IRC is pretty great, and my client of choice is irssi – I can get my chat on inside a console window, running locally or remote over SSH. Since I’m a linux guy, it might even look like i’m doing work while I have irssi open; and since Linux folks gather around IRC for support (developers and users alike), I might actually be doing work when that window is open.
It’s not easy to use for beginners though, and even as a competent user I find the statusbar to be a little weak. I did some googling, and one thing that kept popping up was this “Advanced Window List” script, but i couldn’t find a homepage for it, other than the code. No description, no documentation, no screenshot. Fortunately, Evgeni Golov over at http://www.die-welt.net/ has us covered. Check out his post on the Advanced Windows List.
Evgeni doesn’t mention that putting the script in ~/.irssi/scripts means you have to issue /script load adv_windowlist.pl EVERY time you start irssi. Do yourself a favor and put the file in the ~/.irssi/scripts/autorun directory instead.
Also, he notes that you should change the awl_display_nokey and _key entries; this is good, but the default isn’t SO bad, if you have a billion windows open. I try to keep it under 10 windows at any time, so I found the following setting to be about right for my needs;
/set awl_display_key [$H$N$S]$H$C$S
You can set “awl_display_nokey” to the same value; i’m not sure what the difference is. The adv_windowlist.pl file has comments at the top that very helpfully define all the expandable variables that you can use; however, it does not help in understanding ALL of the options.
One final note – If you find that you are curious about what a variable contains before you /set it, you can do
/eval echo $variable to display it.