Hackint/OFTC on Freenode?
As for good networks, I've been trying like hell to find anything that's infosec related/programming related. A lot of the surrounding Defcon (area) groups are like graveyards. Not a lot of activity.
The public channels seem interesting in terms of if you have any questions you'll get answers. Not a lot of people you can get familiar and friendly with though. Still on the search for that.