If you’re a regular visitor to the site, you may have noticed that the IM Online widget disappeared last week. I disabled it for one reason: loading the jimcofer.com homepage is dependent on the IM Online widget loading quickly; if the servers that power IM Online are under a heavy load, then the IM Online widget will appear to “hang”, and this causes the jimcofer.com site to load slowly for end users. IM Online used to “hang” only once in a blue moon; in recent weeks, however, it seems to hang several times a week. So for performance issues, I disabled the widget.
I did, however, find a nice replacement: Plugoo. Plugoo is a Flash-based instant messaging widget with a unique twist: platform agnosticism. Other instant messaging programs offer “embedded” instant messaging clients that you can add to your own web site (AOL offers WIMZI, for example). But these clients tie me (the website owner) to a particular service, such as AIM or Yahoo! Messenger. Many of these services also reveal your AIM\Yahoo! Messenger user name to the general public, which is something you might not want to do.
Plugoo is different. You sign up for an account at the Plugoo site and choose which instant messenger you’d like to use with the plug-in: AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger, ICQ, Google Talk or Jabber. You then add a customized “buddy” or “friend” to your contacts list on the service you chose to use with Plugoo. The website widget then sends messages to the customized “buddy” on your list, who then turns around and forwards them to you. You, the website owner, are completely anonymous in this setup. And you can change which instant messaging service you use on the “backend” at any time.
That’s pretty cool, huh? Let’s test Plugoo out and see how well it performs. I’ve already noticed that it takes a few seconds to load; however I’ve noticed that it doesn’t slow down the rest of the jimcofer.com content, so perhaps it’ll stay.