July 29, 2008 on 10:28 am | In Features | 29 Comments
I decided to take today to talk about one of my favorite features. The Yahoo! Music LAUNCHcast plug-in is a free add-on to Yahoo! Messenger that lets you listen to streaming radio stations. And it’s not just a few stations – there’s dozens of them ranging from “1970s Soul” to “Pop Latino” to “Today’s Big Hits”.
LAUNCHcast is already installed in the plug-in area at the bottom of your window when you start up Yahoo! Messenger 8.1 or 9.0. If you removed it, just click on the Add Plug-ins button to get it back.
To get started, click on one of the stations listed in the window, or click the “All Stations” button to see what’s available. Once a song is playing, you can click the expand arrow on the right hand side of the plug-in window to view the album artwork and song details. Clicking a link takes you to more information about it on Yahoo! Music.
You’ll notice one of the stations listed in the window is “My Station”. This is where you come in. As you use LAUNCHcast, you can rate songs. Along the way, LAUNCHcast learns what kind of music you like and begins to build a personal radio station for you. The more you rate, the smarter it gets and before you know it, you’ve got your own station that plays your favorite songs and artists, and occasionally throws in some new tunes for you.
Like sharing music with your friends? The plug-in will also display the song you’re listening to in your status message. Friends can then see what you’re grooving to and even click on your status to listen to the song and station on their own. The LAUNCHcast status is optional – you’ll be asked the first time you listen whether you want to change your status. Or go to the Messenger menu, choose Preferences, and then click on Yahoo! Music.
LAUNCHcast is free to use but there are periodic commercials. If you want to listen commercial-free, you can upgrade to LAUNCHcast Plus ($2.99 – $3.99 a month depending on the plan). The Plus package also includes access to over 50 additional stations and unlimited song skipping. If you’re unsure about subscribing, you can try it free for seven days.
If you’re like me and have Yahoo! Messenger running most of the day, the LAUNCHcast plug-in is a great add-on. What’s playing on your LAUNCHcast station?
July 23, 2008 on 3:23 pm | In Mac version | 56 Comments
Today we released an update to Yahoo! Messenger for Mac 3.0 Beta. This latest release (version 120437) includes several bug fixes that addressed some nagging issues with stealth settings, file transfer, mobile settings, and interoperability with Windows Live Messenger.
With this release, we fixed the privacy feature so that you can assign individual stealth settings for your friends. So if you want to appear online to everyone but not to your boss Joe, you can set yourself to appear offline to him but online to your friends.
In addition, Mac users will now be able to add Windows Live Messenger contacts to their Yahoo! Messenger list without any issues. We also fixed a problem that was affecting some file transfer requests.
In prior releases, we also encountered bugs with the “Sign in to mobile device” feature which allows you to sign out but still appear online to friends with an “I’m mobile” status message. IMs sent to you are then forwarded to your mobile phone as SMS (text) messages. This latest release fixed this bug so it should work correctly now.
While these are all longstanding features of Yahoo! Messenger, they were buggy or not working properly in previous versions of the Mac version. If you have encountered problems with any of these features in the past, be sure to upgrade to this latest version of Yahoo! Messenger for Mac 3.0 Beta.
As always, we greatly appreciate your feedback. After upgrading to this latest version and using it for awhile, please stop by our feedback form and let us know what you like and don’t like about it.
Download Yahoo! Messenger for Mac 3.0 Beta
July 18, 2008 on 12:08 pm | In 9.0 version, Features | 107 Comments
If you tried the Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 Beta early on, you probably noticed that Games were no longer available in the IM window. With the most recent release of 9.0 Beta in late May, Games are back! Here’s a quick guide on what’s available and how to find them.
After updating to Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 Beta, you’ll notice a new “Activities” button in the IM window. We combined both Plug-ins and Games into the Activities area. Just click the button to bring up the menu of available items.
You’ll find the following games that you can play with your friend right in the IM window (as long as your friend is also on Yahoo! Messenger 8.1 or 9.0):
Toki Toki Boom
While you’re playing be sure not to forget to send a few “Game Audibles” that include funny animations for winning, losing and taunting. What fun is a game of checkers without some good trash talk?
July 15, 2008 on 1:21 pm | In Features | 8 Comments
This is All-Star week for Major League Baseball. There’s a home-run derby, parades, fan-fests – everything a baseball junkie could want. And tonight, the best players from the American and National Leagues will be facing off in Yankee Stadium for the big game.
Why do I mention this on a Yahoo! Messenger blog? Because I was playing with my Yahoo! Sports Gamechannel plug-in today and was trying to figure out why none of my favorite teams had any games scheduled. Duh.
In case you haven’t checked it out, the Gamechannel plug-in is a great way to keep tabs on major league baseball games that are taking place that day. Pick a game from the menu by choosing a team, and you’ll get live updates from the game. Who’s on base, the strike count for the batter that’s up, team stats, box scores and more.
I often track a game in full-size view which gives me a great dashboard for following all the action. The one for tonight’s All-Star game is already up and ready, with starting pitchers Ben Sheets (Milwaukee) and Cliff Lee (Cleveland) facing off.
Tonight’s All-Star game kicks off at 8:05 eastern time. So if you’re tied to your computer and still want to keep up with the game, try the Yahoo! Sports Gamechannel plug-in (Yahoo! Messenger 8.1 or 9.0 only). Even if you miss tonight’s game, you can use the plug-in throughout the baseball season to catch a game.
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July 11, 2008 on 12:40 pm | In 9.0 version, Features | 44 Comments
Where do you turn when you’re not sure how to do something in Yahoo! Messenger? Maybe a friend told you about making phone calls in Messenger, or they wowed you with their spiffy Avatar but you’re not sure how they did it. Most times, you’d probably ask your friends for help, but there is another resource for learning about Yahoo! Messenger called Tutorials.
Tutorials include screenshots and step-by-step instructions on how to use a variety of Yahoo! Messenger features. There are many articles available for both Yahoo! Messenger 8.1 and 9.0. Among the tutorials, you’ll find articles on basic (Introducing Yahoo! Messenger’s Call Features) as well as more advanced features.
Here’s a example of some of the topics you’ll find among the Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 tutorials:
Sharing Messenger Lists with a friend
Placing and receiving calls
Working with Plug-ins
To access the Tutorials website, just go to the Help menu in Yahoo! Messenger 8.1 or 9.0. Or use the Tutorials link on the right side of our blog (under “Links”).
Yahoo! Messenger 8.1 Tutorials
Yahoo! Messenger 9.0 Tutorials