There is an Option in the Messages Preferences to Save Transcripts of the Text chats you have had. This option has to be set before they are saved or you can save an Open Chat window even if the Buddy has left from the File menu
They are saved in your own Users Folder/Documents/iChats by date and time and Buddy's Name.
In the File Menu the option to Open will allow you to review these and Open Recent Opens old Transcripts you have Opened before (not a new Chat).
Audio and Video Chats
It is already mentioned in the opening Panel. iChat 2, as it is more commonly referred to nowadays, has the moniker of iChatAV and introduced Audio only and Video chats. (Compared to some other applications, Video here means moving pics with sound).
In iChat 2 either of these is done on a 1-1 basis. It can be to any other Mac on your LAN (Via Bonjour/Rendezvous) as well as over the Internet to your Contacts (Buddies) using AIM Valid Screen Names. This includes other iChat users, AIM 5.5 or higher on a PC (Until AIM 6.5 when AIM changed the Video codecs of their PC app.) and PC users using Trillian Pro.
Apple released the External iSight at the same time and this was a firewire camera that had fixings for most screen type available at the time. As many camcorders of the time had DV output they also tended to come with Firewire ports as well so these were also a source of external cameras. There were also a rash of other Firewire webcams (see the bottom of this page) around at the time as firewire was the only thing really fast enough to get a picture in enough frames into a computer, Things have changed on that front with USB 2.0.
DV Converters whether firewire or USB 2.0 also work as "Camera" input devices so you can use older analogue Camcorders or stills cameras with TV output signals.
The External iSIght is no longer sold by Apple. This seems to be for several reasons not least being a European Directive about disposing of items after their usefulness and some of the components in the iSight did not meet this. See here for more info on the Camera. It
is not clear if the Internal iSights were part of this or came as a result of Apple not being able to sell the iSight in Europe.
If you have means to connect two cameras iChat will automatically create an extra drop down in the Video pane of the iChat Preferences for you to select the choice there.
The menu to the right of Buddies will be called Audio if you don't have a camera or the OS can not see it. Otherwise it will be called Video. In here whichever name it has are two items to Enable or not the Camera and Microphone. as the OS way of turning them On and Off. (It is more of ignoring the signal for either rather than ON/Off control specifically). Clicking these toggles them On or Off dependent on current state - a tick present is ON.
The External iSight had a Microphone inside but as many Macs also have Internal Mics this is not so much of an issue. Also any USB 1.1 Mic will be recognised by the OS. The Volume is controlled in System Preferences > Sound > Input tab. That is to say if your Buddy says you are too quiet you can turn yourself Up by adjusting the sound into the Computer from whichever Mic you have selected in the System Preferences.
If two or more Input devices for Audio appear in System Preferences > Sound iChat itself will have a drop down to also match the choice. Both have to be matched AND the item in the Menu to the right of Buddies (Audio if no Camera and Video if you have one) has "Microphone Enabled" ticked. With some external Mics you also have to make sure any On/Off Switch is On.
Many Macs have a LIne-in socket for a 3.5mm jack. However this is for Preammped input and will not work with many.
Showing Video and Audio Able Buddies in the List
By default this is On. It is set in the View Menu with "Show Audio Status" and "Show Video Status".
These will display those Buddies with a relevant Green icon which can do Video and those that can do Audio Only.
Staring a Chat
There are several ways of doing this.
- From the Buddies menu after highlighting a Buddy in the List.
- Right or Control Clicking a Buddy will bring up a similar Contextual Menu over the Buddy List.
- Or you can just double click the green icon.
- A further method is supplied by highlighting a Buddy then using the relevant icon at the Bottom of the Buddy List.
Items 1, 2, and 4 will let you select an Audio only chat with a Video capable Buddy if you wish to do so.
You can do One way Video Chats if one end does not have a camera but is better started by the end that has the camera. Audio will flow both ways for this.
iChat 2 can do all that iChat 1 can
iChat can join the AIM service with an AIM valid name from either AIM itself or from @mac.com (or it's newer replacement MobileMe Names).
It can chat to other Macs (Buddies) over Rendezvous on your LAN.
It can send FIles in Text chats as well as "loose" by dropping them on Buddy's name in the Buddy List.
It can send Picture as Files by dropping them on a Buddy or have them displayed in the Chat.
Text can be changed as to Font and Colour as presets or by altering the text you are about to Send.
Display a Status Message - additional text to replace the Available or Away defaults. The keystrokes that make smileys can be typed and will display as the icon at the other end.
iChat 2 adds
2 way Audio Only chats to iChat Users, PC users with AIM 5.5 through to AIM 6.1 or Trillian Pro.
2 way Video Chats to the same group of Buddies if they also have a camera.
1 way Video chat with Audio both ways if they don't have a camera.
A Pop out drawer where Groups can be added. Buddies added to Groups are displayed by turning a Group off and leaving just those you need or want at the time. Buddies can be added to more than one group but count towards the total number you can have, although they do not appear in the Buddy List more than once.