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Friday, 25 April 2014

Introduction

The title of this article is deliberately vague and it will become clear why later on.

A little while back I wrote an article in which I stated that I think PCLinuxOS is better for Windows XP users than Ubuntu.

Without going into too much detail the reasons are as follows:

  1. PCLinuxOS with the MATE desktop is more likely to run on the same hardware as Windows XP than Ubuntu with the Unity desktop.
  2. PCLinuxOS is a rolling release distro and if you are using Windows XP you don't like to replace your operating system often. Therefore PCLinuxOS keeps you up to date without upgrading.
  3. The MATE desktop is going look more familiar to a Windows XP user than the Unity desktop
  4. Unity incorporates adverts into the interface and whilst they can be turned off this can be a turn off for some users. PCLinuxOS doesn't have adverts
  5. Things just work straight away with PCLinuxOS without having to install things like Flash, Multimedia Codecs etc.
Whether you agree with the article or not I think the reasons were well defined.

The PCLinuxOS article was discussed by the Mintcast team in episode 193 of the podcast.

I have been meaning to write this response for a number of weeks but now I have finally had the time to do so and with Ubuntu 14.04 fresh out of the blocks it seemed like a good time to release it.

The discussion

In Episode 193 the Mintcast team were joined by the Linux Luddites.

With regards to point 1 the Mintcast host seemed to agree that MATE is lighter than Unity and therefore more likely to work on older hardware.

A follow up point was made that Xubuntu and Lubuntu would equally work on older hardware and I would have to agree.

Point 2 kind of covers Xubuntu and Lubuntu though, especially at the time of writing. Ubuntu has an LTS release every 2 years and therefore so do Lubuntu and Xubuntu.

If I had advocated Lubuntu and Xubuntu at the time that article was released then those users who had moved from XP would now be required to upgrade to 14.04 as the 13.04 and 13.10 releases have short support cycles.

In addition to the release and support cycles I would also say that Xubuntu and Lubuntu require more work to get started than PCLinuxOS.
"This guy, Gary Newell, seems to live in a parallel universe where Linux Mint doesn't exist"
I found the above quote quite amusing. The article has the title "5 Reasons Why PCLinuxOS is better for Windows XP users than Ubuntu". It has absolutely nothing to do with Linux Mint and this is why I never mentioned Linux Mint in the article.

I am of course well aware of Linux Mint and have written reviews consistently over the years including
I also have a review of Linux Mint 16 MATE that I am preparing to release in the next couple of weeks.

With regards to Linux Mint it was mentioned that 4 out of 5 of the points relate equally to Linux Mint as they do to PCLinuxOS.

This is indeed true and are of course the 1 reason left is why I recommended PCLinuxOS and not Linux Mint.

Linux Mint has both the MATE and XFCE desktops and so would definitely work on the same hardware as Windows XP.

The Linux Mint desktop will definitely feel familiar to Windows XP users, it doesn't incorporate adverts and it works right out of the box.

Linux Mint will be a great choice for Windows XP users in a couple of months time but it would be silly to suggest Linux Mint 16 to users who haven't updated their operating system in over 10 years because they would need to upgrade again in a matter of a few months time.

It would make much more sense to recommend Linux Mint when the LTS release comes out later on this year.

It was mentioned during the podcast that one of the Luddites had tried to dual boot PCLinuxOS with Linux Mint but when they rebooted the computer PCLinuxOS failed to boot.

From the failed install it was determined that it is laughable that I could come to the conclusion that PCLinuxOS would be good for new users.

I have to disagree entirely with this statement.

I wrote a guide showing how to dual boot PCLinuxOS with Windows XP and it was a very easy process. I have since tried and succeeded getting Linux Mint and PCLinuxOS to dual boot using a very similar technique.

By and large the criticism of the article was constructive even if I disagree with many of the points raised.

The one point I didn't really like was when it was mentioned that the article was link bait to link to the other articles I'd written about PCLinuxOS.

I don't like the term link bait. Surely every person who writes an article on a blog wants people to read it. I think the 5 reasons were all reasonable and even if you don't agree with them there was value to the article.

It is common practice to link to other articles within blog posts and so having written articles showing how to install PCLinuxOS it would be silly not to link to them as they might be useful to people who decided on the back of my article that they would like to try PCLinuxOS.

Regular readers will know that I tend to write a series of articles at a time. For instance recently I have written a review of openSUSE with a number of follow up articles. They aren't designed as link bait but as a method of providing a more complete overview of the distributions.

I found it strange when it was mentioned that I had a vested interest in writing the article about PCLinuxOS because surely by appearing on the Mintcast podcast the Luddites had just done the same thing. They had a vested interest to talk about Linux Mint.

Summary

This is not an attack against the Mintcast podcast or the Luddites as I like listening to their podcasts and I listed both of them in my top 9 Linux podcasts article.

I did feel it necessary to respond to their critique though as I felt many of the points weren't valid or needed qualifying.

As for the title of this post, that is definitely link bait. A title so vague that it draws people in.

Thanks for reading


Does Linux Mint exist?

Introduction

The title of this article is deliberately vague and it will become clear why later on.

A little while back I wrote an article in which I stated that I think PCLinuxOS is better for Windows XP users than Ubuntu.

Without going into too much detail the reasons are as follows:

  1. PCLinuxOS with the MATE desktop is more likely to run on the same hardware as Windows XP than Ubuntu with the Unity desktop.
  2. PCLinuxOS is a rolling release distro and if you are using Windows XP you don't like to replace your operating system often. Therefore PCLinuxOS keeps you up to date without upgrading.
  3. The MATE desktop is going look more familiar to a Windows XP user than the Unity desktop
  4. Unity incorporates adverts into the interface and whilst they can be turned off this can be a turn off for some users. PCLinuxOS doesn't have adverts
  5. Things just work straight away with PCLinuxOS without having to install things like Flash, Multimedia Codecs etc.
Whether you agree with the article or not I think the reasons were well defined.

The PCLinuxOS article was discussed by the Mintcast team in episode 193 of the podcast.

I have been meaning to write this response for a number of weeks but now I have finally had the time to do so and with Ubuntu 14.04 fresh out of the blocks it seemed like a good time to release it.

The discussion

In Episode 193 the Mintcast team were joined by the Linux Luddites.

With regards to point 1 the Mintcast host seemed to agree that MATE is lighter than Unity and therefore more likely to work on older hardware.

A follow up point was made that Xubuntu and Lubuntu would equally work on older hardware and I would have to agree.

Point 2 kind of covers Xubuntu and Lubuntu though, especially at the time of writing. Ubuntu has an LTS release every 2 years and therefore so do Lubuntu and Xubuntu.

If I had advocated Lubuntu and Xubuntu at the time that article was released then those users who had moved from XP would now be required to upgrade to 14.04 as the 13.04 and 13.10 releases have short support cycles.

