This is a crosspost from Infotropism. You can comment here or there.
tl;dr – if we usually talk on IM/GTalk you won’t see me around any more. Use IRC, email, or other mechanisms (listed at bottom of this post) to contact me.
Background: Google stopped supporting open standards for IM a few years ago.
Other background: when I changed my name in 2011 I grabbed a GMail account with that name, just in case it would be useful. I didn’t use it, though — instead I forwarded any mail from it to my actual email address, the one I’ve had since the turn of the century: email@example.com, and set that address as my default for everything I could find.
Unfortunately Google didn’t honour those preferences, and kept exposing my unused GMail address to people. When I signed up for Google Groups, it would be exposed. When I shared Google Docs, it would be exposed. I presume it was being exposed all kinds of other ways, too, because people kept seeing my GMail address and thinking it was the right way to contact me. So in addition to the forwarding I also set up a vacation reminder telling anyone who emailed me there to use my actual address and not to use the Google one.
But Google wasn’t done yet. They kept dropping stuff into my GMail account and not forwarding it. Comments on Google docs. Invitations. Administrative notices. IM logs that I most definitely did not want archived. These were all piling up silently in an account I never logged into.
Eventually, after I missed out on several messages from a volunteer offering to help with Growstuff, I got fed up and found out how to completely delete a GMail account. I did this few weeks ago.
Fast forward to last night, when my Internet connection flaked out right before I went to bed. I looked at all my disconnected, blank windows, shrugged, and crashed for the night. This morning, everything was better and all my apps set about reconnecting.
Except that Adium, the app I use for instant messaging, was asking me for the GTalk password for firstname.lastname@example.org. Weird, I thought, but I had the password saved in my keychain and resubmitted it. Adium, or more properly GTalk, didn’t like it. I tried a few more times, including resetting my app password (I use two-factor auth). No luck.
Eventually I found the problem. Via this Adium bug report I learned that a GMail account is required to use GTalk. Even if you don’t use (and have never used) your GMail address to login to it, and don’t give people a GMail address to add you as a contact.
So, my choices at this point are:
- Sign up again for GMail, continue to have an unused and unwanted email address exposed to the public, miss important messages, and risk security/privacy problems with archiving of stuff I don’t want archived; or,
- Set up Jabber/XMPP, which will take a fair amount of messing around (advice NOT wanted, I know what is involved), and which will only let me talk to friends who don’t use GMail/GTalk (a small minority); or,
- Not be available on IM.
For now I am going with option 3. If you are used to talking to me via IM at my email@example.com address, you can now contact me as follows.
IRC: I am Skud on irc.freenode.net and on some other specialist networks. On Freenode I habitually hang around on #growstuff and intermittently on other channels. Message me any time; if I’m not awake/online I’ll see it when I return.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org as ever, or email@example.com for Growstuff and related work.
Social media: I’m on social media hiatus and won’t be using it to chat at length, but still check mentions/messages semi-regularly.
Text/SMS: If you have my number, you know where to find me.
Voice/video (including phone, Skype, etc): By arrangement. Email me if you want to set something up.
To my good friends who I used to chat to all the time and now won’t see around so much: please let me know if you use Jabber/XMPP and if so what your address is; if you do, then I’ll prioritise getting that set up.