Starting Up

If you installed Mr. Message using WarpIn, you can launch it simply by double-clicking the Mr. Message icon. Otherwise, you can create your own program object for MrMessage.exe. Be sure to set the working directory for this program object to your Mr. Message installation path so that the program can correctly locate its DLLs. If you run Mr. Message from the command line you can optionally specify the following command line arguments:

  • -debug
    Creates a file named Debug.Log in your working directory with useful information to identify and solve problems.
  • -nosound
    Disables sound support if you are having trouble launching Mr. Message or using sound.
  • -showrawincoming
    Prints a raw dump of every data packet received from the server before it is interpreted by Mr. Message. This will make large log files, but should help me get to the bottom of a problem more quickly.

Mr. Message will obey the system setting for how long to display its splash screen on startup. If you wish to change this setting, locate the System object in your System Setup folder and select the Logo tab:

Session Manager

The Mr. Message Session Manager is the first window that will pop up when you launch the program. It contains objects representing all of the AOL and ICQ user IDs that you have defined. These objects store the screen name, password, login server name, and login server port number for your instant messaging session.

To get started using Mr. Message, you need to create a session. Click on the Create button, or right-click the background of the Session Manager and select Create Session from the context menu.

In the field labeled Screen Name enter your AOL screen name ID or your ICQ User ID number. Note that due to current program limitations, your account must exist already with the AOL or ICQ networks to use this program. You cannot create a new account using Mr. Message yet.

Enter your password in the Password field. Proper default values are already filled in for the Server Name and Server Port fields, so unless you have a specific server that you wish to use, you should not need to modify these fields (even for ICQ use).

After you've created a session, you can log in by double-clicking on the session object, or by selecting the session and pressing the Start button. You can select multiple session simultaneously by Ctrl-left-clicking each object you wish to select or by left-clicking the background and dragging a rectangle around the objects, just like you can in the WPS. If you select multiple objects and click the Start button, the sessions will be launched simultaneously. Sessions that are currently running appear with cross-hatching behind the icon, just like running programs in the WPS.

If you wish to modify a session entry, you can select it and press the Edit button. Likewise, you can delete an entry using the Delete button. Note that you cannot edit or delete a session which has been started and is currently running.

If you wish to change the fonts or colors of the Session Manager window, open up the appropriate palette (Font Palette for fonts, Solid or Mixed Color Palette for colors) and drag-and-drop the color or font into the desired area.

To change the settings of a given session, select the session in question and either right-click and select Settings from the context menu, or select Settings from the Session menu. If you wish to change the default global settings the select Settings from the Global menu or right-click the background and select Global Settings from the context menu.

In the Session Settings dialog, you can set how Mr. Message reacts to different IM events as well as some other behaviors of the given session. You can assign a sound and/or a REXX script to be used when the given event occurs. For details on how these events are passed to REXX, please refer to my REXX documentation. The events are:

  • Program Startup
    This event occurs as soon as the program starts and before a session has been started. Since no session is running, only the global settings will be applied to this event.
  • Session Startup
    As soon as the user selects to start a session, this event occurs.
  • First IM with Buddy
    This message occurs when an IM chat window is about to pop up, on the first message that you've received from a buddy. If you close the IM chat window and the same buddy sends you another message, this event will be triggered again.
  • IM Received from Buddy
    This occurs each time a message is received from a buddy, including the first time. Note that the sound clip associated with this event will not be played for the first message, since the clip associated with the First IM From Buddy will be played instead.
  • IM Sent to Buddy
    This occurs each time a message is sent to a buddy.
  • Buddy Goes Online
    When someone on your buddy list goes from offline status to online, idle, or away status.
  • Buddy Goes Offline
    When someone on your buddy list goes from online, idle, or away status to offline status.
  • Session End
    When the user closes the buddy list window.

If you select Automatically start this session, then the selected session will be started when Mr. Message starts up automatically. Any number of session may be started automatically. All automatically started sessions will be launch simultaneously on program startup.

Selecting Minimize Session Manager on session start will cause the Session Manager window to be minimized when the given session is started up, even if it is started automatically. When a session with this setting enabled is closed, the Session Manager window is displayed again. You can also choose to restore the minimized Session Manager window at any time, using normal OS/2 window manipulations, such as the Window List (Ctrl-Esc) or Minimized Window Viewer.

You can enable or disable reporting the time at which each instant message was sent or received using the Show time stamps in messages option. These time stamps will be reported in your instant message window with the message itself.

Lastly, you can choose whether or not your buddies will receive typing notifications from you by selecting Report when you are typing to buddies. If this is enabled, your buddies will get notification when you are in the middle of typing a message. How or if this information is reported depends on which IM client they are using. In Mr. Message, typing notifications are indicated by the icon of a given IM window changing to a hand using a pencil. For more information on typing notifications see the section on the Instant Message window.

