How can I try out MSG?

If you’d like to try out MSG for yourself, the best thing to do is to register on the OpenLearn website, then enrol on at least one course (all for free!). You'll then see the MSG ‘block’ in the sidebar of most pages on OpenLearn, where you can launch the full MSG client from. To really get an idea of how it works, get a friend or colleague to register too and enrol on the same course(s) - then you can chat to each other ๐Ÿ˜‰

What do the icons mean?

Do not disturb

Where do the number of users online figures come from?

The ‘My contacts’ figures are calculated from the number of people who have enrolled on the same courses as you within OpenLearn.

The ‘All users’ figures are calculated from the total number of people who have registered on the OpenLearn website, enrolled on a course in OpenLearn and who have opted-in to using MSG.

Where does my contact list come from?

Your contacts list is automatically created from the people who are on the same courses as you. Each course will display as it’s own group within the MSG client.

Can I do group chat?

Not currently. At the moment MSG only supports one to one chat.

Can I create my own contacts lists?

Not currently. Only the automatically generated contacts list are supported.

How do I unblock popups in my web browser to allow MSG to launch smoothly?

Here is the summary of the menu sequence you need to go through to allow MSG to launch in your browser even when you have popup windows blocked:

1. Internet Explorer

Internet Options…
Privacy [x] Block pop-ups … [Settings]
Address of Web site to allow:
* [Add]

2. Firefox
[x] Block Popup Windows [Allowed Sites]
Address of web site:
* [Allow]

additionally FireFox 2 users need to be carefully about another setting described below.

Using the FireFox 2 browser: when I click on a person’s name I expect an already-open chat window to ‘pop up to the front’, but it does not. How can I fix that?

You need to alter your browser settings as in the menu sequence below:
[X] Enable JavaScript … [Advanced]

Allow scripts to..
[X] Raise or lower windows

Why did you create ‘yet another Instant Messenger’ instead of using an existing one?

We have custom-designed MSG to be based on open standards (the original Jabber/XMPP, as used by other popular tools such as Google Talk), and to ensure that it was low on features and high on web-usability. This means that it can be used immediately and directly from your web browser, without the need for you to download any software — though an optional download provides extra convenience, as you will see. MSG differs from the very popular instant messaging products (like Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live/MSN Messenger, etc.) in three main ways: (i) your contact lists are automatically created from (and restricted to) your shared course registrations; (ii) it offers (from 2007) optional mapping capabilities to see where your contacts are located; (iii) it is fully integrated into OpenLearn and thus appears in all OpenLearn units — this means that throughout the site (e.g. in discussion forums) you can see which users are currently online, so you can immediately ‘click to chat’ to the poster of a relevant forum message. MSG is open source, and therefore customisable. In fact, advanced or highly-motivated users can actually use any other Jabber/XMPP standards-compliant Instant Messaging tool of their choice!