Firstly and most importantly:

You don't need to read the entire guide

Let's face it, like everyone else you'll probably be reading this after you've already been playing for a while anyway.

It is recommended that you read the Quick Start and Things You Need To Know sections. The sections after that contain tips for more advanced uses and can be read if interested.

About Sticker

Sticker is a desktop applet for sending and receiving short text messages, also known as ticker messages, via the Elvin notification service. Ticker messages are generally conversations between people or news items automatically generated by news bots on the network (those familiar with other instant messaging networks such as IRC and Jabber will already understand the concept). Sticker also supports virtual presence, which allows you to virtually see and be seen by others online.

Sticker is designed to integrate with your desktop and be almost invisible when not in use. When a message arrives, it is displayed on a tickertape which is docked with the desktop. Messages stay visible until you delete them or they expire.

The tickertape display format allows you to monitor messages in the background without necessarily interrupting what you're doing. If the message is of interest, you can access it straight from the ticker, or open it in a messages window, which displays messages in a layout which should be familiar to most email users.

Quick Start

Sticker appears as a strip where ticker messages appear, with a green head button at the right that shows the main menu that contains all the commands for controlling Sticker. Right-clicking on the ticker area shows the ticker menu with commands for managing ticker messages. If you're running Sticker on Windows, you'll also be able to access the main menu by right clicking the yellow speech balloon icon which appears in the taskbar status area.

Tip: many windows have menus accessible by right-clicking on items inside them

Sticker main window diagram

Things You Need To Know


The following sections have a selection of additional tips, ordered from simple to more advanced.

Ticker Messaging

  1. Click on messages to reply to them. That way others can see who you're replying to.
  2. Use the Shift-click shortcut to delete messages. You can rapidly delete a lot of messages by clicking very quickly, or by right-clicking and selecting Remove All.
  3. Send web links by dragging them from the browser's address bar or from the desktop onto the ticker or onto the attachment area at the bottom of the New Message window.
  4. You can send a message directly to a person listed in the Online People window: just double-click on the person's name and a message window will open. This works in the Messages Window too.
  5. Delete distracting conversations (especially on the noisy "Chat" group), by right-clicking one of the messages and selecting Ignore Conversation. This will delete the messages and block any further replies from appearing on the ticker. Tip: Ctrl-Shift-Click on a message to ignore a conversation
  6. If you don't want to be disturbed at all for a while, select "Mute Ticker" on the main menu. This will stop all messages from appearing on the ticker until you select the mute ticker item again (messages sent directly to you will still appear). You can also simultaneously turn on ticker muting and let others know you don't want to be disturbed by switching to the "Do not disturb" presence status. You can do this by selecting Main Menu -> Presence Status -> Do not disturb. With both of these options you can read any blocked messages in the Messages Window later on.
  7. You can often follow conversations better by jumping into the Messages Window. Either right-click a message and choose Open Message or just middle-click on the message. If you want to move the conversation permanently to the Messages Window (i.e. stop messages from appearing on the ticker), right click a message in the Messages Window and select Ignore Conversation - new messages will now appear only in the Messages Window.
  8. Use the Expand Unread button in the Messages Window to show unread messages. You can also use the Hide Read button to toggle hiding messages you've already seen.
  9. Send messages to people outside your intranet using the "World" button. Many Elvin services allow only messages flagged this way to go outside the local network. When you reply to a "world" message, your reply is automatically marked world also.
  10. Your own messages are automatically expired very quickly and marked as read (Sticker assumes you read your own messages!) Messages you reply to are treated the same way, which helps keep the ticker clear of old messages.
  11. You can send messages to groups you're not subscribed to. Sticker will automatically subscribe you to just the replies to your message.
  12. You can easily invite others to subscribe to a ticker group by sending an invitation as a ticker attachment. Simply find the group in the ticker groups list in Main Menu -> Preferences -> Ticker Groups, right click and select Send Invitation (you can also do this from the list of groups on the left of the Messages Window). Even your "Advanced" groups created with the wizard can be shared this way.
  13. Various properties for a ticker group can be shown by selecting Main Menu -> Preferences -> Ticker Groups and double-clicking the group. This also works in the groups list to the left of the Messages Window.
  14. You can control how long old messages are kept on a per-group basis. In the group properties window (see previous tip) select Group and set the time to keep messages in the Message lifetime box.
  15. Find out who is subscribed to a ticker group from the Subscribers section in its property window (see previous tip). The Messages Window also shows people subscribed to the current group on the right hand side.
  16. Control how ticker messages are handled using group actions. You can assign special actions on a per-group basis from the Actions section of a group's property window. For example, you might like to change message expiry time or move the messages to a different scroller.

