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Monthly Archives: December 2005

MSN is not nice

A lot of you must have been wondering what has been wrong with my MSN account lately. I’ve been repeatedly adding people, and to some it must’ve seem that I’ve changed MSN accounts several times.

Basically, the short version of the story is: MSN messed up. Eh, also, my new MSN Messenger account is , delete the old one (mythril@start.no and/or mythril@sccc.no). For the longer and more detailed story, or for commenting, feel free to read the rest of the article.

It all started when I tried to change my e-mail address. Even though I am pretty sure I’ve told everyone to stop using my old “mythril@start.no” account, there are still some people that use that address to e-mail me. I suspected this was possibly because the address book in Hotmail is working together with the contacts in MSN Messenger, so when people look up my address, they’ll find my MSN Messenger address, which is indeed mythril@start.no.

Therefore I wanted to change this address. No big problem, since I’m using a Passport account and not a Hotmail account! I could easily go into my Passport settings and change my e-mail! And true enough, changing the e-mail worked rather flawlessly. I changed it to mythril@sccc.no, and after confirming the new address, the e-mail was changed.

I tried logging in to MSN Messenger, and also here it seemed to work well at first: it didn’t work to login with my old e-mail anymore, but logging in with the new e-mail worked! Also, all my contacts were still there. But here the problem started… After logging in, I saw that none of my contacts were online. This may not seem like such a big problem to all of you, but those of you who have somewhat long contact lists probably also “know” that there is never a time when noone is online.

This was when I started removing all my contacts and readding them. Luckily, I could just export my contacts to an external file, and then reimport them, instead of having to type in each e-mail address manually, so I guess MSN does have some good to it. Anyway, a few of the contacts did come online when I reimported my contacts list, so I thought it was working.

After a few days, however, I realised that the contact list still wasn’t quite as full as it should’ve been. After some testing and research, I found that unless I added people when they were online, I wouldn’t see them when they logged on. That’s why I kept readding people for a period of time. Still, this wasn’t enough, and also, some of the people that I’ve seen online also disappeared, so that I couldn’t see them online anymore unless I re-added them again.

In the end, I couldn’t figure out what exactly was wrong. I sent an e-mail to MSN support too, but I don’t think they knew exactly what was wrong either. Anyway, I ended up just making a new account, since it seemed like the account was the problem. I’m sorry for all the popups I’ve caused everyone, and I hope that with a new account, the problem is solved. And I guess the morale of this is that even if yo use a Passport account for MSN Messenger, it may just be better to create a new account if you want to change your e-mail, than to change the e-mail in your current account.

 

Posted by on 2005-12-10 in Uncategorized

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How to make MSN nice

Although I’ve tried using alternative IM (Instant Messaging) programs instead of MSN Messenger, I just have to admit it: Almost none of my friends use other IMs than MSN. Whoever I managed to convince into using ICQ in the early days of IMing has long since switched to using MSN instead, and Yahoo Messenger doesn’t seem to have catched on much here in Norway either.

This is of course not necessarily a bad thing, since it means I don’t really need to connect to several IM networks. One of the main reasons I didn’t switch to MSN earlier is because it doesn’t allow you to put all chat windows into the same window, meaning that the chat windows alone will take up half of your task bar if you chat with just a few friends. (And no, I don’t like task bar buttons grouping either, because I like being able to see what windows I actually have open without having to click on each grouped button.)

Anyway, I’ll describe some of the stuff I did to make MSN Messenger more likable.

Before I start, note that you may want to be careful with some of the programs I’ve mentioned in this article. Although nothing serious has happened to me, I can’t guarantee that all the programs are 100% safe. I do think that anything weird that happens should be possible to fix by reinstalling MSN Messenger, though. Still, I’m not responsible for anything weird that happens if you use these programs.

To remove the tabs on the left side of the contact list in MSN Messenger 7 and up (Note that I use a Norwegian version of Messenger, and I’m translating the option names, so they may not be 100% correct):

  1. Go into Tools -> Options
  2. Select “Security”
  3. The fourth option should be something like “The computer is also used by others, don’t show my categories”. Check this and choose OK. The tabs should be gone.

To get grouped chat windows:

  1. Download Messenger Plus! and install it. Make sure you don’t agree to install the optional helper software, unless you want spyware on your computer.
  2. When Messenger Plus! is installed, start MSN Messenger. A “Welcome to Messenger Plus” wizard will guide you through a few options. Just choose the options you like here.
  3. After the wizard is finished, go to Plus! -> Preferences.
  4. Select the “Instant Messages” tab, then “Tabbed Chats”. Check “Automatically group all my chats”.

Now, whenever you open a chat window, or someone sends you a message, all the chat windows will be grouped together inside one window. You can switch between the different chats by clicking on the tabs with people’s nick, or by pressing CTRL+Tab or CTRL+Shift+Tab on the keyboard to switch between chats. You should also check out the other options of MSN Plus, although I know some people just don’t find it tempting to go through dozens of pages of options.

For allowing bigger emoticons, which is nice sometimes:

  1. Download and install StuffPlug, which is a plugin for MSN Plus!
  2. When it’s installed, it should be activated automatically the next time you start MSN Messenger. If not, go to Plus! -> Preferences and select the Plugins tab. Make sure the checkbox next to StuffPlug is checked.
  3. The first time you start MSN Messenger after installing StuffPlug you should get a configuration window, if not, go to the Plugins options (see the previous step), select StuffPlug from the list, and press the Configure button.
  4. In the first screen of the options, you should be able to select “Allow oversized emoticons”.

Now you should be able to add larger emoticons than before! Note that if you’ve added any emoticons earlier, and they were shrinked, you’ll have to edit them to make them bigger again. Also note that even though you can have larger emoticons, please don’t use emoticons that fill up too much space, that is just annoying… (Uh, the one in my example doesn’t really fill up the whole chat window, it just seems that way because shrinked the window a bit before taking the screenshot…) Anyway, you should also check out the other options of StuffPlug, at least there aren’t as many. The timestamp option on the second page of the options is quite useful!

Ah yes, one last thing is changing the buttons on the panel on top of the contact list, which I’ve done with the Mess Patch. Unfortunately the website is full of ads and popups, but since the patch is updated with each version of MSN, it’d be rather useless to have a copy of the patch on my site.

  1. In MSN Messenger, select Help -> About MSN Messenger. Make note of the build number. (For example: My build is 7.5.0311.)
  2. Go to the website, and click on Search Downloads (in the upper right corner). Search for “mess patch”.
  3. You should get a list of patches for different builds of MSN Messenger. Click on the one for your build (the number you found in step 1), and download it.
  4. Run the patch, select “Patch MSN Messenger” and click Next. (You may want to make notice of the stuff mentioned at the bottom of the first screen.)
  5. You should now get a rather long list of options. You can go through the options and select the options you want, or you can try some of the premade profiles in the list on the right.

Anyway, the option for changing the buttons is near the middle of the “Main Window Options” sublist, more specifically you may want to check “Remove MSN Today Button”, “Move Add a Contact button to Upper Panel”, “Strip toolbar text”, and maybe a few other options depending on what you want. There are too many options for me to describe, just skim through the list or use the preset profiles.

Well, that is most certainly enough text for one article. I hope this has been helpful. And remember: Changing your nick to show your life story is somewhat okay, but at the very least make sure your nick is still shown first, and without changing the nick too often. That way people can know who you actually are without having to do extensive research on your entry in the contact list…

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Posted by on 2005-12-03 in Uncategorized

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