21.3. Signing Up

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21.3. Signing Up

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21.3. Signing Up When you open iChat for the first time, you see the "Welcome To iChat" window (Figure 21-1). This is the first of several screens in the iChat setup sequence, during which you're supposed to tell it which kinds of chat accounts you have

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  1. 21.3. Signing Up When you open iChat for the first time, you see the "Welcome To iChat" window (Figure 21-1). This is the first of several screens in the iChat setup sequence, during which you're supposed to tell it which kinds of chat accounts you have, and set up your camera, if any. An account is a name and password. Fortunately, these accounts are free, and there are several ways to acquire one. Tip: The easiest procedure is to set up your accounts before you open iChat for the first time, because then you can just plug in your names and passwords in the setup screens.You can input your account information later, though. Choose iChat Preferences, click the Accounts button, click the + button, and choose the right account type (Jabber, .Mac, Google Talk, or AIM) from the Account Type pop-up menu. 21.3.1. How to get a free .Mac account If you're already a member of Apple's .Mac service (Chapter 18), iChat fills in your Mac.com user name and password automatically. If not, you can get an iChat-only .Mac account for free. To get started, do one of these two things: • Click the "Get an iChat Account" button that appears on the second Setup Assistant screen. • Choose iChat Preferences, click the Accounts button, click the + button, and click Create New.Mac Account. Either way, you go to an Apple Web page, where you can sign up for a free iChat account name. You'll also get 60 days of the more complete .Mac treatment (usually $100 a year) described in Chapter 18. When your trial period ends, you'll lose all of the other stuff that .Mac provides, but you'll get to keep your iChat name. Note: If your .Mac name ismissingmanualguy, you'll appear to everyone else as missingmanualguy@mac.com. The software tacks on the "@mac.com" suffix automatically.
  2. Figure 21-1. The iChat setup assistant gives you the chance to input your account names and passwords, if you already have them. Only one of these screens ("Set up iChat Instant messaging") offers you the chance to create a chat account, in this case a free .Mac account. Otherwise, you're expected to have a name and password (for AIM, Google Talk or Jabber, for example) already. 21.3.2. How to get a free Jabber (or Gmail) account You can't create a Jabber account using iChat. Apple expects that, if you're that interested in Jabber, you already have an account that's been set up by the company you work for (Jabber is popular in corporations) or by you, using one of the free Jabber programs. For example, at www.adiumx.com, you can download a great chat program for Mac OS X that presents you, the first time you open it, with a Preferences:Accounts screen. Click the + button, choose Jabber, type in any screen name and password you like— and when you're told that your account doesn't exist, mutter, "I know, I know," and click Register. Your account is now created (your account name is Francis@jabber.org, for example), and you can plug that screen name and password into iChat. Alternatively, you can just sign up for a free Google Talk account, which is the same as having a free Gmail account. (Go to Gmail.com to sign up for one.) Once you've got a Gmail address, choose iChat Preferences Accounts, and click the + button. Under Account Type, choose Google Talk and type in your complete Gmail address(like gwashington@gmail.com) and password. Your Gmail name pops up on iChat's Jabber list—along with any of your Gmail contacts who are already online and yapping. 21.3.3. How to get a free AIM account You can't create an AIM account in iChat, either. If you're an America Online member, your existing screen name and password work; if you've used AIM before, you can use your existing name and password. If you've never had an AIM account, you can sign up at https://my.screenname.aol.com. Click "Create one FREE now" to make up an AIM screen name.
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