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Fix a trashed chat buddy list Internet
Recently, for no apparent reason, my chat buddy list was knocked down from 110 users to 34. Afraid that I had lost all of those people, I tried to think of a solution. I knew that I had created contacts in Address Book that had included AIM screen names when I knew them. So using a Smart Folder, I isolated the contacts in Address Book by using the rule "IM status" "Is set."

But this was the tricky part. Dragging and dropping these contacts onto iChat or Adium didn't work. The only app that seems to be able to update your buddy list (that is, communicate with the AOL servers where the buddies are stored) is AOL's own AIM client. And guess which app doesn't seem to support drag and drop?

I tried to use some earlier hints, including one to use AppleScript to automate repopulating my buddy list on AIM, but it didn't seem to work. I tried going into AIM, adding a few buddies manually, and exporting the buddy list file (.blt) to understand the syntax so I could add my own buddies by editing the .blt file itself. However, AOL's AIM just kept crashing when I tried to load in the edited file.

Finally, I hit on the following solution which does work:
  1. Sign up for a free .Mac account on
  2. Log into iChat via your .Mac account
  3. Isolate the buddies you wish to transfer over into a list in Address Book, or select them manually
  4. Drag and drop these selected contacts into the iChat window. This should work because iChat allows you to update your buddy list from the client when you're using a .Mac account
  5. Log out of iChat and into AIM using your .Mac screen name. Make sure to include ".mac" at the end of the screen name.
  6. Go to File -> Export and choose .blt
  7. Log out of your .Mac screen name, and back in to your regular AIM screen name
  8. Go to File -> Import, choose the .blt file, and get all your buddies back!
Now that I know this, I'm going to make sure any changes I make in AIM are synced to my Address Book, because I trust it a lot more than AOL's servers and the two buggy AIM clients that I use.
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Fix a trashed chat buddy list
Authored by: boredzo on Jul 26, '05 11:04:35AM

Adium has options in its Advanced preferences to feed the contact list from the Address Book, and it does use the server-side contact list (plus a local cache) for persistent storage.

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