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Pirch FAQ v0.80d

Written by Fred S. Rappa and Bert Weisse (June 30, 1996).
Contributors: George W. Leithead.

Pirch FAQ v0.80d
Pirch Client Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is maintained by Fred S. Rappa and Bert Weisse. Feel free to distribute this FAQ to any interested parties, under one stipulation. This FAQ must be in its entirety and not be modified in any way. This FAQ will be updated as the need arises, and be located at:

  • http://www.bcpl.lib.md.us/~frappa/pirch.html

If you have any additions that you would like to be added to this FAQ, please email me at frappa@mail.bcpl.lib.md.us with the SUBJECT HEADING being **PIRCH FAQ**, I shall consider each question and the relevance it can have on the FAQ, carefully. Any questions used become the property of Northwest Computer Services.

This document was proof-read by Helen Waite. If you have complaints about typographical errors contain herein... please go to Helen Waite.

PIRCH FAQ - Copyright © 1996 Northwest Computer Services

So now after that legal barrage lets get to the FAQ

Table of Contents I. PREFACE
This FAQ covers some of the most frequently asked questions and is intended to supplement, not replace the PIRCH documentation. In light of this fact, please do not expect to find every topic of PIRCH to which you maybe interested covered in this document.

1. Conventions used
Dues to some differences and specific features between the 16 & 32 bit versions, the following convention have been adopted.

Aliases in this documented will be written in the ‘old style’ convention as follows

aliasname:/command parameters | /nextcommand parameters

The 32 bit version allows adding of multi-line aliases without the need of the | character and the alias may contain comment lines between commands.


1. When is the next version of PIRCH being released?
Information regarding next releases and upgrades will not be given. While this seems to be the most popular question, it also the one to which we don’t have an answer to. New release depend greatly on development and testing schedules and the results of how a given set of tests go determines the next phase to be completed. The simplest answer is that know one knows for sure until it is actually posted. Keep an eye on our home page at
http://www.bcpl.lib.md.us/~frappa/pirch.html and check the channel topic in #pirch on the undernet.

2. What are the basic requirements of the 32 bit version?

3. How do I send sounds to a channel, or user?
There are a number of ways PIRCH will allow you to play sounds and other multimedia files on an IRC channel or to a user

/sound [nick/channel] filename.ext [msg]
ex. /sound #pirch rightnow.mid plays a tune. (sends the sound to the entire channel)
ex. /sound Wolfie316 rightnow.mid says gee Wolfie your the greatest! (sends to user)
Here are some useful aliases: (just change the path to whatever your default sound directory is.)

RMI:/sound # $file "Pick a file to play" c:\path\*.rmi
WAV:/sound # $file "Pick a file to play" c:\path\*.wav
MIDI:/sound # $file "Pick a file to play" c:\path\*.mid
AVI:/sound # $file "Pick a file to play" c:\path\*.avi
s:/sound # *1

NOTE: Currently all sound/avi/media files MUST be in the default sound directory. Sometime in the future you will be allowed to have additional directories that PIRCH will search for the files.

4. What file types of sound files does PIRCH accept?
PIRCH accepts .wav , .mid, .rmi and .avi file types internally. In addition, PIRCH has the capability for support a wide array of additional multi-media file formats through the use of helper applications. (This is discussed in detail later in this document)

5. I used to use mIRC ..... Can I use my remotes from mIRC in PIRCH?
For the most part yes. PIRCH’s syntax is similar in many respects to that of mIRC. You just have to change a few of the command and variable names. More advanced scripts may require additional changes.

Here are a few of the more common changes required:

Some common scripting errors are...
Running a variable name into the surrounding text. PIRCH variables must have a space character around the variable name.

wrong: /sound # $1.wav plays a tune

right: /sound # $1 $+ .wav plays a tune

6. How do I do bold underline and italics?

To turn them on and off you the following commands.

You can also write the line of text, hilight the text you want to enhance and right click on the edit box you will see a popup menu that has those 3 options in it.

7. How do I do bold underline and italics in aliases & popups?

The following codes can be used to enable & disable attributes in aliases &popups.

