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Something Useful, Part 1

by Justas (4 May 2004)

Hmm. Pstonie's gone on a vacation and this means I'll be mostly in charge of the loggs alone for the next week or two. Therefore, I'll be writing about random things. And today's topic will be something that'll mostly be useful for people who, for some reason, like to deal with conversation logs or who are about to find out the usefulness of it. And it's mainly concentrated on MSN Messenger's logfiles. Those of you who are unaware of the fact that it can automatically log your conversations, go to Tools -> Options -> Message History and turn it on. To view a log, you can right-click on a user and select 'View Message History'. There is also an alternate way, by opening that person's XML file found in the logging directory using a specific program, although Internet Explorer does the trick as well.

Now, the problem comes when you want to save the conversation in a text file. The format simply isn't meant for this. Not only does the table structure leave long spaces in the text, but there is also a virtually obsolete column, "To:". And without the column header to explain, it will look just silly when pasted as text. But there's a solution. There is a file called MessageLog.xsl in the logfiles folder, which is used to render the viewable tables from the XML data files. To change how the table looks, you will only need to modify (or replace) just that one file. Now, I'm no expert on XML. In fact, this is the first time I've had anything to do with it. But by trial and error I eventually managed to whip up something that satisfied my needs.


(Click on image to enlarge)
As you can see on the picture to the left, the new style makes the logs similar to those of mIRC's and very comfortable to use (The above text is about the previous logg and the lower one took place when I was watching Star Trek TNG, Episode 1x03 - "The Naked Now"). So if you're interested, you can download the file and try it out yourself. Just put it in your MSN logs directory (which you can find in the options menu) and the next time you open a message history, it'll look different (Make sure you back up your original xsl file first though, in case something goes wrong or you might want to eventually change it back).

In other news that I decided not to dedicate an entire logg on, Estonia joined the EU and the Vohaul Strikes Back project celebrated it's two-year anniversary by reopening its website and also getting an article about it published at SpaceQuest.Net. Cheers.