Char has posted some problems we’ve been having with using Pidgin and Meebo.  I personally log into all my IM accounts and my Meebome widget with Pidgin, and it works just fine.  I’m able to get all my IM’s and meebome conversations in one single place.  It’s also very nice to change my status in one place, and have that reflected in both the IM and meebome status notifications.  So, for individual use, Pidgin and Meebo are still like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Unfortunately, when I try to log into our departmental accounts with Pidgin, I often find myself in the middle of a rather painful crash loop.  I can only speculate that this is the result of some compatibility issues with Meebo, as Char theorizes as well.  I can only assume that there may be some lag between when a user logs out of and IM sevice or widget in Meebo and when the connection is severed at the server.  I haven’t really had a chance to fully study this, but I assume that Meebo sort of hangs on to the connection just long enough to prevent me from connecting to the account in Pidgin.  Since we rotate IM duties on the hour, this hesitation can cause problems.  However, I wonder if everyone used Pidgin, would we still have this problem? 

The problem here is, I don’t know if this setup is reliable enough to convince our staff to switch to another client.  However, some standardization is needed, as with the addition of our Meebome service, things have gotten a little more complicated.  Some colleagues are still staffing the IM accounts with Trillian, while also logging into Meebo me to access the widget.  Others are simply logging into all accounts and widgets in Trillian.  I’m still not sure of the best approach with this.  While I really like Meebo, there are definitely benefits of a desktop client (more audible notifications for one).  I also hesitate to put all my eggs in one basket with a web-based service.  If all services are staffed through Meebo and it happened to go down, all of our services would be disrupted.  However, if we still staff our services with a desktop client, our IM services would still be up and running.  We’re not talking mission critical services here, but you know those students like to ask their questions and not be inconvenienced. 

If anyone has run into these problems and has a solution, please leave a comment on this post.  Otherwise, Char and I will continue to play with Pidgin and Meebo, and hope that we can get the chocolate and peanut butter mixed just right.