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In July of last year I finally found a decent IRC client for OS X; Linkinus. Now, I know some of you will cry foul at that statement, after all there is Colloquy and the venerable X-Chat Aqua.

I’m sorry, but they both sucked. Colloquy is quite stagnant, and has had the long-standing display bug (which is solved with /reload styles) forever. X-Chat Aqua on the other hand is great, except it’s obviously a ported applicaiton. Sorry, I’m a snob.

So, here we are, almost a year later, and Linkinus 2.0 has just been released.

I’m going to start out with the one bad point: I knew 2.0 was coming, and I knew it was a paid upgrade. So when I got the update notice, I clicked upgrade and it installed. Suddenly I was on a 15 day trial (and I only knew that because I went to the Registration dialog). It wasn’t a big deal for me, but not everybody will know.

First Impressions

Wow! The new left-side bar is even more iTunes/Finder/Apple Mail like, the chat style is very clean and clear and frankly, this is the best looking IRC application on the market. I can’t believe I ever put up with mIRC…

The side-bar

One of the most maddening bugs introduced in Linkinus 1.3 was it’s inability to remember if you closed a channel if it crashed. This meant I had an ever increasing number of channels and queries building up. Thankfully, one of the new features in the sidebar, is the ability to multiple select items and close them.

Multiple Select and Remove

In addition, the indicators in the sidebar are nicer and more informative.

When you select multiple items, as in previous versions, it will split the chat between all the selected channels (and queries); however in 2.0 the display of these makes the current one much more obvious. In addition, switching between them (Using Cmd+Shift+Up/Down) uses a tasteful fade animation.

Multiple Channels

The Chat

Lets face it, IRC is all about the chat. In Linkinus 2.0, the chat takes center stage. With the new visual style, it’s simple, understated and highly legible. One of the neatest features is the ability to hover over anyones nick and it will highlight all other on-screen lines by that user.

Highlight A Users Lines (in this case: Zack)

In addition to this great feature, Linkinus will embed media linked to, right in the chat. For example, a link to a picture will show up like this:

Embedded Media

When clicked on, it will do a quicklook style zoom:

Embedded Media Zoom

If you want the media removed from screen, simply click the X and it will be turned back to the original URL:

Closed Media File

Another neat feature is tiny url expansion:
Tiny URL

turns into:
Tiny URL Expanded

The expansion is fast (though obviously depends on the service response), unfortunately, so is the mouseout. When the mouse is no longer hovering over the tiny url, it contracts again; this wouldn’t be a big deal except that as soon as someone says a line your mouse is no longer over the URL and you lose it. In a busy channel this makes it a pain. A small delay would be welcome.

The Cool

The only other feature I wanted to highlight in this review, is the “Stars” feature. Essentially, this is Bookmarks for IRC. Allowing you save favorite quotes for posterity.

To do this, simply hover over the line (just like you do to highlight a users other lines) and click the Star:

A Starred Line

Then, any time you bring up the Highlights and Stars window (Cmd+1 or Window > Highlights and Stars) you will be able to review them:

Stars Review Window

The Final Word

I said that Linkinus 1.0 was worth paying for; I will say it again and more for 2.0. I’ve barely scratched the surface here, but Linkinus 2.0 is by far the best IRC client on any platform, for any price.

Grab it now at the Conceited Software website for the paltry sum of €19.99.

- Davey
Note: For Linkinus 1.0 users, you can get an upgrade at half price.

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