window.
- Drop your file into the ‘Share with iChat Theater’ drop-box.
That’s it! Keynote will automatically launch your presentation and load up a presentation feed in the iChat window. You can also host a photo slideshow or play a movie this way. You control the slide show from keynote. When your done just quit Keynote and resume talking via video.
Screen Sharing: Get on the same page.
iChat also allows you to share your screen with your buddy. This way you and your buddy can observe and control a single desktop making it easy to collaborate, browse the web or look over documents. Sharing your desktop allows you and your Buddy access and control to each others desktops. To start up Screen Sharing all you have to do is:
- Select the Buddy you want to share with.
- From the Main Menu select Buddies > Share My Screen.
- iChat initiates an audio chat to start the screen sharing session. You can talk while you make the connection and work.
That’s it! Hard to believe that you can manage to do all this with only a few clicks.
Multiway Video iChat – Connecting up to Four Buddies in a Conference.
Video iChat is the best way to quickly get to know who is on the other side of the screen. With iChat you can connect up to an unlimited number of people in one text conference, up to 10 total people in an audio conference, and up to four total people in a video conference. Here is how:
- Select the buddies that you want to participate in your conference. (Tip: Hold down the Command key to select more than one buddy).
- Click the movie camera button to start a video conference; If you want to start a text conference click the “A” or the phone button to start an audio conference.
- Participants just need to accept your invitation and they will be able to interact with everyone who joins!
Having fun with iChat! – Video iChat Backgrounds
If you haven’t tried this your should! Try the video backdrops that are a part of iChat. After you start a video iChat you can make it look like you’re chatting from the Golden Gate Bridge or use your own custom backdrop. Here’s how:
- Select the Buddy(s) you want to chat with.
- Initiate the the video chat by clicking the movie camera button.
- Select View > Set Chat Background…
- Select the background you want to use. Tip: Make sure you are in front of a neutral background like a white or solid color wall.
- To clear the background just select View > Clear Background.
You can also add cool effects by selecting Video > Show Video Effects (Shift+Command+E).