Command line applications : Using Centerim to Chat.

With the ‘ Installing your own Ubuntu Server” series running on KWTV I
have gotten several questions about “what can you USE that SSH
(featured in episode II) for ?” Today i’ll give you a little
explenation of one of the applications i’m running with a simple
command line interface (like for example putty) over such an SSH
connection. In short : What application do i use using the command line
either locally on my server , or remotely connecting using the SSH

Centerim : Chat using the command line.
One of the applications I want to feature today is CENTERIM. Centerim
is, in short, a command line based version of Pidgin, a multi protocol
chat client. In short , CENTERIM can connect to ICQ, MSN, Jabber
(googletalk) and AIM talk. The interface is very simple to use (your
contacts on the left, your chat window on the right) and you can sort
your contact according to protocol or online status. You can send and
receive messages (duh) send and recieve files etc. In short ,
everything you can do using Pidgin or MSN Messenger minus the heavy
graphics and annoying flash animations.

Why should I use it.
Well first of all, chatting via the command line is just fracking cool
! If you are a self respecting geek its uber-cool to swap in that
graphical chat like Msn Messger for a black and white terminal screen
that gives you the same possibilities. If you are running Linux (for
example on your netbook) you can install Centerim and run it in a
command line window. That way you save processor cycles and screen
space. The OTHER option is that you install Centerim on your home
server (or wherever you have it running) and connect from wherever you
are using your SSH tunnel. For example : Firewall at work blocking Msn
and stuff ? No matter. Install centerim at home, connect in via putty
and run it from there. Your traffic is tunneled and encrypted all the

How do I install it.
Installation is dirt simple. If you are using ubuntu just go to the command line and type ‘ sudo apt-get install centerim.

Ok, now what.
After installation type ‘centerim’ in the command line to start the
application. The first time you’ll be presented with the configuration
screen where you can setup various accounts (your msn account, icq etc)
just enter your password and you are good to go. Watch out for the
configuration option that says “ENTER SENDS MESSAGE FOR” and make sure
to select all the protocols you have configured. ( that way, hitting
ENTER at the end of a chat message will send the message, otherwise its
SHIFT-ENTER). I have turned OFF showing Offline contacts and enabled
contact sorting according to status.

Using Centerim.
Once you have centerim setup you’ll find your contacts on the left. To
scroll through them press “CTRL V” and use the arrow keys to scroll up
and down between them. Once you have selected a contact you want to
talk to you can hit ENTER to go to the chat window or M to pull up the
contact menu (for extra options). Once you are done chatting to the
person hit “CTRL V” again to go back to the list. Hitting G will bring
you to the GENERAL menu where you can configure your online / offline
status etc, monitor file transfers and configure Centerim. To quit the
application hit Q. And that is basically it.

Centerim and googletalk.
If you want to use googletalk on centerim you need to watch out for the
‘special’ settings googletalk uses. Select the “jabber” account in the
“configure accounts” option from the general menu (you get there by
hitting G) Make sure you use the following settings.

secured: yes
Login : your google account
password : your password
priority : 4

Happy chatting.
And that is about all you have to do to start chatting from the command line.

Centerim Wiki :

Related Posts

  • No Related Posts

Dual booting Leopard and Ubuntu on my Macbook.. attempt 1

You all know i’m a sucker for Mac hardware and an avid lover of Ubuntu.
One of my other hobbies is seeing on what kind of hardware I can
install Ubuntu linux. So far it worked on my EEEpc, my Acer aspire one,
some older hardware lying around the house, my Mac mini and my Wife’s
grandmother. But yesterday I was feeling very bold and wondered if it
would be hard to install Ubuntu linux on our Macbook. With Nyana mostly
on the Macbook Pro and the Imac, the little Macbook is not used THAT
much and made a perfect ‘frankenstein’ for this little experiment. Yes
I know. With a combination of VMware and OSX Spaces its not that hard
to run both operating systems side by side (with enough ram it runs
very smoothly) but that is something I have tried already. It works and
stuff.. but where is the challenge ūüôā

Time to really see how "intel" those intell macs really are
and serving
them a real installation disk of Ubuntu. The objective : Dual booting
my Macbook (1st generation) with both Leopard AND Ubuntu. First off to
see what the results are (Does Ubuntu work out of the box) and second
to create quite possibly the most effecient laptop that I have ever
owned. One powered with both OSX for my creative exploits (kwtv,
knightcast etc) AND Ubuntu Linux for my darn geeky stuff.

