Older, Wiser, Still Chatty
Those of you out there with adolescent kids are probably more than familiar with the concept of IM. Instant Messaging, or chatting, is the most popular form of communication for kids right behind the telephone.
So, thankfully, none of us are pimply and striving to be cool anymore. (Well, at least I try not to be most of the time.) But instant messaging may still have a place in our lives. You can get a free account from the U of M to try it out:
After you have your account, you need a desktop client that will be your window for chatting. I used Exodus (for windows), but there are several listed on the U of M chat home page above.
So you have your account and you've setup your chat client. Now you need someone to chat with!! The main attraction of chatting over emailing is the opportunity to very briefly chat with someone in real time. You could quick send someone an IM asking when a good time to call is, or if they could send you the new version of that document, or if they've got someone on the phone looking for some info. For AFE, I think it could be most useful as an internal communication tool. You can set up a chat room to brainstorm programming ideas, or just to drop quick notes as if you were in the same office and could walk next door. Or, if you're like me, you are in the same office but don't feel like walking next door.
If you would like to chat with me, my address is firstname.lastname@example.org. For U people, their chat address will always be their x.500 username.
Go ahead and experiment! Maybe it is something your team could use to better communicate across the miles.
For more general chat info: http://dmc.umn.edu/technologies/umchat.shtml