Synchronize Pidgin Logs with Dropbox
I use two different computers, my desktop and my EeePC (Murray), and depending on what I'm doing, I use Pidgin for IRC on both of them. My favorite feature about Pidgin is the ability to log everything and quickly search all of the logs, but that's tricky when the logs are split between two computers. You can browse to the %APPDATA%\.purple folder and copy logs between them, but that's clumsy and slow. So, we need a way to make folders on two computers maintain the same contents. Hey! That's what Dropbox does!

I'm using the method outlined on this website. There's also a method in which you create a symbolic link, but that seems inefficient to me. This way Pidgin just stores the logs directly in the Dropbox folder, and you don't have to do all of that command line finagling.

This guide assumes that you already have Pidgin installed and logging enabled.

This works on WinXP and Win7, I assume it's the same on Vista. I don't know about Linux or MacOSX. If you're on Linux you're probably smart enough to figure it out, if you're on a Mac you probably can't afford a second computer anyway. :P

Step 1: Install Dropbox

Synchronize Pidgin Logs with Dropbox
http://www.dropbox.com

You should have Dropbox installed already if you use multiple computers, because it's so very handy. 2GB completely free, and you can get more through things like Dropquest, or through referring others who sign up. I currently have 3.5GB of storage space from those. If you use this referral link to sign up it gives me 250MB free. If you don't like referral links just go here.

Install Dropbox on each computer you're using, and note the location of the My Dropbox folder. The default is under My Documents, though you can customize the location. Now any files you put into the Dropbox folder will automatically synchronize through the Internet and appear on all the computers that you have set to synchronize, and you can access the files online. Magic!

Step 2: Set Environment Variable - WinXP

Synchronize Pidgin Logs with Dropbox
Synchronize Pidgin Logs with Dropbox
Open the System properties from the Control Panel, or use the Windows Key+Pause/Break keyboard shortcut. Go to the "Advanced" tab, and click "Environment Variables."

In the window that pops up, click "New." Set the variable name as "PURPLEHOME" and the variable value as the location of the folder in which you want to put the logs. I entered "C:\Documents and Settings\Cameron\My Documents\My Dropbox\Pidgin" to store them in the Pidgin folder I created.

"OK" your way back out of all of these windows/dialogs, and restart your computer. You can copy the ".purple" folder from C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\ to get all of your old logs in, and it will start uploading them all. I'd been using it for a year and a half and had over 20MB of logs, which are all plaintext. That translates to thousands of .txt files, so it'll take a while to index and upload them all.

Step 3: Set Environment Variable - Win7

Synchronize Pidgin Logs with Dropbox
Synchronize Pidgin Logs with Dropbox
Synchronize Pidgin Logs with Dropbox
Slightly different procedure, and it looks different, so you get separate steps.

Open the System properties from the Control Panel, or use the Windows Key+Pause/Break keyboard shortcut. Click "Advanced System Settings" on the left sidebar, and click "Environment Variables" in the window that pops up.

In the window that pops up from there, click "New." Set the variable name as "PURPLEHOME" and the variable value as the location of the folder in which you want to put the logs. I entered "C:\Users\Cameron\Documents\My Dropbox\Pidgin" to store them in the Pidgin folder I created.

"OK" your way back out of all of these windows/dialogs, and restart your computer. You can copy the ".purple" folder from C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\ to get all of your old logs in, and it will start uploading them all. I'd been using it for a year and a half and had over 20MB of logs, which are all plaintext. That translates to thousands of .txt files, so it'll take a while to index and upload them all.

Step 4: That was easy!

Synchronize Pidgin Logs with Dropbox
Tada! Now all of the logs in Pidgin are stored in a synchronized local folder, and you can access them from either computer. Each time you quit Pidgin it will sync the log files you create in each session between computers. As in the image below, I can now pull up the chatlogs for #instructables from July 2009, over a year before that computer was even built.

Now that you've gotten the logs synced up, head on over to #instructables! It's been rather slow recently.

Note: You may want to disable the "Show System Tray Notifications" option to keep it from popping up all the time.

I realize that there are instructions to do this online, but I found them a bit confusing for a n00b like myself. I hope someone out there finds this useful.
 
 

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