In addition to the release and support cycles I would also say that Xubuntu and Lubuntu require more work to get started than PCLinuxOS.
"This guy, Gary Newell, seems to live in a parallel universe where Linux Mint doesn't exist"
I found the above quote quite amusing. The article has the title "5 Reasons Why PCLinuxOS is better for Windows XP users than Ubuntu". It has absolutely nothing to do with Linux Mint and this is why I never mentioned Linux Mint in the article.

I am of course well aware of Linux Mint and have written reviews consistently over the years including
I also have a review of Linux Mint 16 MATE that I am preparing to release in the next couple of weeks.

With regards to Linux Mint it was mentioned that 4 out of 5 of the points relate equally to Linux Mint as they do to PCLinuxOS.

This is indeed true and are of course the 1 reason left is why I recommended PCLinuxOS and not Linux Mint.

Linux Mint has both the MATE and XFCE desktops and so would definitely work on the same hardware as Windows XP.

The Linux Mint desktop will definitely feel familiar to Windows XP users, it doesn't incorporate adverts and it works right out of the box.

Linux Mint will be a great choice for Windows XP users in a couple of months time but it would be silly to suggest Linux Mint 16 to users who haven't updated their operating system in over 10 years because they would need to upgrade again in a matter of a few months time.

It would make much more sense to recommend Linux Mint when the LTS release comes out later on this year.

It was mentioned during the podcast that one of the Luddites had tried to dual boot PCLinuxOS with Linux Mint but when they rebooted the computer PCLinuxOS failed to boot.

From the failed install it was determined that it is laughable that I could come to the conclusion that PCLinuxOS would be good for new users.

I have to disagree entirely with this statement.

I wrote a guide showing how to dual boot PCLinuxOS with Windows XP and it was a very easy process. I have since tried and succeeded getting Linux Mint and PCLinuxOS to dual boot using a very similar technique.

By and large the criticism of the article was constructive even if I disagree with many of the points raised.

The one point I didn't really like was when it was mentioned that the article was link bait to link to the other articles I'd written about PCLinuxOS.

I don't like the term link bait. Surely every person who writes an article on a blog wants people to read it. I think the 5 reasons were all reasonable and even if you don't agree with them there was value to the article.

It is common practice to link to other articles within blog posts and so having written articles showing how to install PCLinuxOS it would be silly not to link to them as they might be useful to people who decided on the back of my article that they would like to try PCLinuxOS.

Regular readers will know that I tend to write a series of articles at a time. For instance recently I have written a review of openSUSE with a number of follow up articles. They aren't designed as link bait but as a method of providing a more complete overview of the distributions.

I found it strange when it was mentioned that I had a vested interest in writing the article about PCLinuxOS because surely by appearing on the Mintcast podcast the Luddites had just done the same thing. They had a vested interest to talk about Linux Mint.

Summary

This is not an attack against the Mintcast podcast or the Luddites as I like listening to their podcasts and I listed both of them in my top 9 Linux podcasts article.

I did feel it necessary to respond to their critique though as I felt many of the points weren't valid or needed qualifying.

As for the title of this post, that is definitely link bait. A title so vague that it draws people in.

Thanks for reading


Posted at 07:30 |  by Gary Newell

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Introduction

One of the first reviews I posted on Everyday Linux User was for Puppy Arcade 10. In that review I highlighted that the concept was good but the overall experience could be improved.

I received an email a little while back now asking me to take another look at Puppy Arcade as version 11 has been released.

What is Puppy Arcade?

Puppy Linux is a lightweight distribution built to run in memory and therefore the overall footprint is very small.

Puppy is designed to run from a USB drive and not for installation on a hard drive.

There are a number of Puppy derivatives available including MacPup and Simplicity.

Puppy Arcade is designed for fun. It includes emulators for every games console imaginable as well as ROM loading software and joystick calibration.

How to get Puppy Arcade

You can download Puppy Arcade from http://scottjarvis.com/page105.htm

Note that there are three download links listed. I picked the one from 2013.

Normally when I install Puppy to USB I create a CD first, boot the CD and then use the Puppy Universal Installer to create a bootable USB drive.

For Puppy Arcade it was possible to use UNetbootin although the official readme suggests using the Frugal installer from the CD.

Click here to learn how to create a bootable Linux USB drive using UNetbootin.

When I tried Puppy Arcade on my newer Toshiba Satellite Pro it didn't work properly. There was a loud beep every time I clicked on an icon and the display was stuck at 800x600.

There is a newer version of Puppy Arcade 11 for newer hardware available at this page although it is a test version.

I have therefore decided to conduct this review on the same laptop that I used to review Puppy Arcade 10, the trusty old Samsung R20.

First Boot

When you boot for the first time you will be asked to choose between xorg and xvesa and you will be asked to choose your display configuration.

The Puppy Arcade desktop appears and you are asked to choose your language, timezone and keyboard layout.






























Puppy Arcade has a central tool for setting up things like network connections, default browser and Flash.

Save File

Before doing anything else I would recommend rebooting Puppy Arcade.

The way Puppy works is that everything is loaded into memory and every application you install is saved in a file which can be stored on your USB drive or on the host drive of the computer you are using. There is no partitioning or anything like that required, it just creates a file just like any other file.

The save file is not created until you shutdown Puppy Arcade for the first time.

As you have set up your display settings and your language settings it is a good idea to reboot and create that save file.


When you click reboot you will be asked whether you want to save data or not.


If you click "Save" then you will enter the PupSaveConfig utility. Click OK to configure the location of the save file.


The next screen lets you determine which folder to use to store the save file and a name for the save file.

You can also determine the type and size of the file. Remember that you will be loading in ROM files so you will need a decent sized save file.


Finally you are ready to reboot. Click Reboot PC and your Puppy Arcade should now load with the save file enabled...... but it doesn't.

There is a small bug whereby the save file name is wrong. Use a file manager to locate the save file that you created earlier and rename it to warysave.3fs.

Reboot again and Puppy Arcade should now load using the save file.

Connecting to the internet


To connect to the internet, open up the Puppy Arcade setup screen and click on "Network Setup".

You are now given the option to connect to a wired or wireless network.


If you click on the "Wireless Network" option you are shown a list of available wireless networks. If nothing is displayed you may need to click on the "Refresh" button.

Click on the desired wireless network and enter the security key to connect to the network.

Installing a web browser

Puppy Arcade doesn't have a web browser installed by default. Instead there is an option called "Browser Installer" from the Puppy Arcade Setup screen.


There are a number of browsers to choose from including Firefox, Chrome and Opera.

Simply find the tab for the browser of your choice and click "Install Now".

Installing Flash

Flash is also not installed by default. There is a Flash installer option available on the Puppy Arcade setup screen.


