We reside in an old three-story Victorian home and the office is on the third floor, resulting in my wife and I frequently use our smartphones to text one another, despite the fact we are in the same house. That may sound weird, but it beats walking up or down flights of stairs.
However, there is an app that can make this simpler. Now my wife and daughter and I can send instant messages over LAN, anywhere in the home.
The app is called LAN Messenger, and it can be found, free of charge, over at Sourceforge. It also works cross-platform – Windows, Mac and Linux.
Let’s Get Started
The app is currently at version 1.2.35 and is an 11.5 MB download. Once you have nabbed it and done the quick installation, it is time for setting things up. Obviously, for this to work, you will have to do the same installation and configuration for each computer within your network.
Features include, not only the ability to chat with others on your network, but also secure chat, broadcasting messages to all users, exchange files with others and no need for a server in your home.
Once installed, the app will make a home for itself in your system tray. Right click it and choose “Show LAN Messenger” to launch the service. From the small, Google Talk-like window you can control a number of options.
What You Can Control
There is a short menu across the top of the window. Messenger allows you to open chat rooms. Tools provides the ability to attach files,view history and set preferences.
The third and final item is, unsurprisingly, Help. This provides the usual array of the actual help page, the about and the option to check for updates.
Of all of these, perhaps the most useful are the preferences and the chat options. These are probably where most users will be heading to, though preferences will likely be set once and left unless there is a necessary change.
Preferences has a number of options arrayed down the left column, including general, account, messages, history, alerts, network, file transfers, appearance and hotkeys. All of these allow you to track history and tweak the service to do exactly as you wish. For instance, appearance has an option for the look of the contacts list, while account allows you to give your name and even write a short biography in the about section – in case your family doesn’t know you, I guess.
Chat lets you open a new chat window and choose what contact you wish to include. Alternatively, you can make the message public so that everyone gets to participate.
The app is free, and things could not be more simple to use. Setup is easy and chatting with others on your local network can be figure out by even a novice user. The software is also open source, meaning it is vetted and should have no loopholes, not spyware of any kind. In the end, if you live in a home with multiple computers and users, or a workplace with hundreds of staff, then this is a service worth considering.