mac-to-pc chats

Kevin Justie kjustie at
Mon Jun 24 15:28:17 EDT 2013

Answer to your questions are below, but some additional interesting results from today's teasting:

--  Changing all  three users to be local admins on their machines (previously only one was) had no effect on those situations where one user could not initiate chats with another.  This was done Friday, and even though local admins were turned back off Friday, all three PCs are now (Monday) able to initiate chats with each other (previously, the laptop could not initiate with the desktops).  Gone through multiple restarts of the PCs and it still works; no idea what happened between Friday and this morning that made it work.  Macs are still unable to initiate with desktops, however.

--  Turning the Windows firewall off did not help with the Mac issue.  

--  I ignored this the one time it happened last week, thinking that I just mis-remembered the sequence of events leading up to it so it wasn't actually an accurate test of a Mac-initiated chat, but now it's happened twice today, too:  I've been able to initiate a chat -- once, and only once -- with each of the desktops from a 10.8 Mac -- one of the scenarios that was not working last week.  It works once, but then I'm unable to make it work again, despite trying after logouts, restarts, Pidgin/iChat restarts, or any other conceivable sequence of events.  The times it worked were outside of any other external changes (local admin, firewall, etc.), but it definitely happened.

--  I am occasionally seeing messages on the PCs about user names changing:  when user A has a chat window sitting open with user B, after several minutes of inactivity user A gets a message that user B is "now know as…"   Can't say this has always been the case, but on the ones I've noticed today the name is changing from the user's first name to their first and last name:  "Blanche at admin-1 is now known as Blanche Miyamoto @ admin1."  This didn't appear to have any impact on whether either PC could chat with the other (it was working both ways by the time I noticed the names changing), but….

--   …I saw something similar to this name changing on the Mac side, and  there it did affect ability to initiate a chat.  On two occasions earlier this morning -- and again, I'm unable to duplicate it now, but I monitored it closely enough the second time to know it happened -- when I first opened Pidgin on one of the desktops while logged in as a (real) local admin (i.e. not the regular user set to local admin), it showed up as "administrator" in iChat on my Mac -- and I *was* able to initiate a chat from my Mac; this particular scenario had never worked previously.  But if I closed and re-opened Pidgin, the name on the Mac changed to "admin person" and I was then *unable* to initiate from my Mac -- an no matter what I tried, the name never changed back to "administrator," and I was again unable to initiate a chat from the Mac.

--  On my Mac, when I try to initiate a chat with one of the desktop users, I get the message "The instant messaging connection failed. The other person's computer may be unreachable," as soon as I type the first character of the message;  it then appears again after I have finished the message and press Return to send.  This is despite the fact that the user is in my buddy list with an "available" status, and that the status changes when I change it on the PC, and that if I quit Pidgin, iChat tells me the user is "now offline" (in the message window, where the "…connection failed…" messages appear, not in my buddy list).  Similarly, Pidgin accurately and immediately reflects changes in my iChat status on my Mac.  So, there's definitely a "live" connection between Mac and desktop, at some level.  But it does seem peculiar that it somehow knows, as soon as I start typing, that there's a problem; I don't understand that.

--  Not sure if I've mentioned this before or not, but I am unable to initiate chats from Mac to desktops regardless of whether the desktops are logged into a regular AD user account, or to the local admin account.

I mention all of these only in the hopes that one may be an obvious signal of the root cause of the one remaining problem, initiating chats from Mac to Pidgin on the two desktops. 


On Jun 23, 2013, at 12:17 AM, David Balažic <david.balazic at> wrote:

> Have you tried to turn off the firewall on the desktop PCs that are having problems?
> Or even on the laptop?

no change

> What firewall are you using? Note that some 3rd party firewalls block some network traffic even when "turned off".

If you mean on the PCs, just the regular Windows firewall.  On the network it's Forefront TMG, but again, all PCs are inside the firewall, so that shouldn't be an issue.

> It might also help to know which ports are used by each PC.
> the netstat command gives that information.

I assume the ports are the numbers displayed after the IPs in netstat?  They change (PC and Mac) each time Pidgin is started, so nothing could be done to open firewall for them (and turning firewall off didn't help anyway).

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