Jabber allows you to connect to the same server, with the same user ID, from several machines simultaneously. I had already known that at the time I tested some Jabber clients, but had forgotten it because I had no use for that.
Now that I have two workstations on my office (and the number should grow over time), I rediscover the functionality, get some documentation and… get disappointed. They had a great idea, something that gave them a real edge on other IM systems, but they limited themselves to one particular case study instead of exploring all possibilities.
The documentations always give the same example: your home computer is connected 24/7, with a priority of 1; your office computer is connected with a priority of 2 when you’re there, so that it catches messages on office hours; when you’re away, your Microsoft smartphone connects to Jabber with a priority of 3, and you get your messages.
It works well (enough) in that case, but not in my case: connecting from multiple computers at home. If I buy an iMac by Christmas (hmm… come to think of it, ordering a Mac just before Christmas ought to be a bad idea), the iBook will be moved to “the upper floor”, near the elevated bed. And if I had my own flat, there’d be a little iBook in each room, always connected so that the Internet could follow my every step.
It would make sense that I install Jabber on each machine, with the same priority, so that messages sent to me would arrive, not on one client, but on all of them at once. (And if you don’t think it’d make sense, I do.) Since Jabber also allows you to force addressing your message to one particular machine, it would also solve my local communications problem (right now I have to use two distinct ICQ or MSN accounts to send URLs from one to the other). Perfect world. But that’s not how it works: on a priority conflict, the client that connected last gets the message. Why do they hate me?