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Ask the MACist -- IM on the Mac

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Welcome to the latest edition of 'Ask the MACist', the column where I answer your Macintosh and other technology questions. Our question this week comes from Alexa in Beverly Hills. She asks: I know the Mac comes with iChat but is there anything else I can use for IM that lets me use other accounts besides .Mac?

When you decide you want to explore the world of Instant Messaging on your Mac, you are not necessarily locked into using Apple's iChat program that comes with every Mac and is part of OSX. While iChat is an ok program that offers several features including video chat and encrypted chat sessions, if you don't use Apple's .Mac or have an AOL instant messenger account, iChat won't work for you.