• Instant messaging at home


    Is there a very simple way to IM between 2 computers in the same house, on the same router? I just want to be able to send and receive notes to my wife upstairs.

    Viewing 13 reply threads
    • #1448626

      If you are wanting to avoid using an internet based messaging system, I’d suggest a lan messaging system. It could work on any computer on the same network as yours & wouldn’t require an internet connection. If you’re not on the same network, then internet based would be the easiest. Most people I know usually just use their facebook accounts to IM between eachother in the same household. Here are some online options that don’t require you to have a huge account, like Facebook or Google in order to do what you’d like to do: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5-download-free-ways-to-im/

    • #1448820


      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #1449174

      A CryptoCat chatroom would give you an ephemeral, secure chat medium.

    • #1449215

      BBM is available for all phones now (Blackberry, iPhone, Android…Windows to be released soon). It works really well and has voice capabilities. Also, on Blackberry phones you have the added benefit of video (over wi-fi or 4G). Also, unlike many of the other mobile IM solutions, BBM is backed by Blackberry’s legendary security and reliability, so your privacy is in good hands. See BBM.com for details.

    • #1449264

      Stickies is a wonderful useful little utility, and allows sending of messages between workstations on the same network, and even over the net if you allow it. It started as a simple replacement for the paper stickie note, but has become so much more. We could not live without it in our office.


    • #1449276

      We also use Skype and it’s the version that’s built-in to Hotmail/Outlook/whatever-they-call-it-now. Just keep your Outlook/Hotmail page open and you get a “ping” sound whenever a message arrives – very useful, otherwise you might not see the message ’til much later. Also, with one click you can start a voice conversation or video conversation, your choice.
      Of course, if you are concerned about privacy then you should stick with a “LAN” chat/message program which doesn’t go over the internet at all.

    • #1449336

      I would suggest it’s not a simple concern about privacy or security but rather that in our ignorance, we’re handing our lives over to companies we’ve never heard of to do with as they wish. And they’re making money at our expense in the process. We’re surrendering basic rights without recognizing it. Have you paid attention to some of the permissions the free smart phone apps request? Some of those free apps, even recommended ones, are just data gathering apps with an attractive front. Facebook? That’s its function – what it was built for. Lots of activities to keep you entering personal info.

      Many businesses have recognized the opportunities forged by Facebook, then Google. That’s also why the drive to “integrate” all the services – they gain a much more complete profile. Skype is now well integrated with Microsoft products and getting more so. Why was the deal worth so much to Microsoft? A convenience for free customers? And look what our merged contact lists tell them.

      Many web pages are covered with “beacons”. See those social media buttons you can click? You don’t have to click them for Facebook and the others to know you’ve been to that page. Are you using your social media logins to log in to other sites? Guess why they like that? And big mistake, especially in light of things like Heartbleed. And these are all things even IT people are often not recognizing they’re contributing to.

      Personally, I think it would be foolish to share your household conversations with multiple third parties when free LAN alternatives are available.
      XP used to have a built in LAN messaging tool we used to use in the office.

      I suspect we’re going to see a big backlash after a few well-publicized oopsies, far beyond the British cell-phone hacking scandal.
      I think the Internet of Things is wonderful. But we’ve picked up this nasty marketing infection along the way…

      And theres my rant for the day 😉

    • #1449681

      I find the Internet of Things a bit scary even withstanding the privacy issues. I was intrigued by the Nest firealarm, but finding out Nest could reprogram it from afar w/o my sayso is alarming (no pun unintended).

      BTW any body have a rec for a good ‘firewall/program’ monitor for Android? maybe I should ask in Other OSs?


      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #1449952

      Googles hangouts will do that. You have to use Chrome browser to make it dead easy but it will do so. We use it here in our home when shouting is not feasible. (insert Zits comic strip here)

    • #1449972

      Just installed one of the LAN messengers described on the wikipedia link one of you guys posted in this thread. It’s called IP Messenger (64-bit) and i downloaded it from Download.com using their “Direct Download Link” (in small blue letters below the main Download button). It’s also available at Softpedia.com as well as the maker’s website. At home we have 3 PCs and 2 laptops on our home network. Up until now we have used the Skype feature built into Outlook mail (Hotmail to us long-timers). Most of the time we’re just typing a quick message, or sending a link to a website, or maybe sharing a photo so we rarely use the Video or Voice Chat feature of Skype. Now we can use this little IP Messenger program WITHOUT going on the internet so everything is more private. The program itself is tiny, needing only about 1MB of hard drive space and a few MBs of memory. The program’s icon in the system tray gives a small popup alert when a message arrives. It’s simple, basic and easy to use. Others on your home network can join the conversation if you allow it. Hope this helps if you’re looking for a LAN chat program that also does file transfers! We’re using it on a mixture of Win7 and Win 8 with no problems.

