So here's why we don't chew gum: it starts out great, everything's bursting with flavor, it's like there's a party in our mouths and everyone's invited, etc. etc. etc. and then BAM, in about four minutes and totally out of nowhere, the flavor's gone and we're just chomping down repeatedly on some sort of bland rubber-like substance. And frankly, the effort of going to the store, picking a brand/type/flavor of gum from the zillions on display, spending hard-earned cash on said gum, and then actually unwrapping it and chewing it... well, it just doesn't seem worth it for four minutes of flavor and then the pointless and incessant rubber-chomping routine.
There's also the distressingly unnatural aspect of chewing something without actually eating it, but that's probably a neurosis thingy we can get past in therapy someday. The flavor problem, though, is here to stay; ain't no shrink makin' our Juicy Fruit stay juicy and fruity forever. It's like a law of thermodynamics or something.
Which brings us to iChat. (Ha! Didn't see that coming, didja?) See, it's like this: Apple software updates are a lot like gum, because the flavor can fade pretty quickly, leaving you reaching for another stick of the proverbial Fruit Stripe. Odds are that you downloaded Safari 1.2 a few days back and were giggling like a schoolgirl while tabbing to links for three days straight, but now the software has already lost its flavor and become just another browser to use. Simply put, You Need New Gum.
Well, lucky you, because Apple is offering you a stick: faithful viewer Elliot informed us that the company has just released the iChat AV 2.1 Public Beta for free download, which should be enough gum to get you at least through the weekend-- provided that you've got a FireWire camera, a broadband connection, and Wintel-using friends with webcams and the latest version of AIM. Apparently the solitary new feature in iChat AV 2.1 is "support for video conferencing with the AOL Instant Messenger 5.5 for Microsoft Windows," so it's not going to be any different from the current release version of iChat unless it can put you in touch with a few buddies who just happen to embrace the Dark Side of the Force. If you've got the connections, though, have at it.
However, if there are no Wintellians in your little black book whose mugs you want to stare at, fret not; the Public Beta of iChat AV 2.1 can still provide you with hours of flavor as a spur to righteous indignation! Because, see, just like Safari 1.2, this software requires "Mac OS X v10.3 or later," whereas there's a release version of iChat AV that's most certainly compatible with Jaguar, even though you have to pay for it. So if the last Safari update's Panther-Onlyness got you up in arms, hey, here's something else to complain about! Score!