iChat AV is a fantastic way to keep in touch. I just find it too intrusive-- always on my desktop or on my dock. Here is a way to help with the clutter, and keep it in the 'Menu bar' instead, and you can have access to most of the functions. Open iChat AV. Next, choose 'iChat->Preferences', and then click on the 'General' tab. Add a check mark next to 'Show Status in Menu Bar' Now, you will see the 'iChat icon' in your 'menu bar' at the top of the screen. Change your status from 'Offline' to either 'Available' or 'Away' and you can still receive messages without the iChat app running. You can change your status, or click on a buddy directly to message them. When it needs to, iChat will launch. Enjoy!