A message appears asking whether you want to install Flash and then a further screen appears asking which version you wish to install.



Choose the version that you wish to install and you will then be able to play Flash games and watch Youtube videos.


Music

Puppy Arcade comes with a number of music applications including players and converters. The default audio player is the ever impressive DeaDBeef.


MP3s play straight out of the box without having to install extra codecs.

Gaming

The whole point of Puppy Arcade is under the fun heading. It is all about retrogaming.

There are emulators for pretty much every games system that you can think of including Atari ST, 800, 2600, Sinclair Spectrum, Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga, NES, SNES and Sega Megadrive.


One of the most impressive tools is the Rom-Loader which lets you load and run the ROM files for all the emulators through one interface.

A ROM file is basically the emulated game file. You can download ROM files from a number of locations online.

Be careful because the legality of using such files is a bit of a grey area and some sites deliver a little bit of malware to go with the file. Stick with sites like CoolROM.com and FreeROMs.com. For the Spectrum ROMs look no further than www.worldofspectrum.org.

From the Rom-Loader utility choose the emulator for the ROMs you wish to load and then navigate to the folder where the ROMs reside.
























The Rom-Loader utility not only lists the files that you have loaded but it provides other information such as release year, genre, developer and even the images of the cartridges.

To load a file you don't have to run the emulator. Just double click on the file.


Click "Play Now" to play the game.























Joystick support

Ideally most people nowadays have some form of games console and so it would be great if Puppy Arcade made it easy to use a WII remote or an XBOX controller. I couldn't get either of these to work.

I did manage to use a Bluetooth dongle and my OUYA Controller though so if you have a Bluetooth joystick you may be able to get it to work.

There is a special tool for joystick calibration and this works well.

Issues

Puppy Arcade provided me with a number of challenges over the past week as I fought to get to grips with it.

I have already mentioned the need to rename the Puppy save file.

The nature of emulation means that Puppy Arcade is restricted to the inherent issues that come with those emulators. For instance the NES emulator FCEU sometimes crashed the display and I had to run XWIN to get it going again.

The ROM-Loader needed to be resized in order to use the menu and occasionally it hung and I had to forcefully kill it.

Summary

In my review of Puppy Arcade 10 I mentioned that it was a good idea in need of an update.

In Puppy Arcade 11 I have seen improvements but anyone wanting to use this distro needs to know that it is clearly a hobby project and therefore it is rough around the edges.

You will probably need to put in some work to get each emulator behaving the way you want it to and to get it working with your desired controller.

If you hardware is too new then you may have problems running Puppy Arcade at all.

I think the best resource you can start with is the Puppy Arcade Readme. A lot of work has gone into the readme and it covers system requirements, installation and details about the emulators and Rom-Loader.

If you can tailor Puppy Arcade to your needs then you have a games system on a USB drive.

Thankyou for reading.





Puppy Arcade 11 - Portable Retrogaming

Introduction

One of the first reviews I posted on Everyday Linux User was for Puppy Arcade 10. In that review I highlighted that the concept was good but the overall experience could be improved.

I received an email a little while back now asking me to take another look at Puppy Arcade as version 11 has been released.

What is Puppy Arcade?

Puppy Linux is a lightweight distribution built to run in memory and therefore the overall footprint is very small.

Puppy is designed to run from a USB drive and not for installation on a hard drive.

There are a number of Puppy derivatives available including MacPup and Simplicity.

Puppy Arcade is designed for fun. It includes emulators for every games console imaginable as well as ROM loading software and joystick calibration.

How to get Puppy Arcade

You can download Puppy Arcade from http://scottjarvis.com/page105.htm

Note that there are three download links listed. I picked the one from 2013.

Normally when I install Puppy to USB I create a CD first, boot the CD and then use the Puppy Universal Installer to create a bootable USB drive.

For Puppy Arcade it was possible to use UNetbootin although the official readme suggests using the Frugal installer from the CD.

Click here to learn how to create a bootable Linux USB drive using UNetbootin.

When I tried Puppy Arcade on my newer Toshiba Satellite Pro it didn't work properly. There was a loud beep every time I clicked on an icon and the display was stuck at 800x600.

There is a newer version of Puppy Arcade 11 for newer hardware available at this page although it is a test version.

I have therefore decided to conduct this review on the same laptop that I used to review Puppy Arcade 10, the trusty old Samsung R20.

First Boot

When you boot for the first time you will be asked to choose between xorg and xvesa and you will be asked to choose your display configuration.

The Puppy Arcade desktop appears and you are asked to choose your language, timezone and keyboard layout.






























Puppy Arcade has a central tool for setting up things like network connections, default browser and Flash.

Save File

Before doing anything else I would recommend rebooting Puppy Arcade.

The way Puppy works is that everything is loaded into memory and every application you install is saved in a file which can be stored on your USB drive or on the host drive of the computer you are using. There is no partitioning or anything like that required, it just creates a file just like any other file.

The save file is not created until you shutdown Puppy Arcade for the first time.

As you have set up your display settings and your language settings it is a good idea to reboot and create that save file.


When you click reboot you will be asked whether you want to save data or not.


If you click "Save" then you will enter the PupSaveConfig utility. Click OK to configure the location of the save file.


The next screen lets you determine which folder to use to store the save file and a name for the save file.

You can also determine the type and size of the file. Remember that you will be loading in ROM files so you will need a decent sized save file.


Finally you are ready to reboot. Click Reboot PC and your Puppy Arcade should now load with the save file enabled...... but it doesn't.

There is a small bug whereby the save file name is wrong. Use a file manager to locate the save file that you created earlier and rename it to warysave.3fs.

Reboot again and Puppy Arcade should now load using the save file.

Connecting to the internet


To connect to the internet, open up the Puppy Arcade setup screen and click on "Network Setup".

You are now given the option to connect to a wired or wireless network.


If you click on the "Wireless Network" option you are shown a list of available wireless networks. If nothing is displayed you may need to click on the "Refresh" button.

Click on the desired wireless network and enter the security key to connect to the network.

Installing a web browser

Puppy Arcade doesn't have a web browser installed by default. Instead there is an option called "Browser Installer" from the Puppy Arcade Setup screen.


There are a number of browsers to choose from including Firefox, Chrome and Opera.

Simply find the tab for the browser of your choice and click "Install Now".

Installing Flash

Flash is also not installed by default. There is a Flash installer option available on the Puppy Arcade setup screen.


A message appears asking whether you want to install Flash and then a further screen appears asking which version you wish to install.



Choose the version that you wish to install and you will then be able to play Flash games and watch Youtube videos.


Music

Puppy Arcade comes with a number of music applications including players and converters. The default audio player is the ever impressive DeaDBeef.


MP3s play straight out of the box without having to install extra codecs.

