end kvetch

Macs, productivity, &c.

Software Sumo: X-Chat Aqua vs. Linkinus vs. Colloquy

sumo.png

Yes indeedy, our first three-way match. Today, we’ll be looking at IRC apps (which for some reason have hard-to-spell named). IRC, in case you don’t know, is Internet Relay Chat and is basically a somewhat outdated (but still reasonably popular) group chat protocol. Wikipedia probably describes it best. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I would like to say that I myself use Colloquy but if I wasn’t a penny-pincher I would use Linkinus. However, the owner of one of my most frequented channels is an avid X-Chat user (but, for the record, he is running Panther and isn’t big on the direction Apple is headed). Anyway, [insert wrestling announcer type phrase here].

Interface

Personally, the X-Chat interface makes me want to gauge my eyes out. It does not look like it belongs on a Mac, it’s nonstandard and non-graphical. My X-Chat loving friend claims you can “make it look like anything you want” but what he is really saying is “it can be any shade of ugly that you desire.” Unlike the other two, it does not allow for different styles (think message styles in Adium) but it does allow you to change the colors. Sadly, all the lipstick in the world won’t help this pig. X-Chat also has a horrible, text-based preference system that I find really hard to navigate.

x-chat-aquascreensnapz001.png

Linkinus is another story, it is attractive out of the metaphorical box and provides a number of message styles (the bulky but fancy Apt is shown) and a SDK to build your own (although I have not been able to find any more ready-made styles, which is a shame). One of my favorite interface elements is topic bar that scrolls if the topic is too long to be seen in one go. Otherwise the interface is nice and polished. (Also, the Linkinus icon makes me droll, I’ve even cannibalized it and am now using it as my Colloquy icon. Linkinus has a preference system very similar to System Preferences which I found somewhat out of place in an application but others may like. Finally, Linkinus is the only one of these apps with a menu item. I also believe that it may badge the dock icon with the messages remaining. These are both things I wish Colloquy did.

linkinusscreensnapz002.png

Like Adium, Colloquy has a customizable, polished (but still kinda rough-around-the-edges) interface. It has a variety of message styles (and an additional small selection online) and a handy tool for making minor changes to a style right in the app. The navigation sidebar is similar to Linkinus’s except room members are displayed below the room rather than on a separate pane on the other side of the window. The style in the screenshot is custom (but based off of Smooth Operator).

colloquyscreensnapz002.png

X-Chat: 3/10 – Ugly and cryptic with limited customizability.
Linkinus: 8/10 – Attractive and customizable.
Colloquy: 8/10 – See above.

Features

My X-Chat loving friend uses it because of the features. And I must admit, it does have the most features of all three. It displays IP addresses when people join (something that apparently is hand) and does all sorts of IRC power user-y stuff that I, being something of an IRC n00b, have no need for. X-Chat does support logging but the logs are horribly formatted and hard to read.

Linkinus is a midway. It also displays IPs on join and overall seems a little bit more powerful than Colloquy. However, since I squandered my 15 day trial, I wasn’t able to do much with an eye for reviewing. Linkinus also has logging and the logs are presented like regular messages, your chosen style and all (i.e., it does the same thing iChat does).

Colloquy lacks a lot of hardcore IRC features in favor of Mac-like simplicity. For instance, X-Chat friend has made fun of the /whois which instead of sending you an IRC message with the information, gives you a little inspector window (I personally like it). The IP is not shown upon join (and this has made me the butt of several practical jokes). Colloquy logging works the same way as Linkinus logging.

X-Chat: 7/10 – Most features, too many for me.
Linkinus: 8/10 – The features I need without a bunch of extra junk.
Colloquy: 5/10 – Needs a little more power!

Overall

All exactly three points apart, Linkinus took the cake and X-Chat came in last. Do you agree with this assessment? Do you use a different IRC client like Conversation? Weigh in.

X-Chat (Free): 10/20 – Being the aesthete that I am, X-Chat’s slew of features did not allow it to triumph over the very poor interface.

Linkinus ($20, $15 for students): 16/20 – Linkinus got top marks all around, now if only it were free.

Colloquy (Free): 13/20 – Colloquy is the best choice for the price, it has a good interface but lacks power.

Filed under: Apple, Software Sumo, , , , , , , , ,

The (Continued) Quest For A Free Blogging Client

If nothing else, HitTail has helped me realize the obvious: if I want to find a free blogging client for Mac I should Google it (by the way, I’m the top hit if you do so). I did so and found several. The first two I came across, Bleezer and Qumana failed to configure correctly so I moved on to option three– Flock. Flock is a media-based web browser based on Firefox technologies that I have heard of before. Flock isn’t an ideal solution, seeing as how it’s a web browser and not a real blogging client which means the process of posting something isn’t as simple. The only way that it would be quicker to use Flock is if I migrated all of my web browsing to it, which I’m not willing to do.

So, lets look at the rundown of blogging clients…

1. MarsEdit: The best one, but its not free.
2. Ecto: Didn’t configure properly (and isn’t free).
3. Journler: Great app, but no new Blogger support.
4. Bleezer: Didn’t configure properly.
5. Qumana: Same as above.
6. Flock: Not much of an improvement over the Blogger entry client.

I think I’m just going to keep doing it the old fashioned way until I win the lottery (or find $20 in the street) and can buy MarsEdit.

P.S. Why do computers have such antiquated dictionaries? Flock (which I used to write this post) repeatedly told me that “blogging” and “Google” were not really words.

Filed under: Apple, Oldies, , , , , , , , , , , ,

(Free) Desktop Blogging Client For Mac?

As lovely as the Blogger interface is (no, really, I mean it) I want a desktop option (i.e. MarsEdit). Sadly, MarsEdit has decided my trial period expired (even though I removed it from my HD) and Ecto just fails to work (plus it’s kind of ugly). I’m a big fan of Journler but it doesn’t support the new Blogger (and I don’t really want my real journal mixed in with my blog…weird things may happen). Apparently MacJournal has the same blogging functionality as Journler but trying to download something from the Mariner site makes my head spin (plus that would be cheating on the Jster).

So if anyone knows any good blogging software (for macs, of course) that:

1. Are free (or have a very long/linient trial)
2. Support the new Blogger
3. Are pretty (optional)
4. Don’t give you a headache trying to download them

I’d love to hear about it.

Filed under: Apple, Oldies, , , , , , ,