Free Online Private Chat Service with LaTeX Support: Hack.Chat

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Hack.Chat is a free online chat application that has a minimalistic design and is free from distracting features. This application features mainly on the ‘chat’ part and has avoided features such as attachments and smileys. Stripping these features and the UI design of this application has tailored it for programmers and hackers. A user can create a chat room with any name and invite his friends to talk privately. Moreover, Hack.Chat supports LaTeX. LaTeX codes can be used to document characters and styles that otherwise can’t be used on other chat services. This can specially be used to write mathematical and scientific formulas which have different symbols, subscripts and superscripts.

free online chat application

Hack.Chat is definitely a great choice when you’re making a group project with your friends. All you need to do is fire up a new channel and you’re good to go. You can use quirky nicknames to show off. If you have a clan of hackers, use Hack.Chat to plan something new. But be warned, this free online chat application has nothing that says it’s encrypted. For a chat client with a secure line and VoIP, try out Bleep.

How to use Hack.Chat for Chats

To start chatting on Hack.Chat, you can copy the channel link provided on the top of its description on the main page. Instead of ‘?your-channel’, replace it with the channel name you want to use. Users can also join pre-made channels as shown on the main page to discuss science and humor.

free online chat application

When you open a new channel, you’ll be prompted to choose a nickname, when you do, you can start chatting. The UI is a regular one but without the options to add attachments, smileys, or pictures. The only exception is the ability to add hyperlinks in the chats. You can use simple keyboard smileys if you want to be more expressive.

How to use LaTeX in Hack.Chat

Hack.Chat will not render an entire program but only inline formulas and commands that you use. LaTeX codes can help users to write complex mathematical and scientific formulas that otherwise would not look very pretty. You have to use these codes between two dollar signs. For example, the code $\frac{mc^2}{\sqrt{1-\frac{v^2}{c^2}}}$ will scribe a formula from the mass-energy equivalence. Here is a screenshot of the same:

free online chat application

Using double dollar sign will highlight the formula at the center of the chat box in a bigger size. If you want to learn more about LaTeX coding and other inline formulas, you can click here. On a side note, you can simply use $\ddot\smile$ to make a smiley emoticon or $\ddot\frown$ to make a frown.

Final Words

Hack.Chat is something I would definitely use had I been a programmer. This project would have been much better had there been a few more hidden tools that would have helped programmers. I had hoped that Hack.Chat supported markdown syntax if it supports LaTeX. But, it doesn’t. Another issue I found is the absence of an encryption system for the message which would attract more programmers and hackers to use it. With all the above facts taken into consideration, I rate this free online chat application with 4 stars.

Try Hack.Chat here.

Know a better alternative to Hack.Chat? Share it in the comments!

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