Another pre-holiday leftover I meant to write about is the recent release of the latest version of Trillian. Trillian, in a nutshell, is probably the best Instant Messenger product out there and if you’re not using it, you should be. There’s two versions available for download, the “basic” product is free and other, which is a little more souped up, is one you pay for. I use the free download, as the features in the premium version aren’t anything I would ever need or use. The main advantage of using Trillian is that it provides an interface for all of the major IM services, combining them all into one interface. So if you use the MSN Messenger, but have a shitload of friends or co-workers who use AOL, Yahoo or ICQ for their instant messaging, Trillian gives you the ability to communicate with them under a single IM interface (provided you set up accounts with each, which takes all of 23 seconds to do). Additionally, as you can see in the screenshot, it will also monitor any email you have with the various services (be it Yahoo, MSN, etc). Good stuff.

Here you see the new Trillian IM window. One of my absolute favorite features of Trillian is the quick access to “IM history.” Since I work remotely, I use IM a hell of a lot to communicate with co-workers, who are also spread around in a few different locations. It’s an invaluable resource for me to be able to click on that “history” button right from the IM window to check on old IM’s – answers to questions, URL’s, etc etc. When you hit the history button, a notepad file pops up with the complete history of your IM exchanges with that particular person. Additionally, and this doesn’t happen often, someone at work might have a little selective amnesia, if you know what I’m saying, and the history button is great to remind someone what they told you a month ago. You can also easily initiate a group discussion, send Word or Excel files through IM and video chat is an option, although I still think that technology is a ways away. I highly recommend Trillian. This new version is cleaner, a little easier to use and keeps Trillian at the forefront, in my mind.

I don’t remember if I ever posted a link to the Earth Observatory, but even if I did, hell, it’s well worth visiting at least once a week (tip of the hat to Paul for pointing it out to me). The Observatory is a relatively large collection of satellite photos and it’s more a relevant place to be these days – they have some amazing and harrowing pictures of the devastation from the tsunami. But it’s not just a haven for disaster photos – there’s some stunning shots of tropical islands, various city skylines, weather patterns, the effects of large forest and brush fires and so on. It’s a pretty incredible collection and a glorious time suck. Enjoy.