Gaming

The whole point of Puppy Arcade is under the fun heading. It is all about retrogaming.

There are emulators for pretty much every games system that you can think of including Atari ST, 800, 2600, Sinclair Spectrum, Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga, NES, SNES and Sega Megadrive.


One of the most impressive tools is the Rom-Loader which lets you load and run the ROM files for all the emulators through one interface.

A ROM file is basically the emulated game file. You can download ROM files from a number of locations online.

Be careful because the legality of using such files is a bit of a grey area and some sites deliver a little bit of malware to go with the file. Stick with sites like CoolROM.com and FreeROMs.com. For the Spectrum ROMs look no further than www.worldofspectrum.org.

From the Rom-Loader utility choose the emulator for the ROMs you wish to load and then navigate to the folder where the ROMs reside.
























The Rom-Loader utility not only lists the files that you have loaded but it provides other information such as release year, genre, developer and even the images of the cartridges.

To load a file you don't have to run the emulator. Just double click on the file.


Click "Play Now" to play the game.























Joystick support

Ideally most people nowadays have some form of games console and so it would be great if Puppy Arcade made it easy to use a WII remote or an XBOX controller. I couldn't get either of these to work.

I did manage to use a Bluetooth dongle and my OUYA Controller though so if you have a Bluetooth joystick you may be able to get it to work.

There is a special tool for joystick calibration and this works well.

Issues

Puppy Arcade provided me with a number of challenges over the past week as I fought to get to grips with it.

I have already mentioned the need to rename the Puppy save file.

The nature of emulation means that Puppy Arcade is restricted to the inherent issues that come with those emulators. For instance the NES emulator FCEU sometimes crashed the display and I had to run XWIN to get it going again.

The ROM-Loader needed to be resized in order to use the menu and occasionally it hung and I had to forcefully kill it.

Summary

In my review of Puppy Arcade 10 I mentioned that it was a good idea in need of an update.

In Puppy Arcade 11 I have seen improvements but anyone wanting to use this distro needs to know that it is clearly a hobby project and therefore it is rough around the edges.

You will probably need to put in some work to get each emulator behaving the way you want it to and to get it working with your desired controller.

If you hardware is too new then you may have problems running Puppy Arcade at all.

I think the best resource you can start with is the Puppy Arcade Readme. A lot of work has gone into the readme and it covers system requirements, installation and details about the emulators and Rom-Loader.

If you can tailor Puppy Arcade to your needs then you have a games system on a USB drive.

Thankyou for reading.





Posted at 07:30 |  by Gary Newell

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Introduction

I normally like to use Twitter straight from the browser but there are some really good Android based apps that work just as well.

Choqok is a Twitter client for Linux that is installed by default with the openSUSE KDE live DVD.

This article looks at the features of Choqok.

Choqok


When you first run Choqok it isn't immediately obvious how you link it to your Twitter account.

In order to do so select "Settings -> configure Choqok".






 To add an account click "Add" and then select "Twitter".


You can enter anything as an alias but to link to your Twitter account you need to authorise Choqok to access it by clicking the "Authenticate with Twitter Service".

Once you have authenticated Twitter you will receive a code that you have to enter into Choqok.

Click "OK" to continue.






There really isn't much to Choqok, which is actually a good thing.

The main window loads with the tweets from the people you follow.

You can post a new tweet yourself by clicking on "Quick Post" on the toolbar.

The timeline will by default update after 10 minutes. If you want to load new tweets before that, click on the "Update Timelines" icon on the toolbar.

If you want to post an image then you can use the "Upload Medium" button on the toolbar.

A new window will appear and you can choose the file on the disk that you wish to upload and the service you want to post it to.

If you want to see your mentions, inbox or outbox you can click on the icons on the left side of the screen.



The strength of Twitter is obviously by the use of hash tags. To search for a hash tag click on CTRL and F.

Enter the search term into the query window and your timeline will be replaced with a list of tweets containing that search term.

Configuring Choqok

As with all the KDE applications, Choqok has a host of configuration options available.

The configuration options can be found under "Settings -> Configure Choqok".





The behaviour settings let you determine how to deal with posts, whether to automatically spell check tweets, set how long it is before the timeline updates and the number of posts to show.

The accounts screen lets you add different Twitter accounts.

The appearance screen lets you reverse the order of tweets, and customise the appearance such as changing the colours and fonts.

Choqok also has a number of plugins available.
























Many of the plugins are selected by default such as the ability to see images and videos, and the ability to extract URLs as the full URL instead of the shortened version.

Summary

Choqok is a very good Twitter client and it has a light feel to it.

It is much easier to read the tweets and search for tweets using Choqok than using the Twitter website itself.

If you are already using KDE then you will probably have Choqok already installed but if not, it will be in the repositories of the version of Linux you are using.


Choqok - A Linux based Twitter client for the KDE desktop environment

Introduction

I normally like to use Twitter straight from the browser but there are some really good Android based apps that work just as well.

Choqok is a Twitter client for Linux that is installed by default with the openSUSE KDE live DVD.

This article looks at the features of Choqok.

Choqok


When you first run Choqok it isn't immediately obvious how you link it to your Twitter account.

In order to do so select "Settings -> configure Choqok".






 To add an account click "Add" and then select "Twitter".


You can enter anything as an alias but to link to your Twitter account you need to authorise Choqok to access it by clicking the "Authenticate with Twitter Service".

Once you have authenticated Twitter you will receive a code that you have to enter into Choqok.

Click "OK" to continue.






There really isn't much to Choqok, which is actually a good thing.

The main window loads with the tweets from the people you follow.

You can post a new tweet yourself by clicking on "Quick Post" on the toolbar.

The timeline will by default update after 10 minutes. If you want to load new tweets before that, click on the "Update Timelines" icon on the toolbar.

If you want to post an image then you can use the "Upload Medium" button on the toolbar.

A new window will appear and you can choose the file on the disk that you wish to upload and the service you want to post it to.

If you want to see your mentions, inbox or outbox you can click on the icons on the left side of the screen.



The strength of Twitter is obviously by the use of hash tags. To search for a hash tag click on CTRL and F.

Enter the search term into the query window and your timeline will be replaced with a list of tweets containing that search term.

Configuring Choqok

As with all the KDE applications, Choqok has a host of configuration options available.

The configuration options can be found under "Settings -> Configure Choqok".





The behaviour settings let you determine how to deal with posts, whether to automatically spell check tweets, set how long it is before the timeline updates and the number of posts to show.

The accounts screen lets you add different Twitter accounts.

The appearance screen lets you reverse the order of tweets, and customise the appearance such as changing the colours and fonts.

Choqok also has a number of plugins available.
























Many of the plugins are selected by default such as the ability to see images and videos, and the ability to extract URLs as the full URL instead of the shortened version.

