Trillian 4.1 and Windows 7

I’m really digging the new ideas for Trillian 4.1 to integrate better with Windows 7. If you haven’t read about it yet then take a look at this..

Trillian-4.1-W7

Trillian 4.1 will take advantage of the new Windows 7 Taskbar in several ways that will be very beneficial. The most beneficial of these in my opinion is the new way of reflecting the total file transfer progress from the Taskbar button itself!

If you look closely (click the image to view a larger version) then you’ll notice that the background color of the Taskbar button for transfers is a progress bar all of its own. This is a very impressive approach to keeping the visual aid simple and clean (something that I have been disappointed with Trillian in the past for).

Trillian 4.1 will also take advantage of Jump Lists. This is the list you get when you right click an icon in the Taskbar. While most of these options are available by default from right clicking the system tray icon, Windows 7 has made the system tray a little less important in this round by hiding most of your icons by default. This is a very welcome change for me. In the past I always found the system tray icons to been too cluttered and wasteful of useful Taskbar space. You could then and you can still now adjust which icons to show and which icons to hide in the extras arrow, but adding this feature to the Jump Lists may be an even better approach.

In the future I can see a “Frequent” list for the buddies that you chat with most often. Not just adjusting your status and a couple other options.

Last, but not least, the Taskbar button will feature higher quality icons that can easily tell you what your current status is at a glance and look elegant doing so.

There are a few other Windows 7 improvements, but these are the ones that stood out the most to me. If you’d like to see more about Trillian becoming more Windows 7 friendly just take a look at their blog post explaining everything.

I’ve been using Trillian for several years now and I even helped with the Trillian Astra alpha builds way back when. When Digsby came around the corner and introduced frequent updates with a quality interface I nearly ditched Trillian completely. Let’s face it, Trillian’s interface can be a bit overly complex for a simple chat client that’s supposed to make your life easier…right?

Two things that I’d love to see Trillian 4.1 accomplish is to overly simplify the interface and bring those common tasks that we all need right there to the interface rather than hiding them in menus and sub-menus. The second thing which is important to me is operating system integration. They already began work on this, but I think all of us Windows Vista/7 users would like to see a little Aero in our clients so they feel like they could have come prepackaged to work with Vista/7.

If Trillian continues to make these types of improvements (simplifying the interface and making it integrate more with Aero) then I’ll highly consider spending the $25 it costs for a Pro account to support their hard work. šŸ˜‰

Until then I’ll be switching heavily between Digsby and Trillian Basic until one of them wins me over.

Trillian Astra Now Open to the Public

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog for a while, then you may know that I’ve been testing Cerulean Studios’ latest version of Trillian which has been coined for some time as “Astra”.

Trillian gained a great deal of popularity in recent years when Trillian 3 was released and harnessed instant messenger features that had never before been seen.

Today, Cerulean Studios officially removed the restricted access and have made Trillian Astra available to everyone! Just head on over to the download page if you want to check it out!

trillian-astra

While Trillian Astra is still not in a final release stage, it should be close enough for you to depend on as your main messenger.

I will be interested to see how Trillian Astra competes with Digsby now that they are both openly available to the masses.

Trillian Astra Build 78 and Digsby Build 28 in CrossOver 6.2

Digsby LogoI recently tried to install Trillian Astra in Ubuntu using Wine 0.9.61 with no luck. I ran into several errors and am still working on straightening them out, but I think this could take quiet a bit of time.

Trillian LogoAfter googling for some clues and solutions, I came across a program called CrossOver and decided to give it a trial run. The test cases were Trillian Astra Build 78 and Digsby Build 28. I’ll go a bit into detail on the whole experiment with both test cases and let you know what does and doesn’t work.

Trillian Astra Build 78:
I’ve been wanting to get Trillian Astra running on my Linux box for a while now (since I was invited to alpha test with them), but have had little to no luck. The issues seem to almost always be related to the rendering of the application more than the functionality of it.

Please don’t ask me to send you the installer, for a link to the installer, or for a crack. If you want to use Trillian Astra then you can get in line like the rest of us have done to alpha test or you can wait for the public beta and final releases šŸ˜›

I started by downloading the latest version of Trillian Astra and right clicked the installer file and selected the option to ‘Open with “run with CrossOver”‘ (I know that sounds weird, but that’s what the menu option says, lol). During the installation process, I noticed that the graphics and overall rendering of the installer were a bit slow and delayed. Everything rendered in the installer, but you could see images load almost like watching an image load on a web page.

I was able to move through the installation steps with errors. Everything seemed to run fine with the installer, however, the installer is the type that is used by several different software developers who just bundle their software with this type of installer. So basically, the installer probably gets used more and therefore debugged more in order to run smoothly than individual applications that are installed with the installer program.

