Instant messaging -- what's out there besides Discord and Skype?
October 14, 2018 3:00 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a super-slim instant messaging application for Windows, suitable for a tiny broadcast operation. It only needs to support 2 users. Skype and Discord will not work for this.

I'm looking for an ultra-slim text messaging application that I can use for podcasting/videocast production without a large client that competes for CPU, memory, and bandwidth (so Discord and especially Skype are an absolute no). It also needs to be reasonably secure and quick to set up. I'm doubtful IRC is a good option as years ago I remember seeing random bots finding open ports and joining chat.

The idea is I want people helping me with the podcast/videocast (only 1 or maybe 2 people) to be able to send instant messages to a window on my screen, like "microphone is a little low" or "getting echo". This would provide a gentle visual cue like flashing a small window or raising the taskbar, and NOT pop up large alert windows or ads/banners.

Any pointers or suggestions are appreciated.
posted by crapmatic to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
posted by humboldt32 at 3:09 PM on October 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

hangouts? hell, open a google doc and they can type there.

alternately, you have smart phone? set it up with any chat software and have it on but with muted notifications
posted by pyro979 at 3:18 PM on October 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm going to agree with pyro979, the lowest system impact thing you can possibly do here is have your phone up on a stand, silenced, and if you ever need to message back the touchscreen will be quieter than even a relatively quiet keyboard.
posted by Sequence at 3:49 PM on October 14, 2018

I'm doubtful IRC is a good option as years ago I remember seeing random bots finding open ports and joining chat.

If you fire up and create a channel on their server, I doubt anyone or anybot will bother you.
posted by JoeZydeco at 4:13 PM on October 14, 2018

I've had similar needs for producing broadcasts/events, and used a Google Doc. Producers can update/type in whatever they need, no ads, no sounds, and the font can be made as big as you need.
posted by matrixclown at 4:23 PM on October 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by erst at 4:52 PM on October 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

I haven't used it in a Long Time, but Trillian might be able to do what you're looking for.
posted by Wild_Eep at 5:03 PM on October 14, 2018

Signal. People mostly think of it as a mobile app, but it runs on the desktop too. I can't speak to Windows, but on my Mac it uses fewer resources than Slack, and is a fundamentally simpler system.
posted by adamrice at 5:05 PM on October 14, 2018 [4 favorites]

If you set your IRC channel to +s and +i (secret and invite-only), then only server admins can see and access the channel without an invitation. +k will allow you to set a password, too.

If you're using an IRC server with services like ChanServ, you can save the settings you choose.
posted by juliebug at 5:17 PM on October 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Ya seconding whatsapp. Works super easy. Has a desktop client, webclient, cross platform, can even run on cheapo tablets. Group chats etc. Easy drag and drop file transfer etc.
posted by chasles at 5:54 PM on October 14, 2018

I find Telegram's desktop app pretty lightweight. Can customize the notifications to be minimal.
posted by thebots at 6:01 PM on October 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

If you don't like Whatsapp, there's Viber. Crossplatform, group chats, easy to use.
posted by gakiko at 12:57 AM on October 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding Signal. The desktop app on Windows is fine. It uses about 200MB of RAM (it's an Electron app) but no detectable CPU. And it's a well behaved and polite desktop app.
posted by Nelson at 8:11 AM on October 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

WhatsApp's a bit of a pain if you have to switch between desktop machines a lot. It can only be logged into one at a time and makes you get your phone out and muck about to switch over.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 10:43 AM on October 15, 2018

Signal is nice and secure, but Telegram has all of the lovely integrations (some of which kind of leak information by pre-fetching thumbnail images etc). I use both, in different contexts.

Signal is also the best SMS app for Android there is, full stop.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 9:03 AM on October 19, 2018

I'm a bit late in following up due due to unforeseen circumstances, but if anyone is still monitoring this thread, thank you very much for the suggestions! I'm checking into all of them.
posted by crapmatic at 11:35 AM on November 29, 2018

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