March 13, 2011 at 15:24 | Posted in Cool, Tech, Tutorials/Howtos | 2 Comments
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In my last post I talked about my positive experiences with The only area I found to be a little lacking was Documentation. So, in this post I am going to run through how to use various features of

Getting Connected:

The first thing you’ll need is an XMPP client. There are many of these (see this list). You will want at least one of your clients to support XMPP Service Discovery. (In my case I use Psi on one of my laptops for this as the XMPP client built into the N800 lacks this functionality.) The other thing you’ll need is a account. This part is easy just go to , click Register, fill out the simple form follow the instructions and you have a account.

Once you have the account you’ll need to set up your XMPP client. This varies from client to client but you’ll need something like this:

  • Username:
  • Password: your password
  • Server:
  • Port: 5222
  • SSL/TLS: yes

Once you have your XMPP clients all configured and connected it’s time to start having some fun with’s more advanced features.


The transports/gateways to other IM services are fairly easy to you once you know how.

  1. Launch your XMPP client that supports Service Discovery.
  2. Use the Service Discovery option to find the Transport you want to use
  3. Select the Transport and choose the register option (double clicking will work for this on some clients other may have to right click and choose register).
  4. Enter Your Username/Password for the IM service you are setting up the Transport for (i.e. Yahoo ID/Password for the Yahoo Transport).
  5. If all goes well you’ll get a bunch of Authorization Requests as people from the IM service you entered the details for are added to your roster (friends list)
  6. Repeat the steps above for all the IM services you want to use
  7. The IRC Transport is used differently as it is more of a MultiUser Chat service then an IM (Instant Messaging) service. I’ll cover it below
  8. You can now chat to all your friends on far flung services all in one place. Enjoy

Note: You only need to use the XMPP client with Service Discovery support to set this up. Once set up even a very basic XMPP client will be able to chat with all your friends.

Setting-up/Using the IRC transport:

For me one of’s greatest features is the IRC (Internet Relay Chat) Transport as this allows access to almost any IRC server right from your XMPP client. There are a few oddities to get used to in using the IRC transport but you’ll get the hang of it quickly once you know how.

The Register option on the IRC transport allows you to Pre-configure your Nickserv Passwords and other connection options for various IRC servers I’ll cover that in a bit.

To join a channel on an IRC server you would use the enter chat/groupchat/room option on your XMPP client. More full featured clients will let you select the Host/room/nickname/password from a dialogue which makes life easy. If so, you’d fill in:

  • Host:
  • Room:
  • Nickname: The IRC nick you want
  • Password: Your Nickserv Password if any

If you are using a more limited client like the one on my N800 you wont get a nice multi-field dialogue to fill out just the option for a room name. In that case you would enter:


In this case you’ll need to have used a more advanced client (with Service Discovery) to pre-configure your Nicks and Nickserv Passwords. Luckily you can configure Nickserv Passwords and other options on a per server basis. However you’ll be stuck with the same nick everyplace. (usually not a problem for most people).

Pre-configuring IRC server settings:

  • Use your advanced XMPP client’s Service Discovery option to locate the transport service.
  • In this case you definitely will need to use right click or something similar to get to the Register option. (The default option (double click) is set to open a chat room).
  • Once the Register dialogue comes up you’ll see two fields one for IRC Username which will be your nickname on all servers ( bit of a bummer)
  • and a second large field with esoteric stuff in it. This second field is where you configure your per server settings.
  • The field holds one long line that looks like this:

[{“”,”Encoding“,portnumber,”nickserv password for“}, {“irc.server.two“,”Encoding“,portnumber,”nickserv password for server.two“}].

  • OK looks complicated but lets break it down
  • Each set of {} holds the info for one IRC server.
  • All the {}‘s must be inside the []‘s
  • You need the . after the last ]
  • inside the first quotes you want the server hostname (i.e., or, etc)
  • The encoding field will be utf-8 for most people change it to a different encoding if required.
  • The portnumber field does not have quotes and should be set to the port for the IRC server (6667 in most cases).
  • The last entry is your nickserv password (again with quotes around it)
  • Remember this all goes on one long line.. do not hit enter/return in an attempt to make it look “neat”
  • It does some syntax checking and will only succeed if thing are right or close enough.

