iChat Pack Rat

I am a pathological saver of stuff. Not that I want to be a pack rat; I really would prefer if my life was clean, ordered, and simple -- sort of like an Ikea catalog.

But I can't be, mostly because of the certain knowledge that if I were to toss something out, I would inevitably rue the day. That's because, eventually, you always need the thing you discard.

On my Mac, this tendency has manifested itself in many ways. For one, gigantic Eudora mailboxes so big that even if I were to pull up stakes and move to a new e-mail program, I couldn't take them with me. (I told this to a Microsoft engineer once, who proclaimed that Entourage could handle what I had to throw at it. Then I mentioned I had a mailbox with 31,300 messages in it dating back to 1995. The engineer quickly began shaking his head. "No, that's too big," he said. Eudora it is, then.) But on the bright side, I have numerous times been able to fish out relevant e-mails from years ago, which has saved me a lot of grief -- and, to be honest, generated some amusement too.

But since Apple introduced iChat, I've been using more than e-mail for interpersonal communication. And so as you might expect, I became all woozy at the prospect of these vital conversations being lost to time. Fortunately, in the Messages pane of iChat's Preferences window, there's a box you can check to automatically save chat transcripts. Victory!

Except, what happens when you've got 1,725 transcripts -- a full 15 MB of data? (That's what's in my IChats folder this morning.)

Simple answer, questionable name: Spiny Software's excellent Logorrhea. (It means "pathologically excessive talking," according to the Spiny web site.)

Logorrhea (   , October 2003 Macworld ) is a fan-freaking-tastic utility. It lets you browse (by buddy) and search your iChat transcripts. This weekend I needed to find my wife's frequent-flyer number for a trip we're taking in May, and I couldn't find it anywhere in my gigantic Eudora archive. Frustrated, I turned to Logorrhea on the off chance that it was in there. Did a search, found a note from my wife, and there it was.

You don't have to like the name. But if you're a compulsive saver of stuff, and an iChat user, I can't recommend it highly enough.

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