Vintage chat software still available, and help for it

From: Bob Lafleur <>
Date: Thu Aug 29 18:38:00 2002

I think my last message regarding this was in HTML format, so maybe some
people didn't read it. Anyway, I apologize for sending the HTML message.

I am making my "vintage" chat software available for anyone to use. If
you'd like an account, send me an E-mail and I'll create one for you and
send you instructions on how to access the system via Telnet.

Below is the help from it, so you can decide if this interests you or
not. This is "vintage" software because it predates the internet (as we
know it), IRC, etc. and is from the era of the CompuServe "CB"
simulator, etc.

Send an E-mail to if you'd like access!

   - Bob


 1: /help

For more information, enter one of the following:

   /COMMANDS for a list of TALK commands.
   /HELP,introduction for an introduction to TALK.
   /HELP,commands for an explanation of the TALK commands.
   /HELP,flags for an explanation of the TALK flags.
   /HELP,messages for an explanation of the TALK status messages.
   /HELP,summary for a TALK command summary.
   /HELP,author if you are curious.
   /HELP,command name for help on a command. Do not include the '/'.

 1: /help intro

   TALK is a program that allows you to interactively exchange messages
with other users. Each user enters his message, and all users in his
'conference' can read what he was written. Also, a user may direct a
message to a specific user. In this case, the message is referred to as
a 'private' message, as it is private between the two users.

   When you enter TALK, you are asked to enter your nickname. This is
the name that other users will refer to you as. You may use your real
name, or you may use a nickname of some sort.

   TALK has two modes of operation: Single-line mode and Essay mode. In
single line mode, you can send a one line message at a time. Simply type
the line and press the <Return> key, and everyone in your conference
will see your message. You will receive messages from other users at any
time when you have not typed anything on a line.

   In Essay mode, you may enter multiple-line messages. You may also
direct your message to a specific user, whether he/she is in your
conference or a different one. When you want to send your message, you
can either press <Return> on a blank line, or use the /SEND command.

   TALK has special commands which allow you to perform functions other
than sending messages. A TALK command starts with a '/' (slash)
character, followed by the command name. Some commands need parameters
to tell the command what to do. If the command needs parameters, use a
',' (comma) to separate the command and its parameters.

   TALK supports multiple 'conferences'. A conference is a place where a
group of users get together and talk about a specific subject. When you
first enter TALK, you are put into the conference 'Limbo'. Limbo is a
conference that always exists and is a conference for general use. You
can create your own conference with the /CREATE command.

   The person who creates a conference becomes the conference controller
for that conference. If they leave the conference, then there is no
conference controller and anyone else in the conference may become the
controller. The conference controller has the ability to perform
specific tasks relating to their conference, such as putting a password
on it so that only users who know the password may join.

   Use the command /HELP to get information about the various TALK
features. Use /HELP,COMMANDS to get help on all the commands.
 1: /help commands

   The following commands are valid while using talk. The command names
are shown in uppercase only to stress that they are TALK commands; You
may use upper, lower, or mixed case for the commands.

   Parameters shown in square brackets ([ ]) are optional and are not
always required.

   /CREATE,conf name[,password]
   /MAKE,conf name[,password]
        These commands create a conference and make you the controller.
        you supply a password, then the conference is locked and only
        who use the password may join it. Note that upper and lowercase
        in passwords is significant. If you write an essay before
        the conference, the essay will be used as the conference
        which may be viewed by using the /DESCRIBE command.

   /GOTO,conf name[,password]
        This command moves you to a new conference. If the conference is
        locked, you must supply the correct password. Note that upper
        lower case in passwords is significant.

   /JOIN,user name[,password]
        This command moves you to the conference where the user you
        is. If the conference is locked, you must specify the conference

        This command will cause the conference to become a moderated
        conference. In a moderated conference, only the controller and
        those designated by the controller are allowed to speak
        There is also a speak request queue to allow users to enter a
        request to speak. Related commands are /ALLOW, /DISALLOW, /SPEAK
        and /NEXT.

        This command returns the conference to the normal, unmoderated

   /ALLOW,user name
        This command will allow the conference controller of a moderated
        conference to give a user the privelege to speak publically.
        can be used to allow guest speakers to speak freely.

   /DISALLOW,user name
   /SILENCE,user name
        These commands will take away the privelge to speak freely from
        user within a moderated conference. Only the conference
        may issue this command.

        The conference controller can use this command to open the
        request queue for entries. If the queue is not enables, users
        use the /SPEAK command to request a turn to speak.