After the installation, Trillian Astra launched the log-in window. First off, the graphics were a bit off and rendering was a bit ugly, but it did work fine. I was able to enter my credentials and successfully log-in to the Astra service.


I think the over-all rendering was better when I tried this with Wine as I mentioned earlier. This window just looks terrible in it’s current state!

Now that I’ve successfully signed into the Astra service, Trillian went a head and grabbed my contact list and loaded the list into the messenger. This was all good and great, but the window turned out to be in a frozen state. I was unable to move the window, select any elements on the window, etc. It was basically a part of my background image.

After spending a few minutes trying to do something with Trillian Astra, I gave up and closed the application. I feel like, even though there are more elements that are visible on the contact window in CrossOver than there are in Wine, that it will be easier to debug and fix this application in Wine. It just seems like Wine was at least a little helpful with the errors it returned.

That’s as far as I could get with Trillian Astra in CrossOver. If you can get further and have any suggestions then please post them in the comments!

Digsby Build 28:
This was a rather disappointing installation. I opened the Digsby installation file with CrossOver and moved through the installation process with ease, except for a simple error message that warned about the python.dll library or something. I clicked “OK” and the installation continued and finished successfully.

Successfully completing an installation, however, doesn’t guarantee anything will work in Linux. šŸ˜› After the installation I attempted to launch the Digsby application, but I was prompted with two different error prompts that were familiar.

Both of these errors were back to back and Digsby did not load at all. This was a mission failed sign. If you get past these error messages and at least get the log-in window then please post your steps in the comments and versions of applications used!

I immediately wanted to remove the application since it appeared that there was no hope, so I found the “Windows Applications” menu that CrossOver made for me and navigated to the uninstall menu item in the Digsby folder. I was impressed that the uninstaller seemed to work flawlessly and even opened a web page in my already open Opera browser upon completion. The page that was opened was the typical uninstall survey web page.

Conclusions:
CrossOver is developed pretty well, however, the applications that you come across and want to install have to be very popular applications, apparently, to work properly. Trillian was much closer to working in CrossOver 6.2.x than Digsby, but neither messenger was in a state worth suggesting to a friend to try.

For now, I’m unfortunately forced to stick with a messenger that is decent, but has never been cutting edge at anything. That messenger is of course Pidgin. Pidgin really isn’t a terrible messenger at all, but when you compare it to the messengers that are available for Windows and do a feature comparison…well, it’s just sad to say the least.

Trillian Astra Build 78 and Wine 0.9.61

I installed Trillian Astra Build 78 (Iā€™m an alpha tester as well) via Wine 0.9.61 today and got a couple of errors. I’m using the very latest version of Wine and the very latest release of Trillian in this test. My operating system is Ubuntu 8.04 x86_64.

  1. ALSA seemed to be encountering some problems when I started Trillian since I had Rhythmbox playing in the background. I closed that and then restarted Trillian and got the following:
  2. dwmapi.dll error. I downloaded a copy from dll-files.com and configured Trillian Astra to use Windows XP settings and linked the dwmapi.dll library after placing it in the trillian install folder. The results were, Trillian Astra started and allowed me to sign-in to the astra service and launched the buddy list, but the rendering was terrible. It was un-useable. Then I started getting error pop-ups about explorer.exe that seemed to be related to:fixme:xrender:X11DRV_AlphaBlend not a dibsectionThey would only popup when I would move the mouse over Trillian Astra or the Trillian tray icon.

Iā€™m looking further into this. Maybe there is another library that can be replaced. I’ll be back with some updates and hopefully screenshots of Trillian Astra working under Wine!

UPDATE:
I can’t seem to find anything useful searching google about most of these errors that Wine is returning in the console.

I’m still working on getting this running, however, the MSVCP90.dll library that is mentioned in the errors is not easy to understand. The dll is already available, as well as the events.dll library. If anyone has any suggestions feel free to let me know! Here is all I’ve got so far:


The rendering is still off, but at least it is legible. The buddy list window is a mesh of horrible rendering lines. It’s not clear enough to use. That’s the main thing that I’m working towards now. As long as the errors aren’t crashing Trillian, I can work towards getting it to render properly and then focus on catering to the warning errors.

Got my Trillian Astra Alpha Account Today

So I finally got invited to join the Trillian Astra alpha testing team! This basically means that I got a Trillian Pro account for free! If you haven’t seen any news about the new Trillian instant messenger client then you should check it out soon! Along with a free account to test the messenger program, I get to use some other new services that Cerulean Studios is developing such as Trillian Mini (below), Web-based (Ajax) Trillian messenger at TrillianAstra.com, and a few other cool new apps and widgets. Go there and apply for your own invitation for free!