In OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, Apple replaced the long-standing iChat program with Messages, which takes its interface cues from the iPad version of the program. Although Messages looks easy, many people have had trouble understanding how to integrate different chat services and Apple devices, now that messages can appear on Macs, iPhones, and iPads.
For instance, should you use iMessage or AIM to chat with your friend? What if he’s home on his Mac or out while using his iPhone? Can you add someone else to the chat? What if you want to switch to an audio chat? To video? For video, should you use Google Talk or FaceTime? And so on. The mechanics may be simple, but the setup and human interactions can be anything but simple.
To bring some sense to the situation, we asked networking guru Glenn Fleishman to explain how you can bend Messages to your will, and the fruits of his labor are now available for only $10 in the 113-page “Take Control of Messages in Mountain Lion.”
As noted, the basics of using Messages aren’t difficult, but we’ve found all sorts of confusions and gotchas that the book explains. With it in hand, you’ll discover:
The difference between SMS, instant messaging, and iMessage — plus why you should care.
How to convert your iChat experience to the brave new world of Messages.
Why it is that Messages lets you set up accounts at five different services (plus Bonjour), and how to figure out which you should use in any given situation.
In an iMessage account, how to configure which email address(es) and iPhone number(s) should receive messages on your Mac.
How to use Google Talk with Google two-factor authentication.
How to send messages — and set your online status — with an eye to etiquette and conventions.
What an instant-message buddy is, why it’s awkward that iMessage doesn’t have buddies, how to get buddies, organize buddies, and even delete or block a buddy.
How to exchange photos, videos, business documents, and other files via Messages.
The best way to add a spoken conversation or video to a connection, whether through an iMessage/FaceTime chat or an instant-messaging service.
How to view and control the Mac screen of the person you’re chatting with (or vice-versa).
And much more…
If you’ve found Messages awkward, “Take Control of Messages in Mountain Lion” has the explanations you need to make Messages work for you (or, in a few cases, to say, “Sorry, that’s just not possible”).