Note: Registering with will not register the passwords you enter with the nickserves of the various IRC servers. You must go to the servers and set up the nickserv passwords first if you intend to use them. If you don’t use nickserv just set the password field to “” (an empty set of quotes).

I’m going to end this blog post here as it covers how to set-up and use all the Transports. Hopefully in a future post I’ll cover using PubSub, applepush, Jingle nodes, and file transfer proxies.


P.s. once you get hooked-up I can be reached @ (that is an XMPP address not an e-mail) I’d love to hear if this was useful.

Advertisements – Connectivity in one place

March 12, 2011 at 18:38 | Posted in Cool, Free (as in Freedom) Software, site of the week, Tech | Comments Off on – Connectivity in one place
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A while ago I switched to using as my main Chat/Presence server. Since the switch I have come to greatly appreciate the value of their service.

I should probably back up a bit and talk about how I use Chat and presence services. The first thing that I should note is that as a supporter and advocate for Faif (Free as in freedom) software I stick to XMPP chat/presence servers. at first, then the one offered by my mail provider The problem I encountered was that the service offered by was based on an older XMPP server and didn’t play nicely with (more on that in a sec.). The other problem I encountered was that neither of them offered a way to keep in touch with friends who choose to use non-faif servers from a non-faif O/S.

Enter When I switched to not only did it work flawlessly with Which is a major consideration as that is my primary reason for running a chat/presence client these days. It also had an MSN/WLM gateway which I can, and do use to keep in touch with those stuck, for what ever reason, in a non-fiaf world .

It also has an IRC gateway which recently became of great utility to me as I put my N800 on a diet and part of that diet was not installing rtcomm beta which loaded in tonnes of functionality I’ll never use, and as the name suggests is stuck in beta.

So, by using and the basic XMPP client built into my N800 I can keep in touch with:

    My feed
    My friends on other XMPP services
    My friends stuck in Windows/MSN
    Anyone on any IRC server
    People on ICQ – I don’t but I could
    People on Yahoo – I don’t do this either
    Group chats on the server.
    And more even has room for me to grow into. They offer a jingle node that would allow video chat even through NAT routers. They have a Pub/Sub service I’ve yet to make use of, a user directory and other features.

One of the nicest things is that they are responsive to support requests. A while a go they had a minor outage. As this was a major diference then thier rock solid server availability I e-mailed to inquire as to the cause and expected duration of the outage. Their responce was fast,curtious, informative, and accurate. Not only that they even took the time to e-mail me when the server was back on its feet.

So if you are making the move to XMPP, or just moving to a new XMPP server I’d definitely recommend giving a look. They are great no matter what your chat/presence needs.

Epiphany – the overlooked browser

September 2, 2009 at 16:10 | Posted in Cool, Tech, XO | 2 Comments
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When I switched to gNewSense I decided to go ahead and use Epiphany as it is set as the default browser. I am pleased to say that I was quite surprised by this browser. I admit that I was a little sceptical about using Epiphany. I figured that a lot of websites would break and that it would lack a lot of the functionality that I had become accustomed to with Firefox.

When I first started using Epiphany it seemed a little light and seemed to be lacking some of the features I had thought it had. I double checked and found out that the Epiphany plug-ins were not installed so I put those in. Once I did that it had ad-blocking on par with what one finds in various Firefox plug-ins. The plug-ins also offered several new features/functions some of which I’ve yet to play with. It would take more space then I am willing at this point to spend to enumerate them all but there is something for everyone.

In studying up on Epiphany I have found out that the plug-ins are almost trivial to write and I may take a crack at one down the road.

Epiphany renders sites quickly and accurately. It is much lighter then Firefox. I was so impressed by its performance and lightness that it is now the default browser on my XO’s Ubuntu install.

