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Internet Relay Chat (IRC)
A little-known internet resource among many Web users, Internet Relay Chat (IRC) has actually been around for many, many years. IRC is basically a large collection of servers connected together around the world. On IRC there are channels, which are a similar concept to USEnet's newsgroups, except that they are real-time. You type your text and everyone else on the channel sees it a second (or a few seconds) later. This enables you to have discussions on a multitude of topics. There are in fact several different IRC networks.
IRC is very much anarchy. Anyone can start a channel, and they can discuss anything they want. Files can also be exchanged over IRC. Most of IRC is taken up by people chatting, but there are also some hardware and software information and discussion channels.
Warning: There are also a
number of unsavory channels on IRC that are used for purposes I'd rather not get into
here, so be careful where you end up when you are exploring. I do not recommend allowing
children to use IRC unattended.
I'm not an expert on IRC so I am not going to talk about it a great deal here. For more information, try looking at this IRC resource page. If you've never used IRC before with your current Internet service provider, you will probably want to contact them to determine what you need to set up to enable it.
I have set up a chat channel so that the users of this site, including the many participants in The PC Guide Discussion Forums, can chat with each other about various topics. See this page for more details on the The PC Guide IRC Channel.