    Group actions

  17. Use multiple scrollers to organise messages. For example, you might want to create a scroller for messages to a few important groups:
    • Select Main Menu -> Preferences -> Ticker Scrollers -> Create Scroller.
    • Customize the scroller and/or change its position using the arrow buttons.
    • Create group actions to put messages from your important groups on the new scroller (see previous tip). You could also use a Message Rule to do this (see next tip).
  18. Control how messages are handled using message rules. Message rules are like group actions, except they're more flexible in how they select messages. For example, to have your computer beep when a message sent directly to your personal group arrives while you're listed as "Online":
    • Select Main Menu -> Preferences -> Message Rules.
    • Select Create Rule.
    • Select Match message text in the dialog that pops up and hit OK.
    • Click on the Message text contains <text> field to edit it.
    • Enter your name in the text field at the top of the window.
    • Select the Group radio button in the "Match field..." box.
    • Select the Equals text button in the "Match where..." box.
    • Click OK. This has created a filter that matches messages to your group.
    • Add another filter that matches your presence status by selecting Add Filter and choosing Match your virtual presence status. This has created an additional filter that that matches only when you're online (i.e. not idle or away).
    • Make the computer beep whenever these two filters match by checking the Beep checkbox. The rules list should now look like the screenshot below:

      Example message rule

  19. Scan all ticker groups (eavesdrop!) using Advanced Groups. Advanced Groups let you subscribe to any message on any group that matches some given criteria. For example, to look for all messages with your name in them:
    • Go to the Advanced group area by selecting Main Menu -> Preferences -> Ticker Groups and choosing the Propeller Head Icon Advanced tab.
    • Create a new Advanced Group by selecting Create Group.
    • Choose Add Filter -> Match message text.
    • Click on the Message text contains <text> field to edit it.
    • Enter your name in the Match Text dialog and click OK.
    • If you want to see the rest of the conversation following on from matched messages, select the Subscribe to replies checkbox.
    • You can optionally give the group a name by selecting the Group section of the dialog.

    Because Advanced Groups can receive messages from any actual group, you might like to mark messages received by this group with a custom icon. In the same dialog select Actions -> Change appearance.

  20. You can change how attachments are opened. This can be useful if you're running Sticker on Unix or MacOS X, where Sticker's default attachment handling sometimes isn't what you might want. You can have Sticker pass attachment URL's to a custom command by selecting Main Menu -> Ticker Messages and entering the command in the Open attachments using area. A common command to use on Unix is:

    mozilla -raise -remote "openURL(%s,new-window)":lynx

Virtual Presence

  1. See who else is online by selecting Main Menu -> People Online.
  2. See more information about someone in the Online People window by right-clicking on their name and selecting Properties.
  3. Let people know you're away or do not wish to be disturbed by changing your presence status. You can change your status by selecting from the options in Main Menu -> Presence Status. If you choose the "Do not disturb" status, this will also stop messages appearing on the ticker. You can also create a new status by selecting Custom Status.... For example you could set your status to "Away until 3pm".

