weechat as a communications hub

I have been using irssi as my Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client for more than a decade. It has served me well. But then I was prompted by a couple of weechat users over at the #ranger channel to try weechat.


I love technical improvements, but my setup is becoming increasingly hard to improve upon. Any suggestions that tickle my nerdy fancy is highly welcome. And so I embarked upon setting up weechat on one of my DigitalOcean servers and use ssh to connect to my new chat client. This setup allows me to always remain on the chat channels even when my laptop is hibernated. I simply reconnect via ssh to weechat running in screen on my server. An added benefit is that I can also stay on with my Android phone via the excellent “Weechat Android” app. How cool is that?

The configuration is nicely interactive and with a set of useful scripts, I have a powerful setup:

  • iset.pl – Set WeeChat and plugins options interactively (a must-have)
  • buffers.pl – Sidebar with list of buffers (another must-have)
  • shortenurl.py – Shorten long urls using isgd or tinyurl (important)
  • nickregain.pl – Automatically attempts to regain IRC primary nick
  • colorize_nicks.py – Weechat nick colors in the chat area and command line
  • go.py – Quick jump to buffers
  • buffer_autoclose.py – Automatically close inactive private message buffers
  • histsearch.py – Quick search in command history
  • auto_away.py – A simple auto-away script

And then I got Bitlbee set up on the server. Bitlbee is a chat hub for various protocols that weechat can connect to. Bitlbee can hook onto your Facebook chat and your Twitter feed. I got both Facebook chat and Twitter up and running and now I can tweet directly in weechat and have chats and even group chats with Facebook friends in my weechat – both on my laptop and on my mobile. Weechat has become a nice communications hub:

My weechat screen

My weechat screen

And when I thought I couldn’t get closer to Nerdvana

… doors started to open.

I have written about my technical setup before. But now, ladies and gentlemen, it is getting HOT. Like hard core porn hot.

The setup goes like this: Linux (Ubuntu 14.04) as the operating system (easy package management – it does the job well). No kludgey memory-hogging desktop environment, just a damn good Window Manager straight – the i3. Lean, mean, keyboard driven and very efficient. Check out my config here.

The i3 window manager in action

The i3 window manager in action

Adding a conky bar with essential info at the top of the screen. And the perfect e-mail setup for good measure.

The e-mail client, mutt

The e-mail client, mutt

I am a vi-guy to the core, and I prefer to use console tools as much as I can (urxvt is the terminal with zsh as the shell). With key bindings for everything and with minimal use of the mouse, I get the speed and efficiency I want.

I use VIM for almost all my text editing – from writing books and articles (with the added benefit of LaTeX) to writing hyperlists, all my e-mails… and this very blog post. I swear by mutt as the e-mail client. It spawns vim as the editor. Essential vim plugins are netdict, visincr and gundo.

Newsbeuter - the rss reader

Newsbeuter – the rss reader

I use newsbeuter for newsfeeds, irssi as the Internet Relay Chat client and mcabber for my facebook chat 🙂 Zathura is the pdf reader of choice.

Using irssi to chat

Using irssi to chat

Just the other day, as I was struggling with a bug in the latest release of the trust old vifm console file manager, I came across an alternative – ranger. An ultra-neat file manager capable of all sorts of acrobatics – like displaying images right in the console (via w3m)! Wanna dig in? My config file should get you grooved in.

The amazing ranger - file manager on steroids

The amazing ranger – file manager on steroids

Then it’s the browser. I have been very happy with uzbl – until the latest git updates. Stability issues started creeping in and I was forced to look for alternatives. I have tried plenty – and I gave luakit another go. The config files are written directly in the programming language of lua. A bit of steep curve for simple configuration tasks but as you get used to lua, it offers amazing extensibility to the browser. As I started to fell in love with luakit, another vi-like browser popped up on the radar – dwb. How could I have missed this gem in all my trails and tribulations trying to find the perfect keyboard driven browser? OMG what a browser! Don’t leave home without it. With such an easy configuration, you’ll be up and running and turning into a fan in no time.

Dwb - über-cool browser

Dwb – über-cool browser

I have spent 14 years choosing my tools, fine tuning their operations and polishing every detail. I owe much work efficiency to this passion.

When I thought I couldn’t get closer to Nerdvana, I stumbled right into its core. Sadly, I now have few ideas left of how to improve my tools set :-/