  • BOLD \-2
  • ITALICS \-22
  • Underline \-31
The codes toggle the specified attribute, so using the code once will turn the effect on... using it again will turn it off... Example: This is \-2 bold \-2 , \-22 italics \-22 , \-31 underlined \-31
expands to: This is bold, italics, underlined

8. How can I do an auto-dcc send through events?

Auto DCC’s also called Autogets/Autosends are commonly used on IRC to make the process of trading files among users quick & easy, and actually make the trading of sounds files almost automatic. For this document’s purpose we will use the automated sound file trade as an example. Currently there are 2 popular methods in which this can be accomplished. The first uses a private notice approach, in which a private notice is sent to the player requesting the file, this is generally favored. The second method performs the request publicly in a channel. In a situation where you have many people playing and auto requesting files simultaneously, it can become a problem to actually find chat in the channel using the second method, however it is demonstrated here as well.

Add the 2 lines below to your Events window, and enable events

ON NOSOUND:*.*:*:/notice $nick !DCCSEND $filename
ON NOTICE:!DCCSEND*:*:/dcc send $nick c:\yourwavedir\ $+ $2 $+

The first line is an event that will be triggered if someone plays a sound file you do not have. It will send a private notice to the person that played the sound file indicating you want it. The second line is the response to the request and issues to the /dcc send command. This method also has the advantage of working consistently regardless of what your nickname may be for the session.


ON NOSOUND:*.*:*:/msg # ! $+ $nick $filename
ON TEXT:!yournick*:#:/dcc send $nick c:\yourwavedir\ $+ $2 $+

9. How can I get to print URLs from the URL catcher without actually typing it?

First you must add this alias:

URL: You can find it at $url

Then you highlight the specific URL you want, and type /URL into the edit box.

10. How can I turn CTCPs on and off and what are the consquences?

You can use these aliases to turn CTCPs on and off:

F11:/set ctcp off | /flush
CF11:/set ctcp on

If you set ctcp off you can not be flooded off channels by bots and other IRC evils, but you cannot initiate a DCC Chat, DCC Get or reply to any other standard CTCP queries. In addition, any CTCP events (also called remotes) will not function. To be able to be protected while DCCing you must set ctcp on (using the above alias you can simply press the Ctrl-F11 key combination), and have a connection between both users established. Once this connection is established you can set ctcp off again by pressing the F11 key (or however you have the alias set).

11. Can I incorporate function keys into my aliases?

Yes you can.

F2:/me waves to Wolfie316

In addition you can specify additional 'shift-state' keys along with the function key including the ALT , CONTROL and SHIFT keys by prefixing the alias name with an A,C or S respectively. For example to define an alias for Alt-F2 call your alias AF2. You can even combine them... ACSF2 means you hold down the control, alt,control & shift keys and then press F2.

12. How do I log onto Undernet and Efnet at the same time?

After connected to your first net, just press the Login Button on the Toolbar or select IRC|New Connection from the drop down menu, and proceed as you did with the first server connection.

13. How much is PIRCH and where do I send my check to?

It is being released as shareware, so if you continue to use this software, and/or appreciate the effort put into PIRCH and would like to see it continue, I ask that you send the paltry sum of $10 US (check or money orders) to:

Northwest Computer Services
309 North Labree Suite #9
Thief River Falls, MN 56701

International customers can request an International Money order form virtually any bank and these are gladly accepted.

14. How can I send files to another user via DCC?

There are 2 ways that this can be accomplished.

First you can use the DCC SEND button on the toolbar or in the names list popup. (Right Click on the names list) and select DCC send. (The rest is obvious...I hope)

Another way to DCC files to a user that happens to be in the same channel as you is DCC|Drag & Drop Sender, which is also in the Names list popup. A Dialog box will pop up and you will select the file you want to send by clicking on the filename, then hold down the mouse button and drag it over to the Names list until the arrow is pointing to the user you wish to send it to. Then just release the button and off it goes. You can also drag a file to a query (private message) window to send it to the person you are having the private conversation with.

15. Is there a Mailing list for PIRCH users?

There will be a public mailing list sometime in the near future, we will post an address on the PIRCH home page when its up and running.

16. Where can I get updates of PIRCH?

Updates can be obtained at the following locations


Hopefully we can get a few more sites in the future.

17. I try to access http://www.bcpl.lib.md.us/~frappa/pirch.html and it wont let me on.

The address is case sensitive, make sure it is EXACTLY entered in as above.

18. Im on Netcom or Pipeline and I can not connect. Why?

The Netcom and Pipeline Winsocks seem not to be compliant to Winsock 1.1 specifications. Talk to your IP on how to configure Trumpet or Win95 Dialup Networking for your respective systems.

