Bar Chat at Caer Llewys

AOL/Verizon has finally taken AIM multi-user chat out behind the barn and shot it in the head.  It's dead, kaput, finis, gone, terminated with extreme prejudice.  And they have announced that on December 15, AIM itself is getting a bullet in the head as well.  It will not be replaced by anything.  It will just be dead as a doornail.

IM observatory score

But Barflies are nothing if not resourceful!  Pending the more complete alternative Scott Bragg is working on, there is an interim replacement bar chat powered by ejabberd running at jabber.caerllewys.net.  This server is now fully secured with a 4Kbit SSL certificate.

You will need an XMPP-capable client such as Pidgin, Adium or Miranda, and an XMPP account to connect to it.  I have now verified that you should be able to connect to chat.caerllewys.net using ANY valid XMPP account from a properly configured service — Google Talk, for instance.  (Not, however, LJTalk.  I'm told LiveJournal did something on their servers that makes LJTalk accounts unable to connect to non-LiveJournal XMPP servers.  Presumably they accidentally, or maybe intentionally, broke federation.)

XMPP.org has a list of XMPP clients here.  There is also a very lightweight pure-Java client at JBother.org, which allegedly should run on anything with Java 1.4.x or later installed.   If you're using Miranda, Douglas King has put together a complete tutorial here (Flash required, unfortunately).

(Some clients, Trillian v2.x for example, may call the protocol Jabber instead of XMPP.  But it's the same thing.  Jabber is just an older name for it.)

Suggested Clients

Connecting to Bar Chat using an existing XMPP account

Again, these example instructions are for Pidgin, but other XMPP clients should be generally similar.  The example at right shows connecting with Pidgin using a Google Talk account.

  1. Select 'Add Chat' from your buddy list.
  2. Select your XMPP account from the Account drop-down.  The 'Server' field should be pre-populated with 'chat.caerllewys.net'.  If it isn't, fill it in.  Fill in the 'Alias' box if you want to appear by some name other than your actual account name.
  3. Click 'Room List' at the bottom of the window.
  4. In the new window that pops up, click 'Find Rooms'.
  5. Select 'baenbarchat' from the room list and click 'Add Chat'.
  6. Double-click the new chat in your buddy list to join it.  Wave to all the barflies.  :)

How to get an XMPP account if you need one

If you don't already have an XMPP account, or for some reason you cannot connect with the account you have, you can register a new account at jabber.caerllewys.net in any XMPP-enabled client.  This example is for Pidgin; Adium should be almost exactly the same; other clients should be generally similar.

  1. Open the account management window (Ctrl-A in Pidgin) and add an account.
  2. In the new account window, choose XMPP from the Protocol drop-down.
  3. Pick a username and fill it in.  Almost all of them are still available.  ;)
  4. Fill in jabber.caerllewys.net in the Domain field.
  5. Fill in something in the Resource field if it's offered — 'xmpp', for example.  It doesn't really matter what you put in there as long as it's filled in.  It's basically there to help make multiple concurrent logins to the same account from different devices work cleanly.  Some mobile apps will just automatically set it to 'phone', 'mobile', or the name of the app.
  6. Choose a password.  If you want Pidgin/Adium to save it for you, type it in the Password box and check 'Remember password'.
  7. It's not clear yet whether the Local Alias box has to be filled in or not.  I THINK it's optional, but in in doubt, play safe and fill this in.  If filled in, this box sets what the account will appear as in your buddy list.
  8. On Pidgin or Adium, there is a "Create this new account on the server" checkbox at the bottom of the dialog.  (Other clients may handle this differently.)  The box will be greyed out until all required fields have been completed.  YOU MUST MAKE SURE THIS IS CHECKED or your account will only exist in your client, not on the server.  (On Trillian, there is no create option, but if the account does not already exist on the destination server, Trillian will automatically try to create it.  This is Mo' Bettah, because it means you can't get the 'create' setting wrong.)  On Pidgin, go to the 'Advanced' tab 'Connection security' is set to 'Require encryption' and 'connect port' is set to 5222.
  9. Click 'Add' (or Save, or Create, or whatever your client uses).
  10. If it's a separate step in your client, activate the new account to log in.  In Pidgin, you can do this by selecting Accounts —> Manage Accounts (or hit Ctrl+A) and checking the Active box for your new account.&ncsp; If it works, you're up and running, and should be able to connect.

The Trillian online manual has instructions here for setting up a Jabber/XMPP account.  That manual is apparently for Trillian 2.x; Trillian 3.x should presumably be similar.

IMPORTANT NOTES