Making some changes to my computing environment…yes, it’s always a neverending cycle of improvement and tweaking! I am an engineer, after all.
Anyhow, for a while Digsby has been my faithful multiprotocol IM/email/fb/etc client, but it has two main problems–namely, for a while now it’s been totally crapping out on connecting to AIM accounts. It used to be sporadic at first, but now it’s almost totally consistent, and it only happens on Digsby. My band-aid solution was to have meebo open at the same time logged into my main AIM account only (i’m not gonna set up an actual client for a band-aid solution), which worked but was pretty pathetic. The other problem is the regular AIM spam that I get, which has been somewhat mitigated by the fact that all of my accounts except for the main one default to block all unless on blist, but I still get it regularly.
I’ve always considered Pidgin as it provides solutions to BOTH of these, since it can connect to AIM fine, and it has anti-spam measures for verifying that people are humans. Okay, but problem is Pidgin doesn’t supply me with my growl-like notifications for FB notifications, FB news feed (yes, even the feed), twitter updates, imap mail (pidgin is very specifically NOT an imap client), and even hotmail emails (“WHAT UR USING HOTMAIL?” yes, I use it for registrations so that’s the account that gets overloaded with spam, but it’s also the account where I get all my email notifications for FB, blog posts, twitter, vyou, formspring, …)
Okay, so last night after some prompting (for the nth time) by D, I bit the bullet and decided to give pidgin another shot (again, for the nth time). This time, looking for plugins that would hopefully allow pidgin to take care of twitter updates, fb notifications, etc.
This was…actually quite less successful than I had hoped. Facebook was a big flop–pidgin handles fb chat just fine, but the other plugin that would theoretically get me fb notifications wasn’t working, and even then it probably wouldn’t give me feed updates. Twitter kind of worked, but it was less than ideal as it basically sent me IMs of all the tweets. After deciding that it wasn’t really working out, and also trying out Growl for Windows (lol) and deciding that that -definitely- wasn’t gonna work out, I went for the solution that I had in the back of my mind that wasn’t quite ideal but that I knew I’d be happy with: Pidgin for IM, Digsby for social network and email notifications.
Right, so now I’m running two multi-protocol clients…which seems ridiculous unless you also consider the fact that I’m also running two different sync applications.
And anyways, it pretty much works exactly how I want it to. It’d be -nice- if I could have digsby do everything, since i happen to like the interface better (it’s more windows-y) and it’s nice to have an account that I can bring around to a different computer, but I don’t have any real problems with pidgin (and it’s probably not that hard to port my settings), and I haven’t even explored all of the customizations (i’ve made some good tweaks though). I minimize digsby to tray so it doesn’t take up any taskbar real estate, and it’s positioned at the bottom-right, hidden underneath the bottom of the pidgin blist. And it’s really short too, just big enough to cover all of the social network/email accounts, since i don’t need a blist in digsby anymore since all of the im stuff is in pidgin.
I think the craziest part of all this is that now I’m sometimes logged onto facebook SIX TIMES: one for actually browsing in chrome, one via XMPP for facebook chat, and one for digsby to get notifications, and all that times two because i have two fb accounts.
Next up on the agenda is the incessant HD activity issue which is the main limiting factor of my desktop’s performance…the two possible causes are not enough RAM (i only have 2GB) so it’s thrashing as i run out of memory, or just the two sync apps thrashing around everywhere. For now I’m going to try closing those apps more often, and then maybe restarting them as I go afk, and seeing whether that fixes it. If it does….urgh, well, we’ll have to see. Maybe I’ll just have to keep doing that as a habit.
I guess ideally I could throw out windows live sync and replace it with some sort of super-linuxy =manual= sync that I can run every so often. Or heck, I could just do it every week via plain old file transfers using my external HD, which lets me back up the stuff at the same time. Dunno…
Edit: forgot to mention, I also took this opportunity to finally clean out my buddy lists. It’s -amazing- how many screen name -> person associations I still remember after years and years of never seeing them online, ever. I bet like 50% of the accounts i have on my blist are ones that are totally inactive and that I might never IM again, and that’s -after- my cleanup (i eliminated a lot of people who I still remembered the association for, but didn’t really care about anymore). Sigh, why can’t people just stick to things? Also, it made me proud that all of my accounts are consistent (besides MSN messenger which I shouldn’t be logged into anyways because I don’t use it)–my alias is always DDRKirbyISQ or DDRKirby, and that’s across YM, GTalk, AIM, Xanga, formspring, stanford, twitter, … none of this i-have-5-completely-different-aliases-and-i-expect-you-to-memorize-them-all nonsense.