Nov 2011 OSX Lion Update: Chax does not currently work in Lion. The main reason I used Chax was to consolidate contact lists across IM services, which is now included in the new version of iChat. The other thing I really liked about Chax was Growl notifications. iChat should support Growl, but it currently doesn’t. Fortunately @piquan has that covered with an easy to install AppleScript.
Chax comes to Snow Leopard
A while back I came across Chax, a great little add on for iChat that, among other things, allowed me to consolidate my AIM and Google Talk accounts into a single contact window. It’s never made sense to have separate lists for each account, so this little gem made iChat more useable, and ultimately allowed me to stick with it rather than using an alternative application such as Adium (I prefer iChat over Adium for the screen sharing feature).
When Snow Leopard came out a few weeks ago, iChat surprisingly reverted to it’s multi-window ways. Chax had installed as a preference pane option in Leopard, and it was simply gone. The reason why gets into 32-bit vs 64-bit stuff so here’s Kent Sutherland, Chax developer:
As many people have already found out, Input Managers do not load into 64-bit applications. They still function in 32-bit mode, but forcing everyone into 32-bit is obviously a subpar solution. Instead of using a passive system such as Input Managers, I’ve switched to using an application loader. This change has its pros and cons, but I believe this is the best solution for now.
Since iChat in Snow Leopard is a 64-bit application, the preference pane option doesn’t work and Kent chose to build a stand alone application instead. Great, let’s get it up and running!
- The first thing to do is to download Chax 3.0. Kent has been updating frequently, so grab the latest version, which as of this writing is Alpha 4.
- Once the Disk Image mounts, drag Chax.app to the Applications folder.
- If you have iChat running, quit it and drag the icon off the Dock (if it’s there).
- Launch Chax.
- As Chax launches, you’ll notice it’s icon will change to the iChat icon. If you’d like it in your dock, drag it to your preferred postion. You can also right click and under Options, choose ‘Keep in Dock.’
- Open the preference panel, choose Chax, and you’ll find this beauty:
- If iChat is a login item, open System Preferences › Accounts › Login Items, add Chax and delete iChat. (This step may or may not be necessary).
A big thanks to Kent and his solid work on Chax. If you like it, be sure to donate. Happy Chatting!