Thought Pointers

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Using tkellem with LimeChat

While I worked at Instructure, I got hooked on irc. It’s used by the whole company for everything from keeping in communication with everyone, sharing knowledge, viewing build reports, controlling a talking panda, and more. After I joined Apple, I immediately began missing some of the culture there and the tools we used, like irc. So I convinced my team to use Apple’s internal irc, but I was in need of a good irc bouncer to get be able to get backlogs from the irc channel for all the times my work machine wasn’t connected to the network. But what irc bouncer should I use? I wanted something light-weight and simple to use.

The answer to my problem was tkellem, developed by Instructure’s own Brian Palmer. It’s a simple ruby gem that’s still in early alpha phase, but it looked easy to set up and would do exactly what I wanted. So I decided to give it a shot. The only thing I wasn’t sure of was how to get Limechat to use my tkellem bouncer. Here’s how it’s done:

On your always on, accessible server:

$ gem install tkellem
$ tkellem start
$ tkellem admin
> listen ircs://
> user <my-name> --role=admin
> password --user=<my-name> <my-new-password>

In Limechat

Connect to tkellem to point it to your destination irc server

  1. Add Server. <my-tkellem-server> is your tkellem server’s URL Initial Server Add
  2. Right-click the server in your servers list and click Connect
  3. In the server or in the -tkellem channel, type the following:

     network --name=<irc-server-short-name> ircs://<irc-server-url>:<irc-server-port>

    Set the <irc-server-url> and <irc-server-port> to the desired irc server url and port you want tkellem to bounce for you. Set the <irc-server-short-name> to be the nickname you want use to refer to this proxy connection.

Reconnect to tkellem to start receiving backlogs

Now that we have tkellem set up and connected to our desired irc server, we need to connect to tkellem in a way that tells it to start feeding us backlogs.

  1. Right-click the server you just setup and click Server Properties. Modify you Login name by adding @<irc-server-short-name> to your login name. Optionally add :<device-name> where <device-name> is a unique device name if you plan on using multiple devices with tkellem (i.e. a laptop and a phone). Final Server Properties
  2. Click OK to close the dialogue, then right-click on the server and click Disconnect.
  3. Right-click on the server and click Connect.
  4. Tkellem is now bouncing for you!
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