I toggled around with bootcamp AND the disk utility to free up some
space on the hard drive
. After that it was Reboot time with the Ubuntu
CD inserted in the Macbook. It booted fine and started installing. (and
looked mighty sexy, that brown background in white casing). When asked
for diskspace I told it to "use largest free space" and it installed in
no time. I was amazed to find out all the things that worked out of the
box : Aside from the webcam it was pretty much everything. Even the
right click issue ( The mac has no right click button on its touchpad)
was solved by pressing THREE fingers simultaneously on the touchpad.
The screen looked very bright and pretty, sound was a little low on the
volume, but I was pleased. A little Compiz fusion tweaking proved to be
very awesome in delivering results and soon after I had both the
‘expose effects’ that i was used to on the mac AND some of the cool
Compiz effects like spinning desktop and wobbly windows .. ON A MAC ! 
Sooo cool.

There was still some tweaking to be done: according to the online
manual you needed to take a good look at the temperature issue
s that
came up when you installed Ubuntu. And since this is a dangerous issue
(it could harm your hardware) when you don’t pay attention to it, I
decided to go for a reboot and tweak the system afterwards.

And then my courageous  efforts where rewarded with a big error. I had
somehow managed to nuke the bootpartition of my OSX ! While rebooting
the laptop booted straight into Ubuntu and did not even mention the OSX
partition anywhere. Pressing the Alt key while booting showed me the
interface where the mac lets you choose between Windows and OSX
(remember i ran the bootcamp agent) well, it showed me … One drive ..
the "windows one". clicking it booted the computer straight into OSX.
Now I am a fan of Ubuntu , but not enough to sacrifice an entire mac to
it ! I want dual boot. So its back to the drawing board and try to get
things right. In any case it was a very interesting experiment that
demands to be brought to a succesful ending.

Documentation can be found here and here .

Related Posts

  • No Related Posts

Knightwise & Nyana featured on the Nosillacast.

For those of you who still can’t get enough from this weekly avalanche of content : I have exceptional good news for you. Head on over to the Nosillacast Podcast over at for the latest episode where both me AND Nyana got to be a guest on Allison Sheridans latest podcast. We had a blast talking to Allison and yapped away about all things technology, A Ubuntu
loving Grandmother, and what it is like to be married to a geek. If you
are tired of me blabbing, there are 2 wonderful ladies in that
interview ( The lovely Allison Sheridan and our very own Nyana) who make the show more then interesting and compensate for ‘the knight you know’. As far as I know this is Nyana’s podcasting debut as an interviewee so if you want to get the scoop: get on over to and tune in .

Related Posts

Cloning Babiez.

Just a quick shot of reinstalling our macbook using the "transfer file and settings" tool in Leopard installer. A quick fireWire connection and some patience was all it took. And why have a computer room if you can do it on the kitchen counter.

Related Posts

  • No Related Posts

Kc221 "Interview with Allison Sheridan from"

A first episode in the “talk to my heroes” series where I interview the¬†people I listen to on my Ipod. This week Allison sheridan of the¬†Nosillacast Podcast. We talk tech, twitter and what its like to be a¬†podcaster.Check out Allisons show over at where she¬†hosts the Nosillacast Podcast. A technology podcast with an ever so¬†light Mac Bias.


  • Time stamp
  • Soundseeing Tour : Refueling.
  • Interview with Allison Sheridan from “The Nosillacast” from
  • Signoff

Related Posts

KWTV210 : "Going Google"

This week we show you how to use Gmail , Googledocs and the Google desktop application across various operating systems. Take a look at how to share calendars , setup your Gmail, using Google Gadgets AND Google Gears to give you a complete offine-online cross platform Gmail Experience.We feature NYANA as an extra bonus to this episode !


  • Introduction by Nyana.
  • Welcome to Hoth
  • Setup your Gmail account
  • Setup Google Docs
  • Setup Google Calendar
  • Google Gears
  • Installing Google Desktop.
  • Signoff
  • Snowangel.


Related Posts

Sharing Itunes library between two users on the same machine.

