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MeetAndSpeak - a short history

September 3rd 2013

Before talking about the upcoming changes in MeetAndSpeak v2 it might be useful for me to explain how the whole project got started and what has happened so far.

It all began in April 2009. At that time my job didn't involve much actual coding. I was concentrating more in standardization and technology studies at Nokia. I also had quite a lot free time and figured out I could start to build something using web technologies, not just surf the web. Only the idea for a project was missing.

After some time I realized that me and quite many people I knew still used IRC for their messaging needs. Many times using irssi IRC client inside a unix utility called screen. When we were students that was a setup that worked good enough. Universities provided shell accounts and there wasn't corporate firewalls to worry about, at least during freshman year.

After graduation things got worse of course. Free linux shell providers don't exist. Therefore my idea was to build a web app that would look like xChat or mIRC and which would keep users on channels even when they are logged out, like screen.

As said, I started coding in April 2009. After summer and fall of development I had somewhat working system. I remember using pretty much all weekends for the project. Somewhere around March 2010 the site was ready for opening.

In the beginning I had idea that I could maybe even make some profit with ads. But after seeing that even a big always visible Google image ad gave me maximum one or two euros per month I decided to disable them completely. Equally unnecessary idea was to form one-man company, MeetAndSpeak Ltd, for the site. First the company gave little extra credibility, but with a price of paper work I need to do once in a year. I let others to be founders.

After the initial development spurt I've in practice only made sure the site stays secure and online. Looks like this has been good enough for many of the active users. Nowadays there are several similar services like Mibbit and IRCCloud. In the end it was never even close that I would abandon my day job and start working with MeetAndSpeak full time. Still I'm not disapointed, it has been a nice side project to learn new web things.

From the start MeetAndSpeak has supported connections to two IRC networks (FreeNet, IRCNet) in addition to its own local channels (called groups). Based on the statistics most users use MeetAndSpeak to access IRCNet channels.

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