Monthly Archives: August 2010

AIM Style Emoticon Keyboard Shortcuts in Pidgin

Have to start with the meat… Here’s how you get AIM style emoticon shortcuts in Pidgin.

  1. Download the file gtkrc-2.0 or copy the text from the end of this post
  2. Put or create the file in your .purple directory. “C:\Documents and settings\Username\Application Data\.purple” for Windows users, “/home/username/.purple” for you Unix/Linux folks. NOTE: The file must be named “gtkrc-2.0” with no file extension
  3. Start or re-start Pidgin and enjoy the old-school AIM-style emoticon keyboard shortcuts!!!

The Backstory
Back in the good ol’ days of late 90’s early 2000’s, it seemed like everyone was signing up for Aol’s Instant Messenger. It brought everyone some enjoyable times with a revolutionary emoticon set and user warning system. The AIM software became ad-ridden and bloated while more chat protocols surfaced – so the community embraced replacements and combination appliations such as DeadAim, Gaim (now Pidgin), Adium, and so on.

One of the more efficient and beneficial functions of these applications, including Aol’s official AIM client, was the ctrl-x keyboard shortcuts for each emoticon. E.G.: Ctrl+6 was the “kissy face”, Ctrl+7 was the “angry face”, etc.

As time has progressed, Pidgin ceased the emulation of AIM’s ctrl+x keyboard shortcuts for emoticons. Myself and most of my friends used this feature EXTENSIVELY for worthy communication, and it became frustrating to click/move the mouse to find the correct emoticons. Time evolved my skills and I was able to become somewhat proficient in just typing the actual characters to build the emoticons manually… But it was still a long shot away from matching the ctrl+x shortcuts.

Meanwhile, Russellteee visited my family lifespace to meet my newborn child. Somehow during his visit, we arrived on the subject of discussing these former shortcuts and how awesome they made our respective lives. We vowed to construct a plugin to re-insert these plugins into Pidgin.

The week continued and I discussed this scenario with my coworker chouse. He was immediately gripped with the idea of getting this set up with a config file. Within just a few minutes, he formulated a working solution by creating the file called “gtkrc-2.0” and putting that file into “C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\.purple” directory. They keymap functionality in gtk2.0 is a little wierd – we had to work pretty hard to get ALL of the keyboard shortcuts to work. When you have the ctrl+shift modifier, it forces you to use the rendered value of the keys pressed.

For exampe: “ctrl + shift + 1” is actually just “ctrl + !” as the shift key changes the output. But, those key symbols are special ascii characters that you have to actually put by name into your key bindings file. With a bit more research, I was able to find most of these pretty quickly. The caret (“^”) gave me the most trouble; for some reason the ascii hex code of 5E is rendered as “asciicircum” in the GTK keymap. Seems like some programmer has made a joke pertaining to the caret and circumcision. One would expect “caret” would be fine; but whatever. I found it via Ascii -> hex -> keymap.h translation.

What beholds from this immense display of teamwork and coordination is a result that is literally too pristine to describe in written english verbiage. I can only give you directions.

Here is the text that goes into the file, if you prefer to create it manually.

binding "faces"
bind "<ctrl>1" { "insert-at-cursor" (":-)") }
bind "<ctrl>2" { "insert-at-cursor" (":-(") }
bind "<ctrl>3" { "insert-at-cursor" (";-)") }
bind "<ctrl>4" { "insert-at-cursor" (":-P") }
bind "<ctrl>5" { "insert-at-cursor" ("=-O") }
bind "<ctrl>6" { "insert-at-cursor" (":-*") }
bind "<ctrl>7" { "insert-at-cursor" (">:O") }
bind "<ctrl>8" { "insert-at-cursor" ("8-)") }
bind "<ctrl>exclam" { "insert-at-cursor" (":-$") }
bind "<ctrl>at" { "insert-at-cursor" (":-!") }
bind "<ctrl>numbersign" { "insert-at-cursor" (":-[") }
bind "<ctrl>dollar" { "insert-at-cursor" ("O:-)") }
bind "<ctrl>percent" { "insert-at-cursor" (":-/") }
bind "<ctrl>asciicircum" { "insert-at-cursor" (":'(") }
bind "<ctrl>ampersand" { "insert-at-cursor" (":-X") }
bind "<ctrl>asterisk" { "insert-at-cursor" (":-D") }
widget "*pidgin_conv_entry" binding "faces"

GTFO Comcast

I’ve spent years dealing with Comcast. I’ve used them for TV and Internet for the better part of 10 years. Throughout this time, I’ve dealt with increasing prices, some fairly despicable customer service, and overall a lack of consumer competence on their part.

I haven’t had any experience with Comcast to rival the level of Vanlandw’s AT&T travesty, BUT their continuously ass-holish persona accompanied by ever-increasing pricing structure have finally become too much for me to bear. For example, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called for support and ended up with them trying to sell me a triple play bundle with home phone service. Inherently frustrating, I must admit that I fully enjoyed explaining to the representative that I use Skype with a VoIP USB adapter as my home phone, and it is 32 dollars annually for unlimited calling.

Anyways… The event to kick off “operation Comcast BRB” was my wonderful wife purchasing me a new 50 inch plasma TV. Such a television commands a respectable television service to accompany it. As I began looking at Comcast upgrade options, I quickly realized that the digital starter package was way more than I even wanted to consider paying (79 a month to start, 120 after). The digital premier package with ~200 channels was even more over-priced; with a 119 dollar promo rate for 6 months followed by a $165 dollar fee after that. Seriously. 165 dollars a month. This is before adding additional HD tuners or DVR.

