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Chat at SOAS

The SOAS chat service, like the email service, is provisioned by Google using their Google Talk system. This service is based on XMPP (also known as Jabber) which makes for a very flexible user centric model where you can use whatever computer, mobile phone or web browser you wish to access it. The Google Talk service has been integrated into their webmail system providing probably one of the easiest methods available to chat with your contacts, however they also helpfully provide instructions to some of the other popular clients with their system.

If you do not wish to use the Google Mail web based chat system and would prefer a client as installed instead on your computer, then a good one to start exploring with is Psi which is available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and also Linux. Google helpfully provide some instructions on Configuring Psi for Google Talk. However, for Apple Mac OS X users, you might prefer to use the already installed iChat application.

N.B. when asked to enter in your username, use the form <username>@soas.ac.uk, where '<username>' is your SOAS Novell login name (ie. ”123456” or ”ie42”)

Communicating with Other Chat Systems

Users can quickly find themselves with multiple chat clients installed on their computer which can feel overwhelming. A lesser known feature of XMPP/Jabber (and so also by extension Google Talk) is that you are not limited to just talking to other @soas.ac.uk users, you can also talk to other XMPP/Jabber (there is a public listing of servers and also a more comprehensive listing), Gmail, MSN, ICQ, IRC, AIM and Yahoo users to just name a few.

Jabber (including Google Mail)

This is simply a case of adding the user's Jabber ID to your contact list.

N.B. you might be unaware that anyone with a Google Mail account can also be added to your contact list

Microsoft Windows Live Messenger (MSN)

You can also have all your Microsoft Windows Live Messenger (MSN) users available in your contact list and communicate with them as if they were 'native' Google/Jabber users.

To do this is a slightly complicated process as you will need access to a client, such as Psi or iChat, installed on your workstation and configured to use Google Talk.

Psi
  1. log into Google Talk with Psi
  2. go to the 'General' pull down menu and select 'Service Discovery'
  3. in the window that opens you will find a box labelled 'Address', put ”xmpp.soas.ac.uk” into the box and click 'Browse'
  4. double click on ”MSN Transport - msn.xmpp.soas.ac.uk”
  5. you will now be prompted for your Hotmail/MSN/Windows Live username and password (for example, 'foobar@hotmail.com')
  6. click on 'Register', if your login details are correct you should be told “Registration successful” and you can close the 'Service Discovery' window
  7. in your contact list you should now have received a notification from 'msn.xmpp.soas.ac.uk'
  8. in the contact list double click on 'msn.xmpp.soas.ac.uk' and in the popup window 'Add/Auth'
  9. all your MSN contacts will now be added and available in Psi, and also viewable in Google Talk