As I was flying on a very delayed flight today, I tried to send an iMessage to my father on the ground, who was waiting to pick me up at the airport. Ordinarily, I have been able to send iMessages from my iPad or iPhone. Today, however, I am using my MacBook Pro, and the beta version of Messages for Mac OS doesn’t seem to connect to the service. Actually, it won’t connect to any of my messaging accounts, such as AIM, GoogleTalk, or other Jabber accounts.
I wonder if Gogo, the inflight WiFi provider, has blocked certain ports that Messages uses. If I remember correctly, most inflight WiFi services block VOIP apps to keep people from yapping away on their computers. (Actually, I don’t know why they do that, but if I were an inflight sysadmin, that’s the main reason I’d block any VOIP ports.)
As a workaround, I sent an email.
Back on the ground. Messages still doesn’t work. Neither does FaceTime for Mac. When I try to add the Chat function to any of my accounts in Lion’s Mail, Contacts, Calendar preference panel, I get the ominous “An Unknown Error Occurred” message.
It turns out that I just needed to restart my computer.
iMessage does work on Gogo so you can text message iOS users from your Mac or iDevice as you fly through the sky.