Summary

Choqok is a very good Twitter client and it has a light feel to it.

It is much easier to read the tweets and search for tweets using Choqok than using the Twitter website itself.

If you are already using KDE then you will probably have Choqok already installed but if not, it will be in the repositories of the version of Linux you are using.


Posted at 23:18 |  by Gary Newell

Introduction

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) has been around for along time and is as relevant today as it was ten years ago.

IRC works on a client/server basis. A server hosts a series of channels (rooms) and clients connect to the server and join the channels. The clients (users) can then chat to each other using text.

There are a number of IRC chat clients available for Linux but if you are using a KDE based distribution such as openSUSE or Kubuntu then you will have one installed by default and that is the topic for this article.

Konversation

Konversation is the default IRC chat client that is installed with the KDE desktop environment.

When you first start Konversation a screen will appear showing the available networks that you can connect to.

Networks



To add a new network click the "New" button and to edit the details of a network click the "Edit" button.

You can now change the network name, edit your identity or add and edit servers associated with the network.

If you know the names of the rooms you would normally join you can add them to the list of channels to auto join.

Click here for a list of available servers.

 

 

Identities


To edit your identity click the "Edit" button next to identity. 

When you connect to IRC servers you are identified by a nickname.

IRC doesn't work the same way as email or Facebook.

A nickname isn't generally associated with one user (although you can lock a nickname so that it belongs to just you). It is therefore a good idea to have multiple nicknames listed for your identity so that if you can't use your preferred nickname the next one on the list is used.

To add a nickname enter a new nickname in the box provided and click add. You can remove a nickname or nicknames by selecting them and clicking remove. You can change the order of preference by selecting the nickname and clicking the move up and down arrows.

You can create a new identity by clicking the plus symbol next to the identity drop down list. It is therefore possible to associate yourself with different nicknames for different networks.

The icon next to the plus symbol enables you to copy an existing identity. This is useful if most of the details are correct but you want to change just a couple of things.

There are also icons for renaming an identity and deleting an identity.

The away tab on an identity lets you determine how long it is before you are shown as being away in a chat room and the message that appears.

Chat























The default setup has the server details and rooms that you have joined as tabs at the bottom.

When you first log in you will have a list of server connection messages.

Chat rooms are denoted as tabs with a hash in front of them (#suse).

The chat room has a list of users down the right, the chat window with messages in the top left and a place for you to enter your message at the bottom.

Now obviously IRC wouldn't be much fun if you only had one room to chat in. To bring up a list of chat rooms press F5 or select "Window -> channel list".

You will receive the above warning but generally you can click continue and to be honest I recommend checking the "Do not ask again" box.























You can search for the topic of the room you would like to chat in by entering a topic name in the search box.

You can also limit the search by specifying the minimum and maximum number of users that are currently in the room.

When the list of results is returned you can sort the list by channel name and number of users.

To start chatting in a room double click on the room name. The room will now open as a tab at the bottom.

Configuring Konversation

The configuration options for Konversation are available under the settings menu.

From the settings menu itself you can hide or display the menu, toolbar, nickname list and status bar.

Other configuration options can be found by selecting "Settings -> Configure Konversation".































There are settings for pretty much the entire application.


In the chat window you can show or hide the channel topic (shown just above the chat window), show or hide nicknames and determine whether nicknames are shown as real names or not. If you find the background a bit dull you can jazz it up with an image.

The "Nicklist Themes" lets you choose how the nicknames appear in the nicknames window.

From the "Colours" option you can change the colours of all the different messages that appear in the chat window. The "Fonts" option lets you change the fonts for the text in the chat window.

The one I like to change is the positioning of the tabs and that is because I am used to using XChat. From the "Tabs" option you can change the tab to be on the left instead of at the bottom.

There are a whole host of behavioural settings and notification settings as well.

Summary

IRC chat is a great resource for support and if you get stuck with an aspect of the distro you are using search for the support chat room for that distro.

There are chat rooms for loads of different topic areas so you should find something that you like and not all of the rooms are geek zones.

If you are using a KDE based distro there is no need to install any other IRC Chat Client.

Konversation works just as well as any other IRC client that I have used.

If you aren't used to IRC chat then it is worth visiting the Wikipedia page for IRC Chat and there is also http://www.irchelp.org/.

Thankyou for reading.


Konversation - A look at the default KDE IRC Chat Client for Linux

Introduction

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) has been around for along time and is as relevant today as it was ten years ago.

IRC works on a client/server basis. A server hosts a series of channels (rooms) and clients connect to the server and join the channels. The clients (users) can then chat to each other using text.

There are a number of IRC chat clients available for Linux but if you are using a KDE based distribution such as openSUSE or Kubuntu then you will have one installed by default and that is the topic for this article.

Konversation

Konversation is the default IRC chat client that is installed with the KDE desktop environment.

When you first start Konversation a screen will appear showing the available networks that you can connect to.

Networks



To add a new network click the "New" button and to edit the details of a network click the "Edit" button.

You can now change the network name, edit your identity or add and edit servers associated with the network.

If you know the names of the rooms you would normally join you can add them to the list of channels to auto join.

Click here for a list of available servers.

 

 

Identities


To edit your identity click the "Edit" button next to identity. 

When you connect to IRC servers you are identified by a nickname.

IRC doesn't work the same way as email or Facebook.

A nickname isn't generally associated with one user (although you can lock a nickname so that it belongs to just you). It is therefore a good idea to have multiple nicknames listed for your identity so that if you can't use your preferred nickname the next one on the list is used.

To add a nickname enter a new nickname in the box provided and click add. You can remove a nickname or nicknames by selecting them and clicking remove. You can change the order of preference by selecting the nickname and clicking the move up and down arrows.

You can create a new identity by clicking the plus symbol next to the identity drop down list. It is therefore possible to associate yourself with different nicknames for different networks.

The icon next to the plus symbol enables you to copy an existing identity. This is useful if most of the details are correct but you want to change just a couple of things.

There are also icons for renaming an identity and deleting an identity.

The away tab on an identity lets you determine how long it is before you are shown as being away in a chat room and the message that appears.

Chat























The default setup has the server details and rooms that you have joined as tabs at the bottom.

When you first log in you will have a list of server connection messages.

Chat rooms are denoted as tabs with a hash in front of them (#suse).

The chat room has a list of users down the right, the chat window with messages in the top left and a place for you to enter your message at the bottom.

Now obviously IRC wouldn't be much fun if you only had one room to chat in. To bring up a list of chat rooms press F5 or select "Window -> channel list".

You will receive the above warning but generally you can click continue and to be honest I recommend checking the "Do not ask again" box.























You can search for the topic of the room you would like to chat in by entering a topic name in the search box.

You can also limit the search by specifying the minimum and maximum number of users that are currently in the room.

