ICQ Xtraz and Features
ICQ Xtraz add features and functionality to your ICQ experience, they first appeared in the initial version 4 (build #1646) release back in April 2004 and they have kept coming ever since. Xtraz. ICQ v5.1 has a clean and clutter free feel to it, this is in part, because all the main features and functionality are included in the Xtraz panels, which are readily available in expandable panels from your main ICQ window and also your active IM session window. Note: the Xtraz panel is only available to Windows XP users, you will also notice it's not an available option when chatting with an AIM buddy on your friends list.
|Xtraz panel from Main window
||Xtraz panel from IM window
ICQ v5.1 has oodles of Xtraz and features available, far too many to cover so I'm just going to touch on the ones I find most useful and / or can't live without, if you're after more information swing by ICQ's main v5.1 information page which gives a brief summary of them all including the Games, Instant Match, Greeting Cards and more.
If any of the Xtraz or features you wish to have access to don't show in either the Xtraz panel off your main ICQ window or the Xtraz panel in your IM session (do check both places because not all the features are available in each instance), then click on the Xtraz Center icon which is available at the bottom of each Xtraz Panel, browse through the categories listed on the left and enable the shortcuts for the ones you'd like to use.
Main ICQ window: Xtraz Center > Send a File
has always been one of my favourite ICQ features.. so simple... so reliable... no size limit! File Transfer establishes a P2P connection (firewall configuration: TCP connection port range 1025-65536, more information here) and because it uses P2P the only limitiation regarding size, which really equates to "time", is the connection you have made with your ICQ friend.
You can navigate your way to any file you wish to send via the File Transfer button in your Xtraz panel or you can drag & drop a file into the main IM session window, or use my own personal favourite which is right click on any file in any location, select ICQ - Send to user, it will bring up a list of all your currently online friends, just click on the username you want.. so simple and no scraping it out with navigation or the mass of currently open windows and folders you no doubt have open.
Buzz / Multiple Messages...
Main ICQ window: Xtraz Center > My Xtraz > Buzz
is a great little feature if you need to get exactly the same message out to select friends from the same (or different) groups, just expand your Xtraz panel from the main ICQ window, scroll down to My Xtraz, select the Buzz icon (mouseover text is "send a message to all your friends"), enter your message in the left hand frame, select the friends from the list to the right, hit send and it's all done.. simple :) Don't forget you can send "offline" messages to your friends as well, so if any of your buddies aren't online at the time, select the Online / Offline display icon at the top of the Buzz friends list panel to display your full friends list.
Voice and Video (webcam)...
IM session window: Xtraz Center > My Xtraz > Voice Chat / Video Chat
are just some of the features available from your Xtraz panel and both work really well, although Video is a one on one feature. A point to note is that despite ICQ v5.1 being available for Windows ME, 2000 and XP, voice and video is only available for Windows XP users, in fact it appears the entire Xtraz panel is only compatible with Windows XP which I imagine would make usage of any features other than basic text chat near impossible for Win ME, W2K users. As per the norm with issues that can cause us grief, do check your firewall if you are unable to use Voice or Video, it needs to be configured to allow outgoing UDP packets from port range 5190 - 5200, more firewall information is readily available at http://www.icq.com/icqtour/firewall/ if you are still have trouble or need a setup guide for administrators.
Is it just me? One of the most frustrating things that I have found with ICQ v5.1 is that there appears to be no obvious way to disable the Video Chat icon from displaying beside your username... very annoying! Speaking of annoying... the ability to configure my webcam before an active IM session would also be appreciated...
If you need to access your web cam settings, it appears the option to configure is only available from within an active IM session.... grrr! surely this can't be so :(
Start an active session, click on the "down" arrow icon to the right of your display image or currently broadcasted video image
click on the Setup button
now run through the Audio and Video Tuning Wizard,
"next" will give you your camera source list so just select the webcam you'd like to use
then wade your way through the Audio setup
click Apply, click OK
if you've changed your webcam source you will need to close and restart your video session.
Main ICQ window: Xtraz Center > My Xtraz > Status Manager
...heaven! ICQ 5.1 offers an extensive Status Manager which is incredibly simple to use. Status Manager provides you with the option to create "custom" messages over and above the ICQ defaults of...
, , and
with "Away" and "N/A" you can edit the text shown (and sent to your friends) via the Status change confirmation prompt.
To create custom Status Messages, click on Status Manager from the status drop down menu, or from your Xtraz panel launch Status Manager, you can now create up to 5 custom Messages. Select an icon (from the drop down menu), create a title for the message (which allows you to easily identify it from your drop down list), then enter your status message, if you like it available from the status drop down menu then enable it via the check box to the left of the icon, once complete, click Apply, click OK.
For information about ICQ Xtraz Games (single and multi user), Instant Match, Greeting Cards and more swing by ICQ's main v5.1 information page which gives a brief summary.