If you are one of those people (in Nigeria) who were rudely cut off morange in recent times because they shifted control of the Nigerian segment of the network to a Nigerian company called Paystar, which in turn demands 1,500 NGN per month so you can get to: chat, read your email, read RSS feeds etc on your phone then you can calm your nerves now. Or maybe you already have.
After my anger at the rude treatment I (and many others, I believe) got from Morange subsided, I decided to start looking for another chat client. The truth is, morange was a great application, it had all those nice features, but in practise, the only features I ever really used were the Yahoo and GoogleTalk chat. I tried using their "push" email feature (push is in quotes because the same effect can be achieved by making your email client periodically check for new email) but I noticed that it caused a disparity between my phone’s email inbox and my laptop’s. It appears the application defaulted to deleting emails from the server after downloading them, and I couldn’t find a way to disable that.
Gmail for mobile did email perfectly, so I didn’t need Morange for that. Opera Mini was a good browser, and it had RSS support. I even had "litefeeds" which also did RSS. So all my use cases were adequately covered.
Having been forced out of Morange, my search for a replacement chat program found me Agile Messenger. It was a decent client, but it was rather sluggish, it also crashed occasionally, and at inopportune moments. Not a big deal, but the price tag was dangerous. 44 USD! And one would have to pay 44 USD whenever you changed SIMs. Almost giving up, I asked a friend of mine if he knew of a good free mobile chat program, since Yahoo Go, Yahoo’s official mobile program had a truck load of functionality I didn’t want or need, but didn’t think it wise to include chat.
Surprisingly, he said yes. He recommended "mig33", which I subsequently got from http://www.getjar.com . It worked fine, but while downloading it, I noticed that on the list of most popular applications, were applications named "ebuddy" and "nimbuzz". Deciding which one to choose was easy, One was a Java application, and the other was a native Symbian application. I chose Nimbuzz simply because it was a Symbian application (It appears there is a Java version available too, which will work with most other phones). I installed it, and tried it two days later, not expecting much. Well, I was really impressed. This is an excellent application all around. It did require me to sign in and out a number of times before everything started working fine though.
I find the application so good and useful that I have to make this pronouncement. If you’ve got a Java-capable phone, or better yet, a Symbian phone, and you are in need of a free chat client for your mobile phone, go and get Nimbuzz.
It is interesting what this application is going to do to my SMS sending rate. I suspect it will take a plunge as more of my friends start using this application. Yes, SMS is too expensive compared to instant messaging.
| Random quote: A novice asked the master: "In the east there is a great tree-structure that men call ‘Corporate Headquarters’. It is bloated out of shape with vice-presidents and accountants. It issues a multitude of memos, each saying ‘Go, Hence!’ or ‘Go, Hither!’ and nobody knows what is meant. Every year new names are put onto the branches, but all to no avail. How can such an unnatural entity exist?" The master replies: "You perceive this immense structure and are disturbed that it has no rational purpose. Can you not take amusement from its endless gyrations? Do you not enjoy the untroubled ease of programming beneath its sheltering branches? Why are you bothered by its uselessness?" — Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"