Two New Servers

We have two new servers on the GeekShed network. Subwolf has donated Sheba, a server in a Chicago, Illinois data center, on behalf of his site Subwolf.org. Allan has donated Tyrol, a server in Irvine, California, on behalf of JupiterColony.com. Server Intrepid has been retired, after many years of fine service to the network.

We’ve updated the server map to show these changes. As always, we recommend that you choose one of the round robins to connect to the servers closest to your location for the best connection.

 

—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny

 

Featured Channel: #EricJess

#EricJess is friendly, welcoming community where people discuss a wide range of topics. The channel was founded by Eric Jess in June 2010. Eric maintains a community forum and a website for the channel (where he streams live video, when his computer isn’t broken). Eric shared the following information about his channel:

What happens in the channel?

There’s always something going on in our chatroom. We mainly talk tech, as geeks do, but there are all sorts of other discussions as well. We often fall on the discussion of Harry Potter for some odd reason and bacon—unfortunately, as bacon is on my dislike list. But we discuss all sorts of other topics as well. Nearly anything goes.

We are here talking during all hours. We help people with any problems they may have, and we usually have an active stream on all the time (technology allowing), with many guest streamers.

What are the channel policies?

We try to have an answer for everything, including how to become channel staff and how to earn voice. If you feel you were banned from #EricJess incorrectly, you can make an appeal online.

Anything else you want folks to know?

Well of course there is more! We have a active social network and do giveaways as much as possible. We are a family here and learn and grow with each other!


Want to have your channel profiled on the GeekShed website? Check out the requirements and use the online form to apply.

 

—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny

Setting a Simple Channel Ban

Channel bans allow you to block someone from joining your channel. These bans offer a lot of flexibility, letting you ban someone in several different ways. This article will explain a simple ban. You can check the Extended Ban tutorial for additional options. You can also use the AKICK command to ban someone permanently.

To ban someone from your channel, you need to know the hostmask for the connection. Use the WHOIS command to get the details. For the user LordBaconCheeseburger, you’d use this command:

/whois LordBaconCheeseburger 

In your status window, you’ll see something like this in response:

LordBaconCheeseburger is ~TFlash@protectedhost-BACONYUM.hsd1.ze.comcast.net 
LordBaconCheeseburger is a registered nick
LordBaconCheeseburger on #jupiterbroadcasting #theshed
LordBaconCheeseburger using Komma.GeekShed.net Subwolf.org
LordBaconCheeseburger has been idle 3mins, signed on Fri Sep 28 21:00:28
LordBaconCheeseburger End of /WHOIS list.

You need the information from the first line to set your ban. The information listed after the @ symbol is the hostmask. To set a simple ban for your channel, use this command:

/mode #channel +b *!*@hostmask

If you wanted to ban LordBaconCheeseburger from the channel #topgear, for instance, you’d type:

/mode #topgear +b *!*@protectedhost-BACONYUM.hsd1.ze.comcast.net

That’s all there is to it. Anyone with that hostmask is now banned from #topgear. Next week’s post will explain more complicated channel bans, so be sure to come back!

—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny

 

Are You Using Our Round Robins?

This is an archived post. Please see the February 17, 2015 post for details on the current round robin configuration.

 

Robin momAs we explain on our Servers page, you often achieve the best connection by connecting to the server geographically closest to you. To do this, you can find the closest server on the map and then connect to servername.geekshed.net – for example, enterprise.geekshed.net would be a good choice if you were in Europe.

Geographical Round Robins

You can also choose a pool of servers that are near you by using our round robin addresses. The biggest round robin pool is also the most general one (and the one most clients use on their prepopulated server lists): irc.geekshed.net. That round robin includes all the GeekShed servers.

If you want to choose a smaller pool, you can use one of these round robins, based on your geographical area:

  • ap.geekshed.net if you’re in Asia or the Pacific
  • ca.geekshed.net if you’re in Canada
  • eu.geekshed.net if you’re in Europe
  • us.geekshed.net if you’re in the United States

Special Connection Round Robins

We also have round robins based on pools of servers with special capabilities. If you need these features, use one of these options:

  • ipv6.geekshed.net if you want an IPv6 server
  • lightirc.geekshed.net if you’re configuring your copy of the LightIRC client

You may also notice that if you’re using GeekShed’s free BNC service, you’ll be connected to bnc.geekshed.net. That’s the pool for our BNC service.

 

—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny

 

[Photo: Robin mom by photofarmer, on Flickr]

Planned Maintenance for Thursday, May 31

Reading e-mailThe data center for Intrepid, one of GeekShed’s servers, is migrating our data to a new server around 9 PM EDT (1 AM UTC) on Thursday, May 31. There will be a short interruption in service during the migration and reboot.

