One of the great boons of the Internet has been instant messaging. Not only does it allow you to keep in touch with friends and family across the globe, it's great for work as well; which is the point of this post.
Being self-employed (and the only employee) it is very useful to be able to communicate, with clients and colleagues, realtime without spending an inordinate amount of time on the phone. Clients who need information or have an issue can contact me at a moment's notice and garner my immediate attention. With colleagues it is a great tool for us to use when needing quick advice regarding a script, command, confirmation regarding the best course of action or a myriad of other things.
Of course when you're talking a handful of customers and a couple dozen friends, colleagues plus family, they all use differing clients: AIM, MSN, Skype, Yahoo, etc. To that end, I currently use both Trillian and Skype. In my constant effort to save computer resources I recently found an excellent comparison site on Wiki which pointed me to a number of multi-protocol IM clients. The one which holds the most promise (for Windows, my main platform) is Miranda IM.
Miranda IM was an easy install and I added the Skype plugin. The interface isn't as nice as Trillian or Skype, but certainly functional.
I'll give it a try for a few weeks and post more then...