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Hi, I'm Same-o-matic, I translate messages between chat systems for a living.

San Francisco, CA 53 posts

Using Slack as Your Team’s Universal Chat Client

By @abs

After years of forcing professional conversations into email chains and reply-alls, the modern workforce has begun a much-needed shift to communication via chat. Email loses to chat in so many ways—it allows too many messages to slip through the cracks, clutters up your digital space, and makes it easy for embarrassing errors to occur.

Slack, with its blindsiding success over the past couple of years, is the clearest signal yet that the email tide is turning. Slack’s model does a fantastic job of achieving organized, open communication across groups and departments, letting employees easily find any bit of organizational knowledge available. This is an absolute must for modern companies, especially as the adoption rate increases and email-only users find themselves unquestionably behind the curve.

Until now though, email has one-upped chat in a key area: With email, you’re able to receive and send messages securely regardless of which email service the other person is using. Vendors, partners, and clients can use their Hotmail address from the late 90s (we all remember ours) and still get the message to your inbox. But with chat, there hasn’t been a way to securely and easily talk to external people without keeping dozens of chat clients open at once. We’ve solved that problem at Sameroom by creating a tool that can make Slack your single chat client for all communication, both internal and external.

Achieving Workplace Zen with Sameroom

Let’s imagine your team works with a consultant who loves Hangouts for chatting, but you’re pushing for company-wide adoption of Slack. Within minutes, you can use Sameroom to bridge your own, dedicated Slack channel to a group on Hangouts.

If your team is working with another company that uses Slack, why not share a channel that both teams can access? This way, both teams get to keep working from their own cozy Slack setup.

With either of these scenarios, the biggest benefit is this: Each organization gets to use a single chat client of their choice, keeping a record of all communication data while controlling and allowing access to the channel as they see fit. Slack becomes your mission control center for two-way, real-time messaging across any major chat system, letting you work faster without losing important information.

At Brandfolder we deal with outside contractors. While its always great for our contractors to come in and use Slack, we would rather them stick to a tool they are used to. Sameroom allows us to continue using the Slack we love and allows contractors to use the tool they love.

Jason Waldrip, CTO

Lowering the Barrier to Slack Adoption

Friction of Slack adoption happens when a user needs to connect with an external party. Guest access only works to a certain extent, since the other party may already be committed to a tool (such as their own Slack, or Skype, or something else), or unwilling to forgo ownership of communication data (which email affords as a part of its standard operating procedure, since everyone always gets a copy). These limitations may force Slack users to switch between Slack and other chat applications. Worse, there may be a full-on email relapse.

I've been using Sameroom to push traffic from an IRC channel into Slack, where it's much easier to read, search and manage.

Jack Greenfield, Senior Staff Software Engineer

Sameroom + the Slack API: Making the Future Happen Now

Without Slack’s capable API, all of our big ideas at Sameroom would have remained squarely in pipe dream territory. Luckily, the Slack API is so good that creating our integration was a major success.

Sameroom lets you create “Tubes” between channels or private groups in your Slack and groups or contacts in a bunch of other platforms—even Freenode IRC channels and rooms in Campfire. We use the real-time API to listen to messages in channels you connect in Sameroom, and the web API to post messages to the other side.

Overall, the strategy works well—we preserve as much formatting as possible, and upload all shared files to your Slack team. Of all the chat systems we’ve explored, Slack is by far easiest to work with. As we continue to improve our integration, we expect it to be one of the top choices our customers make as they choose a universal chat client.

Responding to Customers from Slack

With our Sameroom Attend feature, it’s easy to connect your corporate Chatter, Facebook, Intercom, Skype, and Twitter accounts with your Slack team.

In this way, when a customer posts a question for your company in a service connected through Attend, anyone on your Slack team can either respond or get the attention of an expert.

Once we deployed this feature at our company, staff members who normally don’t use Facebook or Twitter, let alone have access to the corporate accounts, began engaging with our customers from Slack.

Sometimes, we respond without paying attention to the origin of a question—as it doesn’t seem to matter! And we think that’s pretty great, because we like bringing all our communication together in one place.

Sameroom helps me coordinate public chats across channels, so I don't have to worry about educating people about IRC, or about Slack. They can use their tool of choice.

Josh Simmons, Community Manager
O'Reilly Media

Connecting Facebook to Skype

Note: this integration is no longer available

If you find yourself mostly working in Skype, with a couple of ongoing Facebook conversations preventing you from tuning out of the social network, you may like the Sameroom Skype-Facebook integration.

Of course, it works the other way around, too. If you live in Facebook but need to keep an eye on Skype, Sameroom can help you get away from Skype for a bit. This can be particularly enticing for those in need of communication on-the-go, since Facebook’s Messenger app is, for the time being, vastly superior to Skype’s mobile solutions (at least, on iOS and Android—we hear it’s a marvel of engineering on Windows Phone).

To get started, follow these steps:

* This operation is commutative: A<=>B === B<=>A.

Once you set this up, you can adjust posting options to fine-tune how your messages appear on either end of the Tube.

Note that if you need to involve another team into your Skype-Facebook discussion, and the other team prefers Slack, HipChat, or some other platform supported by Sameroom, you can open another Tube between your Skype (or Messenger) group and the other platform, either directly, or via a Portal URL. To learn about using Portals, see our Videos section.

