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Old February 23rd, 2002, 08:30 AM   #1
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XL1 ChatRoom(s)

sorry if this is not the right place for this kind of post, but I was wondering:

is there / will there ever be an XL1 chatroom ? (I think this would be a very good idea for "live communication" between XL1 users...)


regards,

Tomas.
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Old February 23rd, 2002, 10:14 AM   #2
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this has been bought up a couple of times, and also supported by many users. Hint hint Chris. We know you're a busy guy, but it sounds like a good future plan
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Old February 23rd, 2002, 10:28 AM   #3
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I'll consider it if there were an affordable way to do it with audio, as in a call-in talk-show style audible format. I'm really not into text chat... what could it accomplish that we're not doing here already? I agree text chat is fun and sociable, but I don't think it actually *does* very much beyond that.
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Old February 23rd, 2002, 10:39 AM   #4
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Yeah I can see your point, a netmeeting kinda thing would be choice. I'm not to sure about anything other than netmeeting at the moment, at least not in a stand alone enviroment.
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Old February 24th, 2002, 07:21 AM   #5
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Hey Chris,

Here's a list of Voice/Video Chat programs that you might want to consider. (actually, only a couple look like they might have what's needed here).

http://www.webattack.com/Freeware/comm/fwvoice.shtml

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Old February 24th, 2002, 08:33 AM   #6
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Chatrooms and Message Boards are not the same thing.

Having participated in chats and message boards of a common group of driving enthusiasts for years, it becomes clear to me that the flow of information behaves differently and doesn't detract from each other as feared.

I would categorize a heirarchy as it pertains to the distribution of information as follows:

=ARTICLES=
This is simply a one-way discussion that remains highly on-topic because it's steered by a single individual. With this format, the audience is entirely dependent on the author's ability to present the information completely and coherently for the sake of minimizing unanswered questions afterwards. Upside of an article is that it's highly portable as a document (distributed by print or electronically). Downside is that it permits nearly zero interaction.

=FAQs=
Frequently Asked Questions pages are the precursor to message boards. Often the information comes from one (or few) author(s), but the topic is driven by how many times information is requested by many.

=MESSAGE BOARDS=
This is more of a conversation through a series of linked documents. By its nature, most of these info volleys are premeditated pieces that stay on-topic (although not impervious to off-topic tangents). Several "authors" participate and many others get to read an ongoing malleable topic. The speed of this conversation isn't real-time though. The pace depends entirely on the time it takes another author to respond. To fully disperse enough information of a given topic to make participating authors satisfied might take several days or more. Upsides to a message board is that the information hangs around as long as the host has storage space to archive it so that it can be read at a later time... some boards scroll messages off into oblivion. Downside is, depending on how the moderator configured a board, it might remain text-only and not open to the conveniences of hyperlinking or picture-embedding for a richer experience.

=CHATS=
A real-time conversation by active participants, internet chats allow folks to cover any topic with a level of depth that would sometimes be frowned on in a message board as getting off-topic... or worse, locked because of it's length. Participants in a chat will often exchange information that they might not post (for whatever reason) on a Message Board. Being able to spontaneously request additional information is the strength of a real-time conversation. Chats are hardly ever on-topic, but that's understood and often welcomed. Depending on the chat software/format, participants are allowed to do more than just type, they can illustrate their ideas simultaneously (whiteboards) and exchange useful files (video templates, clips, masks, Jpeg mattes, etc) that they might not want to disperse publicly. Chats are also a far better way for individuals to help each other troubleshoot a problem than a Message Board. Troubleshooting using a Message Board is clumsy because A.) the querying author almost NEVER posts enough information, if any, about the problem and B.) the responding authors can leave out steps to the solution. Upside to internet chatting is it's immediacy, topic malleability, and its potential to bring minds from vast distances together to collaborate. Downside is this information is mostly shared only with the participants (and lurkers) in a chat... although the host can enable logging and have it posted as a file.

=INSTANT MESSAGING=
An extremely light version of the traditional internet chat, this is only viable as a real-time exchange of information between two individuals (whose distance between each other does not matter). So as a medium for PUBLIC distribution of information, it's not in the running.

As far as chatting goes, the group I chat with have tried numerous formats over the years... netmeeting, java chats, and IRC. In the end, we decided that the granddaddy IRC format remained the best and most mature stability-wise.

Netmeeting is mostly relegated to those on the Windows platform and the few servers that act as a connecting switchboard are often swamped. Netmeeting also requires hefty system specs and connection speed to be a worthwhile experience.

Java chats are almost always hosted only by the server that distributes the java app. It's OK for light-duty chatting, but once the room fills up, the servers often bog down and/or the chat is more subject to crashing. Java-based chats typically don't offer much more than chatting (no file transfers). The proprietary nature of some Java chats mean that your screenspace is sometimes shared with rotating banner ads pushed at you. Here's one example of a java chat:
http://www.forumexperts.com/chat/vidforum.html

The chats over at Yahoo are also java-based. Their client software allows both typing AND voice, but after visiting one for a few sessions, voice chat over the internet is just too laggy and cumbersome. In a multiuser environment, internet voice chat can get confusing quickly. Not much different than Netmeeting's requirements.

IRC (Internet Relay Chat) has been around as long or longer than the WWW, so it works across virtually all platforms and has a very light system requirement. Freeware or shareware client programs are available, small in download size, and easy to set up. The number of IRC servers connected through various Chat networks is astounding (think of it as local TV stations on behalf of CBS/NBC/ABC networks). Those who can't or don't want to install a dedicated client Chat Software can point their browser to a webpage embedded with a java-based program. On IRC, starting up new (or additional) chatrooms is as simple as figuring out what you want to name the room. Typing something like "/JOIN #VIDCHAT" creates a new chatroom named VIDCHAT. Others join by typing the same command once connected to the same network. When the last person leaves the room, it collapses. Side-chats are also equally easy to start on IRC... helpful for example in exchanging ideas with an individual without bothering or cluttering the main chat. IRC users on broadband just leave their client software on 24/7 so that when they return home, they get to catch up in the chat by scrolling up. More info on IRC can be found here:
http://www.newircusers.com/

With all the public IRC servers out there, deciding to rendezvous in a chat devoted to a specific topic is neither difficult nor expensive. Any real money is spent only if one wishes to run (control) a private IRC server... if I recall, ircplus.com sells server software starting at around $200.
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Old February 24th, 2002, 09:08 AM   #7
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This reminds me of the time I asked a guy what time it is and he told me how to make a watch. ;)

To cut to the chase, Carter...you obviously are up on this subject...so do you know of any free or dirt cheap "voice" chat options available out there (not "text" chat or open free-for-all chat)? I'm sure Chris would appreciate some URLs...and I would too for that matter since I'm working on a site right now that could use that option.

Thanks.
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Old February 24th, 2002, 08:32 PM   #8
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John,

For the site your doing, a pretty effective chat room can be built using Macromedia Director. You can set it up as an open room or with a password requirement. You can do it using the 30 Day demo version. Tutorials are included.
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Old February 24th, 2002, 08:46 PM   #9
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Thanks, Adrian.

I'll check it out.
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Old February 25th, 2002, 12:39 AM   #10
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Carter, many thanks, spot on. Greatly appreciate it. I've done radio (the best kind - pirate radio - yaarrr!) and would like to do a call-in radio program, on the net, not by phone. Somehow. I have a Real Audio server and the bandwidth I think.
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