Netcom recently has upgraded their system software however PIRCH has not been tested with this newer version.

19. My DCC stalls midway through the transfer. What can I do?

Try lowering your packet size. 1024 seems like a good one for me when I experience that.

20. What scripts are out for PIRCH?

The ones you make for yourself and others. Others are working on scripts but the status at this point is not known. At some point we will add a link to PIRCH accessories to the primary PIRCH site.

21. How do I incorporate bold,italics,underlined in my aliases/popups?

To do this you turn on and off with ASCII codes.

kiss: /me kisses \-2 PolarGeek \-2

Even though I don’t recommend that specific kiss the word PolarGeek would be in bold.

So Using the above syntax with the following variables you will be able to enhance the text to your liking:

The number is positive (\22) will italicize the text followed by a space.

If the number is negative (\-31) will underlined with no extra space added.

22. How can I change the standard CTCP replies to customized to my personality?

Below is an example of modifying the standard reply sent by PIRCH for the CTCP PING command.

PING:/notice $nick Your levels are too low to PING me!

If you want PIRCH to send the standard CTCP reply in addition to append the :+ symbols to the end of the alias line

PING:/notice $nick PONG! :+
VERSION:/notice $nick Version this one pal! :+
CLIENTINFO:/notice $nick I am on the best damn client ever made... :+
TIME:/notice $nick Wot do you think I am? Big Ben ? :+

23. Can I run other applications from PIRCH?

Yes. just type /run c:\path\filename.exe
/run c:\windows\notepad.exe

Incorporating that into an alias is just as easy
notepad:/run c:\windows\notepad.exe

24. How can I have PIRCH automatically save certain types of files to a specific directory?

You can have PIRCH automatically save particular files to a specific directory based on its extension. By default PIRCH will save files to the default directory set in the Options | Prefs | DCC section. Lets assume that’s the default download directory is different from your default sound directory, but you want PIRCH to automatically save downloaded files to the sound directory. Go to the options menu and open the Download Extension Map dialog. Add an entry with the following information: (replace the sound dir with the actual sound directory name)

Extensions: wav;mid;rmi;avi
Directory: {sound directory}
Download Action: Save to disk

Click the OK button to create the entry in the map and the OK again in the extension map dialog to save the map.

25. Is there anyway I can have pirch run an application that is associated with a file extention after a DCC is finished without actually loading up the application manually?

Yes there are 2 ways this can be accomplished: through the download extension map helper applications or an ON DCCDONE event. Here we will use the example of having someone DCC send an image file and you would like to have it automatically displayed when the download is complete.

First go to Options | Download Extension Map
Click the Add button to add a new entry and enter the following information, replace the directory and helper app names with the actual dir and program name you want to use:
Extensions: jpg;gif;bmp;tif
Directory: {images directory}
Download Action: Execute Helper Application
Helper Application: {Helper application path/name}

Click the OK button to create the entry in the map and the OK again in the extension map dialog to save the map.

Add the following line to your events
ON DCCDONE:*.bmp;*.jpg;*.gif;*.bmp:/run c:\lview\lviewpro.exe $filename
So when the DCC is done the viewing application starts and the image loads.

26. How do I make/view/send my bio?

To make your bio click on Options|Personal Bio.
Click on the empty white box and you will be prompted to pick a file' that has your picture in it. Then just enter the text that you like, click save, and close the Bio Window.

Current Limitations:
As of now the bio picture must be 100x125 pixels and in bitmap form. (.bmp)
Soon PIRCH will be able to handle gifs and jpgs also.

To send someone your bio, type:
/bio send nick

I personally have it as a popup, the form for that is:
Send Bio: /bio send $$1

So I just click on the name that i wish to send it to and select send bio and off goes my pretty little mug. :)

If you are receiving a bio, once it is done it automatically displayed on your screen.

To View Bios: Select Tools|Bio Viewer and the pull down menu has all the bios you have received, just click on the name and up it pops.

If you like to have your Bio available to everyone and don’t want to type the command or use a popup you can use something like this:

ON TEXT:!Wolfbio:#:/bio send $nick

So whenever someone type !wolfbio the dcc is automatically started
(Just use your own nick instead of Wolf, thanks)

27. Is there anyway that I can change the popups for the channel window?

Click on the Popups button in the toolbar. The popups window is divided into 3 panes, on for the channel main pane, one for the channel names list and one for the server window main pane.

