by April 1, 1999 0 comments

Using a TCP/IP connection

  1. Install a chat client such as Pirch, Mirc, etc, and connect
    to the Internet.
  2. Register a nickname for yourself, which will be your
    identity on the chat service you log onto. Some chat sites don’t have this facility,
    so you don’t have to worry about it there. Others like TalkCity ( offer free nickname registration.
    Upon registration you get a password and some of them even offer free Web space.
  3. Fire up your chat client, and choose the chat server to
    which you have registered yourself. Enter your nickname and password and hit the
    “connect” button. The chat site verifies your identity and logs you in.
  4. Use the /list command with parameters like —min 25 or
    —max 25 to list only channels with less than 25 or more than 25 users.
  5. Use /join <#channelname> to join a channel that looks
    interesting to you. In case you are using a graphical chat client you can double click on
    a channel name to join it.
  6. Once you have joined a channel you can see the list of all
    the people in the channel. Whatever you type will be visible to all users logged in. Go on
    say “Hi” to people, introduce yourself and start chatting! You can also chat
    privately by typing /msg before your message. In graphical chat clients
    just double click on the nickname you need to chat privately with.

    useful IRC commands
    Command Purpose
    /list Lists channels.
    /join <#channelname> To join the channel “channelname”.
    /ping Finds the time taken for a message to get to
    that nick.
    /me Substitutes your nickname before the message.
    /nick Changes your .
    /msg Chat privately with “nickname”.
    /join Create your own chat room. The “new
    channel name” is unique, and you have your own channel and are its channel operator.
    For the complete list look up
    the help section of your chat client.

Using a shell account

In case you use a shell account, things are a bit
different. Most ISPs provide a default chat server that you can connect to, for example,
VSNL’s default is Talkcity.

To chat from a shell account do the following:

  1. Go to the Unix shell prompt.
  2. Type: irc <nickname> <servername:
    Here <nickname> is the nickname that you have registered at the Website of that chat
    service and NOT your VSNL login name. Port number by default is 6667.
  3. Once you’re logged in, just type the message in your
    chat client and press "enter". Public messages are visible to everyone on the
  4. To send private messages, type "/msg
    <nickname>" in front of your message. If you don’t want to repeatedly type
    /msg nickname, you can also type "/query <nick name>" which will send all
    your subsequent messages to the specified nick. Issue a /query without any parameters to
    end a private chat session.

There is one disadvantage of using IRC on a shell account.
Any user on IRC can do a /whois of your nickname and find out your ISP login name and even
your IP address. To prevent this type in the following commands at the Unix shell prompt:

  1. IRCNAME = "It’s a secret" [Enter]
  2. Export IRCNAME [Enter]

After doing this, log on as explained above. Now when
someone does a /whois of your nickname, he/she will see "It’s a secret"
instead of your login name.

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