Well? Something finally exciting and cheap is now here! An IRC (Internet Relay Chat) Client from BrailleSoft is now available!
What is IRC?
IRC, or Internet Relay Chat is a service where you can meet all types of people, play online games, as well as chat and host your own chat rooms, all for free! Most clients cost money because of the complexity and time spent behind the IRC protocol for your machine to be able to communicate efficiently and effectively with people all over the world. There are lots of people who love colaborating and chatting, and most IRC services are free. There are millions of free IRC servers available around the world you can log onto 24/7, 365 days a year! My client loves Unreal IRCD servers the most however. You can Google a query like "IRC Server List", and you'll find dozens of pages about what networks you can join!
What's New in Version 1.3.1?
You can now save the message log window to a text file. Useful if you had a great time in a chat room and decide to relive it again later! By default, the box is checked to allow saving of the message logs. To uncheck this for the current session, during a chat press F2 and press ENTER on Program Options, then arrow to and press ENTER to uncheck "Save Message Log". If the box is checked and you leave a room with f1/ESCAPE, you are presented with a Save AS dialog box. Either enter a filename and search for the location the text file should be placed and press OK, or press ESCAPE to cancel and return to the list of chat rooms. After the chat is saved you are returned to the list of chat rooms. If the box is not checked, then you are returned to the list of rooms like the prior versions. The saved files can be read and editted with FSEdit and Pocket Word if you wish.
What's Been Fixed and added in Version 1.3?
Twenty-two new programmable sound events have been added. You can now hear sounds when you are sending or receiving messages, when the status of a room has changed, when the room is being watched or not, ETC.
The program now says what the user sees when you enter the "/me" prefix before a chat. E.G. "/me got hit.", it returns with: "You said: Louis got hit." Where Louis is really your nickname.
Better error handling. The program shouldn't crash when you try to connect to an IRC server you are NOT registered with. You should now see the error.
The "View Topic" option when in the list of rooms is no longer in the menus, it is now a button you need to TAB to and activate once you are on the room you need to ssee the topic for.
The demo version gives you fifteen-days more if it is your first time trying the client out after migrating from a previous version.
Also, you could no longer send messages in Version 1.2. this has been fixed permanently! It was broken due to a buggy algorithm.
What's been fixed for Version 1.2?
You can now connect to more IRC networks! The client no longer freezes when it logs on and searches for the message of the day. Instead, it will search for a while, and if it doesn't find it or if it is never sent, then it takes you directly to the list of chat rooms you can join!
Now when you press ENTER accidently, and you have typed nothing, then nothing happens.
Made the receiving and sending of data faster and more stabler.
What's been fixed for Version 1.1? The program no longer crashes when you press ENTER without saying anything. Please note that the prompt that is presented to you if you press ENTER accidently will be sent to everyone or the person you are chatting with. To avoid this, simply press any other key and continue typing, or erase any inserted character then continue typing if that should occur.
The program should have lesser of a chance to crash while receiving data from the server. This is NOT yet full proof so updates will come out from time-to-time with fixes for this problem.
When new updates come out, automatically anyone who has registered will be allowed to have their count reset for free, no questions asked. It only costs $2.00 if you use it four times during the current time that a particular update is available and you really don't want to wait for the next one.
Also please note that is OK to continue if the program should crash with a Basic4ppc error. Answer YES to the question and the program resumes. You can use the JAWS cursor during chat to give a control focus, like the message log box, and things should continue working as expected. You could also leave and rejoin a room to get the program back on track again.
To use it:
1. Download the CAB file and install this client onto your PAC Mate!
2. Launch the client! You will be asked shortly if you want to try it out. Press Yes to try it out for fifteen-days, or No if you have purchased the client and want to register it.
If you are registering the client, then follow step 3. Otherwise, skip on to step 5.
3. Enter your registration code which was emailed to you upon purchase. You will get 4 chances to use this code should your PAC Mate hard reset itself for some reasons. After which you must request a free code reset. In the next month this will become automated so stay tuned for that. It no longer costs you $2.00 to ask for these!.
4. If your code is correct, the program starts after you press ENTER. If not you are told this and are moved out of the application.
5. Now, the program prompts you for the server you want to connect to. Here, you have 2 options: a. Either type in the information per field and press the Connect button to get on to the requested IRC server.
Please Note: Do not type in irc.servername.com, just servername.com, or something.servername.com. If the server name starts off with irc., the program will add this. If not, then the program knows this and will connect to the server just fine by itself.