How to Bridge Facebook Messenger and Telegram

Note: this integration is no longer available

Both Telegram and Facebook Messenger are fantastic products—best in class. (Although, you have to agree—Messenger has the better domain name.)

You're lucky if your entire messaging world is neatly confined within the Telegram or the Messenger network. If your world happens to be randomly split between the two… well, then, you're switching like crazy. Welcome to the future!

We wrote about how we (the people) and our corporate overlords put our efforts together to build this future in an earlier post about Google Hangouts.

The good news is all of us at Sameroom are working hard to reintroduce some interoperability back into our lives. Today, I'm going to show how to sync up a chat in Telegram with one in FB Messenger.

It can be done in two steps:

  1. Add your Telegram and Messenger accounts to Sameroom Accounts;
  2. Bridge a contact or group in Telegram (Side A) with a contact or group in Messenger (Side B) via the Open a Tube flow.

You can adjust how your messages appear on the other side by configuring posting options.

Note: you can also create a Portal to your Telegram or Messenger group and share the Portal URL with others. They'll be able to join from whatever platform they like (and we support). Here is a video that shows how to share a Slack channel—it will work exactly the same way with Telegram or Messenger—

Questions or comments? We watch our Twitter account like FBI watches Pintero's restaurant in Enemy of the State.

Connecting HipChat and Telegram

By @abs

HipChat, the team collaboration platform from Atlassian, is one of the most popular workspace collaboration services out there. It works very well for internal communication, but when transacting with consultants, contractors, or customers, there are a few complications.

First, the guest access feature is fairly limited. It's not very secure, history is not preserved from the perspective of the guest, and there's not much a guest can do to use it while on-the-go.

Second, if a consultant, customer, or contractor happens to be based out of a location with poor connectivity, the broadband-hungry HipChat may have a hard time staying connected.

The combination of HipChat and Telegram—coupled through Sameroom—could be the perfect duet for these situations. Telegram works well in low-bandwidth, high-latency environments, making smooth, real-time communication a reality for folks stationed in remote, poorly-connected outposts, such as San Francisco.

To give this a shot, create a room (open or private) in HipChat for communication with your outsider. Invite everyone from your team who is involved on the project. Then, create a new group in Telegram and invite the outsider (or outsiders!). Then, follow these steps:

  1. Add your HipChat and Telegram accounts to Sameroom Accounts;
  2. Follow the Open a Tube menu option to Choose your HipChat room for side A and Telegram group for side B.

That should do it. You can customize the way your messages appear in Telegram—take a look at this post to learn more. You can also keep certain messages local to the HipChat side only, with the hush command. The hush command is very handy if you need to mention someone on your team, ask a question, or add a comment without broadcasting this fact across to the Telegram side.

Reach out on Twitter if you have any questions about this feature or Sameroom in general.

Introducing Posting Options

By Andrei Soroker

This post describes how to control the way a message author's name appears in rooms or channels connected with Sameroom.

Some options are configurable through the web interface only, while others are also accessible via -sameroom commands.

Each Tube listed on the Manage page has one settings gear per side:


(Note: if you are not the owner of one of the sides, you will only see one settings gear, on your side of the Tube.)

If you click on a gear, you'll see a list of options:


Let's go over these in detail.

(Note: each Portal has a settings gear as well—its settings serve as defaults for all [new] Tubes created through it.)

Will you be the only one posting messages to this room?

If you're using Sameroom as an individual, to minimize the number of communication apps you have to deal with, you don't have to worry about retaining the attribution of your messages when they appear on the other side—they all come from you.

-sameroom format — Show current format
-sameroom format off — Equivalent to Yes above

Post with username or display name?

Some services (Slack, for example) let you specify both your display name and a username. This option lets you specify which version should is used to post messages.

This addresses a popular feature request: use Slack username instead of display name when posting to IRC.

-sameroom format — Show current format
-sameroom format dispname — Use display name
-sameroom format username — Use username
-sameroom format dispname username — Use both

Hide team name?

For services that support teams, you can let the other side see your team name with your messages. Choose "Yes" if you prefer to hide your team name.

-sameroom format — Show current format
-sameroom dispname team — Use display name with team
-sameroom username team — Use username with team
-sameroom username dispname team — Use username and display name with team

(Omit team from commands to exclude.)

Post system messages to this room?

If you don't want your client or partner to know that you're using Sameroom to talk to them, you can prevent Sameroom from posting any system messages to their room. Note: this setting is set to "No" for Skype by default.

Relay options

These options help you configure one-directional Tubes. This is a good solution for archiving.

For example, if you want to back up all messages from a Skype group to a channel in Slack, but don't want the risk of any messages going in the other direction—use "Do not relay messages from this room" on the Slack side.

Bonus: the -sameroom format command

If you don't have access to the Sameroom account responsible for managing the Tube, which is expected with the Enterprise product, you can view and modify most posting options with -sameroom commands.

-sameroom format — Show current format

-sameroom format <format option> — Set posting format for a room.

The possible format options are off, dispname, username, dispname team, username team, dispname username, dispname username team.

If you have any questions about posting options, reach out on Twitter!.