Warnings about using the chat room
System requirements for successful use of the Chat Room
- The chat room is similar to the bulletin board in that it provides a means of communicating with like-minded individuals. It differs from the bulletin board in that the communication is in real time.
- We recommend that you login using your bulletin board username so others will recognize you. Be aware, though, that a malicious person could login with your name or that of another bulletin board user. If a chatter's conversation seems distinctly out of character, identity theft may be involved.
- There are individuals who visit chat rooms and deliberately post derogatory or inflammatory comments in order to bait others into responding. In chat room parlance, these individuals are called trolls.
- The best way to deal with a troll is to ignore it. If no one responds, it will go away because it gets its kicks from goading people into responding. If a troll enters the chat room, highlight its name in the participant list and then click on the Ignore icon (the one at the bottom of the participant list with a red X through it). After you do that, you will not even see what the troll "says". If one of the legitimate chatters starts responding to a troll, highlight that person's name in the participant list, click on the Private Chat icon (second from the left) and then tell the person to Ignore the troll.
- The chat room is supplied "as is". It is not moderated.
As time goes on, computer programs become more sophisticated. However, this sophistication comes at a price - more sophisticated hardware is required to run the programs. There is a chicken and egg aspect to this but the bottom line here is that if you are running Netscape 3 on a computer with Windows 95 and 16 MB of RAM, you are probably not going to be able to use the Chat Room.
The program does use a lot of memory. In addition, feedback from users, suggests that memory leaks can occur (System resources keep decreasing the longer the program is run). The fact that this did not occur on a high end system suggests that the leaks are not a consequence of the software running on the server but of weaknesses at the client (local PC) level. Users have made reference to "getting booted out of the Chat Room". In fact, their own PC disconnected them because it ran out of resources. Some interim suggestions for a successful Chat Room experience.
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- Reboot your computer before going to the Chat Room
- Close all programs except your firewall, antivirus, browser (close the browser's e-mail window too), and memory scrounger. You may have a lot of programs running that you are not aware of because they load automatically on startup. A utility such as Startup Cop Pro is useful for reducing the resource load on your system caused by these unnecessary programs.
- I have no idea what the minimum amount of memory (RAM) required is. I do know that Windows 2000 and Windows XP run better with 512 MB than with 256 MB.
- Use the latest version of your browser which is compatible with your operating system - Internet Explorer(with the latest patches and updates), Netscape, Firefox, Opera, Safari
- Ensure that you have the latest Java plug-in
- Windows. Go to Sun's Java 2 Plug-in site and click on "Get It Now". If your plug-in is up-to-date, you will see "Java Software Installed. Congratulations! You now have the latest version of Java software." If you do not see this message, follow the instructions for downloading and installing the plug-in.
- Apple. Go to Apple's Java Plug-in site and update your plug-in if necessary
- Use a memory scrounger. Basically, this is a small application which runs in the background, recovers "leaked" memory and, hopefully, prevents out-of-resources crashes. One of the simplest is MaxMem. After you download, install and start it, you will see a small chart in the system tray at the bottom of your screen. If you have a memory leak, the graph line will keep moving upwards even though you have not started any new programs. If this is happening, give a left mouse click periodically and MaxMem will attempt to recover some lost memory.
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