However a servername like chat.servername.com will work because it does NOT start off with irc..
b. Or, press f2 and select favorites. If you want to add a server to your favorites, then choose Add A Server. To remove a server from your favorites, then choose Remove A Server.
If removing servers, select the one you want to remove then TAB and activate the Remove button. When you are done selecting servers to remove, close the Window with f1/ESCAPE. If you are satisfied with the servers you have selected, answer YES. If not, answer nO.
If adding a server, the simplest thing to do is to fill in all fields except the one that asks for the server you want to connect to. Press f2, select Favorites, then Add A Server, fill in the servername to add, then just TAB to and activate the Add to Favorites Button. After the server has been added, you are asked if you want to connect right away. Answer Yes or No.
To quickly log onto a site, just go to favorites, choose Logon to A server, press ENTER, and select the server from the list you want to connect to. Do NOT fill in any fields, as the program does this for you. Just TAB and activate the "Connect..." button.
6. Now that you are connected, you will see some progress messages letting you know what's happening. If the log on is successful, then you will get to the message of the day. Once the message of the day is loaded, the Braille Display moves the words from its center to its left and you can use standard navigational commands to read through it. Press F1 when finished reading the message to go on into the list of chat rooms you can conveniently join!
NOTE: Depending on how many chat rooms are available will depend on how long you will have to wait until a list is presented to you. The more chat rooms that need to be gathered, the longer you will have to wait. This is due to the PAC Mate's processor. Nevertheless, when the list is loaded you will see the first 500 chat rooms you can get to. Unfortunately, that is all this app is able to remember for now, but that should be more than enough rooms for the first version. I will make sure the next version is able to give you more choices than that!
7. Select the visible chat room you want to join then TAB to and activate the Join Room button.
To see the topic of a room, select it then TAB to the "View Room Topic" button and press ENTER to have it read/displayed. Press f1 to return to the current list of rooms.
8. If you cannot find the room you want to join, or if you want to create a new room, or you know the name of a hidden room you are allowed to join, TAB to and activate the Create or Join Hidden Room button. Enter the name of the room you want built or you want to join and press the Create or Join Hidden Room button once more and you are ready to chat!
9. While chatting after selecting either button, the following commands are available to you:
a. Type in what you want to say using Computer Braille and press ENTER to have it sent publically to everyone in the room.
b. If you need to review the message log, just TAB to the text field that says Message Log, and view it with standard PAC Mate reading commands. To immediately start chatting, simply begin typing and the Message Log is hidden allowing you to type your input.
c. To perform actions on a specific user in the room you are in, simply TAB to the listbox and select the user you want to ignore temporarily, send secret messages to, or to figure out the spelling of a particular nickname to perform more advanced actions on him/her.
To send private messages, TAB back to the unlabled edit field after selecting the user you want to speak to privately and just type to him/her and press ENTER. Your message is then sent to only the selected person and not the entire room.
To allow everyone again to hear/see your messages, TAB to the listbox and select everyone, then TAB back and begin typing again as you did when you first started in chat.
Ignoring a user or several users is done a little differently. Simply select the user from the listbox then press F2, press ENTER on program options, then press ENTER to add this person to your ignore list. The person stays there until you log off of the IRC server and close out the program.
To use a verbal command, just start your chats off with /me. E.G. /me hit jane and she screamed! Most people, depending on what IRC client they use will see: yourname hit jane and she screamed! instead of the normal "yourname said:" that you would if you just typed a message and pressed ENTER.
The slash prefix is also used period to issue pure IRC commands. E.G. If you are moderator of a room, to kick someone out of your room, you'd type:
/kick #roomname person to kick followed by the reason given. Please note that no roomnames or nicknames can contain spaces, so in theory an example will look like this:
/kick #test Louis You are annoying me!
Pressing ENTER performs the action. To invite someone into your room, you'd write:
/invite #roomname nickname
The server may NOT respond but once you pressed ENTER the command is performed. If you are good with talking to IRC servers then the slash command will have you going for hours! For more help with these, especially for those of you who host rooms and want to grant or take certain channel permissions away, please join the BrailleSoft Discussion Mailing list, or go on to Talking IRC and come into the BrailleSoft IRC room!
When you are done chatting, just press F1 and the list of rooms are reloaded just encase new rooms are available.
When you are done chatting, just press F1 to leave the client!
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