Although it lacks the ability to clear all data on exit it seems to flush cookies when you exit and the option to clear all the other data is trivial to find “edit->preferences->privacy->clear”. and does indeed clear thing up nicely. The only thing I feel it is lacking is the NoScript plug-in.

I would definitely recommend Epiphany to anyone that is looking for a fast, light, extensible, and friendly browser. I feel that this browser has been sadly overlooked and that too many Gnome based distros are doing users a dis-service by installing Firefox as the default browser.

So go ahead and give Epiphany a try.

Live Free (A.K.A living in gNewSense)

September 2, 2009 at 15:09 | Posted in Cool, Life, Tech | 2 Comments
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A while ago I migrated my main laptop to gNewSense. It’s been a couple of weeks now so thought I should post my thoughts and experiences. The first thing I have noticed is that my machine seems to run faster. Not hugely so, but it definitely has more “perky” feel then Ubuntu Jaunty did. As I mentioned in my previous post moving to all Libre (or “free as in speech”) software has had a few challenges. I currently can watch just about zero flash video. Not a great loss really, and also in line with my flash reduced diet. I’m guessing version-next of gNewsense will be a little better on the flash as it will have a newer gnash installed . However as I personally dislike Flash I’ll just wait till Epiphany has html 5 support.

As gNewSense is currently based on an older version of Ubuntu than what I was using there have been a couple of minor regressions. Rhythmbox is having a old problem with some podcasts that was fixed in the more recent versions. The podcasts work. the file names just end up a little messy. Again not a biggie.

The repositories still need a little cleaning up as there are a couple of packages listed (like Revelation) that can’t be installed because they have dependencies that were removed due to the fact that they were not Libre. I know these little wrinkles will get ironed out but the above example was a little annoying to me as I was using Revelation to store my passwords and part of my process before installing gNewSense was to look in the repository and see that it would have the packages I needed. Again, not a show stopper, just annoying. I have moved my passwords to a fully Libre program and all is fine now.

The only real gotcha I ran into is that I use encfs to store personal files and one of my encfs folders (a more recently created one) had been made with encfs 6 and gNewSense has encfs 5 which was surprisingly (I jest) not forward compatible.. This meant that I needed to jump through several hoops to fix this.

The process looked like… create a new encfs folder (with gNewSense encfs 5). boot into ubuntu live, install encfs, mount both the old and new encfs folders, copy from the old encfs6 to the new encfs5 folder. delete the old encfs folder, boot back into gNewSense. Again more hassle then show stopper but something that I would have been easier to take care of before installing gNewSense.

Aside from the above few annoyances some of which are strictly migration pains and thus very temporary. I am really enjoying gNewSense. It is what I want my Linux to be. I enjoy knowing that nothing in my system promotes the problems one sees with closed source. I am one of the crowd that feels that binary blobs will if not stopped will take on a life of their own. If hardware manufacturers get the message that closed source drivers are acceptable that will be all they will produce. If however we (the community) send a clear message that we will not use closed source drivers and by extension the hardware it drives Manufacturers will produce open source drivers. Manufacturers are driven by the bottom line. they want to sell their hardware.. If given a clear message they will produce what the market demands.

XO Blog. First thoughts and impressions

December 12, 2008 at 13:39 | Posted in Cool, Tech | 1 Comment
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Hello Everyone,

I haven’t blog in a bit,  that was due to the fact that I got a G1G1 XO for my birthday and have been having a wonderful time playing with it ever since. But now that I’ve explored and poked, and configured enough to drag myself away from it I am going to start writing about it.

One thing I’d like to stress is that I knew exactly what I was getting into with an XO. I didn’t expect it to be running Windows. I didn’t expect it to be a full powered multimedia capable netbook. I knew it was a purpose built machine, with purpose built software. I am saying this because I have seen several posts from people that clearly didn’t understand this and consequentially ended up being disappointed when they couldn’t do content rich web 2.0 stuff with their XO.

To help clear things up for the non-technical readers I’d like to make a quick can/cant do list. Bear in mind that several things I’m putting in the can’t pile really translate to “can, but not is a way that would be satisfactory to the average windows user”.


