Technical problems on the road to the (cyber-) field

After having adjusted the PhD project proposal, I started organising the approach to the field. Namely, start following the BfW community and interacting with its users and developers. While I still have some items in my todo list concerning the beginnning of my empirical research (e.g.  contacting some mailing list admins, deciding which area of the community to tackle first...), I realised that some technical problems need to be solved ASAP.

I mainly work from my University, but the proxy and the configuration/policies of the University network causes me two problems.

  1. E-mail: SMTP access client-side is disabled, except for the SMTP server of the university. All my other e-mail accounts were prevented from sending e-mails. Since I don't want to use my account for the research and since the research will rely on e-mail exchange/discussions, this was a problem.
  2. IRC: the proxy only allows connections through port 80, while IRC channels have ports open on 6667-8001. Since I'd like to follow regularly (and possibly participate in) some #channels, this was another problem.

Regarding problem 1, I  solved it by setting the University SMTP mail server for my main e-mail accounts (I thought about this solution many times, but I couldn't find the proper configuration since evolution/thunderbird did have issues with the system-wide proxy configuration, and since the SMTP server rejected authentication). This leave me with the somewhat annoying situation of having to change SMTP server (for my e-mail accounts) everytime I change working location home vs. university, but it's an acceptable compromise.

Regarding problem 2, I'm still struggling. At the beginning I though it was a problem with the IRC client proxy configuration (and tried different clients: konversation, kvirc, xchat, quassel...). Later, I discovered the issue with port 80. Now I'm left with two different apporaches. Try to find a way to tunnel my connection through ssh, or to find a web-based IRC plugin (e.g. ChatZilla) that is working over port 80.

I'm trying to look into these two possiblities during these days and, hopefully, I can soon start following community activities.


I think this board is the proper place to ask you about the activation proccess. My link is not working properly, do you know why it is happening?,

I'm sorry for that, I have no idea why this is happening. I try to investigate further.

Thanks for reporting this.

Update: webchat and qwebirc

It seems that using the web chat installed on webchat.freenode will be my solution to the restrictive proxy/firewall settings at my University. 

This workaraound is also listed in Wesnoth "Support" page ,but the beginning, I discarded it since I don't like using remote/web-based services when I can run clients on my machine. However, this time it seems I have no choice and, after all, the webchat installed for freenode it is not that bad. It runs qwebirc and it works quite smoothly using Firefox 3.6.

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