I had the damndest time figuring out why my ICQ avatar was not showing up for other people. Since it isn’t obvious, I’ll post it here, someone else might find it useful:

  • make sure your avatar image is less than 4 KB.
  • make sure it is no bigger than 64×64 pixels.

ICQ seems to take both these restrictions serious, and Miranda doesn’t give a hoot. Less than 4 KB means that JPEG is most likely the format you’ll want to use unless you have a simple drawing for an avatar.

Speaking of Miranda: I tried out some other messengers lately, and they all fall short on one of my basic requirements:

  • Full keyboard control (open contacts, open message, select contact all without mouse)
  • Avatar support
  • Clean look (Win2K classic, preferably)
  • Support for Jabber, ICQ and MSN
  • Compact, no-nonsense contact list

Neither Trillian nor Gaim were satisfactory. Gaim isn’t so bad, but I hate their UI controls, and the contact list needs to much space per entry. Trillian completely lacks keyboard controls, has no support for Gaim and I didn’t think I’d have to include “searchable history” in my list of requirements, but the fact that it hasn’t got one taught me to expect nothing and everything. Of course, if I chose to pay, I’d get the latter two, but still no keyboard shortcuts.

[ media | Stan Getz & Luis Bonfa-So Danco Samba ]
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