Software | charlie on software - Part 5

Archive for the ‘ software ’ Category

Pidgin-closeoffline: a plugin for Pidgin to close offline conversation tabs

I recently took some time to learn some of the inner workings of Pidgin and libpurple, and along the way I decided to write a plugin that would provide a feature that I was really missing from native Pidgin. There are often times where I would have my Pidgin open for days at a time, and would accumulate huge numbers of conversation tabs open, with many of those chat partners signed offline. I didn’t want to close all the tabs, only the offline buddies, and I didn’t see a way to do this in Pidgin. So I took a dive into the APIs for Pidgin and libpurple and came up with this little plugin that adds an item to the right click context menu of the tab bar in a conversation window that will close all offline buddies. Right now, I have only tested it working on Ubuntu 12.04.1 32 bit and 64 bit, but I assume it would work other places too. To install the plugin, first download it from:

Extract that folder, then open a terminal in that directory and run:

# ./

This should take care of setting up all the dependencies, compiling the plugin, and then installing it to the local user’s plugin directory.

If you care to browse the source code, its available in the downloaded zip file as well as in the github repository at:

Email to SMS gateway solution for Google Voice users

I’m a loyal Sprint PCS cell phone subscriber. Not only is their price/feature ratio right, but they offer outstanding integration with Google Voice that is unmatched by any other national cell phone carrier.

With almost all cell phone carriers, they offer an email to SMS gateway solution, wherein anyone can send an email with a short message in it to a specific address and it will be converted by the carrier into a text message and sent to your phone. For Sprint, the form is:

This is all fine and dandy, except that if you opt in for the enhanced Google Voice integration, that email to SMS gateway no longer will function for your number. There is a common solution posted on the Internet for this problem:

Have Google Voice forward text messages to your GMail account. From Google Voice, send a text message to yourself and wait for it to show up in your inbox. Look at that email and use the from address there as the address to send email to to send SMS to your phone. The problem with this is that Google generates a unique from address for each email it sends out as a text, which ties that from address to a specific recipient, so that threaded conversation can be maintained in Google Voice. Aka, you can save that specific from address and use it from your local GMail account to email texts to yourself, but if you give that email address to someone else, the emails from them will not go through to your phone.

I required a more robust solution, where I could provide a single email address to multiple outside people/services that would act as a gateway into a text message sent to my phone.  Here is my solution:


  • a machine that continually is up and runs python
  • a dummy GMail account
  • a dummy Google Voice account (optional, may be hard to get if you don’t have an extra phone number to tie it to)
  • pygooglevoice installed on the server machine (either in a virtualenv or system wide), patched as shown on
  • python-daemon installed on the server machine (either in a virtualenv or system wide)

Here is the setup:

Run a python daemon on a machine that monitors the dummy GMail inbox periodically for new mail. When it finds on, it downloads the message, parses out the body text, logs into a Google Voice account, and texts the body of the message to your cell phone. Seem simple enough?

Here is the code for the daemon that I wrote:

Created on Dec 4, 2012

Simple Python daemon that acts as a proxy to forward
emails to a cell phone (for me, my google voice number)

@author: Charlie Meyer <>

import imaplib
import email
from googlevoice import Voice
import logging
import time
from daemon import runner

logger = logging.getLogger("SMSDaemon")
formatter = logging.Formatter("%(asctime)s - %(name)s - %(levelname)s - %(message)s")
handler = logging.FileHandler("/var/log/SMSDaemon.log")

class EmailReceiver:

    def __init__(self):
        logger.debug("Email Init")
        self.username = "" #edit this
        self.password = "smsdummyaccountpassword" #edit this
        self.server = ""
        self.port = 993
        self.M = None
        self.response = None

    def login(self):
        logger.debug("IMAP Login")
        self.M = imaplib.IMAP4_SSL(self.server, self.port)
        rc, self.response = self.M.login(self.username, self.password)
        logger.debug("IMAP Login complete")
        return rc

    def logout(self):
        logger.debug("IMAP logout")
        logger.debug("Logged out")

    def get_messages(self):
        logger.debug("Getting unread mail")"INBOX")
        logger.debug("Getting unread count")
        status, response = self.M.status('INBOX', "(UNSEEN)")
        unreadcount = int(response[0].split()[2].strip(').,]'))
        if unreadcount > 0:
  "There are "+str(unreadcount)+" unread messages")
        logger.debug("Getting unread mail")
        status, email_ids =, '(UNSEEN)')
        messages = []
        for e_id in email_ids[0].split():
  "Fetching message id="+str(e_id))
            rc, data = self.M.FETCH(e_id, '(RFC822)')
            logger.debug("Fetch complete, rc="+str(rc))
            mail = email.message_from_string(data[0][1])
            for part in mail.walk():
                if part.get_content_maintype() == 'multipart':
                if part.get_content_subtype() != 'plain':
                payload = part.get_payload()
      "message: "+str(payload))
        logger.debug("Mail fetch complete")
        return messages

class SMSSender:

    def __init__(self):
        logger.debug("SMS init")
        self.username = "" #edit this to be either your gvoice account or your dummy one if you have one
        self.password = "password" #edit this = "your10digitphonenumber" #edit this
        self.voice = None

    def login(self):"SMS Login")
        self.voice = Voice()
        self.voice.login(self.username, self.password)"SMS Login complete")