We’ve removed Intrepid from the network’s round robins to allow connections to the server to naturally decrease this week.

If you connect directly to Intrepid, please choose another server or use one of the round robins (e.g., us.geekshed.net) until the maintenance is completed.

We’ll have things back up and running as soon as possible after the migration. If you have any questions on Thursday, you can check in #help.

 

—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny

 

FAQs about GeekShed’s Spamfilter

GeekShed maintains a spamfilter of URLs and phrases that are blocked network wide. Most of the entries on the list got there because someone was spamming the information on the network. Some entries are added because they link to malware, porn, or another kind of less than desirable site.

What happens when someone triggers the spamfilter in a channel?

If you make a statement or action in a channel that includes a URL or phrase on the spamfilter list, your text will be blocked completely. No one in the channel will see what you said (though you will probably see it). Immediately after the text, you’ll see one of these messages:

   * Message blocked: Spamfilter match. Do NOT attempt to 
     get around this filter. If you think it is an error, 
     tell us in #help 

   * Message blocked: Spam URL

What happens when someone triggers the spamfilter in a private message?

Your text will also be blocked completely if you send a private message (PM) that includes a URL or phrase on the spamfilter list. The person you were trying to message will not see the message at all and will not know you tried to send a PM.

You’ll see this message in your status window or a query window, with <nick> replaced with the person you were sending the message:

   * Message to <nick> blocked: Spamfilter match. Do NOT  
     attempt to get around this filter. If you think it is  
     an error, tell us in #help

What happens when someone triggers the spamfilter in a channel topic?

Your topic will not be set if you try to include text that is on the spamfilter list. Instead, you’ll see this message in your status window or in the channel:

   * Setting of topic on #channel to that text is blocked: 
     Spamfilter match. Do NOT attempt to get around this 
     filter. If you think it is an error, tell us in #help

What is the punishment for triggering the spamfilter?

If you accidentally trigger the spamfilter, generally nothing happens. Just take note of the warning, and do not attempt to get around the filter or continue posting the blocked text.

If you continue to trigger the spamfilter, you may be banned from the network.

Does anyone else know when someone triggers the spamfilter?

Network staff will see a message that says you triggered the spamfilter. No one else will know (unless you tell them).

Can I see the list of words, phrases, and URLs on the spamfilter list?

No, we don’t provide a list to avoid abuse or misuse of the information. Do you honestly think we’d want to post a list of malware, porn, and undesirable sites?

Can someone add URLs or phrases to the spamfilter list for their channel?

Not exactly. Only network staff can add text to the GeekShed spamfilter. However, you can use the extended ban type ~T to block specific phrases from your channel, essentially, creating your own private spamfilter.

 

—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny

How Long Have You Been On GeekShed?

Some of the features on GeekShed require that you are a registered user on the network for a specific period of time. For example, GeekShed offers all of its users who have had a registered nickname longer than 90 days free access to our BNC service and a free vhost.

So how do you figure out how long you’ve been a registered user on GeekShed? Check the information for your nick using the INFO command, replacing nick with your nickname on the network:

/ns info NICK

For example, the user LordBaconCheeseburger would use this command:

/ns info LordBaconCheeseburger

Nickserv will return the basic information about your nick either in the channel where you typed the command or in your status window. For LordBaconCheeseburger, the response looks something like this:

-NickServ- LordBaconCheeseburger is TFlash NextGen
-NickServ- LordBaconCheeseburger is currently online.
-NickServ- Time registered: Feb 17 02:46:36 2012 UTC
-NickServ- Last quit message: Client exited
-NickServ- URL: http://www.baconfreak.com/
-NickServ- For more verbose information, type /msg NickServ INFO LordBaconCheeseburger ALL.

The third line (in bold above) gives you the information that you need to answer the question. In this example, the nick LordBaconCheeseburger was registered on February 17, 2012. All you have to do is calculate the difference between that date and today to determine how long you have been registered on GeekShed. You can use a site like Online Conversion to help you make the calculation.

For our example, LordBaconCheeseburger has been registered for 94 days, so he’s eligible for a BNC and a vhost—Hurrah!

If you are trying to find out if you are eligible for BNC or vhost, note that the server is very specific about its calculations. It will determine if you’re eligible based on the exact second that you registered. Changes in daylight savings time will also effect the calculation.

 

—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny

 

Watch What You Click!

It’s time for a reminder to be careful when you click on links that people share. Recently Naive_One came to #help because he had clicked on a link A_Bad_Guy shared (names changed to protect the innocent). A_Bad_Guy used his server logs to get Naive_One’s IP address and attack his network. Unfortunately for Naive_One, there was nothing GeekShed staff could do. It was Naive_One’s poor judgement in clicking the link that caused the problem.

