Sunday, May 16, 2010

Live Chat On-Line

Independent has set up a live world-wide chat server for Baha'is and friends. You may download the chat client X-Press here and talk your head off 24/7. This service may provide a more instant means to discuss anything on your minds than forum posts provide. The author will keep an eye on this unmoderated live chat, in case anybody wants to chat with me. Here are some X-Press faqs.

Installation
Just click the download link above and unzip the file into a directory (folder) of your choice. X-Press.exe is ready to go! Just run X-Press, choose your Alias and click "Connect".

Features
1. Each time you connect to the chat server, you can use a different Alias if you like. The Alias you use, should be short to save screen space. I use the Alias "doc", but it could be "Jim" or my initials "JJK" or something like that.

X-Press will remember the current Alias you are using, so when you run the program again, you will not need to enter it. If you disconnect, you can change your alias and connect again with this "new identity", so to speak.

2. The chat server will disconnect users who have no activity for 15 minutes. Activity is any new entry in the chat listing, from you or any other user who might also be on-line. If you check the "Stay OnLine" box, X-Press will generate a null chat line automatically before the server times out to disconnect you. That is, you can stay on-line indefinitely, if you want.

3. You can observe any ongoing chat without submitting text yourself. The server will notify all users on-line when a new person logs on, but without the Alias, which indeed, the server itself does not know. It is only when you enter text and send that your Alias appears to all other users. In short, you can lurk.

4. If you have questions, please just ask them in a comment here or better, if I see it, in the X-press chat window. I'll try to be responsive.

5. The "Save Chat" button will save the chat text accumulated in a uniquely named file in the X-Press folder. This saving also clears the chat text window. If the amount of text grows quite large, this means X-Press will use more RAM memory on your computer. Thus, when you do a "Save Chat", you free up RAM memory.

6. The saved chat files are in plain text format and can be viewed by any program you like. Also, if some or all of these chatxxxxx.txt archives are unwanted, you can delete them to save hard drive space.

7. The X-Press window is resizable with your mouse so you can set your preferred height and width.

8. If X-Press has difficulty connecting to the chat server or looses a connection, a message box with descriptive text appears. When you click "OK" there, usually the program exits. One cause of difficulty may be that the chat server itself is off-line. Perhaps the best remedy there is just to retry later.

9. X-Press was written by the author with HotBasic -- the best program compiler available in the world today for the PC platform, and is a very compact, efficient program.

Future Development
Given interest and some reasonable demand, I would be happy to add additional features. Users are usually excellent in suggesting what they want or need. Some possibilities are listed:

1. GROUPS If there are a number of different interests for chat topics, it is possible to select a topic and chat in a particular group (e.g., ASIA, EUROPE, SINGLES, PRAYER, etc). In that case, a user's inputs are distributed by the server only to other on-line persons connected to the selected group.

2. ENCRYPTION There is also the possibility to encrypt all incoming and outgoing chat text. One reason to do this might be for users on networks who desire privacy -- others such as the system administrator, etc, would not know what is being discussed.

Have fun.