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Every so often a piece of software is released that really makes your life easier. Sure Microsoft claims their software does this, but this is not always true. ICQ (I Seek You) is one of those rare pieces of software. You seem people will always need to communicate with each other, be it with friends, family or work colleagues. But there is one fundamental flaw with communications using the internet. How do you know when your friends etc. are online? That's when this little gem kicks in. It automatically fires up when it detects an internet connections, and sits in the system tray waiting for something to do. When someone in your contacts list comes online, it notifies you. Now you have the power to control some great facilities. You can send a simple message, start a conversation, send a URL, play an online game or send a file.(See Picture left.) You can even use ICQ to check your email. It will notify you when you have new email and will show you the header, so you can go and download it using your usual email program. Of course, if you are connected to the internet 24 hours a day, you can just leave ICQ running.

There are many options you can use to tell people that you are away, busy, or just don't want to be disturbed. If you are using a dialup account though, your friends can still send you messages while you are offline. The message is kept on the ICQ server, and is delivered when you log on. The service is free, and get many other benefits. You also get an ICQ pager. For more information on this, visit the Mirabilis homepage at . If you don't know anyone else who uses ICQ at first, there are many ways to find new friends. One of the best is a random search, which uses your criteria to find people online with the same interests. On the other hand, if you know people who use ICQ, but don't know their numbers, you can use the search engine to look for people using criteria such as name, nickname or email address.

The program, when installed, takes up just 2.07MB worth of Hard Drive space. It's hard to imagine how many features could be put into such a small program. The download file is around 1.4MB, which should take something like 8 mins to download using a 33.6 modem. The installation progress is easy enough too. Just tell it where to dump it's files, and away it goes. This program is of use to experienced business users, or novice home users. And you can even decide between simple or advanced modes. Of course, the simple mode doesn't show you as much information as the experienced mode, but it is a good way to get used to the program before you start playing with the real toys.

Great stuff !!!

Email me with comments or suggestions for later reviews.


Oliver Haslam

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