  • Gmail
  • Yahoo mail (classic interface)
  • other web mail
  • Google Calendar/Reader/Docs
  • wikipedia
  • (Instant messaging)
  • Read ebooks
  • read .PDF’s


  • Watch Streaming Video
  • flash Video (youtube,, dailymotion,,, etc)
  • use windows applications/games
  • work with Microsoft Office Files (Word, Powerpoint XL)

That is a short list for both the can and can’t but I just wanted to give a general idea. Now that I’ve done my part to be clear I feel it’s time to rave about the XO because it really is the neatest bit of tech “kit” to come out in years (both hardware and software).

My first impressions of the XO were how small, light, and well designed it was. It is also one of the cutest computers I have ever seen.

It connected to my home network no problem at all and I was soon busily tinkering seeing what it could do. Some of the concepts behind the UI (User Interface, “desktop” for the lay folks) are very innovative and I would definitely like to see them move out of the XO world to the larger computer market. In particular I find the thinking behind the “Journal” to be a big step in a good direction. How nice it would be is my main laptop saved it’s information in the same way. Also the idea of all “Activities” (programs) being collaborative by  design is fantastic. Even the way that I can see all the other XO users on the presence server I’m hooked to is great. What a wonderful way to promote community.

I am going to keep Sugar firmly entrenched on the XO and although I may make myself a dual boot Xubuntu or Fedora SD card, it’d be purely for the techieness of doing so not to migrate away from Sugar. Not only would such a migration loose those wonderful innovations mentioned above it would also lose some of the unique capabilities of the XO such as “Mesh Networking” (no there aren’t many other XO’s around.. but when 802.11s hist main stream the XO will be ready.)

I’ll stop there for today. But I do plan further blog entries on:

  • Sugar
  • Video  on the XO without installing anything
  • Sound on the XO without installing anything
  • Getting into the XO for what it is
  • Getting the most out of the XO
  • Tweaks and hacks
  • etc.

First XO blog

December 5, 2008 at 17:18 | Posted in Cool, Life, Tech | Comments Off on First XO blog
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This is my first Blog from my new G1G1 XO laptop. I am just going to make this a short one. (Mostly because I’m still in the spending too much time in the “playing with the XO” phase). I’ll write detailed review of the XO once I’ve played more

Xbox Media Center – Not just for the Xbox.

October 19, 2008 at 12:20 | Posted in Cool | Comments Off on Xbox Media Center – Not just for the Xbox.
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This week I am going to do a quick review of “Xbox Media center” (XBMC). Now before you tune out it’s not just for the Xbox. This wonderful open source project works on Linux, Mac, Xbox (of course), “Apple TV” and even Windows. There is also a live version so you can take it with you.

I thus far only have experience with the Windows version, but what I have seen has left me truely impressed. We needed a replacement for the previous media center software that we were using on a windows machine we use for such things. After looking around for a while I discovered XBMC and was delighted with the results.

Thinks I like about XBMC?

It’s fast. We have had problems in the past with media center software being slow or heavy resource hogs or both. XBMC doesn’t suffer from these problems.

To date it has played everything we have thrown at it from .flv files to .mkv XBMC played it all no problems.

It is slick. XBMC is just plain cool. It is the type of interface you want to have running when you invite people over so they can go.. “Hey.. Cool… What is that..”. Part of the slickness of XBMC is the fact that is it skinnable and that the skins don’t just paint over the same old interface to change the look of it, they can actually change the way things function and are presented. You can see screenshots from the current version of XBMC here

It has a built in File manager for managing your media once you have watched it.

It has integration with IMDB and other on-line sites. This allows it to easily retrieves the information and thumbnails (cover art, etc) to present in the media lists.

It can play streaming video from the network. The Windows version came with a script for browsing and viewing the trailers on

oh yeah.. it can be extended using scripts.

It has a large development and user community and so is a very active open source project. The large user community also means it is easy to get help on-line.

The controls are easy and intuitive, that coupled with the large clear On-Screen Display (OSD) makes using XBMC a dream.

