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Introduction: Hacks #17-30

Most IRC clients provide the same basic subset of functionality, but you can really improve your IRC experience by exploiting the features provided by your particular IRC client. Almost all IRC clients offer various shortcuts to prevent your having to type more than necessary. Nickname completion is seemingly universally supported and means you don't have to type the full nickname of another user when you address her. This is particularly useful when you encounter channels that contain users with strange nicknames.

Some of the enhancements introduced by this chapter are simple yet useful, such as adding timestamps to your messages and highlighting keywords from other users. You will also be introduced to IRC scripting, which enables you to customize the functionality of your IRC client. Practical examples include filtering banned words, managing huge debate channels, getting your IRC client to talk out loud, and controlling captions on webcams.

IRC is primarily a text-based chat system, but that doesn't mean you are limited to using just plain text. This chapter shows you how to add colors and other formatting to your messages, making them stand out among the rest.

While older IRC clients could connect to only one server at a time, modern IRC clients allow you to connect to any number of servers. Even the most paranoid user can feel safe using IRC, as this chapter also shows you how to secure your IRC connection or tunnel it through other machines.

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