Doesn't Not Compute

My log of experiences with GNU/Linux and computers in general.

One Thing About Ustream That Sucks… And What I Do About It

Ustream LogoI enjoy watching live, streaming video on Ustream, let’s be clear about that. But discussing it at the same time is a strain whether one has a newer computer or not. You have to keep up with the conversation and pay attention to the video at the same time, otherwise you will be lost completely.

As if this doesn’t take mental gymnastics enough, you can only view 13 lines of text at a time in the chat client on the site. Example, with annoying ad and most of the easily misinterpreted-outside-of-the-context inside-jokes removed via a quick edit with GIMP:

A Ustream channel

click to enlarge

Yes, you can scroll up the list if you need to, but that is very inconvenient — not only because you have to scroll back down, but because if you do it by dragging the scroll bar, you still need to click the “scroll down” button to stay at the latest postings.

Also, the chat client uses Adobe’s Flash Player to display its content. I understand that this provides a consistent way to deliver the content to users, but considering that the video is displayed using a Flash-based player, this can cause difficulty writing comments — especially an “older” system like my old  Dell Latitude C600.

So what can we do about this? Well, as I said, this object is a chat client — an IRC chat client. Since we don’t like this client, we just have to use a different one.

Requirements:

  • A chat client — more info below
  • A Ustream account — you need this whether you use the web client or not
  • A web browser — if you’re reading this online, you already have this 😉

XchatI prefer programs which don’t require a lot of resources, don’t depend on much other software, only do one thing (but supports every option in that catagory), and optionally have weird names. 😛  That’s why I like X-Chat — it fits all of those descriptors, and doesn’t suffer for it. I don’t use all of its features, and frankly I don’t know what all of them are yet. I don’t use chat clients often, but when I do, I use X-Chat, and so this is the program I’ll demonstrate.

If you don’t have this program installed, install it. 😉

Debian, Ubuntu:

sudo apt-get install xchat

Arch:

sudo pacman -S xchat

Once that’s done, launch the program.  If a window other than depicted below comes up, just type Ctrl-S, and (assuming the key isn’t configured to be different in other distros or on Windows) it should appear.X-Chat Network List

Click the “Add” button, type “Ustream” (without the quotes 😉 ) and press Enter to add a new IRC network.

Now that we’ve added the network, we need to tell X-Chat which servers to connect to. (If you don’t understand that, don’t worry about it. 🙂 Just follow along.) With the new network highlighted, click “Edit…”, and in the new window click “Add” three times, so there are a total of four entries named “newserver/6667”. Edit them (again, using the “Edit” button, typing the name, and pressing Enter) so these four names are listed:

  • chat01.ustream.tv
  • chat02.ustream.tv
  • chat03.ustream.tv
  • chat04.ustream.tv

as depicted below. Just don’t try to type the bullets of the list 😉X-Chat Ustream servers

EDIT May 30, 2011: I’ve discovered that all that is necessary is “c.ustream.tv”, rather than manually inputting each chat server.

If you use the same nickname on most of your IRC chatrooms, you can add the info to the “User information” list in the first window, with your Ustream account name as the “Nick name”. Personally, I prefer to uncheck the “Use global user information” and add the info there, so I don’t have to change it all the time.

➡ Note to the unfamilar: you won’t be able to see your password as you type it in, but black circles will appear as you type each character. Type carefully to avoid problems.

Click the Close button in the “XChat: Edit Ustream” window, then “Connect” in the “XChat: Network List” window.  The chat window will appear, along with a dialog stating “Connection to Ustream complete.” Now join the channel (in the “Join this channel: #” box) you want to chat in.

Unfortunately, I can’t find any information on what a paticular Ustream channel’s IRC channel is :(, and at this very moment the site is down :!:, so I can’t go back to the site and scour channels to find a general pattern. I do know that Questionable Content’s Ustream channel, at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/questionable-content-video, has an IRC channel named #questionable-content-video, so perhaps it’s the part of the channel URL after the last slash. If you quote me on that, be sure you include the “perhaps” :mrgreen:

Hope you find this information useful, whether you be trying to chat comfortably on Ustream or are on a grand crusade to obliterate Flash. 😈

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