For the past several weeks I've noticed some rather strange behavior with Adium, the free and open-source multiservice IM client. On random occasions I suddenly appear invisible or offline to contacts in my buddy list while logged into my AIM account. And I'm not alone. Not a day goes by that I don't find myself asking a friend or co-worker why they are not online, only to learn they share the same problem. Either that or they're all making this up in effort to avoid conversing with me -- I have that effect on people.
The only cause to this problem, or pattern to its occurrence, I can come up with is a loose theory that it happens during periods of inactivity. My hunch is that when you appear "idle" AIM somehow misinterprets this as a disconnect. Locally you remain logged in, but AIM thinks otherwise. Luckily I may have discovered a workaround.
Launch iChat (quitting Adium is not required) and go into Preferences. Click on Accounts. Make sure your AIM account is selected, then click on the Security tab. Changing any of the settings in this options panel, then returning them to their original state, somehow magically vexes the problem, at least so far as I can tell.
I don't know whom to point fingers at in this case; AIM or Adium. Both begin with the letter A, so that makes each of them equally culpable in my opinion. Wherever the guilt may lie, I just want the problem fixed ASAP.