Have you ever wanted to talk with other computer users in other parts
of the world? Well guess what...You can!
The program is called IRC, Internet Relay Chat, and it is
networked over much of North America, Asia, Europe, and Oceania.
This program is a substitution for talk, and many
other multiple talk programs you might have read about. When you are
talking on IRC, everything you type will instantly be transmitted
around the world to other users that might be watching their terminals
at the time - they can then type something and respond to your
messages - and vice versa. I should warn you that the program can be
very addictive once you begin to make friends and contacts on IRC,
especially when you learn how to discuss in 14 languages...
Topics of discussion on IRC are varied, just like the topics of
Usenet newsgroups are varied. Technical and political
discussions are popular,
especially when world events are in progress. IRC is also a
way to expand your horizons, as people from many countries and
cultures are on, 24 hours a day. Most conversations are in English,
but there are always channels in Russian, German, Japanese, Finnish,
IRC gained international fame during the late Persian Gulf War,
when updates from around the world came across the wire, and most
people on IRC gathered on a single channel to hear these report.
If you are having trouble finding people to talk with, popular channels
you may wish to check out include: #new2irc, #cafeole, #cybersex,
#partyparty, #music, #love, #hottub. If none of those interest you, here
is a list of all channels sorted by
amount of users/group taken at 4pm, Saturday February 17.
Regarding IRC servers, we seem to have good luck with irc.ais.net (port
6665), irc.neosoft.com (port 6665), and irc.portal.com (port 9998), so
you may wish
to select one of those.
In this class, we will be using Homer
for the macintosh, and
ViRC for Windows.
Each will be introduced during office hour sessions but can easily be
mastered with the below information.
Here are a few commands you should know before getting started on the
road to a total loss of productivity, aka IRC.
- /say <msg>: To send a public message to the
current channel you are on. By default, anything typed without
a leading command are interpreted as public messages.
- /action <msg>: Instead of sending a public
message saying "I run away", you can use the action message
"runs away" which is specially displayed "*** <your-nick>
runs away". Actions should be entered in the third person.
- /msg <recipient> <message>: This command
send a private message to a single user or a public message to a
channel you are not on.
- /ignore <nick> +all: If you don't want to
to any public or private messages from a particular user, use
the ignore command.
- /list: Used to list all current channels, this
command is not recommended (showing hundreds of channels may
- /join <channel>: This command will join an
existing channel or create a new one with the given name. If
you are on several channels at once, repeated join commands
will let you change your current channel.
- /names [<channel> | *]: This command displays a
of all users on the given (or current) channel. Using this
without parameters lists all users on IRC, and is not
- /who [<channel> | *]: This command displays a
of all users, and certain user information, for the given (or
current) channel. Using this command without parameters lists all
users on IRC, and is not recommended.
- /topic <channel> [<topic>]: To display
channel's topic, use the simple form. To change the channel's
enter a new one with the command.
- /kick <channel> <nick> [<msg>]:
(Operators only) Used to kick a user from a channel with an
message. However, the command does not prohibit them from
rejoining the channel.
- /help [<command>]: This command provides
or specific help on commands and syntax.
- /whois <nick>: Displaying extra information on
particular user, the whois command shows you what server, client
machine, and the idle time is for that user.
- /nick <new-nick>: If you want to change your
nickname, use this command. If you have selected a nickname
in use, you will be asked to choose another.
IRC server you have connected to. Typically, you will not need to
do this. However, your IRC server may split from the network and
all users not connected to that server will "fall out" (signoff
abruptly). Rather than sit on an empty channel or server, try
switching to a server still connected to the net. Both
and irc.uiuc.edu are good servers to try.
- /away [<away-msg>]: If you walk away from your
computer or are doing other work that leaves your IRC session
mark yourself as being away. Users that send private messages to
will be notified that you are not paying attention. Use the
form of the command to denote that you are no longer away.
command for setting just user information (in contrast to the
mode comand). For example, to make yourself invisible to users
dont share a channel with you, try
/mode <your-nick> +i
- /quit [<msg>]: This command quits the IRC
and optionally displays a short signoff message to other users.
- /dcc <params>: A complex command for setting up
private "client-to-client" sessions, for chatting or exchanging
with other users.