When the list of results is returned you can sort the list by channel name and number of users.

To start chatting in a room double click on the room name. The room will now open as a tab at the bottom.

Configuring Konversation

The configuration options for Konversation are available under the settings menu.

From the settings menu itself you can hide or display the menu, toolbar, nickname list and status bar.

Other configuration options can be found by selecting "Settings -> Configure Konversation".































There are settings for pretty much the entire application.


In the chat window you can show or hide the channel topic (shown just above the chat window), show or hide nicknames and determine whether nicknames are shown as real names or not. If you find the background a bit dull you can jazz it up with an image.

The "Nicklist Themes" lets you choose how the nicknames appear in the nicknames window.

From the "Colours" option you can change the colours of all the different messages that appear in the chat window. The "Fonts" option lets you change the fonts for the text in the chat window.

The one I like to change is the positioning of the tabs and that is because I am used to using XChat. From the "Tabs" option you can change the tab to be on the left instead of at the bottom.

There are a whole host of behavioural settings and notification settings as well.

Summary

IRC chat is a great resource for support and if you get stuck with an aspect of the distro you are using search for the support chat room for that distro.

There are chat rooms for loads of different topic areas so you should find something that you like and not all of the rooms are geek zones.

If you are using a KDE based distro there is no need to install any other IRC Chat Client.

Konversation works just as well as any other IRC client that I have used.

If you aren't used to IRC chat then it is worth visiting the Wikipedia page for IRC Chat and there is also http://www.irchelp.org/.

Thankyou for reading.


Posted at 22:33 |  by Gary Newell

Introduction

I remember the first time I used the internet. The year was 1997 and I had been working for a company called Data Sciences for about 2 years prior to the IBM takeover.

IBM came in and suddenly Windows was out the door and in came OS/2. Every employee was given a desktop computer and a brand new IBM Thinkpad.

One of my colleagues who sat behind me suddenly announced that he had access to the internet. To be honest I didn't really know much about it but looked over my shoulder to see what the fuss was about.

With Netscape Navigator open my colleague asked me to think of a subject. As soon as somebody asks me to think of something my mind goes blank and a bit like Dan Ackroyd's character, Ray Stantz, in Ghostbusters, it suddenly popped in there..... Billy The Kid.

My colleague typed in the name of American's most famous outlaw into the search engine (can't remember which one it was) and sure enough a number of pages popped up providing pictures and information.

Shortly after this experience I signed up for the internet at home for the first time. There were only a couple of providers available in the UK and they consisted of AOL and Compuserve.

I signed up to AOL. There are a couple of things to note about AOL back in 1997. One was that it took a very bad internet explorer and added an extra layer of naffness to it. The other was that there was an instant messaging service called AOL Instant Messenger (AIM).

Back then of course the top speed achievable at home was 56k and I remember that I started on a 33k modem.

AOL Instant Messenger wasn't the only chat service on the scene. Yahoo Messenger came along and it really was the Facebook of its time. Other ways to chat included using ICQ and IRC chat.

Nowadays of course the majority of people use services such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Hangouts to chat.

AOL, Yahoo, ICQ, IRC and Windows still provide an instant chat service and that is what today's topic is about.

About Kopete


Kopete is a KDE based tool that can connect to AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, Google Talk and Windows Live.

Using Kopete you an access a number of different messaging and chat services through a single interface.

It has a very familiar look and feel to most other chat clients that have come out through the years including Windows Messenger.

When you first start Kopete you will have a blank window because you haven't added any accounts. To add an account press the "Click to add an account" link at the bottom of the window.




A new window will appear allowing you to choose from a number of different services.

Some of these I have heard of and some I haven't.

Which ever service you wish to use click on the name and click "Next".




AIM



Each service will have a slightly different account information screen.

For AOL you have the basic setup, account preferences, privacy, visible and invisible tabs.

To add your account enter your AOL screen name and if you want to automatically log in, click on "Remember Password" and enter your password.






Notice that there is a "Register New Account" button for people without an account. When I clicked this button I was taken to a web page that clearly isn't right.



The AOL instant messenger service is alive and well however and you can sign up by visiting http://www.aim.com/.

To sign up for a new account click on the "sign up" button.



Simply enter an email address, password and your date of birth.

An email will be sent to you to confirm that it is a real one.

Click on the link to activate your AIM account.

You can now enter your AIM email address and password into Kopete.


The "Account Preferences" tab has server and port information.

Unless you are having issues you can generally leave these settings as they are.











The "Privacy" screen lets you determine who can see when you are online.

"Allow all users" lets anybody see that you are online. "Block all users" prevents anyone from seeing that you are online.

 "Allow only contact list's users" lets only your friends see that you are online. "Block AIM users" prevents AIM users from seeing that you are online.

"Allow only from visible list" lets users specified in the visible list see that you are online. "Block only from invisible list" blocks the people in the invisible list from seeing you.


The "Visible" and "Invisible" tabs allow you to add contacts to the relevant visible and invisible lists.

This gives you full control over who can see when you are available.

One reason I am not on Facebook is that I just don't have time to spend chatting all the time and I found that when I was on Facebook (and before that Yahoo) that people would just start chatting 10 seconds after logging in.



ICQ


ICQ was very popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. (but then again so were Webrings).

Instead of having a name you are given a unique ICQ number to identify you.

For some reason when I think of ICQ I am taken back to a day when people thought it was a good idea to have magenta backgrounds with yellow text and flowers on them, and menu systems were created within frames.

If you are still an avid ICQ user simply enter your ICQ number and password.

If you would like an ICQ number then click the "Register New Account" button.

Now all you have to do is enter your name, email address and a potential password and the dreaded CAPTCHA.







After signing up you will have an ICQ number. Use this number and password within Kopete.

The account preferences and privacy tabs work in the same way as for AIM.



Google Talk


You might prefer to use Google hangouts but it is possible to chat using a Google account within Kopete.

To create an account click "Settings -> configure" from the menu.

From the manage accounts screen click "Add account".

The type of account to add is "Jabber".

Rather than use the option to register an account I would recommend going to Google and creating an account there.


When you have an account enter the email address in the Jabber ID and click the remember password checkbox if you wish to log in automatically. Enter the password for your Google account.


Check the "Use SSL encryption" and "Override default server information" boxes and enter "talk.google.com" into the server name box.

The "file transfer" tab lets you enter proxy information if you aren't connected directly to the internet.

The "Privacy" tab enables you to determine how notifications are handled.






Windows Live Messenger


If you have a Windows live account then you can add it to Kopete.

To create an account click "Settings -> configure" from the menu.

From the manage accounts screen click "Add account".

Select  "WLM Messenger".



If you don't have an account you will find that the "Register new account" takes you to an invalid page. To create a Windows Live account visit https://signup.live.com/signup.aspx.