The morale of this story is clear: If you don’t know the person well or don’t recognize the link, don’t click on it. The link you click can give someone else information about your machine or it may cause your machine to download spyware, malware, or a virus that corrupts your system.

Usually it’s safe to click on these links on GeekShed:

  • Links to the GeekShed website.
  • Links shared by network staff.
  • Links to well-known sites, like Wikipedia or Jupiter Broadcasting.

Unless you know the person who shares the link, it’s best NOT to click on shortened links, because you cannot tell where they will take you. A bit.ly link might take you to Wikipedia or it could take you to a malware site. There’s no way to guess just by looking at the URL.

Finally, let me share a reminder from the GeekShed Terms of Service:

GeekShed is not responsible for the content you may transmit or receive. Due to the real time nature of IRC, we cannot monitor or police the exchange of data. To protect yourself, we highly recommend that you run a current antivirus program and never click on links from people you do not know.

So click safely, and make sure you keep your machine and network protected!

 

—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny

 

What’s a Netsplit?

If you’ve been on an IRC network any length of time, you’ve seen something like this scrolling up your screen:

Quits: ted (ScaleEngine.GeekShed.net Neptune.GeekShed.net )
Quits: Max (ScaleEngine.GeekShed.net Neptune.GeekShed.net )
Quits: otter (ScaleEngine.GeekShed.net Neptune.GeekShed.net )
Quits: Meg (ScaleEngine.GeekShed.net Neptune.GeekShed.net )
Quits: Twitter (ScaleEngine.GeekShed.net Neptune.GeekShed.net )
Quits: PB (ScaleEngine.GeekShed.net Neptune.GeekShed.net )
Quits: Roman (ScaleEngine.GeekShed.net Neptune.GeekShed.net )

I’ve edited that list to remove personal information, and I’ve only listed about a few of the Quit messages that appeared. Typically after all the Quit messages appear, someone asks, “What’s going on?!”

What you’re seeing there is a netsplit. It’s essentially a sudden disconnection for the entire network. Just as the name suggests, the NETwork SPLIT as one of the IRC servers lost contact with the rest of the network. In the case of the Quit messages above, the server Neptune.GeekShed.net lost its connection to the server ScaleEngine.GeekShed.net (and the rest of the network). There’s a very complete explanation of what happens during a netsplit on Wikipedia.

What Should You Do When a Netsplit Happens?

When there’s a netsplit, network staff will work to reconnect the servers. Staff will see the server split. You don’t need to alert anyone.

Depending upon the server you were connected to when the netsplit happened, you may either find yourself on the split off server (where you’ll notice that the channels are much emptier than they were) or on the rest of the network. The best thing to do is just be patient and give staff time to fix the situation.

If the netsplit seems to last more than a few minutes, you may want to try connecting to a different server. Be warned, however, that when the split server reconnects, the network will see that your nick is on the network twice (once on the previously split server and once on the unsplit server). In this case, you may be disconnected again with the message “Nick Collision” or your nick may be set to Unidentified. Just log back in again, use the Ghost command, or change your nick and identify if this happens.

NOTE: It’s not helpful to ask staff to explain the situation while they’re also trying to fix it. If staff are explaining things to you, they can’t work on fixing the server.

 

—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny

 

Updates to Website Command Pages

You may not notice it right away, but we’ve been busy making the website a little easier for you to use. We’ve added details on the Fantasy commands, and we’ve added the capability to link directly to a specific command on the website. Keep reading for the details.

Fantasy Commands

First, if you use Fantasy commands in your channel, we have good news for you. We’ve added a complete listing of the Fantasy commands to our online documentation. Now you can browse through the commands and easily find additional information on everything from !AKICK to !TKB.

Remember that you have to turn on the Fantasy option to use Fantasy commands. Find all the details on the new page.

Link Directly to Specific Commands

Second, we’ve added internal links to the commands on all of the documentation pages so you can give someone the address of a specific command.

Here’s an example. Previously, if someone asked for the command to add ops to permanently to their channel, you could send them to the ChanServ page and tell them to scroll down to the AOP command. Now you can send them directly to the AOP command.

These naming conventions were used to set up the internal links:

  • The link is the command name as listed in the bullet item (so, for instance, AOP).
  • The link for Fantasy commands does NOT include the exclamation point (so, for instance, TKB).
  • The link will show as one word with no spaces (so, for instance, SETGREET).
  • The link is always in all caps (so, for instance, BADWORDS)

To give someone the link to a specific command, use this general format:

http://www.geekshed.net/commands/[Kind of Command]/#[Command Name]

Just replace the info in the square brackets with the pertinent details and remove the square brackets too to get address for the command. Here are some examples to give you the idea of how the system works:

If you know the general command, this system should make it relatively easy to figure out the links you need if you’re trying to help someone find details.

 

—posted by Tengrrl/Bunny