For various reasons, some of which I’ll expound on for the Mac geeks out there, the Bike Friday IRC channel I began so many moons ago is back again.  If you have questions about the bikes or service or just want to chat, this (I hope) will provide a good forum for some live interaction.  Heck, maybe one day I can get the rest of Bike Friday entered into the computer age and we can ALL contribute.  Meanwhile, you got me and whoever else might be there though it’s been pretty empty as of late (read: I’m lonely, come visit).

If you’re not familiar with IRC and your browser is set up to allow JavaScript (most modern ones are– unless you’ve disabled access), clicking here should take you right into the IRC channel or chat room if you prefer.  Before opening your digital mouth, you might first want to make a name for yourself, which you can do by typing /nick name where name is whatever you want your name to be.  Make sure you don’t have any spaces in it.  And don’t forget the forward slash.  Then just type away.  An example is pictured here for your convenience.

Another easy way for anyone to connect regardless of operating system is by using the ChatZilla plugin for Mozilla browsers (e.g. SeaMonkey, Firefox).  The install link is at the bottom.  Once there, just click here.

The more hardcore IRC’er will probably want a dedicated client.  It’s also nice to not have to have your browser open to do IRC.  I can’t help the Windoze folks out there but Wikipedia can.  *nix folks will appreciate my final solution for the Mac was Terminal-based.  Read on.

I once proclaimed an appreciation for Colloquy but have since rescinded that appreciation.  It’s just too darn buggy.  Conversation is worse (could have to do with the fact that the last release is from 2005).  Not many freeware options.  Linkinus was nice but $20 which seemed a bit more than what I wanted to spend for what it could do. 

And then they came out with some free licenses.  Well I got spoiled by a lot of features included one that would leave me on even with the application off.  That was simply too cool.  And then they came out with a new version and I did the automatic update which was incompatible with my license (I did know better at the time), which then became unusable.  I tried to get them to help me re-install the old licensed version but I have received no response and now I’m very glad I never gave them a dime.  They don’t deserve it.

I looked into a million options, especially one that would allow me to always stay connected.  The more I looked into it the more I saw Mac guys mentioned using irssi+screen.  Irssi is one of the best Terminal-based IRC clients out there.  Screen allows you to stay connected not only when the program you’re running in it is closed but also when Terminal itself is closed!

I did this for a while and was really happy with it but then I started exploring other ports on MacPorts and found weechat.  It had some features about it that won me over, like a nicklist that worked (irssi’s nicklist.pl script sucks), the ability to split windows vertically and horizontally and lots of other little things.  I had to play with it a bit to get it where I wanted (including making a 2-line Perl script to automatically create my split windows) but now it loads up just the way I want it to.

So it’s pretty easy to get this running with MacPorts.  Make sure you’re in an admin account in terminal (use login as needed) and then issue a sudo port install +perl.  MacPorts will add on all the dependent programs you need to get it running and verify the configuration.  It’s awesome.  As a slight tangent, I consider this essential if you’re going to use any *nix programs since the ports are built specifically for Darwin.  Anyways, the +perl isn’t necessary but recommended if you want to add on any additional functionality.  This is how my auto-split window script works.

What I’m really excited about though is the possibility of Growl notifications.  The idea of weechat+screen+growl has me ELATED!  Think about it:  with no Terminal running, you get notifications when things you want to know happen!  However, the growl-notify.pl script requires (sensibly so) Mac::Growl which for some reason I can’t get working due to dependencies I can’t get working for some reason, which I think is related to Mac::MoreFiles which I can’t seem to get going (Mac::Growl is looking for it).  I’m in touch with the developer of the script as well as introducing a bug report to Mac::Growl, so we’ll see what happens.

Anyways, however you get on IRC, get on there and let’s talk bikes!

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