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pidginim.pngThere are two groups of people in the world – those who know when to walk away from their computer and those who are tied to it 24/7. The former group will therefore hate this hack – and will wail about it in the comments. The latter group will love it. Unfortunately, I am in the latter group!

There is a plug-in available for Pidgin called gSMS which will notify you by mobile phone SMS when someone tries to contact you by Pidgin and you don’t respond within a specified time frame. This would be useful if you had to step away from your desk but you were expecting an important message. By configuring this plug-in, you can be told by SMS that the person left a message and you can get back in touch with them as soon as possible.

It’s nothing fancy though. The SMS, which is sent via Google Calendar, doesn’t give you the actual text of the message. Just the name of the contact and the date / time the message was sent to you. If multiple contacts leave messages, they will be all bundled together and sent to you in one SMS.

There are four things you need to make this work :

  • Pidgin installed on your computer (obviously)
  • A Google account (with SMS reminders enabled on Google Calendar).
  • Your mobile phone network needs to be supported by Google.
  • Your PC synched with NTP (Network Time Protocol). Don’t panic. All this involves is right-clicking on your clock in the Windows system-tray, choose the option to alter your clock settings. Then choose the “internet time” tab and press the button to synchronize your computer time. That’s it.

So first download the plug-in and place the “gsms.dll” file in the Pidgin plugins folder on your PC. Then go to Pidgin itself, to your “tools” menu then “plugins” and activate the plugin.

Once activated, highlight the plugin with your mouse and press “configure plugin” at the bottom. This opens up the settings.



Enter your Google account address associated with your Google calendar along with the password to access that account. The timeout option is how long you want gSMS to wait until it bundles up all the messages to send them to you by SMS. 15 minutes is the default and sounds just about right. If you have a busy Pidgin, you don’t want to be bombarded with messages if you decide to pop out to the bathroom for 5 minutes!

The calendar option should just be left as /private/full.

As long as the plug-in is activated, all unanswered Pidgin messages will now prompt gSMS to send you a SMS to notify you that the messages have arrived. It may annoy some people eventually prompting them to turn it off but others, who rely on Pidgin to keep in contact with important business clients, may find gSMS invaluable.

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