Hacking AIM

Alright, to start off with, for most massive commercial deals like AIM, some bright script kiddie has already come up with the clever idea of making a clone with better performance, and no advertisements. When researching for this node, in fact, before I even started looking, I was starring at the word "AIMM", placed squarely in the center of the resexcellence home page. AIMM looks like a pretty good AIM clone, so if you're a Mac user looking to solve this problem the easy way check it out here:
You can, of course, find other clones; the same goes for those Windows users also tired of seeing banners. Just go onto google and do a search for "AIM Clone". I'm not even going to say anything to you Linux users, you should just know better.

So anyway, I found a hack for getting rid of the adds, or should I say hacks, including a smattering of other ones. The original patch, for AIM versions 4.1 and lower can be found here:
The instructions to get it to work should be included in the stuffit file.

There are revised instructions to get it to work for 4.2.xxxx (that should be the newer version) which can be found at www.resexcellence.com, along with 5 different skin make-overs and find command replacements. For the sake of the archive, I will reprint the instructions here (originally posted by Chris Johnson):

BEFORE patching, open the AIM application in ResEdit, open the VERS resource, and edit the first resource ID (ID=1). At the top, there are 3 text boxes, with the numbers "4", "2", "0" in that order. Change the middle box from "2" to "1", save and quit, and run the patch, which will now work successfully.

Hopefully that should help any troubled by the subject. As a side note, AOL's crack team of lawyers are pretty good about these sorts of things down, so there is no telling how long those links will be fresh. Also, I trust that this node will be silenced by the E2 Nuke Request should things get out of hand. Happy Hacking!

A free client that enables conversation with buddies who use AOL Instant Messenger or just plain AOL. Because of a disparity in the protocol used, older versions of AOL's main software (before 6.0) did not have as large of a feature set as the free Instant Messenger downloadable client.

The Windows and Mac OS clients offer Direct IM, where your messages are not sent through AOL's servers but rather directly, Voice Chat using a microphone, group chat, file transfer, and of course a lot of advertisements everywhere. AOL's quasi-official Linux client, as well as many clones, offers fewer features but also does not have ads. The TOC protocol, which is "open," allows some basic features like group chat and server-based messaging, while the closed OSCAR protocol offers the full suite.

Follow-up: On March 16, I was using Everybuddy over VNC when a friend asked me to send him a file. Of course, such an advanced feature isn't supported in the TOC client, so I decided to use the AIM client for Macintosh, installed on my workstation. I started it up, and logged myself in. I was treated to a small, albeit resizable, window with an ad banner, a tab control, a list control with a total of six "buddies" visible, five command buttons, a search box, a help button, another ad banner, a stock ticker, and a status line. Other windows popped up, too: first a mail notification window, then a news ticker, and finally a "Welcome to AOL Instant Messenger" window. I know that much of this can be disabled, but it seems like it would be really scary to a new user to be assaulted with all of this eye candy.

The scary part is that other instant messaging programs are trying to join the "all-in-one" craze: Yahoo! Messenger offers a dizzying array of add-ons; MSN Messenger lets you access content from many sites by ".NET My Services", formerly Hailstorm; and Trillian has just released a commercial product called Trillian Pro which adds external media content and many more features. Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger are free, as is AOL's read-headed stepsister ICQ. Trillian Pro costs $25.

The following are instructions for disabling the AIM advertisements.

Use Notepad to open the aim.odl file. Screen down until you find two sections that have 'advert' followed by required. Remove 'required' in both lines and then save the file.

Rename or delete the file advert.ocm. The next time you sign on you will not have to look at the AIM ads at the top of the IM client.

This has been tested with the AOL AIM client downloaded 12 Feb 2002.

(Note: this w/u was originally under the title "hacking AIM".)

Hacking the AIM profile for Windows

AIM uses pseudo-HTML to store profile and chat information.
The AIM profile is stored in a file locally, usually found at c:\windows\aim95\(user name)\info.htm.
A neat thing you can do to the link tag is adding the target="_self" attribute, for example,
<A HREF="http://www.everything2.com" target="_self"> which would load e2 frontpage inside your profile window when someone clicks on this link. However, AIM doesn't support table tags, amongst many other tags. So you might want to link it to a special AIM profile extension page on your homepage.
This circumvents the file size limitation that AIM imposes on the info.htm file. Then you can have multitudes of pages about random stuff you might think your friends would find entertaining that all conveniently loads within the profile window.

Removing AIM ad banners for Windows

If you go to the directory usually located at c:\program files\aim95\, you will find files named aim.odl and advert.ocm. When you have closed AIM, delete advert.ocm, and open aim.odl in a text editor. Comment out any lines with the word "advert" in them by typing a semicolon in front of each of those lines, save and close the file, then reboot AIM.

How to send an SMS text message with AOL Instant Messenger

DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for any annoyance or high phone bill that you inflict on others using this information. Please don't use this feature to annoy your so-called friends. Thanks.

NOTE: themanwho tells me that this only works in the USA and Canada.

The ability to send SMS text messages to cell phones in a quick and easy manner is an under-known and highly useful feature of AOL Instant Messanger. To do it, simply do "Send Instant Message", and then in the "To:" box, type the person's number instead of an AIM handle using the following format:


A is the person's area code, and N is the rest of their phone number. I believe that this works for phones on most, but not all, cell phone networks. The person receiving the message can even reply and you'll receive it as an IM. My friend tells me that this works in Gaim as well. This feature can come in handy if you use AIM and need to remember some bit of data later; you can just send it to your cell phone and be on your way. You don't even have to get up from your computer to create your little reminder. Some people may wax nostalgic for times when technology wasn't so present in their lives, but come on, are you really going to get out of your seat to find a pen and paper? I think not.

It's also possible to add mobile phone numbers to your Buddy List in the same manner you add anyone else.

AOL's SMS feature is also good for copying and pasting MapQuest directions into AIM and sending them to a lost friend's cell phone. This service is, of course, always free for the sender (if not the receiver). How would they charge you anyways?

I wrote this about two years ago, when I probably should have been finishing a term paper... or possibly starting one. I used to use it as an away message every now and then.

(with apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

How do I love thee, Instant Messenger?
When voice escapes me, waiting there thou art;
Infirmities' e'er-staunchest deadener,
Unfailing outlet for the shaky heart.
Distant between, reducest thou to nil.
Thou bridg'st the gap most deftly to behold,
Unit'st the world when part is gone or ill,
And sharest our verbal warmth, though winds be cold.
A natural nervous temperament have I got:
In person speaking, I break out in hives.
But using thee, I fear a slip-up not:
Thy backspace key hath saved me many lives.
And yet at times thou art my chief unnerver:
Most foul of errors thine: "Can't connect to server"!

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