        This command allows the controller to close the speaker request
        queue to any further /SPEAK commands.

        Enteres a request into the speaker queue in a moderated
        If you have been designated as a speaker by the conference
        you do not need to (and cannot) use the command.

        This command will display the speaker request queue in a

        This command allows the controller of a moderated conference to
        give the next person in the speaker request queue their turn to
        speak. The current speaker in the queue (if there is one) will
        automatically be silenced.

   /DESCRIBE[,conf name]
        This command will display the description of a conference that
        specify. If you do not specify a conference name, the conference
        are in will be described.

        This command allows you to create a new description for your
        ence. Create an essay, and instead of sending it, use the
        command. You must be the conference controller to use this
        if there is no conference controller, you will be come the

   /RENAME,new name
        This command will change the current conference name to the new
        name specified. You must be the conference controller to use
        command. If there is no controller, you will become the

   /MONITOR[,conf name[,password]]
        This command allows you to monitor another conference. The
        of the other conference will be aware that you are monitoring
        conference. If you want to monitor a locked conference, you must
        specify the conference password. If you do not specify any
        name, monitoring will be shut off. You can only monitor one
        at a time.

   /EAVESDROP[,user name[,password]]
        This command allows you to monitor anotehr user's messages. The
        will not be aware that you are monitoring their messages. If you
        want to eavesdrop on a user that is in a locked conference, you
        supply the correct password for that conference. If you don't
        any user name, eavesdropping will be shut off. Note that you can
        eavesdrop on one user at a time, and you can only read that
        public messages, NOT their private ones.

   /SQUELCH[,user name]
        Squelching allows you to ignore public and private messages from
        selected users. If you do not specify a user name, a list of the
        current users you have squelched will be shown.

   /UNSQUELCH,user name
        This command allows you to resume receiving messages from a user
        that you have previously squelched.

   /ALERT[,system name]
        This command will set up an alert to tell you when the specified
        user enters TALK. If you do not specify a user name, the current
        alert will be cancelled. You may only have one active alert at a
        time. Once you have received your alert, the alert will auto-
        matically be cancelled.

   /NOTIFY[,user name]
        This command will set up a 'notify' to tell you when the
        user logs onto the VAX. If you do not specify a user name, the
        current notify will be cancelled. You may only have one active
        notify at a time. Once you have received your notify, the notify
        will automatically be cancelled.

   /CALL,user name[,message]
        This command will notify the user specified that they are being
        requested to join TALK by you. You can also include an optional
        message that will appear on the second line of the call. If you
        an optional message of asterisk (*), a message telling the user
        to enter the TALK system will be displayed.

        With this command, you can lock a conference. You can only lock
        conference if you are the conference controller, or if no one is
        the conference controller. If no one is the conference
        then you will be made the conference controller upon locking the
        conference. If the conference is already locked, using the /LOCK
        command will change the password users must supply to enter the

        This command will unlock a locked conference. You can only
        a locked conference if you are the conference controller, or if
        one is the conference controller. If no one is the conference
        controller, you will be made the controller upon using the

   /TRANSCRIBE[,file name]
        This command will cause all the public conversations in the
        conference to be transcribed to the specified file. If you do
        speicfy a file name, the current transcription will be stopped.
        conference may only have one transcription active at a time, and
        the creator of the transcription may stop it. If you start a
        scription and then exit TALK, that transcription will remain
        until the conference is dispersed.

   /EVICT,user name
        This command allows the conference controller to evict a user
        his conference. The user that is evicted is placed in the Limbo
        conference. You may only evict someone if you are the conference
        controller, or if there is no controller of your conference. You
        cannot evict anyone from Limbo.

        If any users are monitoring your conference, this command will
        turn their monitoring off. You may only issue this command if
        are the conference controller or if there is no conference
        ler. If there is no conference controller, you will become the
        controller. This command is useful if you wish to isolate your
        conference from the public. First, use the /LOCK command to give
        your conference a password, then use the /NOMONITOR command to
        insure that no users are currently monitoring it. Any users who
        subsequently wish to join or monitor your connference will need
        supply the correct password.

        This command allows you to give up control of your conference.
        you relinquish control, anyone else may become the conference

        This command will allow you to take control of a conference if
        there is no controller.

        This command puts you into 'essay' mode, where you may write a
        multi-line message. Send the message with a blank line or with
        the /SEND command.

        This command lists your current essay on the screen. It is
        if you have received some messages and lost track of what you

        This command will erase your current essay.

