My brother and his friends grew up in a time when instant messaging was king. They all would come home and IM each other until really late. And in college it was a way to keep tabs on friends, because you could fill your profile and away message with witty, sarcastic, stupid or good information. I have seen party invitations made exclusively via away message. Some people take great pride in their ability to have funny away messages, and have grown a great readership of their away messages, or away message stalkers as I have heard them called. I have been away message stalking my brother for a while, occassionally I miss some of his good ones, but often I find myself reading his messages aloud to my co-workers. So in an attempt to make sure I don't miss even a single message I thought it would be a good idea to write some kind of software that would grab his messages and syndicate them into an RSS feed or a weblog or something. So I did. With the help of Python, Twisted and pyBlogger I have thrown together a quick Python program that logs into the AOL IM network using the OSCAR protocol (I would have used the public TOC protocol but AOL has crippled it, and I think sometimes has TOC outages) and monitors Tom's status and blogs his away messages seconds after he makes them. You can check out the archive at Tom is Away.

I imagine there will be some problems with it as I just threw it together, but I plan on publishing the code once I clean it up a little more, so others can set up away message stalking sites. Anyway enjoy the hilarity of Tom's syndicated Away messages.

AuthorKevin McAllister