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28 May 2009 @ 08:32 pm

So the chat software we’ve been using for the word wars, tinychat (which is web-based and therefore ideal because everybody has a browser but not everybody has AIM/gchat/ICQ/whatever), has gone and made a bunch of Improvements which aren’t. I shall list them for you, because I know you’re dying to hear.

The different colored, bolded usernames (which helped differentiate chatters) have disappeared. So has the flashing toolbar announcement that there’s a new chat message, if you’re not on that window. The chat window itself is smaller, making it more difficult to follow conversations. The input window now, for some incomprehensible reason, displays bolded text. It’s now possible to log into a chat room without selecting a username, but there’s no way to bounce an anonymous guest. A flash window now pops up with irritating regularity to offer a pro (ie, paid) account. They have introduced a Twitter-length(ish) input limit. And (non-critically but sadly) the little flags which told people what country everybody was logging in from are gone.

This in general sucks, but in very, very *specific* sucks because my writing computer, Nook, is about ten years old and can just barely handle the internet. All I can do with it is connect to the chat room, which is *perfect*, because it means all I use the net for while I’m working is the wars.

Except I can no longer log in, because they’ve Improved it beyond my computer’s capability to cope.

Frustrated, and suspecting that our complaints (which, if you want to complain on, like, my behalf, can be sent to support@tinychat.com) will fall on deaf ears, I spent most of the afternoon setting up a different chat room off my cemurphy website. It’s ugly as hell–I haven’t figured out how to drop a skin over it–but at least it functions on my very old computer.

For at least one other of our warriors, though, it doesn’t work. She doesn’t see anybody’s chats unless she types something herself, and then she gets all of the comments she’s missed in a big spam.

I honestly don’t know what to do. I don’t want to spend hours testing different chat programs to see if I can find one that’ll work with everybody’s system, most difficultly mine. I *really* don’t want to buy a new work computer just so I can participate in the word wars, because not only is that expensive (even if I buy the cheapest desktop I can find), but my computer as-is really is *ideal* for me. I don’t *want* to be able to surf the net.

But I also really, really don’t want to give up on the word wars. They’ve been working so well for me, and for so many other people. I mean, clearly they can continue without me, I’m not integral to other people doing them, but *I* really want to be able to participate for my *own* good. And I’m *stupidly* stressed over this. :(

(x-posted from the essential kit)
Current Mood: stressedstressed
Pamelajeditigger on May 28th, 2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
Flashing = FAIL. :(
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kit: drwho_sadmizkit on May 28th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
There are, but I'd have to go through them on the other computer, which, because I can barely browse with that one, means making a list of sites and going through them one at a time to see if anything /works/ for me. Java-based chat rooms are pretty common, but Java crashes a lot, which is *really* not ideal for people working on books (not just me, but in general for all of us). Flash-based things are too new-wave for my old computer. I donno. :(
(Deleted comment)
kitmizkit on May 28th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
I have almost no faith in tinychat seeing reason, but even if they put all the detaily things we liked back, I seriously doubt I'll ever be able to connect there again with the computer I work from. I think they've upgraded to something that a ten year old computer just can't handle.
Michellemsagara on May 28th, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC)
They did say they changed their entire back end to accomodate the new features. So yeah, I think it's unlikely.

I've been looking at some things; I think the problem with going AIM/gchat or something similar is that it's hard to designate a room for just word wars.

kit: headdeskmizkit on May 28th, 2009 08:17 pm (UTC)
I missed the part where they said that, but yeah.

And yeah. A static room is ideal. *headdesk*
(Deleted comment)
kit: xmen_dontmesswithmemizkit on May 28th, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC)
No, I didn't. And the chat room I set up isn't as nice as the tinychat one. It'd be nice to find something of equal quality that could be set up permanently and would work for everybody. This SUCKS.

But your icon is funny. :)
Michellemsagara on May 28th, 2009 08:26 pm (UTC)
Well... I can log into your room.

I cannot, apparently, -type- into the war room any more at the moment, although I can type into every other app I'm running -.-. So I think something must have broken flash or something, and I'll have to restart the entire browser.
kitmizkit on May 28th, 2009 08:27 pm (UTC)
Michellemsagara on May 28th, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC)
Well, progress, yay -.-. I think I do have the "need to send text to see it" thing in your window; I could live with that, though.
(Deleted comment)
kitmizkit on May 28th, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC)
So do I! Michelle, are you using a Mac, by any chance?
Michellemsagara on May 28th, 2009 11:05 pm (UTC)
I am using a mac. The problem for me with the room is that the chat is two lines long. Period. If there's a way to change the number of scrolling lines, I can't find it. But I could live with it, as well.
Michellemsagara on May 28th, 2009 11:05 pm (UTC)
I should then add that Di is using Firefox and I'm using Safari.
eclectic_writer: Lolcat - ceiling cat frownseclectic_writer on May 28th, 2009 08:01 pm (UTC)
Hm, just popped over to the chatroom difrancis usually uses for her word wars and can't say I'm impressed. I'm not a fan of the new, more utilitarian design - I liked having my little extras! *sigh*
Cymru Llewescymrullewes on May 28th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)
I am still wondering why you didn't just go with IRC. There are a lot of free clients. I am on a linux machine and using Konversation. There's Xchat for Windows and Linux (huh, how about that.) OSX, too. mIRC is the gold standard and it is Windows. It is also nagware. Pidgin does IRC as well as Instant Messaging via AIM and Jabber and GChat. Adium is the Macintosh software but I don't think it does IRC. Oooooooh! Colloquy is freeware opensource and does ICB as well as IRC! Ooooh. Most of ICB is linux. unixronin wrote ICBM.
kitmizkit on May 28th, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC)
Because I was trying to avoid anything that meant people had to download extra/new clients.
Cymru Llewescymrullewes on May 28th, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
In that case, you should probably look at http://www.mibbit.com/
Lady Doomlithera on May 28th, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)
I don't know if it will help or not but I know that meebo.com allows visibility into all chat programs you upload into it at once but it also hosts rooms for chatting itself.
Janne: trek Animated meet mr doorjanne on May 28th, 2009 09:23 pm (UTC)
Huh, new tinychat doesn't work at all for me, and my computer is rather less than 10 years old. (Not that I'm on wordwars, just confirming it does indeed suck mightily now.)
kitmizkit on May 28th, 2009 09:29 pm (UTC)
That's sort of heartening. Sort of. :)
Living Creativelyserasempre on May 29th, 2009 12:11 am (UTC)
Would you be willing to go here: (http://drolleriepress.com/lets-chat/) and try out the chat? If it works for you, you could either use it for your word wars, or I could set one up for you, or just show you where I got it. If it doesn't, it didn't take too much time to try it.
kitmizkit on May 30th, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
Well, it's definitely an improvement over the mess Tinychat currently presents! I wouldn't want to use the Drollerie main chat room, because part of what I'm trying to create here is a room that genuinely is only for word wars, so the double-purpose wouldn't be ideal. I...would love to know where you got the software, at the very least, if you don't mind. It's a little odd, I don't mind using 3rd party software like tinychat offers, but I somehow feel strange accepting chat room space from other sources! It's partly that I don't want to be an obligation on someone, I think...
Living Creativelyserasempre on June 1st, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
I got it from tufat.com, which is an awesome little resource for $5.00 software. There are mods available too. If you need help with it, drop me a note and I'd love to do what I can.