   /SEND[,user name]
        This command will send your 'essay'. If you specify a user name
        your message will be sent to only that person. If you do not
        specify a user name, your message will be sent to everyone in
        your conference.

   /RESEND[,user name]
        This command works exactly like /SEND except that it re-sends
        last 'essay'. If you have entered at least one line of a new
        'essay', this command will not work.

   /WHISPER,user name
        This command will send your 'essay' to a specific user. Only the
        user you specify will receive the message.

   /TO[,user name]
        This command will direct the current message to the specified
        when it is sent with the /SEND command or a blank line.
        a name on the /SEND or /WHISPER command will override the /TO
        setting. Use /TO with no parameter to clear the setting. /TO is
        only active for the current essay, and is reset when the essay
        is sent.

        This command will initiate the sending of a private message to
        sender of the last whisper message you received. After issuing
        /REPLY command, you will receive a message telling who the
        will be directed to. Enter your message, and press <return> on a
        blank line, and the message will be sent. If the message is not
        directed to the person that you wished, use the /SEND or
        or /TO commands to direct your message to the proper place.

        This command will take your current essay and place it on hold.
        You may continue to talk, as usual. When you would like to
        retreive the essay you have on hold, use the /UNHOLD command.

        This command will take the essay you have placed on hold and
        restore it as your current essay. The hold buffer is cleared.

   /USERS[,conf name]
        This command will show you the users on TALK. If a conference
        is specified, only the users in that conference will be shown. A
        conference name of * will cause a list of users in your curent
        conference to be displayed.

        This command is similar to /USERS, but in a more abbreviated

        This command prints a short list of all the current conferences
        the number of users in each.

        In a moderated conference, this command will display a list of
        the users who are allowed to speak.

        This command gives a brief listing of all the TALK commands.

        This command displays TALK's userlog. This log shows the users
        have used TALK in the past. Specify the number of entries you
        like to be displayed. If you do not specify a number, the entire
        will be displayed.

        This command will display any news about Talk that has been
        by the system manager.

   /FACE[,face style]
        This command will allow you to change your face style displayed
        your messages. Use the /FACE,LIST command to get a list of the
        allowable face styles, or /FACE to clear your face style.

   /NAME,new name
        This command allows you to change your nickname. Specify your
        name as the parameter to the command.

        Sets a comment to be displayed with every status message from
        If you don't supply a comment, your current comment will be

        This command will show you a detailed status and description
        your current session on TALK.

        This command will show you an activity summary of the TALK
        since it was last started.

        Displays Talk's current limits. These limits are set by the

        This command will clear your terminal screen. If you have the
        ansicrt flag set, the ANSI sequence will be used to clear your
        screen, otherwise blank lines will be used to scroll your

   /MAIL[,vax user[,subject]]
        This command will allow you to access the VAXmail system. If you
        do not specify any parameters, you will be placed directly into
        VAXmail. When you exit from VAXmail, you will return to TALK
        losing any messages sent to you. If you specify a VAX username,
        your current essay will be mailed to that user. You can
        specify a subject to be attached to your message.

        This command will allow you to access DCL. If you specify a
        that command will be executed as if you entered it at the DCL
        If you do not specify a command, you will get the DCL prompt.
        return to TALK with the LOGOUT command.

        This command will use your current essay as a gripe message. It
        be sent to the person responsible for handing gripes about TALK.
        You can also use the /GRIPE command for compliments or
        regarding the TALK system.

   /SHOW[,flag name]
        This command will display you flag settings. If you supply a
        name, that flag's setting will be displayed. Otherwise, all flag
        settings will be displayed.

   /SET,flag name
        This command sets (turns on) the flag you specify.

   /CLEAR,flag name
        This command clears (turns off) the flag you specify.

        Any of these commands will exit you from talk. If you specify a
        comment, it will be displayed in the log next to your name.

 1: /help flags

   You may set or clear certain 'flags' which allow you to customize
TALK to your personal preferences. Use the /SET command to set a flag
(turn it
on) and the /CLEAR command to clear a flag (turn it off). The following
are descriptions of the flags you can use:

   alarm With this flag set, you will hear a beep every time
                    receive a message from a user. This flag can be
                    if the conversation on TALK is slow and you want to
                    away from the screen while waiting for a message.

   ansicrt Set this flag if you have an ANSI compatable
                    (such as a VT100, VT220, Visual 102, etc). This will
                    allow TALK to take advantage of your terminal's
                    features. >NOT FULLY IMPLEMENTED IN THIS VERSION<

   autoact This flag will cause an /ACTIVITY comamnd to be
                    you enter TALK.

