Ah, those two little words… ‘Register now!’.
Alex has added a (deliberately) un-announced ‘Register now!’ link for anyone launching MSG from the default ‘Launch’ tab on MSG.open.ac.uk. Following that little link reveals an open registration procedure, as long as users accept the Terms and Conditions linked on that page… not onerous, but standard for an academic research server, and required for our own protection.
This means that anyone can quickly register for lightweight experimentation if they want to play with MSG, its super-cool map features, or the forthcoming video chat that Alex hinted at. This avoids the old headaches of having to join a course, email us, or go through the hassle of creating a BuddySpace group, which were the typical prerequisites in the past. Oh, and you can actually use either buddyspace.org or msg.open.ac.uk as the host name – they are now equivalent for that purpose.
Who needs yet another IM? Firstly, we do, for our research. Second, it’s open source, so play with it and modify it to taste. Third, it embeds nicely elsewhere (e.g. NetVibes etc). Fourth, it contains better Google Maps integration than Google’s own GTalk. Fifth, it’s simpler than all the others. Sixth, it’s tightly-integrated (in one variety) with Moodle via OpenLearn (MSG-Moodle-specifics here). So there!