In addition to its Mailing lists, SOWN uses Internet Relay Chat (IRC) as one of its main mechanisms for communicating with each other outside of meetings and/or Workshops. Automated messages from our monitoring services (Nagios) are also sent to the channel so people can quickly notice a problem.
If you're interested or stuck with something wireless, or maybe just bored feel free to pay us a visit in #sown on irc.sown.org.uk.
There's usually somebody around at most times during the day to talk to.
In the event of a serious power or network failure rendering the IRC server inacessable sown have delegated #sown on irc.freenode.net as the backup IRC server.
There are numerous IRC clients available. Below are some of the clients used by members of SOWN. If none of these suit, irc client - Google Search may be able to find you something better.
So that our important technical discussions don't get lost we log our IRC channel. These logs are indexed so that you can search for a particular conversation. We use various colours to highlight different messages.
Someone joining the channel
Someone leaving the channel
Someone performing an action in the channel
sown-bot speaking. Usually to report a problem or recovery of a node or a response to someone's query of a node's status.
As well as providing a search box. If you want to go to a certain time in a day's log you can append a #HHMM, (e.g. http://www.sown.org.uk/irc/2008/02/07#1900) to go to that exact time in the conversation.