   autoflags This flag will cause your current flag settings to
                    shown when you enter TALK. It is the equivalent of
                    a /SHOW command when you enter TALK.

   autousers This flag will cause a /USERS command to be executed
                    you enter TALK.

   autosum This flag will cause a /SUMMARY command to be
                    when you enter Talk.

   clock This flag controls weather the time is displayed
                    to received messages. With this flag set, the time
                    be shown. With this flag clear, the time will not be

   essaylock This flag will cause you to permanently stay in
                    mode, as if you had typed /ESSAY after each message.
                    To get out of this mode, use /CLEAR,essaylock.

   faces Setting this flag will show the face next to the
                    name in a message. Clearing this flag will cause the
                    faces to be shown only in the /users command.

   fullessay If this flag is set, you will not be interrupted
                    messages until you have finished a full essay and
                    it. If this flag is clear, you will be able to
                    messages inbetween lines of an essay. Note that you
                    will never receive messages while you are in the
                    of typing a line.

   hearbells When set, this flag allows bell characters to be
                    on the terminal. Clearing this flag will permit
                    operation of TALK.

   invisible Setting this flag will allow you to be invisible
                    inside a locked conference. If you are the
                    controller, you will always be seen.

   noecho If you would like to put your terminal in local echo
                    mode, setting this flag will cause Talk to stop
                    the characters you type. With this flag clear, Talk
                    will echo all the characters you type.

   privates Setting this flag will allow you to receive private
                    or whisper messages send with the /WHISPER or /SEND
                    commands. Clearing this flag will not allow you to
                    receive any of these messages.

   prompt The prompt flag will cause TALK to give you prompts
                    each line of input. In 'Essay' mode you will get a
                    telling you which line you are on. Otherwise you
will get
                    a '>' prompt. If you set the prompt flag off, you
                    not get any prompts for input.

   readown Setting this flag will allow you to see your own
                    that you send. With this flag set, you can see how
                    messages look within the context of all the other
                    messages. Note that you will not see messages which
                    direct at a specific user with the /SEND command.

   seebells This flag will show bells as <BELL> on the terminal.
                    It is useful if the hearbells flag is cleared. Note
                    this flag does not affect the sounding of bells on

   singlesp With some terminals, writing essays with prompt
                    will cause the essay to appear double space. Set
                    flag if your essays appear double spaceed with
                    clear, then set this flag. Otherwise, leave it

   verbose This flag will cause TALK to display a more wordy
                    of it's messages.

   watch This flag allows you to watch who enters and leaves

   wordwrap Setting this flag while in essay mode will wrap
                    around to the next line as you are typing.

 1: /help mess

   At times throughout a TALK session, you may see 'status' messages
from a user. A status message has the form:

     < message > user name

where 'message' gives the status for the user 'user name'. The following
is a list of possible status messages:

 < Entering > The user is entering the TALK system.

 < Leaving > The user is leaving the TALK system.

 < Joining > The user is joining your conference from another

 < Moving > The user is leaving your conference and moving to
                     another one.

 < Moderating > The user has changed the conference into moderated
                     status. Users may not speak publically unless
                     by the controller.

 < Unmoderating > The confernce has been returned to normal,

 < Speaker > The user has been designated as a speaker by the
                     conference controller. The user may speak
                     until silenced.

 < Silenced > The user may no longer speak publically within the
                     moderated conference.

 < Logged In > The user was the one you specified in a /NOTIFY
                     and the user has logged into the VAX.

 < Monitoring > The user is monitoring your conference. He can read
                     the messages (except for private messages) which
                     sent in your conference.

 < Not Monitoring > The user is not monitoring your conference anymore.

 < Evicted > This means that the user has been evicted or
                     out of the conference by the conference controller.
                     The user that is evicted is moved to Limbo.

 < Locking > This message means that the conference controller
                     locked the conference. If the conference was
                     locked, then he is changing the password.

 < Unlocking > This means that the conference controller has
                     the conference. The conference is now available for
                     public access.

 < Ghosted Out > This means that the user has somehow left TALK by
                     going through the normal means. TALK has just
                     that this person is no longer using TALK, so they
                     'ghosted out'.

 < Timed Out > This means that the user has timed out of Talk.

 < Controlling > The user has taken control of the conference.

 < Relinquishing > This means that the user is relinquishing control
                     his conference.

 < Comment > The user has changed their comment.

