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Another way Mountain lion lets you communicate with others is via the Messages application. Like iChat before it, Messages is Mac OS X's instant messaging client. While much of iChat lives within Messages, Messages is more flexible when it comes to talking to multiple devices and accounts. Let's take a look. So I'll launch Messages. I will do it from spotlight. And here's the Messages interface. If you're accustomed to iChat, you'll will find the first major change is the Messages window, something that iChat lacked.
It's here where you initiate and reply to conversations. The workflow is to either click on the Compose New Message button or if you like, you can go to the File menu and choose New Message. There are a couple of ways to select the person you want to chat with. You can start typing the name or address of the person you wish to chat with in the To field. For example I'm going to chat with my friend Scott. As I do, it auto-fills, and there he is. Alternatively, you can click on the plus button and that will take you into your Buddies and your Contacts.
I can choose Scott here, select him, and he's ready to go. Now if you want to do a group chat, you can add additional names or contacts, so I will add Christian Fletcher. I'll double-click on his name, and I will add this Bubba Jones character. Now you will notice that if they don't have an account that you can use--I'll click on them for example--note it turns red. And that means that contact does not have an address that Messages can deal with, and so it goes red.
So I'll delete those because I can't chat with those characters. And their gone, but I can chat with Scott. And that's what my sent message looks like. And it says its Read, meaning that Scott has opened it up, he has read it, and now he is going to reply. You see those three little dots, indicating that he is typing, and he is a very polite gentlemen as well. Always pays to be polite in Messages. Now once you've established a conversation with someone, you can initiate a FaceTime call just by clicking on the camera icon.
If I wanted to FaceTime with Scott, all I would have to do is select that entry their, FaceTime would open up, and I could chat with him. I'm not going to do that right now. As I mentioned, Messages supports multiple services. This means the you can chat not only with people who have an iCloud account, but those using chat clients with an AIM, Google, or Yahoo account for example. And you can set up these accounts in different ways. If you have a Gmail or Yahoo account, just go to System Preferences > Mail, Contacts and Calendars, and here in Yahoo I have this Messages option, indicating that I can chat with that person through Yahoo. Or in Gmail, Google Talk is the way I do it.
If you would like to add an AIM account, instead we're going to go to the Messages Preferences. Click on the plus button and you see an Account Type pop-up menu. This point I can enter that person's username and password for AIM, or I can click here and I can also add other kinds of accounts-- so Jabber, Google Talk, or Yahoo-- if I don't care to go through the Mail, Messages and Contacts system Preference. Now I want to mention something about Google Talk. If you find that you're having difficulty connecting to Google Talk, check the Server Settings, so here, Server Settings tab.
You want to make sure the you have port 5222, and make sure that the use SSL option is turned off. It may be when you first launch messages you will find that this is not the port that they are using; they are use of using something else as a default. If you use that the default setting, you will have a difficult time getting through to Google Talk. So again, port 5222, uncheck the Use SSL option. If you are accustomed to using iChat, you may wonder what the advantages of using Messages is, when so many of the features are identical.
Well the key feature is support for iMessages. Apple has built into IOS devices such as the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad the ability to send text messages without using a cellular provider's SMS system, meaning you can send messages for free. This iMessage support is also built into Mountain Lion's Messages application. This means that you can tax a person using one of these iOS devices and they can text you back just as if you were SMS, but again, on their mobile device they're not paying for SMS.
iMessages also supports MMS, or Multimedia Messaging Service, and that means that you can send not only messages, but also pictures, movies, and files via the messages application. And I'll show you how to do that. So I will go to my Pictures folder, find this lovely picture of the beach. I can just to just drag that into the iMessage field, enter a message if I like, press Return, and that will be sent to Scott.
And as you can see at the bottom, it says it's been delivered. Now he has read it. He is responding. And there is my disappointing reply. So if you're comfortable with iChat, getting up to speed with Messages won't take that much time at all. And if all of this is new to you, a review of my iChat movie from Mac OS X Lion Essential Training will show you all there is you need to know.
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