There are a few more holes in the implementation of the new laptop. But the story goes on and on and on...
The first step was triaging all the old hardware and finding which laptops needed recycling.
The second step was installing the operating system, and the minimum software.
The third step was convincing PDF software to actually install and work.
The fourth step was installing the excellent IrfanView and beginning to get my graphics software settled
The fifth step was the install of GIMP that was surprisingly less painful than most.
In the middle of all of this, I found that I needed to upgrade Firefox. It was a happy coincidence that it was on the same day that they released Firefox 4.
Then I installed Inkscape which went about as well as you could hope.
Now I'm moving on to Pidgin.
What's a pidgin? Something spoken in Papua New Guinea? Something that is better known as a flying rat? No, this is something different.
I use the chat networks to keep in touch with clients, family, and others around the world. There are a number of applications that I use, and Pidgin is one of them, that tie together multiple chat networks like AIM, Yahoo Instant Messenger, IRC, MSN Messenger and others into one piece of software. I also use it to monitor my three email accounts on Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, and Gmail. It puts up a helpful notice when I get mail.
The software though isn't tough to use and it would allow people to stop using the bloated AOL client all the time, or having AIM, Yahoo Instant Messenger, and MSN Messenger all running at once. It gathers all the functionality into one place. There are competing software, but this is the one I use. I tried Trillian and some others here and there and it just felt like it went too far.
1) Surf www.pidgin.im and download and save the installer for the client remembering where you put it. The helpful Orange Download button is there for you to click. You may also explore the site and find out more about this program.
2) Run the installer from where ever you hid the thing, and when it puts the window up, select the language.
3) You will now be presented with the Pidgin Setup Wizard. Click Next to get to the GPL, then click Next to the Components to Install window. The defaults should be good for you with one exception. Click the Plus Sign next to "Spellchecking Support". It won't break the bank if you don't have spell check turned on, but it certainly will make you sound more intelligent. Select your language (or don't but I will judge you if you misspell things) and click on "Next".
4) Now that you have done all of that, click "Install". The installer will count up the percentage of progress at this time until done. It will be done when your window stops changing and you see "Completed" in the status window. Click "Next".
At this point you are through the basic install. I check the box that says "Run Pidgin" and Finish at this point so I can configure the program.
Accounts window: Pidgin works with your current chat accounts. In this case I am going to add AIM to Pidgin for the blog, but it works with my Yahoo Instant Messenger and MSN Instant Messenger as well.
Click "Add". You will get an "Add Account" window.
On the basic tab:
The Protocol is the Chat Network you want to configure. Select AIM (or any other you need).
The Username is your sign on. You'll have to supply that one.
The Password is the password you type to get onto AOL or AIM.
I recommend checking the box that says "Remember Password" even if later down the line it means you'll forget your password for AIM. Do what everyone else does - write it down on a post-it note and lose the note when you clean house.
Check the box for "New Mail Notifications". You'll get a handy notice in the Pidgin Window when you get email on this account that you will forget you ever had after you forgot how to log into it with the password that is on the post-it note that got cleaned up 2 years ago when you had visitors.
If you have a small picture, you can add it here for your avatar by clicking the box for "Use this buddy Icon" and clicking on the default Icon. At that point you will have to find the picture that you want to use for this account. Easy enough to do, you have thousands of pictures on your PC. Just remember not to use the "rude one" that you have on that "special" chat site showing you in front of the mirror that got you all those complements about your "abs". Mine is a boring G Rated "Head Shot". I'd go with that. Leave those special pics for special times. :)
When you click "Save", Pidgin will go out and try to log you onto the network. If you put in the wrong password it will tell you in the main window which was covered up by the accounts window. Not to worry, you can click back on AIM and the "Modify" button to enter in the correct Password.
Of course I did forget mine, and you can surf http://www.aim.com and get it back by trying to log in. AIM itself is kind of annoying in that your password can't contain "part of" the user name - but they don't tell you "how much" of that they need for you to enter it.
The process for any other network that Pidgin supports is identical. Just click "Add" in the account window and you're on your way.
One other thing that you will want to do is to configure sounds. I usually have mine only set to tell me when "Message Received Begins Conversation". You can edit those preferences by clicking "Tools" then Preferences" and "Sounds". You will also want to make sure chats open in their own window. This is done on the "Interface" tab of the Preferences window and unchecking "Show IMs and Chats in Tabbed Windows". I just happen to prefer having lots of little chat windows than having to shuttle between tabs.