 1: /help sum

   /ACTIVITY Show an activity summary of TALK
   /ALERT[,system name] Alert when user enters TALK
   /ALLOW,user name Allow a user to speak
   /BYE[,comment] Exit TALK
   /CALL,user name[,message] Call a user to TALK
   /CANCEL Erase current essay
   /CLEAR,flag name Clear a flag
   /CLS Clear terminal screen
   /COMMANDS Lists TALK commands
   /COMMENT Sets up a comment for display
   /CONFLIST Display a list of available
   /CONTROL Take control of the conference
   /CREATE,conf name[,password] Create a conference
   /DCL[,command] Access DCL from TALK
   /DESCRIBE[,conf name] Print a conference description
   /DISABLEQ Disables the speaker request queue
   /DISALLOW,user name Disallow a user to speak
   /DONE[,comment] Exit TALK
   /EAVESDROP[user name[,password]] Eavesdrop on a usewr
   /ENABLEQ Enables the speaker request queue.
   /ESSAY Enter a multi-line message
   /EVICT,user name Evict a user from a conference
   /EXIT[,comment] Exit TALK
   /FACE[,style] Change face style
   /GOTO,conf name[,password] Goto a conference
   /GRIPE Submit a gripe about TALK.
   /HOLD Puts the current essay on hold.
   /JOIN,user name[,password] Join a user in a conference
   /KILL Erase current essay
   /LIMITS Displays Talk's current limits.
   /LIST List current essay
   /LOCK,password Lock a conference
   /LOG[,number] Display userlog
   /MAIL[,vax user[,subject]] Access the VAXmail system
   /MAKE,conf name[,password] Create a conference
   /MODERATE Make the current conference
   /MONITOR[,conf name[,password]] Monitor a conference
   /NAME,new name Change nickname
   /NEXT Let the next person in the queue
   /NEWS Shows Talk news
   /NODES Shows a list of nodes linked to
   /NOMONITOR Stop users from monitoring
   /NOTIFY[,vax username] Notify when user logs into VAX
   /PANEL Display a list of the speaking
   /QUEUE Display the speaker request queue
   /QUIT[,comment] Exit TALK
   /RELINQUISH Relinquish control of your
   /RENAME Give the conference a new name
   /REPLY Reply to the last private message
   /RESEND[,user name] Resend last multi-line message
   /SEND[,user name] Send a multi-line message
   /SET,flag name Set a flag
   /SHOW[,flag name] Show flag settings
   /SILENCE,user name Disallow a user to speak
   /SPEAK Enter a request into the speaker
   /SQUELCH[,user name] Squelch (ignore) a user
   /STATUS Show status about yourself.
   /SUMMARY Show a summary of Talk users
   /TO[,user name] Direct a message to a user
   /TRANSCRIBE[,file name] Transcribe conference to file
   /UNHOLD Take essay off hold
   /UNLOCK Unlock a conference
   /UNMODERATE Unmoderates the conference
   /UNSQUELCH,user name Unsquelch a user
   /USERS[,conf name] Show users on TALK
   /WHISPER,user name Send a message to a specific user

 1: /help auth

   TALK was written in VAX C by Bob Lafleur. TALK was inspired from my
use of many 'TALK' systems, including, but not limited to 'TALK',
'Twinkle' and 'Confer' at U-Mass/Amherst, 'DIALOG' by Mike Hurst, and
CompuServe's CB Simulator. I would also like to thank the users of
Dataseek in Houston, Texas during the summer of 1988 for their unlimited

   If you have any ideas for this TALK program, please send them to me,
as I am continually interested in making this program the BEST talk
program around! I can be contacted at:

     Bob Lafleur
     45 Ionia Street
     Springfield, MA 01109-2519

     Phone: (413) 737-8503
     CompuServe: 75146,3122
     GEnie: SKID
     Internet: 75146.3122_at_CompuServe.COM
        (IP address
     Packet: NQ1C _at_ W1NY.MA.USA.NA


 1: /commands

/activity /allow /bye /call /clear /cancel
/cls /commands /comment /control /conflist /create
/dcl /describe /disableque /disallow /done
/enableque /essay /evict /exit /face /goto
/gripe /help /hold /join /kill /limits
/list /lock /log /mail /make
/monitor /name /newdesc /news /next /nodes
/nomonitor /panel /queue /quit /relinquish /rename
/reply /resend /send /set /show
/speak /squelch /status /summary /to
/unhold /unlock /unmoderate /unsquelch /users

Received on Thu Aug 29 2002 - 18:38:00 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:34:38 BST