Friday, July 15, 2005

Harh? ICQ?

I was chatting with Sonia yesterday night when we somehow talked about the now obscure topic of ICQ. Sometime within the past 3 years, MSN Messenger overtook ICQ in popularity, and the situation remains till today.

I remember that when MSN started groping the IM market, more and more of my contacts logged onto both MSN and ICQ. Later, people started to neglect ICQ, and my contact list became redder and redder. (The default contact list font setting is red for offline users and blue for online) After a while, there was no real purpose to open the program itself, and ICQ was abandoned. When the computer was formatted, ICQ was not reinstalled.

While chatting with Sonia, I decided to check out ICQ’s website. On impulse, I also downloaded and installed the latest program, ICQ 5.04. I searched for my own details on ICQ’s online user database, and obtained my number. I logged in with the classical foghorn blare. And yes, I still remember my password, many years on.

ICQ’s foghorn blare during login was a familiar sound that I had with me since 1998. When the dial up connection was not performing well, it would take ages before the sound came. On the other hand, the foghorn would sound almost immediately if the connection was sprinting at 49kb/s.

To my pleasant surprise, my contact list was exactly as I had left it a year ago. Everyone remained in their appropriate visible/invisible list. Even the renamed names were there! (I renamed everyone’s display names from their frivolous nicknames to their real names. Makes life easier.)

Unsurprisingly, there was only one other person online- Sonia. She uses Trillian, which integrates MSN, ICQ and AOL into one package for simplicity.

This afternoon, I chatted a little with Sonia using ICQ. The messages came through with a perky ‘ah-aww’ sound. Ahh…those familiar noises in my early days of chatting. (I don’t really remember IRC much.) ICQ easily allows multi-lined chat messages, and hitting enter starts a new line, not send. The shortcut to send is alt+S.

And thus while I chatted with Sonia, I typed my messages, alt+s, alt-tab to other MSN windows, typed my other message, enter, alt+tab... This alt+S alt+tab manoeuvre used to be a very common combination in the past, and today, it feels like I’m rediscovering some latent motor skills.

Rediscovering ICQ was an interesting experience. The familiar foghorn blast, the kinky ‘ah-aww’, the alt+S alt+tab finger roll, the blue & red contact list… It felt nostalgic, like returning home after a long absence.

Join me on ICQ: 22-967-871. You can leave offline messages!

At the height of ICQ’s popularity, some people even committed their UIN to memory, much like their phone numbers and residential addresses.

Download ICQ pro 2003b
Download ICQ lite 5.04


Blogger matakecil said...

haha, yep, icq. i have been using it since 1998. you can see my uin 335888 only 6-digit. i have also use other chat programs, but somehow icq is among my favourite. :)

6:34 am, July 15, 2005  
Blogger Jordan F. MacVay said...

I gave up on ICQ sometime last year, but I've still got fond memories of it. Not just the sounds, but the fact that I met my wife through ICQ! :)

7:53 am, July 15, 2005  
Blogger mistyeiz said...

hey yee wei!! yea i know wat u mean. i'm still friends with my 'prince charming' from barbados n we met on icq too. he just had a kid!! so cute but reminds me how old i am already. aiyooo....

college days....wah, really miss them so much. :)

1:01 pm, July 15, 2005  
Blogger shifty said...

what is ICQ? lol. my uin is 2769798 and gawd knows the hundred of people on it whom i don't talk to. awww, now i feel like opening mine too! haha.

5:05 pm, July 15, 2005  
Blogger Lao Chen said...

mata kecil,
You've got a nice number there, with the 8888, and its a 6 digit one too. I checked on wikipedia for ICQ, and it seems that people do auction their small UINs on ebay. Your 8888 might fetch a good price!

Thats a romantic one. Fond memories, certainly. Keep the old ICQ installer programs with you...then you and your dear wife can revisit ICQ 2002 or whichever version years later :)

That sounds like a while back... ever got the chance to met your charming man?

Yes i know :) I'm still chatting to you.

5:55 pm, July 15, 2005  
Blogger Shanker said...

funny thing is i just installed the latest ICQ version a few days back because my fren cud not connect to MSN and i wanted to chat to her. yea it was great last time but my with over a hundred ppl on my list NONE of them were online. i eventually had problems and cud not actually add my fren tht i wanted to chat with.

i guess it went out of use because of the usage of "invisible". everyone started goin online but bein on invisible mode. a good feature that actually destroyed its very existance now. sadly.

It was alwiz a good way to find frens on the net previously. met countless girls during those days in school... :)

10:40 pm, July 15, 2005  
Blogger sonia said...

But... On MSN u could actually go on invisible too!

Plus yea, u get to leave offline messages, choose ur chatting layout (in grp convos), have installed "away msgs plugin", etc.... Haha.. But the thing I know I used to like (?) the most was the "Uh-oh" sound. Hehehehehe.. ;)))

11:13 pm, July 16, 2005  
Blogger mistyeiz said...

not really...he's WAYYY over in barbados. the prince charming was a nick i gave him...mine was water baby!! hahahahaha....dont ask why - i cant even swim to save my life!! ;)

10:48 am, July 22, 2005  

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