IRC is one of the best things that happened in the world of online communications ever. But, it’s a pity that most non-technical users have no idea of its existence. Getting on IRC usually required downloading and installing a client software, and then going through a list of networks, picking a server, a nickname, and finding a channel to connect to. While not exactly rocket science, it was more than enough to seriously decrease the user base.
Via this Web Worker Daily post I learned about a great tool – Mibbit. It is a web-based interface to IRC. It is straight forward, easy to use, and doesn’t require one to know much about IRC. No installation or registration is needed – you can jump straight into it.
In fact, even many technical people who use IRC will find Mibbit useful. It adds some useful pieces of functionality which many traditional IRC clients miss (unless, of course they support plugins). Two things that I was glad to see were Paste Bin support, which is a quick way to send around pieces of text, often with syntax highlight, and editing capabilities; and integrated translations. You can pick the language you want your messages to be translated to, as well as the language you want other people’s messages to be translated to. Of course, the translations are done automatically, so they aren’t of the best quality, but at least you’ll get a slight idea of what those other people are talking about. In case you don’t speak a common language, that is.
I also liked the interface of Mibbit. It is clean, simple, and fast. You can participate in multiple discussions, which will appear as tabs, which you can switch between. Updates are fast and the whole thing feels very much like a desktop application.
Thanks to Web Worker Daily for bringing attention to this service, and, of course, to Mibbit developers for making a useful tool.
P.S.: If you are trying to get a hold of me on IRC, my contact page has all the information that you need.