Hmmm, well a socket implies that the data path from your software to the irc server is borked somehow. Or that the creation of said socket is borked.
Although this sounds almost more like a code error, the fact that all of this has issues points elsewhere. Let us try to disable your firewall (and if you use anything by Norton, shut it down too). And try again with mIRC. If it works well, then you will likely have to write some exceptions in to allow mIRC connect.
If not, then it gets more interesting. Uninstal mIRC and your Java runtime. Download and reinstall the latest stable Java runtime. Reinstall the latest stable miRC. Sacrifice a goat. Try again.
If that does not work? Not sure.
Edited By: Jaddar Thesk on Year 9 Day 287 22:26 ____________
The socket error is normally just caused by a firewall blocking your IRC access, so you should not need to do anything but allow your IRC client through the firewall or disable the firewall entirely. If it is the port being blocked, you can also connect on one of the other ports, as we have the following enabled on the server: 1080, 5000, 5555, 6660-6670, 8080
If opening the port in your firewall doesn't work you can try programs like Trillian (1, 2, or 3 support IRC, I'm told 4 doesn't) Miranda, Pidgen, pirch, or a few others.
I also know firefox has an IRC Client that is supposed to be good.
Sometimes the problem is a software conflict and a different piece of software will handle it. I'ld try Miranda and/or Pidgen first. you can download the portable versions of those at at www.portableapps.com, that should let you try them without having to load new hardware onto your harddrive, they load and run off a usb key drive (thumb drive, flash drive, it's all the same).