I can't believe the landscape of suck that is "the set of iPhone chat clients".
BeejiveIM decided to shit itself and randomize all my contacts, showing me the wrong name/photo for incoming messages. I don't know what would happen were I to reply, because I haven't tried. I guess I'll just delete the app and live with no IM on my phone until 4.0 comes out and Apple (hopefully) obviates their business model with a builtin iChat. They all deserve it for having been made of fail for so long.
Tags: firstperson, meta
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It's not that hard. At Danger we had a couple of people working on it part-time and it didn't suck. I can only assume that the people working on the iPhone clients are certifiably stupid. I'd blame the platform but people seem to be able to implement other things reasonably well.
I'm pretty satisfied with Meebo's chat client (although it eats away at your battery really quickly).
Meebo works reasonably well as long as I make sure none of my desktop clients are logged in (and relatedly, that Meebo is logged out when I'm at my desktop).
The sad fact is it's sometimes easier to VNC into my home computer with iSSH and use the running instance of Adium there at about a .25 Hz screen refresh rate.
Agreed, iChat makes much more sense as a default app over Stocks or Compass for example, which are virtually useless for 99.9% of iPhone users (and cannot be removed without jailbreak! Yay!).
The Trillian Astra client gets a solid "alright" score from me. For a free app, Fring does the job reasonably well if you don't have too many contacts.
I tried them all, and last year cobbled together a few things:
x bitlbee running on server
x irssi with proxy/irc module for idle spodding.
x colloquy running on different machine (ssh tunnel to the server IRC proxy)
x mobile colloquy..
it then allows me to chat on IRC, and all IM protocols (sans skype) and get direct IM's delivered as badges/notifies etc on the iphone.
It's not pretty but it works well.
Just use meebo or GAIM. Oh, I forgot, no flash or linux ABI.