Plug-ins for Messenger Plus!

5 Dec

by Alex Shamash

The Messenger Plus! team dedicates itself to making our software as customizable and user-friendly as possible. To that end, we provide a database of add-ons on our website as well as several robust developer resources for coders who are thinking about creating their own plug-ins.

Regular users looking for new add-ons should begin by searching the plug-in database for what they need. Searches can be filtered by category and type, and their results can be sorted in a number of different ways. The plug-ins available in the database range from font updates and bug work-arounds to Pokemon-inspired games and automatic translators. Messenger Plus! is a highly customizable program with a dedicated community of plug-in creators, and our database can help users find what they are looking for quickly and easily.

Programmers thinking about creating their own plug-ins should check out the scripting documentation available on our website. Messenger Plus! plug-ins are written in a script system based on XML and Microsoft’s JScript language, and the online documentation provides detailed information on subjects ranging from testing and distribution to individual objects, functions, and properties.

Testing a new plug-in in Messenger can sometimes be difficult, so the Messenger Plus! team has released an interface testing tool, also available on our website, to help programmers debug their creations quickly and easily. The interface tester has a number of powerful features such as validation of XML files and previewing plug-in windows, and we think it provides a very useful set of tools for add-on creators.

About the Author:
Alex Shamash, Head of Business Development for Messenger Plus!, has been with the company since 2003. His current duties include creating new concepts, scripts, and websites for end users as well as working with promotional and public relations teams on launching the next version of Messenger Plus!


JustGiving: Using the Internet to Raise Funds by Alex Shamash

18 Nov

As the Head of Business Development for Messenger Plus!, I am always interested in innovative uses for the Internet. JustGiving is a creative way to raise funds or donate to a favorite charity. Founded in 2000 by two British women, JustGiving also operates in Japan and the United States as FirstGiving. Its goal is to assist people and organizations in raising money more effectively than by other means. Whereas one fundraiser has described JustGiving’s method as “simple, trustworthy, [and] effective,” another has praised it for allowing donors to give at a time that is convenient to them.

Fundraisers can set up web pages for their charity at no cost, create their own text, add photos and videos, and select Facebook and other social media options. Participating charities pay a 5% fee on each donation and a monthly or yearly usage fee for access to online administrative tools. These charges, which JustGiving reinvests to improve its technology and add more tools, are much lower than the costs associated with direct mail and other more traditional methods of fundraising. In the United States, FirstGiving has benefitted over 8,000 nonprofit organizations, playing a critical role in raising over $1 billion from over 13 million donors, figures similar to those achieved by JustGiving in Great Britain.

Alex Shamash is part of the team that created and maintains Messenger Plus!, a customizable extension of Microsoft Messenger.

Tips for Using Instant Messaging in the Workplace

30 Aug

by Alex Shamash, Head of Business Development, Messenger Plus!

Instant messaging has opened up a host of workplace opportunities that generate efficient communications and enable users to work remotely. The technology can also contribute to collaborative efforts among workplace team member, as well as enhance client communications. With this in mind, I offer the following tips for using instant messaging in the virtual and real workplace.

1. If you have a quick question that you need answered right away, use your instant messenger service to ask it. These exchanges only take a moment of your time, allowing you to get your answer quickly without a major interruption in work flow. In order to communicate effectively in this manner, ask via instant messenger if your co-worker has a moment to answer a question. With an affirmative response, pose the query and then return to work as soon as you receive the answer. Avoid further chatting, which can pull you away from your current task.

2. Use a messenger service as a virtual conference room to hold meetings with remote employees. Treat the meeting as you would any other, with a set time, virtual meeting place, and agenda. The transcript can serve as your meeting notes, ensuring that everyone has the same information.

3. Keep conversations professional, avoiding slang terms or the  use of “text speak” abbreviations. You can also use active “listening” techniques in an instant messaging conversation, reflecting what you believe the other person is saying in order to make sure you are both on the same page.

4. When you ask a question, wait for the other person’s response before saying anything else.

5. Avoid humor and sarcasm, which may not be well understood in the context of an instant message chat.

6. Be polite, saying “hello” at the beginning of the conversation and letting the other person know when you are signing off. Wait for the party you are talking with to acknowledge your sign-off before you leave the conversation altogether.

Maintaining a Safe Internet Environment for Kids Takes Time and Perseverance

15 Jun

By Alex Shamash

Head of Business Development Messenger Plus!

Smart parents who want their children to enjoy all the information and social interaction available via the Internet make use of available tools and advice to ensure that kids stay safe when they venture online. Unlike television and radio that served as the primary source of entertainment for generations that predated widespread Internet use, surfing the web offers a multi-dimensional experience that includes meeting and talking to people. Because it is difficult to weed out lurkers or predators who might try to gain access to your child via his or her Internet connection, parents play a vital role in spelling out the rules for online activity. Parents also carry the responsibility for educating their children about how they might run into dangerous situations online.

Families that embrace guidelines for web usage by children find that their children get more out of their online experience without running into danger or losing sight of such responsibilities as homework, chores, and extracurricular interests. Children need rules, and by requiring that they agree to a policy outlining Internet tenets, parents teach valuable lessons that trigger positive results in other areas of their child’s life. An Internet policy proves to be most effective when it contains such guidelines as what parents deem to be appropriate content, schedules for using the Internet, what type of files may be attached to emails and instant messages, suitable language and topics of conversation online, and consequences for failure to abide by the rules.

Taking away Internet privileges, either by removing the computer or blocking access, tends to be an easy way to punish a child who has broken a family Internet policy. Because the child perceives that all of his or her friends are using the Internet, this serves to take him or her out of the loop. As such, the child often becomes more likely to follow the rules after regaining privileges. Messenger Plus! proudly offers parents a number of controls aimed at keeping kids safe. Visit our website at for more information.

Alex Shamash’s Blog

11 Feb

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Alex Shamash