As technology continues to roll toward a more standards-driven regime, a delightful bit of nostalgia can be gleaned from the rich and varied history of the chat application. Not unlike the lineage of the User-Agent string during the browser wars, Instant Messenge applications were written, rewritten, copied, and abandoned while efforts to standardize the protocols of the big three IM companies (AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo!) foundered.
With most of America using AIM or Yahoo! and the rest of the world firmly locked into Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger, the web community witnessed the rise of the multiprotocol IM client. Rather than bridge the protocol gap between the Big Three these clients offered the user a seamless experience while chatting between services. With Pidgin’s release in 1998 the multiprotocol IM floodgates were opened and the 2000’s saw the release of Miranda IM, Trillian, Adium, iChat, BitlBee, and Meebo. These clients had real staying power, able to absorb new protocols like XMPP (Google Talk) and SIP while supporting the older IRC, Oscar (AIM, ICQ), and even Zephyr.
When it comes to the Mac community Adium appears to have the upper hand. It’s skinnable, has a playful mascot, and boasts a variety of rich plugins. The application is almost perfect except for one dark, nagging problem: the spinning Adium dock icon while connecting.
In a nutshell my problem follows thusly: I regularly use AIM, Google Talk, and IRC including a IRC server run by eBay that requires being on a VPN to connect. When not on the VPN all accounts connect except for the eBay IRC. Adium, in its infinite wisdom, keeps trying to connect to the unreachable IRC server and forever displays the spinning dock icon. In other words, OCD hell.
Never one to settle for less, I poked around in the Adium files and found a simple solution. The spinning dock icon is actually a set of four individual images, Connect[1-4].png. With the following command you can remove the four images and restore balance to the force:
mv /Applications/Adium.app/Contents/Resources/Shared\ Dock\ Icon\ Images/Connect* /tmp
However, each time Adium receives an update you’ll have to run the command again. Solution? Roll your own application. Adium, being open source, is easy to build and install yourself. Simply check out the code, delete the Connect images, and install the application.
hg clone http://hg.adium.im/adium
mv adium/Resources/Shared Dock Icon Images/Connect4.png /tmp
make latest (this builds the application)
make install (this installs the application to /Applications)
Another case closed!