We shall explore using the console for irc, email, etc. The following covers stuff I found on IRC. I use mutt to read email. I renders PDF, Word doc, html all on the console. No need for GUI. As a prerequisite, all users should run the "sl" (steam locomotive) command before coming to the meeting.
Bring your favorite console hack to share!
Some mistakingly characterize the console as DOS. Below is some reading for the uninitiated! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminfo
And here are some interested applications written using the ncurses library. http://www.gnu.org/software/ncurses/