I’m a definite convert to, and advocate of the project. I hope that XBMC get the recognition it deserves. The developers and other contributors have put together a first class piece of software that deserves some time in the spotlight.

I’m calling it.

September 16, 2008 at 10:51 | Posted in Cool, Life, New Media | Comments Off on I’m calling it.
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It’s clear that the major focus of the US election this year is going to be popularity. How much can a given candidate hold the attention and sway the opinions of the “Web 2.0” masses.

Many would say that Obama has a clear lead in this regard, and that the addition of Palin to McCain’s campaign is an attempt to not only freshen up his campaign but also to add more appeal for the under 50 crowd.

I think that the media in general has completely overlooked the front runner in all this, namely Stephen Colbert. Mr Colbert undeniable has a larger following, both at home and abroad, than either candidate. He has foreign policy experience as witnessed by his influence in the naming of foreign bridges. He has a clear eye on the threats facing the country. As for his ability to sway the opinions of the masses, I think there can be little argument that Colbert leads by a huge margin.

With his ability to easily draft Jane Fonda as a running mate he could easily counter the limited threat posed by Palin.

What’s that you say? He’s not officially running. No problem. Given the voting irregularities in both 2000 and 2004 and the fact that voting is done electronically now. I think that should Stephen Colbert announce his will to be president come election day there is no doubt that his name would appear at the top of the list.

Should there be any minor dissent afterwards (by those confused the the electoral realities in the 21st century) President Colbert already has a personal army ready to back up the opinion of his masses.

So, I’m calling it.. Colbert/Fonda ’08

See you in the white House Mr. Persident, Sir.

Other reasons Colbert is the clear choice:

Only candidate with his own army.

Only candidate with his own wiki.

Only candidate with his own nation.

Only candidate cool enough to run a stealth campaign. (cause we all know that stealth is cool)

Clearly the best looking candidate. (and that includes Palin) – A quick review

September 10, 2008 at 10:45 | Posted in Cool, Tech | Comments Off on – A quick review
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After my post on Tokbox’s growing pains and continuing evolution I was invited to take a look at and see what I thought.

So, I went, I saw, I liked. With a few minor nigglings that are much more specific to me then to the service.

Thing I liked:

Their privacy policy and Terms of Service are easy to find and sensible.

The interface is clean, attractive, simple and easy to understand. I fully feel I could send anyone to the site and they’d be able to use it right off the bat.

It follows the “do one thing and do it well” line of thought. It’s about sending and receiving video calls/messages nothing more. It’s not trying to be a do video everything site.

It worked

I does not store the log-in state in LSO’s in fact their use of LSO’s is minimal.

Things I think could be improved:

In their registration they ask for date of birth. Being a Privacy/Security minded techie I’d prefer to see this changed to the more general “Age:” or eliminated if possible. They also ask for “Zip code:”, again I’d prefer to see a more general “Location:” type question. However given their sensible Privacy policy I was not too aggrieved by the above.

The Nigglings I mentioned:

When I first went to their site it failed to do anything video related. This was not their fault but instead due to the fact that I have a rather draconian firewall in place and their flash component was trying to make connections using ports outside the usual http/https/etc range. I was quickly able to resolve this but they may wish to include some documentation for other people less firewall/router savvy.

The other tiny (thus nigglie) thing was that their badge/banner used tags and doesn’t deal well with those so I had to modify the code slightly to get the badge on this blog. Again, not a major thing. It would just be nice if they provided and non-script, non-flash, badge that would easily embed into more restrictive hosting sites.


From my early perusal of the site seem to be a cool site. I’ll definitely be both keeping an on on where they are going and passing the word about them on to others.

Man, Cool Vid!!

July 3, 2008 at 18:14 | Posted in Cool | Comments Off on Man, Cool Vid!!
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o.k. Now this is a Video I could get behind going Viral. Obviously the creator of it put a lot of time and effort into it. Way to go.

I hope he gets tons of hits on this video and the recognition he deserves for the work this would have taken.

Thanks for posting it.

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