First off I don't know what an IRC server is.
Internet Relay Chat.
Here is a client:http://www.mirc.com
Kind of like the in game chat you find in many fps games.
Lots of 'channels' that are related to newsgroups/filesharing/etc.
Any time I've turned on the XP firewall I've had trouble connecting to lots of things, so I turned it off.
As for Shields UP! - Steve Gibson seems to have just as many critics as fans these days.
edit - is, us, whatever
-TPFKAS2Shttp://www.braglio.orgHow many toes does a fish have?
How many wings on a cow? I wonder, yep. I wonder! This comment was edited on Feb 6, 15:00.