Enter your email address and password into the basic setup tab.

The "privacy" tab lets you determine which of your contacts can chat with you online.

The "connection" tab gives basic server information and unless you are having issues can be left alone.

Finally the "General" tab lets you determine what happens with regards to the use of custom emoticons.

Other Accounts

I haven't covered all the account types but you can generally work out the information required for each service quite easily. If you can't register for an account using the "register new account" it is likely possible by visiting the website of the service itself.

There is a Skype plugin but I would recommend using Skype itself.

There is also an SMS account type. I tried to get this to work and I worked out quickly that you need to install SMSSEND via the YAST package manager.

Being in the UK it is hard to find any HTTP to SMS services. Even when I did it was hard to get it to work with Kopete. I have managed to get SMSSEND to work but that is for another day.

Managing Accounts
























To manage your accounts click on "Settings -> Configure".

If you have added multiple accounts then you will see them all grouped together under "Default Identity".


Your identity is used to determine what people see when they look at your details.

You can of course have just one identity for all your accounts.

It is possible though that you want to have different nicknames on different services and use different email addresses.

To add a new identity click the "Add identity" button.




You can now create the details for the new identity by providing the information you wish to disclose such as name, nickname, email, phone numbers etc.

When you are finished click OK.

To move an account to the new identity, click on the account and drag it over the new identity.

If you need to change details of an identity click on it and press the "Modify identity" button.

If you want to add a new identity but with most of the details of another identity click on the identity you wish to copy and then select "copy identity". You can now edit the details that need to be changed.

You will notice that the "Manage accounts screen" has a number of icons down the left side including accounts, contact list, status, behaviour, chat window, video and plugins.

The contact list tab lets you determine how contacts are grouped, whether photos are displayed, set fonts and colours and determine the layout of the contact list window.

The status option shows the list of available statuses. You can add and remove statuses and even group statuses.

So instead of just saying "away" you can say "feeding the cat" or "eating my tea" etc.

The behaviour option lets you set various behavioural settings (who knew?). You can set things like whether an icon appears in the system tray, determine how messages are handled and set your initial status. You can also set things like how long it is before you are set as being away.

The chat option lets you choose the fonts, styles and layouts for the actual chat windows.

The video option lets you configure your webcam for use within video chat.

The plugins option lets you choose which plugins are used. By default the history plugin is checked which logs all chats. There are also plugins for auto replacing text, bookmarks, highlighting messages and translation.

Contact List


The contact list will show your contacts from all your accounts.

If somebody is online the icon next to their name will be green.

To start chatting simply click on their name.

If you right click on the name of a contact you will see more options such as the ability to send the contact a file, an email or a single message.

You can also move the contact to a new group such as friends or co-workers.

To add a new group click "File -> Create New Group".

Enter the name of the group and click "OK". To add users to the group you can right click on their names and move them into the group or you can drag the contacts to the new group within the window.
  
To add a new contact click the "Add" button and select the account to use.












The window to the left is for Windows Live Messenger and simply lets you enter the Windows Live Accout Name.






 
Note that you will start off looking at your default profile but you can switch profiles by clicking on the little dots in the bottom right corner.

You can set the status of each account by clicking on the "Status" button on the toolbar.

With regards to the identity you can change your avatar by clicking on the little image in the bottom left corner.





You can use your webcam to take a picture for your avatar or you can click the "Add Avatar" button.

As you can see I have turned myself into Britney. (Less said about that the better).





Chatting


To chat, just enter text into the bottom window and it appears on your friend's screen. They type something back and it appears in your top window.

Other things you can do is send a file, add emoticons and invite other people to join the chat session.

There are some commands you can use as well that are useful. The most useful one to start with is /help as this shows you how the other commands work. Another useful command is /url. If your friend sends through a link you can use the /url command to open the url in your default browser. (You don't even have to copy and paste it).

Summary

If you still use instant messengers then Kopete is a great alternative for AIM, Yahoo messenger, Windows Live messenger and many others.

It isn't complicated to set up most of the common account types and the chat interface is fairly intuitive. It feels like most other tools that do the same task.

Thankyou for reading.

















Kopete - a great Linux based instant messaging application for the KDE desktop

Introduction

I remember the first time I used the internet. The year was 1997 and I had been working for a company called Data Sciences for about 2 years prior to the IBM takeover.

IBM came in and suddenly Windows was out the door and in came OS/2. Every employee was given a desktop computer and a brand new IBM Thinkpad.

One of my colleagues who sat behind me suddenly announced that he had access to the internet. To be honest I didn't really know much about it but looked over my shoulder to see what the fuss was about.

With Netscape Navigator open my colleague asked me to think of a subject. As soon as somebody asks me to think of something my mind goes blank and a bit like Dan Ackroyd's character, Ray Stantz, in Ghostbusters, it suddenly popped in there..... Billy The Kid.

My colleague typed in the name of American's most famous outlaw into the search engine (can't remember which one it was) and sure enough a number of pages popped up providing pictures and information.

Shortly after this experience I signed up for the internet at home for the first time. There were only a couple of providers available in the UK and they consisted of AOL and Compuserve.

I signed up to AOL. There are a couple of things to note about AOL back in 1997. One was that it took a very bad internet explorer and added an extra layer of naffness to it. The other was that there was an instant messaging service called AOL Instant Messenger (AIM).

Back then of course the top speed achievable at home was 56k and I remember that I started on a 33k modem.

AOL Instant Messenger wasn't the only chat service on the scene. Yahoo Messenger came along and it really was the Facebook of its time. Other ways to chat included using ICQ and IRC chat.

Nowadays of course the majority of people use services such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Hangouts to chat.

AOL, Yahoo, ICQ, IRC and Windows still provide an instant chat service and that is what today's topic is about.

About Kopete


Kopete is a KDE based tool that can connect to AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, Google Talk and Windows Live.

Using Kopete you an access a number of different messaging and chat services through a single interface.

It has a very familiar look and feel to most other chat clients that have come out through the years including Windows Messenger.

When you first start Kopete you will have a blank window because you haven't added any accounts. To add an account press the "Click to add an account" link at the bottom of the window.




A new window will appear allowing you to choose from a number of different services.

Some of these I have heard of and some I haven't.

Which ever service you wish to use click on the name and click "Next".




AIM



Each service will have a slightly different account information screen.

For AOL you have the basic setup, account preferences, privacy, visible and invisible tabs.

To add your account enter your AOL screen name and if you want to automatically log in, click on "Remember Password" and enter your password.






Notice that there is a "Register New Account" button for people without an account. When I clicked this button I was taken to a web page that clearly isn't right.



The AOL instant messenger service is alive and well however and you can sign up by visiting http://www.aim.com/.

To sign up for a new account click on the "sign up" button.



