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Experiencing the iChat woes? Try the Connection Doctor

Sang Tang

Now in its fifth iteration, iChat has gained a host of features as it has matured. However, the addition of new features has brought on new complexities and requirements, including both hardware and bandwidth issues. For instance, at the time of its release, iChat 3 users needed a minimum of a Dual 1 GHz G4 and a 384 Kbps Internet connection to initiate a four-way video conference on iChat 3. Photobooth and Backdrop effects, which came along in iChat 4, call for a minimum an Intel Core Duo processor. And then, of course, one must climb the proverbial firewall.

Fortunately, there's iChat's Connection Doctor. Besides telling you what your system is capable of (for example, screen sharing, multiperson video conferences and video recording) and the audio and video quality of your video chat (resolution and frame rate), the Connection Doctor can also tell you if networking issues (i.e., a firewall or port issue) are the source of your video conferencing maladies. To launch iChat's Connection Doctor, click on "Video" on iChat's menu and then select "Connection Doctor." It's just what the doctor ordered.

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