28. Can I change the colors of the text that other people see except for bold, italics, and underline?

No, but this may become an option in future versions.

29. I want to read a random line out of a text file and put it in my autogreet (ugh! I really do not use autogreets so the following answer is supplied by George W. Leithead B.Sc., ) Thanks George :)

Firstly, create a file with each line containing a different message, for example. (Taken from my list of 49 different autogreet's, with over 14 different languages used) In this example the file has been saved as


Nice to See you,
Buenos Dias,

In Event's, insert into the lowest user access level the following,

ON JOIN:#:/notice $nick $read c:\pirch\hello.txt $nick $+ .

This will randomly select a line from the file, and send a notice to the nick (in this example DoD), along the lines of

Welcome, DoD.

30. How can I make PIRCH page me when Im away?

Just add this to your events:

PAGE:/playmedia c:\windows\media\tada.wav | /display > $server \-1 $nick is paged you on $date at $time | /notice $nick $me has been Paged. Leave a message, I will get back to you.

31. How do I get rid of the extra spaces in my events and aliases when I use a variable like $date or $time?

Just add the $+ where you don’t want the extra space to be.

hug1: ((((((((( $$1 ))))))))) --> displayed as ((((( Wolfie316 )))))
hug1: ((((((((( $+ $1 $+ )))))))))) --> displayed as (((((Wolfie316)))))

32. I get disconnected when I do /list.. why?

If every time you do a /list, you get disconnected part way through, you should realize you didn't do anything wrong. When you perform a /list command, the server generates a list of all channels (in the thousands on a main IRC networks) and quickly sends that list to you. Because the data throughput isn't infinite, some of this data is queued in a buffer on the server. At some point that buffer gets overrun, and the server, detecting this, disconnects you. There is not much you can do to control this effect except to try a different server or simply try again later.

Note: Filtering the list does not help, because the server always returns the entire #channel list and PIRCH (like all other clients) takes care of the filtering.

33. How can I add/remove people from my autoop/protect/ignore/notify lists.

There are two ways to accomplish this feat. First you can open preferences and add the users to the appropriate list. Or if the person is in a channel that you are in you can right click on their name, select user and then click on the corresponding add or delete user, of the action you want to take.

34. I have entries in my notify list but the do not show up in the notify window even though one or more of these people is online? Whats happening?

PIRCH’s notify window tracks online notifications for all the connections you currently have open (keep in mind that PIRCH can be on multiple servers/networks at a time). This means that PIRCH needs some way of knowing how to arrange the notifications for the connection and relies on the Servers Network ID. If your not seeing entries in the notify list, it probably means that you did not specify a Network ID for the server. Go to the IRC menu and open the server list... either add or edit the server’s entry and give the server a Network ID i.e. the name of the network to which the server belongs (UNDERNET, EFNET, DALNET, NEWNET etc). Save the server list and use the login button.. reselect the server from the list and connect.

35. What is the /FETCH command for?

/FETCH is used to retrieve information and files from world wide web servers and to all users to see a channel MOTD (Message of the Day) for particular channels. Just issuing a /FETCH command in a channel will attempt to load the channel’s MOTD and display it in a scrolling display bar.

36. How do I speed up the scrolling of information I retrieved with /fetch?

Right click over the scrolling panel and select options. Change the delay and step rate to best suit your preference and system capabilities. For fast systems, excellent scrolling performance can be achieve with a step rate of 1 and a delay rate of 10ms. For slow systems, a step rate of 16 and a delay of 120ms provides suitable performance although not the smoothest scroll.

37. How to I get an MOTD for my channel?

Create a file, either simple text or HTML containing the information you wish to have displayed. HTML files are best as you can embed links to other URL’s which user can browse. Copy the file to a WWW server (preferably your account) and name the file after your channel name with a .motd extension. For example if your channel is called #BarNone then name the file #barnone.motd. Once this is done... enter the base url anywhere within your channel’s topic.

We are currently in the process of trying to set up a standard for this feature and provide a link service but are currently not setup for it. This should be available soon.

38. How do I setup a file server?

Currently available only in 32 bit version 0.81 or higher

The first step is to open the file server window (Tools | File Server) and click the setup server button. A dialog will be presented allowing you to set a number of options. In particular you must set the default home directory, and the default idle disconnect value.

