Bitlbee tips: hide timestamps, and share configurations (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing, Science, and Nature.

Wed, 30 Nov 2011

Bitlbee tips: hide timestamps, and share configurations

I recently set up bitlbee on a new machine. Things worked fine, mostly -- but here are a couple of tweaks that should speed things up when moving a bitlbee configuration to another machine.

Sharing configuration files

I get so tired of re-authenticating with Twitter every time I move to a new machine, disk, or distro. And it turns out you don't have to!

Your configuration is in /var/lib/bitlbee/yournick.xml, and you can copy that file to other machines and it will work just fine -- with one caveat.

Assuming you have bitlbee set up to run as a user named "bitlbee", rather than as root (the default is bitlbee), you'll need to make sure the /var/lib/bitlbee/yournick.xml file is owned by the bitlbee user. If you just copy it as root, you'll get an error like "The nick is (probably) not registered". You can fix it with chown bitlbee /var/lib/bitlbee/yournick.xml

Hiding timestamps

On the new machine, every new tweet had a timestamp added. Timestamps look like this:

<NatGeo> [20:26:24] Elusive marbled cat filmed: http://t.co/oOo3Xa81 
<OliverSacks> [20:28:09] Happy Thanksgiving week! Check out Dr. Sacks's new blog post about Gabby Giffords and what he is reading now: http://t.co/kZCTx53h 

These timestamps add clutter and make the lines too long. But googling for bitlbee timestamps only gets a lot of people who couldn't figure out how to suppress them and ended up writing scripts to hide them in various IRC clients.

Turns out bitlbee has a perfectly straightforward way to hide them. Go to your &bitlbee tab -- you know, the one that always opens first that you have to close manually every time after it finally opens the #twitter tab (I wish I could find a way to auto-close it!) and type:

set display_timestamps 'false'

That's it! Timestamps-b-gone.

You can see more bitlbee variables by typing set in the &bitlbee tab, or get help by typing help there.

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[ 19:13 Nov 30, 2011    More tech | permalink to this entry | comments ]
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