    Custom status window

  4. Add people who you communicate with regularly to your buddies list. This allows you to see them in the "Buddies" tab in the Online Users window and to quickly send messages to them by double-clicking their name. To add someone as a buddy, either right-click their name in the Online Users window and check the Is Buddy item or use Preferences -> Virtual Presence -> Add Buddy.
  5. Publish extra information about yourself with custom presence properties. You can put information like your room number or web page in the list shown by selecting Main Menu -> Preferences -> Online Identity and choosing Add Field. Other people will see this information in the "Identity" tab in the properties display for you.
  6. Reduce the number of people who you see online by moving to different presence group(s). You see all people who are in one or more of your groups, so you and the people local to you may wish to move to a more restrictive group. Select Preferences -> Virtual Presence to see your groups and add/remove new ones. In particular, you may want to leave the "elvin" presence group, which is the default group that most people start in. Note that you can choose to add individual people as buddies even if they're not in one of your groups.
  7. Track when someone logs on or off. You can have Sticker generate a short message on the ticker when someone's virtual presence status changes by right clicking on their name in the Online Users window and check Notify When Online.

Secure Messages

  1. Send messages that no one else can intercept using secure messaging. Ticker messages can have "keys" attached to them so that only people holding the same key can receive them, so the simplest way to send secure messages amongst a group of people is for you to create a "private" key and give it to the others via a reasonably secure channel such as email or a floppy disk. Everyone then attaches the key to the group chosen for secure messaging.

    In this example, we'll set up secure messaging for the "Private Chat" group:

    • Create the "Private Chat" group by choosing Main Menu -> Preferences -> Ticker Groups -> Create Group
    • Show the security settings for the group by selecting it and choosing Properties and then selecting the Security section.
    • Create a new private key by selecting Create Key. Enter a name for the key, which can just be the name of the group you're going to secure (eg "Private Chat") and press OK. The security settings should look like the window below:

      Group Security window

    • Now export the key to a file by selecting Export Key and enter a file name. For example, save the key to a file called "Private Chat.key" on your desktop.
    • Send the key file via email to the people who you want to communicate with.
    • The people you sent the key to then save it on their desktop and then import it from the same group properties Security area by choosing Import Key and selecting the key file on the desktop.
    • Test the group by sending a new message with the Secure checkbox ticked: you'll get a warning if you haven't successfully setup the key for the group. Secure messages have a padlock icon attached to them on the ticker.
    • Ensure the private key files are fully deleted after import. On Windows, hold the Shift key while deleting.
  2. Send messages securely to individuals by importing their public key. You can enable secure messaging to someone's personal group simply by getting them to send you their public key via tickertape and importing it. Once you have someone's public key, Sticker can use it to send messages securely so that only they can receive them. If they do the same with your key, they can reply securely to you.

    Since only public keys are being used, you can send them via untrusted channels such as insecure ticker groups and still maintain a reasonable level of security. However, it is still remotely possible that someone could masquerade as your buddy and send you a bogus public key: if this is a concern, you can simply fall back on the more secure key exchange method described in the previous tip.

    To send your public key via ticker:

    • Show your key list by selecting Main Menu -> Preferences -> Security Keys.
    • Select your key, which has a red key icon and your nickname.
    • Choose Send Key, select Public in the Send Key dialog and click OK. It is important that you send your public key: your private key should always remain secret.
    • A New Message dialog will appear with your key as an attachment. Choose to send to a group, or type the nickname of the person you want to send to and click Send.
    • The receiver imports your key by right-clicking the message and choosing Open Attachment.
    • Test the setup by getting the recipient to send you a message with the Secure button checked.

Elvin Setup

  1. Set your Elvin server by selecting Preferences -> Elvin Service. You can enter one or more Elvin URL's (eg elvin://hostname:port) or scope names (eg *, or corporate) separated by spaces. These will be tried in order until a connection is made.
  2. If you have a local Elvin server, it is likely either accessible via the URL elvin://elvin or via auto server discovery using the scope name "*".
  3. If you don't have a local Elvin server and are not behind a firewall, there is a public Elvin server at elvin://
  4. You can configure HTTP tunnelling by clicking the Advanced... button. You'll also need to use an Elvin URL like elvin:/http,none,xdr/elvin:80 and ensure the target Elvin service is set up to accept this sort of connection.
  5. Find out about advanced connection options and getting a trial Elvin server at

Further Information

Please see the Sticker pages at or contact the author at for more information.

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