Wednesday 29 July 2009

Facebook Chat for Pidgin


Facebook have added Jabber/XMPP support to their Facebook Chat protocol so now we don't need any plugins for Facebook in Pidgin/Adium/Empathy! Find out how to add a Fb account here. This renders the following tutorial obsolete!

I like Facebook quite a bit, it means I can keep in touch with my brother in Japan and see what all my friends have been upto, wherever they might be. The one thing that annoys me though is Facebook Chat. It hardly seems to work most of the time and you have to have the web browser open, meaning you need to keep flicking between tabs to hold a conversation and do whatever you are doing in other tabs. You can put Chat in it's own window, but that doesn't solve the other problems. I kept wondering why they didn't just make it available in other messaging programs.

Thankfully, when reading an article on messaging programs I discovered a Pidgin plugin for Facebook. And it's great! It allows you to add Facebook as just like another messaging protocol like MSN or Yahoo! It features options to show Facebook updates as email alerts, edit Friends from within Pidgin and set your Facebook status with your Pidgin status (I'm not sure you would want 'I'm not here right now' as your Facebook status, but there you go).

Of course Pidgin is cross-platform, running on Windows and Linux, and theres a portable Windows version for USB stick. If you have a Mac, you can use Adium, which is based on Pidgin and has the Facebook plugin already installed.

On Ubuntu 8.0.4 you need to install libjson-glib - download it here - before you install the Deb package. On Ubuntu 9.0.4 libjson-glib is in the it's repositories so no need to manually download/install it. If Pidgin is already open restart it, then got to Accounts --> Manage --> Add and it lists facebook alongside the other protocols. So I'm pleased I now no longer have to have Firefox open on the Facebook page to chat to friends on Facebook :)

Friday 17 July 2009


I've followed the blog of Helios for some time, using RSS feed, and it's always well worth visiting! Today more so, as he's blogged about a new game available for Linux. It would be great if more publishers made games available for Linux. It is actually three games created by Thomas Grip and Jens Nilsson called Penumbra.

Sunday 12 July 2009

Firefox 3.5 on Ubuntu 9.0.4 64 Bit

Having looked forward to Firefox 3.5 for awhile I looked forward to it popping up in the Ubuntu repositories, yet it still hasn't appeared in them. Fear not though a quick Google search reveals its easy when you know how, to install the latest version. Great, so I installed it, but then found Flash wasn't working any more. As I'm using the 64 bit version of Ubuntu, I'm used to slight incompatibilities occasionally. Again a quick search on my favourite search engine and I found a solution here. I was also worried my favourite extensions wouldn't work, yet i had no trouble after a few updates. The only plugin that I found to be incompatible was Novell Moonlight, which I hardly use, and will most likely be updated soon. I've found Firefox 3.5 to be impressively fast, even running at a reasonable speed on my old 400Mhz PowerMac G4. I've not explored everything yet, but I am impressed by the new restore feature that allows you to choose which tabs to restore in case one of them crashed the browser, which is a nifty feature and one that I've always wanted.

My Favourite Firefox Extensions:

Adblock Plus - absolutely essential!
Caught Up - allows you to play ITV Play in Firefox on Linux!
Delicious bookmarks - bookmark sharing plugin
Downloadhelper - for easy download of YouTube videos
Download Statusbar - shows downloads on Firefox's status bar
External IP - shows your IP address for your net connection
Fierr - replaces the default error page with a more stylish alternative.
Flashblock - Replaces flash objects with a button so you can selectively play them, ideal on Flash-heavy pages, like the hideous Myspace!
PDF Download - Allows you to choose whether you want to view or download PDF files.
ReloadEvery - reloads web pages every so many secons or minuites.
StumbleUpon - browse through random pages for when you're bored
TabScope - preview and navigate tab contents
VideoSurf - shows stills of videos of sites like youtube, and choose where you want to view the video from.
Xmarks - sync bookmarks between browsers on all your PCs and Macs - usually the second plugin i install after Adblockplus!

It seems my Java plugin is broken :( ah well probably just use Opera for java stuff.

Update 2
I can attest to Firefox 3.5's stability, I've had 30 or more tabs in Firefox on Ubuntu with no problems and no noticable slowdown.

Update 3
I have now switched to Swiftfox 3.5.2 which has optimised builds for different CPUs and also has a PPA for Deb packages. It's setup to be faster than a normal build of Firefox.

Update 4!
Found an even better tutorial on getting 3.5.3 on Ubuntu here