With the ‘ Installing your own Ubuntu Server” series running on KWTV I
have gotten several questions about “what can you USE that SSH
connection (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.
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.
Login : your google account
password : your password
priority : 4
And that is about all you have to do to start chatting from the command line.
Centerim Wiki :
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 🙂
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 !
There was still some tweaking to be done: according to the online
manual you needed to take a good look at the temperature issues 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.
For those of you who still can’t get enough from this weekly avalanche of Knightwise.com content : I have exceptional good news for you. Head on over to the Nosillacast Podcast over at podfeet.com 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 www.podfeet.com and tune in .