    • #1450017

      Please be aware that it
      1. opens port 2xxx
      2. uses TCP/IP UDP protocol

      It means a port is open to possible intrusion. Please visit Gibson Research web site for details re the vulnerabilities.
      The protocol is for Internet networking, easy to carry/transport virus and mal-codes from the world wide web. A better protocol is non-routable type protocol.
      If you don’t mind the above caution, you can enable Windows built-in MS Messenger service. You then have local LAN messenger application. No need to install anything.

    • #1450084

      Have IP Messenger running on this PC. Just went to Gibson Research and did the Shields UP! test(s). The “Unplug & Pray” test returned this result: THE EQUIPMENT AT THE TARGET IP ADDRESS DID NOT RESPOND TO OUR UPnP PROBES! The Common Ports test returned this result on all ports tested: STEALTH. The All Service Ports test returned this result: Your system has achieved a perfect “TruStealth” rating. The Messenger Spam test returned this result: No popup messages appeared. It appears that the small, convenient LAN messaging & file transfer program IP Messenger is safe to use on our Windows Homegroup.

      By the way, didn’t they stop offering or disable the Windows built-in MS Messenger service back when XP SP3 came out?

    • #1450567

      You can always enable back the built-in MS Messenger service. It is still there. But need to setup group policy for security.

      Congrats Starvinmarvin re passing Gibson ShieldsUP test.
      I think your firewall is on and it binds the port to the program.
      IP Messenger does open port 2xxx (not to expose it here ). I find Windows firewall binds the port to it so the port is close to other programs.

      I also tested portable Lan Messenger. It opens port 5xxxx as well. Win7 firewall detected it and locked down the port, and only opens the port to Lan Messenger.

      I subsequently did gpedit (group policy) to verify and further tightened the security. That is, bind the source-port and destination-port to Lan Messenger (or IP Messenger). Also set protocols to TCP and UDP only. Then set profile to custom: allow local LAN address range only (e.g. 192.168.0-255). Now Lan/IP Messenger can only communicate within the local network.
      A lot more secure that way but still does not prevent spoofing + penetration through router/NAT. An additional router/NAT in series does help though.

      The best security (for localnet messenger service, that is) is not to use TCP/IP protocol with messenger. That absolutely isolates its traffic from Internet. In XP and older days, we can bind NetBeui to local and Messenger services. It is strictly local protocol, totally contained inside localnet. Too bad Win7 and up removes it (and does not allow it).

      Yeah, NetBeui is dirty (communication-wise!), chatty, and noisy. Actually it is more efficient than TCP/IP! TCP/IP is for low reliability medium (world wide web). NetBeui is for reliable medium (reliable network wiring). It takes up cable bandwidth alright. But when does a home network has 150 PCs on it? It is perfect for consumer home use. Easy to setup. Just works. And secure (not talking to ‘outsiders’).

    • #1450579

      i guess you can’t be too careful. However, during the eight years we’ve lived here we’ve never had our wireless network or LAN hacked. We’ve used a Comcast modem which we dumped when they jacked up the rental cost from $3 to $7 per month. Bought a Motorola for $89 which paid for itself in about 1 year. Have used 3 different routers, all with a WPA-2 security passphrase more than 20 characters; currently it’s a Western Digital MyNet N900 (with WPS turned off). Various anti-virus progs have included AVG and Avira, and for the last 4 years we’re using Avast free edition. We see the occasional Avast popup malware alert for some website we clicked on ostensibly to read a news story. Once in a while i run a Boot-time Scan or MalwareBytes scan or a rootkit scan (Panda, maybe?) when i’m bored, but nothing ever turns up. For us, the only real threat of a cyber attack is our own stupidity and, so far, that has not proved damaging! We store some stuff on Dropbox/Skydrive, but it’s all encrypted before we upload and there’s no sensitive personal or financial info there anyway. We shop online but choose the option for the website NOT to save our payment information and frequently use Paypal anyway. Passwords are generally unique and are handled by a password manager and not by the browser. You can keep piling on extra layers of security at every turn but what we have seems sufficient for our needs. As for the tiny IP Messenger program … well, it works great and – what happens on the LAN stays on the LAN.

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