Fun With Instant Messengers - Downloading Free Emoticons
By Jerry Wilhelm
This article is intended for new computer users who may just be learning to use email or more interestingly any of the various Instant Messenger programs such as Yahoo Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger or MSN Messenger.
These programs provide a small floating window that sits on your desktop, within which you can have a list of "Friends" you may want to communicate with on a regular basis. By simply clicking on their name you can open a live window through which you can type a message, and if they are on-line they can, in real time, type a message back to you.
It is an interesting means of communication that can go on for as long or short a period as you wish, but by its nature it is quite different than any other way of communicating with someone. It doesn't require the same kind of commitment as a phone call for example, you may only wish to communicate a short message, and it is a very convenient way to do it and get immediate feedback.
These programs typically also provide the means to make a computer to computer, or computer to phone, call. You will need a headset or microphone & speakers to use this but it is generally free if its a computer to computer call and in some cases free within the continental US if its a call to a phone.
To make it even more interesting you can have a Video chat in which you can see and speak to the caller in real time. One of the irritating things to me about video chat has always been the fact that when you are talking to someone you want to be looking into their eyes, but because web-cams are typically placed above the screen, in order for them to see you looking at them, you would have to be looking into the camera, but then you cannot see their reaction. I have always found this to be awkward. However, not to fear, I predict a technology coming soon from one of your favorite computer manufacturers (named after a fruit) that may solve this once and for all.
A couple years ago I came up with an idea to solve this problem, imagine a computer display, it is composed of discrete pixels which make up the image, imagine if every other one of those pixels was replaced with a pixel sized image capture device (know as charged couple device CCD) these are what are used in digital cameras to capture an image.
Well what a brilliant idea I had, I started diagramming it and thinking about calling a patent attorney. Then I thought, let me search the Internet and see if anyone has thought of this. Well as it turns out, the lead scientist at this computer company (named after a fruit, not the scientist but the company) had filed a patent on "my Idea" one month earlier.
How deflating, in any case I would not be surprised to see this technology available any time now, no longer a need for a camera when video conferencing, you just look directly into the screen, it would be like looking through a window. But I digress, back to Instant messengers.
Another rather fun tool available in both email and Instant messenger services is something known as an "Emoticon". These are cartoon like heads with various expressions that can be inserted into the text of your email or instant message that can communicate a mood or feeling. These Emoticons are available by the thousands and can be downloaded on-line if you are not happy with the ones that come standard in the messenger or email program.
You can download free emoticons, such as an emoticon kiss, moving emoticons, animated emoticons, and all sorts of cool smileys They are also available in 3D versions. You will find many sources for these on-line, many are free, typically you will download a toolbar that gives you access to emoticons and a variety of related items.
Jerry Wilhelm is an Architect and a computer professional and technical writer with a broad range of personal and professional interests.
Download free emoticons
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