Some problems have the simplest solutions, some are unsolvable.  And
some problems seam unsolvable and have the simplest solutions at the
same time. One of those problems is the one I have with Itunes in
“sharing my music directory” in Itunes on our mac so my wife can access
the music on that machine and on other machines in the house. Before I
go into great detail i’ll describe the setup we have. At our home we
have a couple of mac laptops and an Imac. On that Imac we have out
entire music collection. (we don’t have any cd’s anymore) we just play
everything from the imac. The itunes library that we have sits under my
account. So whenever I am logged in we can access it via Itunes. To
make it available to other computers in the house I enabled the Itunes
functionality to ‘share my library’ Thus every time I was logged in
other computers in the house running Itunes would be able to access the
music. Here comes the problem. Both Nyana and  I use individual user
accounts on our macs. Where it used to be a case of ‘this is YOUR
laptop , this is Mine’ its now something like ‘this is A laptop and
i’ll use it under my account”. So whenever my wife was home and logged
into the Imac she was unable to access the music stored under my user
account. It also meant that the library would not be shared out to the
other macs when I was not logged in.

So what did we want : We wanted to share out our Itunes library to
other macs in the house AND to other accounts on the same machine.
Apparently Apple’s “all to easy” approach seems a little
over-simplified in this case, resulting in a situation that is mega
hard to solve. I did some googling and it made matters worse. Apple
suggests putting the library in a shared directory, but whenever user A
adds something (music, podcasts, ripped files) this is not visible to
user B, It would solve part of our problems, but the risk of having a
borked up library is something that is very real. The problem is that
Itunes stores the music files in a folder, but keeps an index of this
file in a different xml file .. FOR EACH USER. So instead of just ONE
index file, you have TWO , hence the risk of mismatching music and
missing out on things.  Other hacks spoke of scripts, terminal commands
and even running a linux machine with Itunes running in whine. Complex
stuff !

On my way home in the car I thought of the solution. There is such a
thing as ‘fast user switching’ that allows a SECOND user to log in
while the applications and processes of the first user are still
running. Why not enable fast user switching, have my account (and the
subsequent ITUNES) running in the background as we “fast user switch”‘
into nyna’s account. That way she can log into the Imac and access the
music via the shared itunes library (that appears as a network library)
and she can access the library when she logs into her mac laptop. So
problem solved ! Ok, before ‘fast user switching’ I terminate as much
programs as I can under “my account” leaving only Itunes running. Next
up Nyana fast user switches to her account and away we go. When she is
done working with the computer she just logs out and I can log back
into my own (already running) session.

So we leave my own account running in the background, it eats up SOME
system resources, but our state of the art, 4 gig Ram Imac does not
realy care about that and we can listen to our music anywhere.

Link : Fast User Switching.  ( Ps : this is something that also works on Vista and XP machines)

Related Posts

  • No Related Posts

How low can you go. Day one.

The beginning is a delicate time. So says the princess at the beginning of the Dune movie. And some truth can be found in that statement. Yesterday I treaded carefully into a delicate beginning when I went looking for a linux distribution to install on my ten year old Toshiba Satellite for our little “how low can you go” experiment. With only 128 megs of ram, a celeron 366 processor and only a wired network interface, it was kind of challenging to find the right distribution to get started.

I started off with Googling around for a linux Distro that could do the trick. A little googling around brought several possible candidates to the table like DSL (Damn Small Linux) and Puppylinux. I had tried the last one and was pretty pleased with the results some time ago. However its not a .debian based distro, so all the apt-get stuff that makes it so easy to install software on my system would not work. So i went looking for “ubuntu flavored” alternatives.

2 immediately popped to mind being Crunchbang Linux and ELbuntu. The difference with ‘”standard” ubuntu is that they sport a lighter GUI. Elbuntu uses the E17 gui (famous from the GOS linux version that was hyped last year). After downloading and burning both I came to the conclusion that my system was too light for these light distributions. Crunchbang took ages to boot, Elbuntu took forever to give me its installation screen.

So I thought I would start from the ground up and begin with a Command line version of Ubuntu and choose one of the seperate distro’s on top. Hitting F4 at the installation menu of Ubuntu server provided me with ‘install a minimal system” and that is what I went for. The installation took most of the evening and when I get home tonight I should have a working (command line only) system to start from.

So next up its time to choose the GUI and find one that makes the old sattelite a little usable.

Links : Crunchbang  ELbuntu and the orginal article .


Related Posts

  • No Related Posts