In order for someone to use your file server, you must specifically grant access to them. This is done with the /faccess command:

/faccess {nickname} [homedir] [maxgets]

The homedir (home directory) and maxgets (maximum number of files a person may download in a session) parameters are options and if omitted the default values from the file server options will be used.

You can allow others automated access to your file server by setting up an event such as the one that follows.

ON NOTICE:*!fileserver*:*:/faccess $nick

39. How do I use the Text to Speech functionality of PIRCH?

Text to Speech is accomplished though external applications. Two applications in particular have been tested and work with PIRCH, Monolog and TextAssist

16 bit
The 16 bit version currently only supports the Monolog text to speech engine from Creative Labs, The setup is fairly straight forward an should already be done for you when you installed the Monolog application. The FB_SPCHxxxx.DLL files should be stored in your \windows or windows\system directory.

32 bit
The 32 bit version supports both the Monolog and TextAssist text to speech utilities from creative labs.

For Monolog, run monologw.exe, select the DDE server option and minimize the Monolog window by clicking OK.

For TextAssist, you will need an additional application called TASDDE.EXE also from Creative Labs. Run TASDDE.EXE. (Note that TASDDE.EXE is a self extracting file and contain TASSDDE.EXE and a readme file. This the DDE interface application for TextAssist and will not work if you do not have TextAssist on your system). Now run TASSDDE.

Go to the PIRCH options menu and select the Text To Speech command. The text to speech options dialog will request the name of the application (use the full pathname) and the DDE Service/Topic and Data Item format. Enter the appropriate information as follows

ApplicationService/TopicData Item Format

The /speak command

The /speak command is how you send information to the appropriate text to speech utility. /speak When this command is executed you should hear the utility ‘say’ the words audibly through your sound system.

You can use events to have information read to you as it comes in with an event similar to the one below:

ON TEXT:*:#:/speak *1

40. How do I set up a helper application such as RealAudio or an image viewer?

(This example is for RealAudio sound files using the RealAudio player)
First go to the options menu | download extension map, to have the current map entries displayed in a dialog box.. Click the Add button and add the enter the following information:

Click on the OK button and you should see the entry appear in the extension map. Click OK again and RealAudio will now be used to play .ra and .ram files when you download them. Here’s a neat trick... use your sound directory (where you wavs, mids and other pirch sound files are stored) as the download directory in the extension map and you can now use RealAudio files with the /sound and /playmedia commands.

(This example is for LVIEW as a helper application to automatically view jpg/gif/other image files upon download)

First go to the options menu | download extension map, to have the current map entries displayed in a dialog box.. Click the Add button and add the enter the following information:

  • Extensions jpg;gif;tif;tga;bmp
  • Directory (any valid directory you want to use)
  • Download Action Execute helper application
  • Helper Application c:\lview\lview.exe (use the appropriate pathname)

Click on the OK button and you should see the entry appear in the extension map. Click OK again.

41. How do I print ‘selected only’ text

First highlight the desired text in the window by clicking the left mouse button and dragging to the lower left corner of the desired text block while holding down the CTRL key. Release the mouse button and then the CTRL key. You should see the block remain highlighted in the window. Now go to the IRC menu and select the print command. In the print dialog select the Selected Text only option.

42. Recently I haven’t been able to get a full channel list for the UNDERNET. Whats wrong?

Some of the UNDERNET servers have upgraded their server code which contains a new mechanism for listing channels. The simplest solution to listing all channels is to type the following command:

/verbose LIST }1

The new mechanism has several options that will help reduce server strain, so use some of the options when possible to reduce the amount of information the server has to send you.

{max_usersShow all channels with less than max_users.
}min_usersShow all channels with more than min_users.
C{max_minutesChannels that exist less than max_minutes.
C}max_minutesChannels that exist more than max_minutes.
T{max_minutesChannels with a topic last set less than max_minutes ago.
T}max_minutesChannels with a topic last set more than min_minutes ago.

Example: LIST {3,}1,C{10,T}0 ; 2 users, younger then 10 min., topic set.

The next version of PIRCH should have an internal mechanism to detect this new server code and make filtering channels easier.

NOTE: For the above list parameters, use the "greater than" or "less than" symbols in replacement to the { } symbols. These were used for emphasis.

Last modified: March 23, 1997
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