Dear friends,

While I am very happy with the gradual strengthening of my community of friends, I have gradually begun to feel that something else was needed. Formal article publications and discussions are not enough, I think. Simply put, I wanted to “meet” you in an informal way and, no less importantly, I wanted you, my friends and readers, to have the opportunity to “meet” each other informally and chat together. This is why I have decided to open a IRC (Internet Relay Chat) channel.

For those of you familiar with the concept here is the info:

server: irc.maddshark.net
channel: The_Vineyard
full URL: irc://maddshark.net/The_Vineyard

For those of you who are no familiar with IRC, this is a virtual place were people can chat (via keyboard) with each other very informally and, unlike a forum, where no record is kept of the chats (at least not by default, this can be done, of course). To join such a chat you need a little piece of software called an “IRC client”. If you use GNU/Linux (which you should), the best known one is Xchat. If you are still using Windows or Mac (why?!) you can install an extention to Firefox (you are *not* using Internet Exploder, right?!) called ChatZilla which you can find here: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/16. Just click on “download”, then accept the installation, then restart Firefox, then go to “tools” and then click on “ChatZilla”.

You can get all the info on how to use ChatZilla here: http://chatzilla.hacksrus.com/

Another option is to use the excellent mibbit website: just click on “start chatting now”, then choose the “Maddshark webirc” from the IRC drop down menu, then enter any Nick (nickname) you want, then enter the channel #The_Vineyard and press “go” and that’s it!

I have not decided yet how to organize myself with this IRC, but I am thinking of having some fixed time each week when I will always be reachable on the IRC; either that, or you can send me a short email letting me know that you would like to “meet” there and I will try to make it. This really depends on how much interest, if any, you – my friends and readers – will have for this IRC.

Lastly, if there is a demand for such an idea, I could simply install an IRC widget on my blog and we could run chats right off my blog, but I don’t like that idea too much (it distracts from the blog and eats up bandwidth).

Anyway – please drop by, try it out, come and “meet” me (mostly in the evenings – US Eastern time). Best of all – chat with each other. While I cannot go into the details about this – some of you guys are *extremely* interesting people with very different backgrounds and I think you could really enjoy talking to each other.

Lastly – let me know what you think or whether you have any suggestions, comments or criticisms.

Kind regards,

The Saker

PS: one more thing: if you install ChatZilla just clicking on the link irc://maddshark.net/The_Vineyard (also posted on the top left side of the page) will directly take you to my IRC. That might well be the easiest way to get there!

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