September 2006

Update: It seems that this will soon be obsoleted – AOL, mother of ICQ, is adopting Jabber.

Gossip has been my favourite Jabber client for a long time. I like the simplicity and non-intrusiveness of its interface. But at work the standard IM network is ICQ. I’ve been using Gaim to connect to ICQ, but its interface has always bugged me.

The Jabber protocol provides for so-called transports, which enable you to talk to other IM networks while using Jabber on the client side. Gossip doesn’t support transports. But although that sounds like a deal-breaker, it isn’t. Transports work like this: you register on a jabber server and then sign up for a transport, providing your ICQ credentials. Then your ICQ contacts are available through, for example. After signing up for the transport using a transport-supporting client, you can use any Jabber client you like, and that includes Gossip. All your ICQ contacts will appear on the new account, and you can add other ICQ accounts using

Now step-by-step for Ubuntu Dapper users:

  1. Shut down Gossip.
  2. Install gajim:
    1. Applications -> Add/Remove Software
    2. check “show applications without tech support”
    3. in the search field enter “gajim”
    4. check gajim and click OK
  3. Start gajim through the Applications menu. It’s in “Internet”.
  4. Add your existing jabber account to gajim.
  5. Add a new account on a server that has a transport for ICQ (or whatever you need). I used This server has transports for AIM/ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, ICQv2 and IRC. You can see a list of accounts in Edit -> Accounts -> New -> Forward.

    Use the “Discover services” window to find out which transports are offered by a specific server.

    You can have both windows open at the same time.

  6. Close the “Discover services” window and open it with your new jabber account.
  7. Select the transport you want and click “Edit” or “Register”. You’ll be asked to provide the credentials for your ICQ/AIM/whatever account.
  8. Close gajim.
  9. Start gossip and add your account on the new server.

That’s it! All your ICQ contacts appear in Gossip. Add new ICQ contacts using (replace with the transport server you selected).

Digg this

The text says “Update bookmark “IEs 4 Linux – Internet Explorers for Linux – English Page”? The page has moved to the location [Don't update] [Update].
When a web site is moved to a new address, it can use several ways to redirect visitors to the new address. If it’s a permanent move, the correct way is to send a HTTP 301 Moved Permanently. As it turns out, Epiphany notices such redirects and offers to update your bookmark, if you have bookmarked the site’s old location.
I’m impressed. The developers of Epiphany really did their homework here.

Lucid dreams are dreams in which you are aware that you’re dreaming. Being able to control your actions allows for some interesting challenges. I specificially thought of two such challenges:

  • Find a computer, sit down in front of it and play Minesweeper.
  • Teleport yourself to a foreign country the language of which you don’t know and try to understand the people, talk to them and write in their language.

Playing Minesweeper is especially interesting: You play against yourself. Or rather your awareness observes how your ego in a dream plays against a computer that exists only in your ego’s dream. Try to catch your brain on making a logical mistake while you open more and more fields on the mine field.

I’ll add to this list as I think of more challenges. Leave your ideas for challenges in lucid dreams in the comments.

I had a lucid dream today. I don’t remember everything, but I was walking through a German town (I’m from Berlin, Germany). When I realized that I was dreaming, I started to look around, fascinated by the degree of detail that the human brain is able to create in imagination. Being more interested in what was happening, I started to lose the dream a few times, feeling my real body lying on the bed, sleeping, or rather dozing. But somehow I stayed in the dream for long enough for the following experiment:

I was walking by a bus or tram stop and saw a transport network plan. I decided to read it. As it turns out, I was in Cottbus, a middle-sized town in East Germany. I have never been to Cottbus in real life. The network plan contained all the stations the buses, or trams, in Cottbus stop at. Suddenly I had an idea: I wanted to challenge my brain, challenge the completeness and correctness of its imagination. I tried to read the station names, with the intent to later, when I was awake, find them on the real transport network plan of Cottbus.

As it stands, my mind couldn’t lie to my awareness: I plainly wasn’t able to read the text. I saw lines that resembled something that could be text in some other language, but it weren’t latin letters. (The text “Cottbus” was written readably with latin letters.) Everytime I looked at one specific bus stop label, it seemed to hav changed from the last time. For this reason I had problems remembering a specific label. I do remember though how the script generally looked like: It contained strokes, mainly from top to bottom and diagonal ones, and arcs like in C or ). These elements were less connected that latin letters; in a word of the length of 10 latin letters there were maybe 20 such strokes and arcs.

Why did my mind allow me to read the plan in the first place? As I’ve never been to Cottbus and have never seen the plan of public transport, it couldn’t possibly show me the real plan. I knew that, as well as my mind. (That sentence sounds a little insane, so let’s rephrase it: My awareness knew that as well as the mind of my physical ego, which was dreaming at the time. Read more about you, awareness and ego on Steve Pavlinas web log.)

On the time line in the dream, I first saw the plan and only then decided to take a detailed look at it, so it was too late for my mind to not let me see it. And I hadn’t thought of the challenge yet. So I didn’t expect to see something that I will later compare with reality. Before looking at the station labels though, I already thought of the challenge. And my mind knew that I was specifically after tricking it. So it decided to do something about it. After all this is a dream, and in a dream it’s possible for text to be just not readable. In the end my mind tricked my awareness.

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