I've almost exclusively used AOL instant messaging from the get go. Started out on AOL, the dial up service back in 1996, or was it 1997? Before graduating, I retired my original sn, DCHANMAN99 and switched on over to AIM using my current sn. It wasn't until this summer that I had to give up my AIM/Middle_Man duo for Trillian (toyed with GAIM momentarily) since almost everyone at Weblogsinc used Yahoo IM. But now that we've been acquired by AOL, there's been an internal push (NOT dictated by our AOL overlords) to align ourselves with our parent company's offering. And it couldn't have come at a better time.
A few days ago, I came across AIM Triton, a new program built from the ground up running in parallel with the current AIM (which it will eventually replace). It's been in various beta stages since late spring and was just recently released officially. Now HOLD UP. Don't go downloading it from AIM yet. Instead, download the Aim Ad Hack here and install that first. It will then automatically download and install the new AIM WITHOUT the features you won't want in the first place (AOL Explorer, the toolbars, etc.), great stuff! Honestly, Triton is so slick, it's totally worth the 3 minutes in your day to install the hacked version and configure your preferences. If you feel like following up on the development of Triton, check out one of the developer's blog.
Now, if they could just do something about the wack branding that completely misses the mark. Oh and happy Turkey day! Anyone find it strange that Google's logo hasn't changed, but Gmail's has?