    def logout(self):"SMS Logout")
        self.voice.logout()"SMS Logout complete")

    def send_sms(self, message):"Sending message: "+str(message))
        self.voice.send_sms(, message)"Message sent")

class SMSDaemon():

    def __init__(self):
        self.stdin_path = '/dev/null'
        self.stdout_path = '/dev/tty'
        self.stderr_path = '/dev/tty'
        self.pidfile_path =  '/var/run/'
        self.pidfile_timeout = 5

    def run(self):
        while True:
  "Daemon looping")
            g = EmailReceiver()
            messages = g.get_messages()
            if len(messages) > 0:
                sms = SMSSender()
                for message in messages:
            logger.debug("Daemon Sleeping")

daemon = SMSDaemon()
daemon_runner = runner.DaemonRunner(daemon)

I saved that file in /root/smsdaemon/

I then tested it using:

python start

and sent an email to my dummy gmail account and ensured it arrived as a text message on my phone. The program will log to /var/log/SMSDaemon.log, so you can look there to ensure it is working. Once that works, time to write the init script so it loads on boot.

First, ensure the daemon is stopped:

python stop

Then, add the following to /etc/init.d/smsdaemon

# /etc/init.d/smsdaemon
# Provides: smsdaemon
# Required-Start:
# Should-Start:
# Required-Stop:
# Should-Stop:
# Default-Start:  3 5
# Default-Stop:   0 1 2 6
# Short-Description: SMSDaemon process
# Description:    Runs up the SMSDaemon process

# modified from

# uncomment and edit the following line if needed to activate the python virtual environment
# . /path_to_virtualenv/activate

case "$1" in
    echo "Starting"
    python /root/smsdaemon/ start
    echo "Stopping"
    python /root/smsdaemon/ stop
    echo "Restarting"
    python /root/smsdaemon/ restart
    echo "Usage: /etc/init.d/smsdaemon {start|stop|restart}"
    exit 1

exit 0


sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/smsdaemon
sudo update-rc.d smsdaemon defaults
sudo service smsdaemon start

There you go, all done!

Let me know if this works for you or if you have any comments, I might be looking to port this solution to a compute cloud like the Google App Engine or similar in the future.


Automapping channel numbers to TiVo commands from the Ubuntu command line

In a previous post, I described how to control your TiVo from the Linux command line. I wanted to take it a bit further and make it easier to enter numeric IR codes to my TiVo. With some pointers from Alex Lambert, I came up with a solution that works on my Ubuntu 12.04 laptop.

I am assuming you followed the instructions in the previous post and have created the following symlinks:

lrwxrwxrwx 1 chuck chuck   10 Dec  4 23:24 NUM0 -> tivoircode
lrwxrwxrwx 1 chuck chuck   10 Dec  4 23:24 NUM1 -> tivoircode
lrwxrwxrwx 1 chuck chuck   10 Dec  4 23:24 NUM2 -> tivoircode
lrwxrwxrwx 1 chuck chuck   10 Dec  4 23:24 NUM3 -> tivoircode
lrwxrwxrwx 1 chuck chuck   10 Dec  4 23:24 NUM4 -> tivoircode
lrwxrwxrwx 1 chuck chuck   10 Dec  4 23:24 NUM5 -> tivoircode
lrwxrwxrwx 1 chuck chuck   10 Dec  4 23:24 NUM6 -> tivoircode
lrwxrwxrwx 1 chuck chuck   10 Dec  4 23:24 NUM7 -> tivoircode
lrwxrwxrwx 1 chuck chuck   10 Dec  4 23:25 NUM8 -> tivoircode
lrwxrwxrwx 1 chuck chuck   10 Dec  4 23:25 NUM9 -> tivoircode
lrwxrwxrwx 1 chuck chuck   10 Dec  4 23:32 ENTER -> tivoircode

Now, the goal here is that simply entering the command such as “1695” will send the sequence NUM1;NUM6;NUM9;NUM5 to the TiVo. This can be accomplished using the same facility that Ubuntu uses to suggest packages to install when you issue a command from a package that is not currently installed. To do this, add the following to your ~/.bashrc:

function is_integer() {
    s=$(echo $1 | tr -d 0-9)
    if [ -z "$s" ]; then
        return 0
        return 1

command_not_found_handle() {
        if is_integer $1; then
                for NUM in `echo $1 | fold -w1`
#               ENTER
                if [ -x /usr/lib/command-not-found -o -x /usr/share/command-not-found/command-not-found ]; then
                if [ -x /usr/lib/command-not-found ]; then
                   /usr/bin/python /usr/lib/command-not-found -- "$1"
                   return $?
                elif [ -x /usr/share/command-not-found/command-not-found ]; then
                   /usr/bin/python /usr/share/command-not-found/command-not-found -- "$1"
                   return $?
                   printf "%s: command not found\n" "$1" >&2
                   return 127


Now, when you enter an numeric integer value on your bash session, it will send it to your TiVo as a series of IR codes for each digit in the number. You can uncomment the final ENTER command if you wish for the enter button to be pressed when a number is finished being entered on the TiVo, but that is up to you. This function copies the body of the command_not_found_handle default function from /etc/bash.bashrc that ships with Ubuntu, so that non-integer commands are sent through the old mechanism and no functionality is lost.

Happy TiVo’ing