Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
MSN Messenger is an instant messaging client for Windows and Mac OS computers aimed mainly at home users. MSN Messenger is sometimes used to refer to the .NET Messenger Service (the protocols and server that allow the system to operate) rather than any particular client. The business oriented client, which also uses Microsoft's .NET Messenger Service is called Windows Messenger. It is possible for virtually any computer with an Internet connection to connect to the Messenger Service by using MSN Webmessenger.
When MSN Messenger was first released it featured support for access to America Online's AIM Network. America Online continually tried to block Microsoft from having access to their service until eventually the feature was removed, and has not re-surfaced in any later versions of the software.  Now the software only allows connections to the .NET Messenger Service, requiring a Microsoft Passport to connect.
The major use of the software is for instant messaging, although other features which now come as standard include support for voice conversations, webcams, transferring files and built in multi-user online games such as Tic Tac Toe. In a similar vein to many of MSN Messenger's competitors, MSN Messenger allows messages to be enlivened with graphical emoticons, sometimes called smileys, Flash-animations called winks, animated display pictures, different text styles, and with add-ons, more features.
Some of these features are not yet available on the Macintosh platform, currently on version 4. Features not yet available include, Voice conversations, webcams, online games, and display pictures. Microsoft is reported to be building the next version of MSN Messenger for Mac, rumored to include webcams, and display pictures.
Windows version 6 emphasized the ability to customise the software, with personalised backgrounds, emoticons and display pictures. There is also a large community of third-party developers who have created addons to extend the capabilities of the program.
The most recent version for Windows, as of April 7, 2005, is version 7.0.0777. This version supports features like winks previously only a Three Degrees feature. This version also advertises items to sell to you including animated display pictures and emoticons.
In August 2004 MSN introduced a browser-based version of the MSN Messenger client which can be used on any computer that can access the internet without the need to install the software beforehand. It is also possible to use the Messenger Service on a mobile phone using Microsoft’s MSN Mobile service.
MSN Messenger uses the Mobile Status Notification Protocol (MSNP) over TCP (and optionally over HTTP to deal with proxies). Its current version is 11 (MSNP11), used by MSN Messenger version 7.0 and many other third-party clients. The protocol is not completely secret: Microsoft disclosed version 2 (MSNP2) to developers in 1999 in an Internet Draft, but never released versions 8, 9, 10 or 11 to the public. MSN servers currently only accept protocol versions from 8 and on, so the syntax of new commands from versions 8, 9, 10 and 11 is only known by using sniffers like Ethereal.
- Solitaire Showdown
- MSN Messenger 7 contains this game (in the Games menu), based on the original Solitaire in Windows. It is online, 2 player, and features 2 decks. Each player must race to remove cards of a special 13-card pile, and put their cards on the shared pile (e.g. putting an ace of any suit on the pile, but putting 2's of a suit may only be possible after the ace of the suit is currently on the pile, not covered by any other cards).
- A standard two-player game of checkers.
- A two-player game where pairs of jewels on a playfield are switched to arrange three or more in a line of the same colour therefore removing them from the game. It is played in real time and individually, with scores being compared at the end.
- Minesweeper Flags
- In a twist on the original game, players must now locate mines and whoever has found the most by the end wins. If you find a mine you get to continue, otherwise it becomes your opponent's turn. Players get the one-off option to "bomb" a 5x5 area if they are losing, and get all the mines in that area.
- MSN Messenger Problems - Database of MSN Messenger problems with solutions
- Mess with MSN Messenger - A fansite with news, add-ons and tools
- MSN Web Messenger - Browser-based version of MSN Messenger
- Removing MSN Messenger
- ilovemessenger - Official Microsoft site with backgrounds, display pictures, and emoticons
- msnfanatic - Technical MSN Messenger Web site with news, programming info, software, etc.
- Hypothetic MSN Protocol analysis
- MSNPiki (unofficial) MSN protocol wiki
- Kopete (Linux only)
- Adium (Mac-only)
- Fire (Mac-only)
- aMSN (cross-platform)
- Easy Message (Windows-only)
- Gaim (cross-platform)
- KMerlin (cross-platform)
- Mercury (cross-platform)
- Miranda IM (Windows-only)
- Proteus (Mac-only)
- Trillian (Windows-only)
Third-party web clients
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