The Switch
I knew it was time to make a change, and this had been a long time coming. First and most importantly, I searched for a new television provider. I explored Dish Network, Direct TV, and U-verse. U-verse was most intriguing because I saw them as the likely successor as my internet provider. But, after pricing out package and options I decided on Dish Network. It was hard to pass up. Dish has offered a deal including free HD for life, 15 dollars off for a year, and a wonderful co-worker (chouse) giving me a 50 dollar gift card to dish. Called, ordered, scheduled. 120 channels with HD and a DVR for literally 32 dollars a month.

Dish obviously doesn’t offer internet, so that was my next item to tackle. Options here were fairly limited, and there was never really any other consideration aside from AT&T U-verse. My Comcast speeds had always been amazing. I would regularly test at between 20 and 30 megs download speed; so this did make the switch a bit more difficult for me, but Comcast’s medium level service for Internet starts at 59.99 monthly. They offered me an option to downgrade to DSL speed and still pay 44.99; but there was no chance of this rancid company staying in my future monthly budget. I called, ordered, scheduled install of AT&T U-verse 6MB connection for 40 dollars a month.

Let’s review. I was paying approximately $65 a month for fast internet and for the BASIC television from Comcast (like, 15 channels basic). Any upgrade strategy through them resulted in 100+ dollars easily.

By making a switch to Dish Network and AT&T U-verse, my bill at this point should be somewhere between 80 and 90 dollars. So, I spend 15-20 dollars more per month; and I receive a drastically improved television service and broadband internet combination.

The Install
My installation experiences for Dish and U-verse were not smooth by any means. My dish installer was over 3 hours late past our 4 hour block of appointment time. By the time he had gotten to my home, I had already contacted Dish to complain; and they had credited my account 25 dollars and rescheduled my installation. Even with that, I was relieved when the installer arrived. I was so anxious to get dish going. The install went quickly and painlessly once he got started, and soon I was watching 120+ channels, messing around with my DVR, and basking in High def victory over my red rival Comcast. As the dish installer left, 1-800-Comcast ensued with a cancellation. They tried to sell me home phone service and a triple play as I canceled. This is where I also found that canceling my 17.99 basic television service resulted in my internet price jumping from 44.99 to 59.99. Comcast, this is precisely why I hate you – you raise my price by 14.99 after I get rid of a 17.99 TV service? You are just horrible people; and at this point I couldn’t WAIT to get U-verse internet and rid my life of your wretched ways.

My AT&T U-verse installer got to my home at around 9.30 am (he had a 9-11 window). As he got started, he replaced my wiring from the pole to my home, and began wiring to bring the U-verse internet into my home via the Comcast installed coax (which is awesome on multiple accounts). But, he soon realized he was getting no signal at the pole as he should be. He continued, made phone calls, left my house, came back with various people. In all, 4 people were involved, 3 different AT&T vehicles – one of which was a Bucket truck, and seemingly a neighborhood re-engineering from AT&T’s perspective. Finally, at around 6pm that night, I had mother effing internet.

As soon as my installer left, I again dialed 1-800-Comcast to rid myself completely of this vile and disgusting excuse for a service company. I desperately tried to record the phone call with Google Voice, but for some reason pressing 4 repeatedly would not engage the call recording. I tried probably 20 times to initiate recording, and there was never a time in my life that I wanted something more than to record that phone call. It was monumental.

The representative tried desperately to sell me on a triple play bundle, to plead with me to not cancel in any way possible. I told her that I’ve been down this path countless times, and I don’t want to pay 120 dollars for two services. She persisted, talked over top of me, and finally I flat out said “listen, I appreciate what you’re trying to do here – but at this point I have Dish Network installed and I’m on ATT U-verse internet. Comcast cables arent even hooked up to my home anymore, and I’m not going to sign up for any services with this company ever again.”

This ended the call, and I look forward to my final bill. I will mail a check with it, with the memo “ef yoo”.

The Review
Dish’s TV services are awesome. I had the 120 channels for maybe 4 days before I upgraded myself to the 200+ package. This increased my bill by 10 dollars (42 dollars now instead of 32) – but it was a necessary thing to do. FX, NFL Network, G4, Discovery Health, and BBC America were some must have channels in the 200 package.

Dish’s DVR functionality is also awesome. I wired ethernet to the badboy, and it allows me to remotely access and manage my recordings online, or from my ipod touch (the dish network ipod app rocks). I enjoyed getting used to DVR functionality, and set up recordings for a variety of shows ranging from Jon Stewart’s daily show to Top Gear and The “Steve Wilkos” show… 🙂

One thing that did catch me off guard with Dish, was that the recording on the DVR had to use one of my two TV channels. So, one of the TV’s hooked to my primary receiver HAS TO display what is being recorded. This was by no means a deal breaker for me; but was something that I didn’t expect to happen. I did find out that you can watch other recordings while the DVR records shows, so that alleviates some of the frustration there.

I’m very happy with Dish, and I fully recommend them as a top notch TV service provider.

AT&T U-verse internet is thus far a solid and consistent connection. I pay for 6 megs, and my speed tests will regularly show up to 5.8/5.9 megs. So, I’m getting what I pay for. On the other hand, the 2Wire 3600 gateway device that they use leaves a bit to be desired. I’m not able to customize the DNS and DHCP settings to any degree (much less turn them off like I want to) – but I’m still looking at instituting a work-around for that. I’ll figure out something.

The 6 meg speed shows itself from my usual Comcast 20+ speeds. Downloading an iso or torrent at 500-600k is quite a bit different than my 1-2meg sustainable downloads with Comcast. Saving 40 bucks a month sure puts that in perspective though…. and there’s no way I’m ever going back to Comcast. I hope that company gets oil spilled on it. And nobody anywhere around them will even consider offering Lemon scented Dawn to them.

GTFO Comcast.