Instant Message Anyone On Your Home Network With LAN Messenger

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smileyface   Instant Message Anyone On Your Home Network With LAN MessengerI admit, I have one or two pet peeves. I don’t like people that cut in line at the grocery store, I don’t like it when people don’t allow other people into their lane when driving on the highway, and I don’t like it when people yell at one another. It’s for this last reason that I decided this week to test and write about LAN Messenger.

One of the worst things in a household full of people is, when everyone starts having conversations throughout the house. Parents shout to the kids upstairs, kids shout to each other from one bedroom to the next, and it’s enough to give a person a pounding headache after a long and busy day at work.

Of course, with the advent of so many electronics throughout the home – laptops, tablets, smartphones, game consoles and other devices that are able to plug into the home’s wireless LAN – more families are turning to instant messaging as a solution for in-home communication. Heck – IM is making paging systems obsolete at most workplaces, so why not in the home?

The problem arises for parents of young children, who don’t want those kids to be plugged into the Internet on public IM networks – for those parents, LAN Messenger can serve as an excellent solution.

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Using LAN Messenger For In-Home Communications

I can picture a lot of people rolling their eyes at the idea of typing on the computer to people that are just over in the next room, but when you have young kids, the value of this can’t be understated. You can continue screaming at the top of your lungs to your kids that supper is ready, because they’ve closed their bedroom door, turned on the music, and can’t hear you, or you can try out LAN Messenger, and quietly type a quick IM alert to all of your kids at once, letting them know supper is ready.

They all respond instantly, and you avoid an increase in blood pressure. Everyone wins.

Installing LAN Messenger

Setting up the software is easy for everyone – your kids could pretty much install it on their laptop on their own. The only important thing to do is right click on the icon in the taskbar, go to Preferences, click on Account, and make sure your user name is descriptive.

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Don’t be a jokester like my youngest daughter, who decided to call herself “Watermelon girl”.

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Yes, she inherited my weird sense of humor, the poor thing.

Connecting With Others on the Network

Inside of Lan Messenger, you can click on the Group Chat icon to instantly message one or more of the people on your contact list. Don’t worry about trying to connect computers to one another. Once LAN Messenger is installed on any computer that’s on the same LAN, it’ll recognize and add all other active users that are on the network.

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Up until now, we always had to scream through the closed bedroom door to get the kids to come down for supper. It was infuriating. Well, now I can just pop open the chat window and ping them both with a quick chat to let them know supper is ready.

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Of course, there’s also the Broadcast Message feature – my favorite. It’s my favorite, because I can click off their names and quickly send a message to everyone at once. Needless to say, they don’t like this feature. But, if they want to use their computers, the deal is that they need to have this installed.

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Again – no yelling. Our home has been much quieter since using LAN Messenger, which means I can remain more focused, and get more work done for MakeUseOf – everyone wins! Well, except my kids, but they don’t get to vote.

Other IM Features

Another cool feature that my older daughter uses often is the ability to send over files. She usually uses this to show me examples of a digital drawing she just created (she’s a wonderful artist).

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Last night she was in one of her funny moods, and when she saw I was getting frustrated with my online work and cursing at my computer screen, she decided to send me a little image to make me smile.

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It worked.

Now, I’m not condoning the use of an in-house chat system to have long and drawn-out, important conversations. Seriously, as families, we should be having face-to-face conversations every day as much as humanly possible. In a world fast becoming more and more physically disconnected by the digital universe, it’s that much more important to talk directly as humans, whenever possible.

So, I’m not touting this as an alternative to talking – it’s a quick messenger solution as a replacement to an in-home intercom to prevent yelling, that’s all.  Of course, there are times when you may fall into an important conversation, and you may want to keep a history of it – there’s a small “save” icon, alongside the emoticon and formatting icons, that lets you save a log file of that conversation.

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Customizing the Application

If you explore the preferences, you’ll also find that you can tweak the appearance of the chat window to suit your tastes. I changed mine to the more modern “bubble” style.

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There are lots of other things you can tweak – the software is very customizable, which is nice. You can change how you’re notified of incoming messages, whether the conversation is retained, and more. You can even define hotkeys if you like.

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Just like your standard IM Messengers out there, you can right click on the LAN Messenger icon in the taskbar, and change your status so that everyone else in the family knows whether or not you’re available to be bothered.

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Not that they’ll actually pay attention to it and come ask you for some money so they can buy a video game anyway, but at least you can give them a hint when it isn’t a good time to ask.

Conclusion

As you can see, this works great for families, but if you think about it, such an Internal messaging system is a great free alternative at work as well, as a replacement for software like Microsoft Lync or whatever other commercial app may be considered. LAN Messenger is a perfect solution for a small business with little or no IT budget.

Do you think LAN Messenger might make your home a little more quiet? See applications for it in your small business? Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.

Image Credit: Key for Instant Messaging Via Shutterstock

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18 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Harry

Looks interesting, but your link to LAN Messenger goes to “LAN Manager” instead. What is the correct URL? Thanks.

Ryan Dube

Fixed – thanks for spotting that Harry.

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Vishnu Damwala

It’s very nice tool

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smalldove

What about cross platform? Ala Linux to WIndows and back?

Ryan Dube

There are Mac and Linux versions available – but haven’t tested nor did I see that mentioned in documentation. That would be an interesting test though!

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Junil Maharjan

i used to use this in one of my old jobs. its really easy to use and a great fun.

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Craig Snyder

I’ve used one of these before, back when I was too lazy to get out of my bedroom, go to the living room, and ask my mother what we were having for dinner… I approve.

Ryan Dube

Ha – anything to promote laziness. :-)

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Daniel

We use Softros lan messenger in office http://messenger.softros.com
But its for Windows only. (
Could I use this app on Ipad or android smartphone? I really liked the way you use this software at home

Ryan Dube

I did not see any mobile versions available – sorry.

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Steven G

It looks like a nice tool but I see it as a fail because this will just make the communication between kids and parents a lot less if any at all.

Ryan Dube

You know what’s ironic is I’ve found we communicate more. It’s a secret door into their closed-off world when they’re a teenager and shut behind a closed bedroom door. The other night I saw my daughter online too late and told her via the messenger that it’s time to turn off the computer. :-)

We “talk” quite a bit more now!

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Darren R

Useful kind of tool but doesn’t it detract us from simply talking to the other people in the household. :) I like the old fashioned tool of calling out and then hearing the pitter patter of feet :)

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Austin B

Very cool, should help our family a lot. And it’s cross platform and open source, which is goog since most of our computers run Linux. I’m building an AUR package for Arch right now.

Ryan Dube

Very cool – let us know how it works out.

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Rommel M

Is this for free? Im on a small business company and we really need this one.
if it’s free where can i download it?
This is a big help!
thank you!

kaka

LAN Messenger is a free and open source cross-platform instant messaging application for communication over a local network
http://lanmsngr.sourceforge.net/

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Ajay Karat

Thanks for this wonderful application, Ryan! Now my family finds it way quicker to IM each other reddit funnies.
If you intend on keeping this free forever, I would love to contribute my UI skills to this open source project.

Ajay Karat
http://www.devilsgarage.com

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