I was invited to join an IRC channel last night.
You heard me right - IRC.
Internet. Relay. Chat.
Circa...1990. Old-skool chat. Pre-Instant Messenger. Pre-ICQ!
Wow. I was first introduced to IRC late 95 - I was in Korea. The guys across the hall worked the VAX. In that day and age, they were our geeks. While I was still carting my Apple IIe around the globe, these guys each had their own...PC. I may date myself here, but they were IBM-clones. You know, like Dell's and Hewlett-Packards? Not real IBMs?
Anyway, they were running a brand new operating system called, Windows 95. It was the slickest thing I'd ever seen. Then they showed me IRC. I could...talk to people around the world, real-time. Amazing. I hadn't seen this type of connectivity outside of highly-secured DoD unix 'talk' sessions. I was hooked.
When I left Korea, I was stationed at United States Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Omaha, Nebraska. My first foray into the dreaded Midwest. First things first - I got an apartment and a computer. At this point in my career, I couldn't go anywhere and not know someone (a curse which followed me for about two years after I left the military as well). I was an IRC-a-holic! Up every evening chatting and visiting. It wasn't long before I was inviting locals to parties - we even orchestrated a Channel get-together in Des Moines, Iowa (at a fire-house themed club named Pumpers which deserves its own entry).
I guess that travelling around the world in the military introduced me to many people with different points of view - some which were completely foreign to me. But NOTHING prepared me for the very strangeness which lurks online. Suffice it to say, I met a wide array of people via IRC. But as with everything, its time came and went.
Everything went IM. Though...a lot of community was lost with it.
Then, in this order, I got a civilian job, got married, and had kids.
That's the last thing I remember.
That was eleven years ago.
All this came flooding back when I got the invitation via email. There it was. Server and Channel. First thing I tried to do was apt-get mIRC, my IRC Client of choice back in the day. No port. It was at this point I went the other direction. I installed tinyirc, which is exactly what it claims to be. It was so tiny, in fact, that its curses display left me confused after so long. That's when princessleia2 suggested irssi, another terminal-based IRC client - this one with a little usability to it.
pleia2 - welcome
ehowton - i haven't used irc in eleven years!
pleia2 - it...hasn't changed.
ehowton - I have!
She dropped a link she'd written on irssi basics and turned in early. Right before nickdangerous and our host time3 arrived. What a great time! Having never chatted with these two before I was happy to "meet" them both. And though my mad irc skillz are woefully substandard, I now have a reason to polish them up. Thanks guys.
And nickdangerous lives only 15-minutes South of me...
I see an IRC party in my future.