Forcing a persistent AIM logon?
October 7, 2008 6:41 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way (with any IM client) to force a persistent logon for an AIM account, even when one doesn't have the sustained internet connection that would actually let one stay logged on? (In order to accept messages that will be "held" and displayed the next time one's IM client starts up?)

I needed a two-way sms-to-IM service (one that can both reach and be reached by mobile phones and other sms-sending devices -- an incoming sms is converted into an IM, and an outgoing IM to the mobile's number is converted to an sms).

I found AIM is great for this (it's the only free, reliable, ad-free and cruft-free, two-way service of all the services I tested) -- EXCEPT for the fact that it only works when one is actively logged into AIM with a sustained internet connection, which I often don't have. The AIM account can't accept incoming sms messages as IMs unless the AIM user is actively logged in at the time the sms is sent. In other words, the incoming messages aren't accepted and "held" until the next time the user signs in -- instead the sms sender receives a bounce message indicating the AIM user is unavailable.

Is there any way, with any IM client, I could force a persistent connection to AIM even at the times when I can't be actively logged in?

(Currently, the IM client I'm using is Adium on Mac OS 10.4.11.)
posted by kalapierson to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
I think you would probably need to program your own AIM robot; this is a program running on a web server somewhere that is logged in as an AIM user and can respond to messages.

There are services that help you do things like this, for instance RunABot. You should be able to put together something using that.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 6:52 AM on October 7, 2008

Excellent thought. I assume I could set up the bot to preserve incoming messages in a human-readable form for me to look at later, as well as auto-responding to them in the moment? Thanks for the link.
posted by kalapierson at 7:04 AM on October 7, 2008

What other services did you test?
posted by blind.wombat at 9:25 AM on October 7, 2008

Hmm, I can help but it's a bit complex. I've been using a setup like this for the past year

First, get hold of a stable Linux shell.
Install bitlbee on it, and setup your account and make it connect to your AIM account. This will basically give you an IRC interface to AIM.
Now install an IRC bouncer on that shell and make it connect to the bitlbee server:port. Connect to the bouncer, identify with your AIM account. Almost all IRC bouncers will stay connected to the server even when you go offline. So Bitlbee thinks that you're connected and shows you as online on AIM.

And bouncers will log all your messages when you're offline and show them to you the next time you go online, i.e. connect to it.

Mefimail me if you need help.
posted by cyanide at 9:39 AM on October 7, 2008

I do exactly this (minus the sms part) with CenterIM.
It's running as a screen session on a linux server so I _am_ always online, but I can detach the screen and log out, then log back in hours later and the messages that people sent me are waiting just as if I'd left AIM running on my desktop.
posted by pantsrobot at 11:01 AM on October 7, 2008

blind.wombat, here are the notes I made for myself during my casual testing of the services I found by googling:

- AIM-to-SMS - only free service that's been dependable in all my tests & displays a logical sender name - use any IM client or send via web - longer texts get split into frags that are sent out of order (at least they have "x of x" notations, but actual order is never consistent)

- txtdrop - fast simple sending, with any replies going to an email address you provide (so no way to initiate a conversation); totally reliable in my tests
- ohdontforget - generic long display name for sender (, but no ads, and very fast/reliable

- gizmo - generic long display name for sender; ad text included after your text; delays of more than an hour in two of my tests
- teleflip - site has been down every time I've tried it
- joopz - weird cruft in display/user name; one test failed; excellent usable site & logs. SEEMS TO TRUNCATE AFTER 99 CHARS, NO WARNING & NO SPLIT INTO 2ND MESSAGE. 50 sms/mo limit
- zemble - site is unusable, just gives different ASP errors on both FF & Safari
- yellowpipe - test sends reported successful but never arrived
posted by kalapierson at 12:33 PM on October 8, 2008

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