Buddy List

Once a session has been launched and you have logged in to the server successfully a Buddy List window will appear. This window will contain all of the screen names of people who you have registered with the server as your "buddies", as well as those you have added using Mr. Message. The icons next to each buddy represent their status, as follows:

Active on-line user
On-line but idle user (idle for more than 10 minutes)
  User who is logged in, but has set Away status
User who is not logged in
Group of users

Your buddy list can be filtered using the three buttons at the bottom of the Buddy List window. Clicking a button will toggle whether users with the given status are visible in the buddy list or not. When the setting is toggled off, the icon representing the user status is crossed out with a black slash mark. In the example above, users who are not logged in are being filtered from the Buddy List.

The icon in the upper left corner of the buddy list window is used to reflect your status on the network, as follows:

You are currently online
You have set Away status
You are not connected to the network or logged in

Moving the mouse cursor over a given buddy in your Buddy List will pop up a translucent window with information about that buddy. This information will contain:

  • The buddy's real AOL screen name or ICQ UIN
  • Your alias for the buddy
  • The buddy's sign-on time
  • The buddy's idle time
  • The buddy's profile or away message

This window will disappear when you move the mouse off of the current entry.

You can click mouse button 2 on a buddy to get a list of options pertaining to that buddy.

Selecting Send Message... will open up an Instant Message window, in which you can type a message to your buddy. You can also open up an Instant Message window by double-clicking a buddy or highlighting the buddy with the cursor keys or mouse and pressing Enter.

You can force Mr. Message to refresh a user's profile or away message (by requesting it from the server again) by selecting the Refresh Profile/Away Message menu item.  Normally, Mr. Message will refresh a profile or away message automatically whenever a user's status changes. But if a user changes their profile without changing their status, Mr. Message will miss the update unless you refresh it manually.

If a user's AOL screen name or ICQ UIN is difficult to remember, you can set an alias for them. This alias will be the name used by Mr. Message to communicate to you about this user, while Mr. Message continues to use the original name of the user to communicate with the AOL server. Selecting the Set Alias... menu item will allow you to edit the user's name directly in your Buddy List window. After making the desired changes, click anywhere outside of the edit field with the mouse. If you made a mistake and wish to undo the operation, press the Esc key while you are editing. Note that pressing Enter will add a new-line character on the end of the user's alias, and is probably not what you want to do. Like objects in the Workplace Shell, you can edit the user's name (and set an alias as a result) by holding down the Alt key and clicking the user's name with mouse button 1.

You can also remove a given buddy from the Buddy List using the Remove Buddy menu item. If this buddy was added by Mr. Message, this option will permanently remove them from your buddy list for all future sessions (until you add them again). If this buddy was a part of a server-stored buddy list (established by a different instant messenger client), it will be removed for the current session only. This is a current limitation of Mr. Message.

You can get additional options relating to the current Mr. Message session by clicking mouse button 2 on the background of the Buddy List.

Selecting the Refresh All menu item is the equivalent of selecting the Refresh Profile/Away Message option on every buddy in your buddy list. This will retrieve all of the latest user profile information and away messages.

Selecting the Session Settings... menu item will bring up the Session Settings window for this session. See the section on the Session Manager for more details on the Session Settings window.

To toggle your session status between Away and Online, select the Toggle "Away" Status menu item. This menu item will have a check mark in front of it if your current status is set to Away. There will be no check mark if you are currently set as Online. The icon in the upper left corner of the Buddy List window will change to reflect your new status. See above for the meaning of these icons.

To set what your away or profile messages will be, choose the Set Away Message... or Set Profile... menu items as appropriate. You will then be presented with a list of recently used profiles or away messages which you can select, or you can add a new one. You can also remove previously used profile or away messages here.

Highlighting the recently used message in the top section of the window will display the full message in the editing window below. You can modify the text by editing in the edit window and then pressing the Modify button. You can type a new message and press the Add button to add it to the list of messages which can be selected. To remove a recently used message, highlight the message in the Recently Used list and press the Remove button. When you are done editing the messages, to select the message to be used, highlight the appropriate message in the Recently Used section and press the Select button. Note that the Cancel button will only cancel the act of selecting a new message. It will not undo any edits that you have made to the recently used message list.

To add a buddy to your Mr. Message buddy list, select the Add Buddy to Buddy List... menu item from the buddy list context menu.

Enter the user's AOL screen name or ICQ UIN and click the Ok button. If you typed their screen name or UIN correctly, you should now receive status updates for this person whenever they are on line. Note that any buddies that are currently added to your buddy list by Mr. Message will not be added to the buddy list stored on the AOL or ICQ servers. These buddies are stored locally. You will see a new category in your buddy list labeled Buddies (stored locally) so that you can distinguish.

You can end and log off your session at any time by selecting the End Session menu item from the buddy list context menu, or simply by closing the buddy list window. This will not affect any other currently open Mr. Message sessions.