Simply enter an email address, password and your date of birth.

An email will be sent to you to confirm that it is a real one.

Click on the link to activate your AIM account.

You can now enter your AIM email address and password into Kopete.


The "Account Preferences" tab has server and port information.

Unless you are having issues you can generally leave these settings as they are.











The "Privacy" screen lets you determine who can see when you are online.

"Allow all users" lets anybody see that you are online. "Block all users" prevents anyone from seeing that you are online.

 "Allow only contact list's users" lets only your friends see that you are online. "Block AIM users" prevents AIM users from seeing that you are online.

"Allow only from visible list" lets users specified in the visible list see that you are online. "Block only from invisible list" blocks the people in the invisible list from seeing you.


The "Visible" and "Invisible" tabs allow you to add contacts to the relevant visible and invisible lists.

This gives you full control over who can see when you are available.

One reason I am not on Facebook is that I just don't have time to spend chatting all the time and I found that when I was on Facebook (and before that Yahoo) that people would just start chatting 10 seconds after logging in.



ICQ


ICQ was very popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. (but then again so were Webrings).

Instead of having a name you are given a unique ICQ number to identify you.

For some reason when I think of ICQ I am taken back to a day when people thought it was a good idea to have magenta backgrounds with yellow text and flowers on them, and menu systems were created within frames.

If you are still an avid ICQ user simply enter your ICQ number and password.

If you would like an ICQ number then click the "Register New Account" button.

Now all you have to do is enter your name, email address and a potential password and the dreaded CAPTCHA.







After signing up you will have an ICQ number. Use this number and password within Kopete.

The account preferences and privacy tabs work in the same way as for AIM.



Google Talk


You might prefer to use Google hangouts but it is possible to chat using a Google account within Kopete.

To create an account click "Settings -> configure" from the menu.

From the manage accounts screen click "Add account".

The type of account to add is "Jabber".

Rather than use the option to register an account I would recommend going to Google and creating an account there.


When you have an account enter the email address in the Jabber ID and click the remember password checkbox if you wish to log in automatically. Enter the password for your Google account.


Check the "Use SSL encryption" and "Override default server information" boxes and enter "talk.google.com" into the server name box.

The "file transfer" tab lets you enter proxy information if you aren't connected directly to the internet.

The "Privacy" tab enables you to determine how notifications are handled.






Windows Live Messenger


If you have a Windows live account then you can add it to Kopete.

To create an account click "Settings -> configure" from the menu.

From the manage accounts screen click "Add account".

Select  "WLM Messenger".



If you don't have an account you will find that the "Register new account" takes you to an invalid page. To create a Windows Live account visit https://signup.live.com/signup.aspx.

Enter your email address and password into the basic setup tab.

The "privacy" tab lets you determine which of your contacts can chat with you online.

The "connection" tab gives basic server information and unless you are having issues can be left alone.

Finally the "General" tab lets you determine what happens with regards to the use of custom emoticons.

Other Accounts

I haven't covered all the account types but you can generally work out the information required for each service quite easily. If you can't register for an account using the "register new account" it is likely possible by visiting the website of the service itself.

There is a Skype plugin but I would recommend using Skype itself.

There is also an SMS account type. I tried to get this to work and I worked out quickly that you need to install SMSSEND via the YAST package manager.

Being in the UK it is hard to find any HTTP to SMS services. Even when I did it was hard to get it to work with Kopete. I have managed to get SMSSEND to work but that is for another day.

Managing Accounts
























To manage your accounts click on "Settings -> Configure".

If you have added multiple accounts then you will see them all grouped together under "Default Identity".


Your identity is used to determine what people see when they look at your details.

You can of course have just one identity for all your accounts.

It is possible though that you want to have different nicknames on different services and use different email addresses.

To add a new identity click the "Add identity" button.




You can now create the details for the new identity by providing the information you wish to disclose such as name, nickname, email, phone numbers etc.

When you are finished click OK.

To move an account to the new identity, click on the account and drag it over the new identity.

If you need to change details of an identity click on it and press the "Modify identity" button.

If you want to add a new identity but with most of the details of another identity click on the identity you wish to copy and then select "copy identity". You can now edit the details that need to be changed.

You will notice that the "Manage accounts screen" has a number of icons down the left side including accounts, contact list, status, behaviour, chat window, video and plugins.

The contact list tab lets you determine how contacts are grouped, whether photos are displayed, set fonts and colours and determine the layout of the contact list window.

The status option shows the list of available statuses. You can add and remove statuses and even group statuses.

So instead of just saying "away" you can say "feeding the cat" or "eating my tea" etc.

The behaviour option lets you set various behavioural settings (who knew?). You can set things like whether an icon appears in the system tray, determine how messages are handled and set your initial status. You can also set things like how long it is before you are set as being away.

The chat option lets you choose the fonts, styles and layouts for the actual chat windows.

The video option lets you configure your webcam for use within video chat.

The plugins option lets you choose which plugins are used. By default the history plugin is checked which logs all chats. There are also plugins for auto replacing text, bookmarks, highlighting messages and translation.

Contact List


The contact list will show your contacts from all your accounts.

If somebody is online the icon next to their name will be green.

To start chatting simply click on their name.

If you right click on the name of a contact you will see more options such as the ability to send the contact a file, an email or a single message.

You can also move the contact to a new group such as friends or co-workers.

To add a new group click "File -> Create New Group".

Enter the name of the group and click "OK". To add users to the group you can right click on their names and move them into the group or you can drag the contacts to the new group within the window.
  
To add a new contact click the "Add" button and select the account to use.












The window to the left is for Windows Live Messenger and simply lets you enter the Windows Live Accout Name.






 
Note that you will start off looking at your default profile but you can switch profiles by clicking on the little dots in the bottom right corner.

You can set the status of each account by clicking on the "Status" button on the toolbar.

With regards to the identity you can change your avatar by clicking on the little image in the bottom left corner.





You can use your webcam to take a picture for your avatar or you can click the "Add Avatar" button.

As you can see I have turned myself into Britney. (Less said about that the better).





Chatting


To chat, just enter text into the bottom window and it appears on your friend's screen. They type something back and it appears in your top window.

Other things you can do is send a file, add emoticons and invite other people to join the chat session.

There are some commands you can use as well that are useful. The most useful one to start with is /help as this shows you how the other commands work. Another useful command is /url. If your friend sends through a link you can use the /url command to open the url in your default browser. (You don't even have to copy and paste it).

Summary

If you still use instant messengers then Kopete is a great alternative for AIM, Yahoo messenger, Windows Live messenger and many others.

It isn't complicated to set up most of the common account types and the chat interface is fairly intuitive. It feels like most other tools that do the same task.

Thankyou for reading.

















Posted at 00:27 |  by Gary Newell

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