Monday, July 21, 2014

The Weekly Chatter for July 21, 2014

When Tragedy Strikes

Crazy. That is the first word that often comes to mind in conversations with people about the world in which we live today. The world just seems crazy, crazier than it used to be anyway. The question is, however, is the world actually crazy, or has our perception of the world somehow changed to elicit this illusion? News and information is more accessible than ever. Certainly the propagation of that news and information is faster today than at any point in human history. 40% of the world's 7 billion people are connected to the Internet, so more people have access to this flow of information than ever before. But does the volume of information, the speed of its distribution, and our access to it, somehow account for the craziness we sometimes feel? Or is it more about our inability, or lack of desire, to control the volume of information we personally receive into more tangible or more relevant snippets that lends this impression? The latter would certainly create a chaotic thought environment that could explain that crazy feeling. How do you filter your flow of information into reasonable, actionable increments?

There is a difference between crazy and unintelligible. Our thoughts today continue to be with the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, and their families. Our thoughts are also with the Gazans and Israelis whose lives are touched by the recent surge in violence there. Our thoughts are with all people whose lives are inhibited by violence against them, the locations of which are simply too numerous to mention. If information is flowing your way unfiltered, than you know these places already. If you don't know them, then you should make an effort to get to know them. With this knowledge lies comprehension, and our comprehension can ultimately derive solutions. Without this understanding, an overwhelming sense of "anything can happen at any time" can gain a foothold, where true chaos in a world spinning dangerously out of control prevails. The world appears harmless from altitude, devoid of border lines and threats from below. Did anyone on Flight 17 even for a moment think that a missile would bring down their flight while it was benignly cruising at 33,000 feet? Did travelers that were passing the time simply gazing out of the windows even know where they were? It is difficult to fathom that random acts of violence can find us anytime, anywhere.

Much in the same way as the Internet provides us with access to an abundant river of information, it provides us also with a multitude of forums through which to interact with each other to discuss, dialogue and debate the information we receive. In times of tragedy, it is human nature to want to understand why the incomprehensible occurs, and to seek the support of others as part of that process. Perhaps it is no more than herd mentality to spread our pain and grief across a group as we try to cope with a world that has become mystifying and unfathomable. As we gather together as world citizens in message boards, blogs, and chat rooms, the opportunity exists to become part of the solution. As we participate in the real-time conversations in our own ParaChat community of live chat rooms, which has 1 million unique monthly visitors from over 200 different countries, a discussion of the challenges that are facing our world dominate the dialogue. With users from every corner of the planet joining in the conversations, there is a full range of opinions from all sides of every issue. If you have something to say, join in the discussion happening now in our ParaChat community, or use a free or paid ParaChat service on your own site to start your own conversation. The world is all of us combined. When we connect with each other, we get to control just how crazy it is.

Show Us What You've Got With Screen Shots

ParaChat offers free support to both customers and users alike. Support is provided via an advanced ticketing system which allows our Support Team to minimize response times, maximize efficiency, and prioritize inquiries. When you create a support account, you may create, view and update your support tickets, a complete history of which is retained for future reference. If you are a ParaChat customer, simply log into your existing ParaChat account to open a support ticket. If you are ParaChat user, please register a support ticket account so your inquiry can receive the fastest response possible.

If you contact the ParaChat Support team, they may request that you provide a screen shot that demonstrates the issue you are having. A screen shot allows you to create a picture of what is on your monitor. If you are experiencing an issue with ParaChat, taking a picture of the issue is most likely faster than typing a full description. This helps our Support Team to understand the issue sooner, which in turn, allows them to help you faster. For detailed information about how to take a screen shot on your computer, please visit the How to take a screen shot in Windows or How to take a screen shot in Mac OS X articles in our Knowledgebase.

Security Alert: Java Update From Oracle

This past week, Oracle's Critical Patch Update included a security update to Java. The update to Java 7 Update 65 and Java 8 Update 11 included 20 security fixes. As with past Java updates, we highly recommend that users keep their Java versions up to date. This includes not only updating your computer's Java version to the latest version of Java available, but also removing any old versions of Java that you may have installed on your computer. For information about updating Java, and removing old version, please visit the How can I be certain my Java version is current? article in our Knowledgebase. Java is a web browser plug-in that is required to load the ParaChat Java chat client. Some web browsers and platforms will block Java applets from loading if you do not have the latest Java version installed.

Keep the chat love alive, and we'll see you again next week!

The ParaChat Team

Copyright © 2014 M Square Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Weekly Chatter For July 14, 2014

Make Your Event a World Event Too

Now that the World Cup tournament is over, we have an opportunity to reflect on this amazing event as a whole. Regardless of whether your country's team was eliminated in a semi-final, quarter-final, round of 16, or earlier, most agree that the World Cup in Brazil was extremely entertaining. Congratulations are in order to Germany, who not only hoisted the Cup for the first time since 1990, but also ended a European drought of World Cup victories in the Americas. Argentina and Netherlands, the second and third place finishers respectively, are also well-deserving of congratulations for their tournament performances. Not to be left out is host nation, Brazil! Although they finished in a disappointing fourth position after routs by both Germany and Netherlands, the nation can hold its collective head high for throwing the best party of the year. After all, Brazil has still won the World Cup more times than any other nation, and are also playing host to the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympic Games. We think the world will never tire of the seemingly endless beautiful vistas offered by Rio de Janeiro, Copacabana, and, well, just about everywhere there.

We offered a special chat room for World Cup fans to chat live with other fans during the tournament. The World Cup Live Chat room was added to our network of free rooms so that not only regular users could navigate into and out of the room from other rooms in the network, but also new users who were drawn into the World Cup Live Chat room could be introduced to the other regular users of the network. The network has 1 million unique users per month from over 200 countries! We were pleased (honored, really) to be able to do our small part in bringing the world together for such a stunning and wonderful event. From an organizational perspective, it was a success for ParaChat in many ways. It was an opportunity to introduce new people to our services, to bring old customers and users together with new customers and users, and perhaps even to re-introduce people to the "community chat" concept, which is sometimes bypassed these days by the drab, emotion-twisting narcissism of social networks, and the megalomaniacs who run them. It is both a step back in time, as well as a foray into the near future when social networks will have run their course, and a web presence again becomes a creative outlet for individuals and organizations rather than a point-n-click scrapbook inside of someone else's wrapper.

The live chat room we offered was related to a special world-wide event attended by a world-wide audience. It is estimated that over 1 billion people watched the World Cup final! Special events, regardless of whether your web site or organization is directly or indirectly related to them, provide an incredible opportunity to draw an audience to your web site. Live chat is an aspect of any event that not only draws traffic to a web site, but, even more importantly, retains that traffic for longer durations. ParaChat is an incredible tool to attract and retain visitors, and to manage online chat events of virtually any size. For web sites that hold frequent online events, and also may wish to create and maintain a vibrant online community of passionate fans or patrons, we license our ParaChat Professional and ParaChat Enterprise service levels for ongoing use. For web sites that may focus more on one-time or short-term events, ParaChat Event is the service for you. Each of these ParaChat services include full access to all administrative features and functions, and to a special Event Moderation feature especially designed for managing and controlling question-and-answer style events. Don't miss out on the opportunity to attract and retain visitors, turn visitors into customers, and to generate interest in your mission and revenue from your products and ideas. The world is waiting for you!

Your Foot Odor or Your Password: Which is Stronger? 

First, you can ignore the foot odor part of the question. That is more of a self-test that you will need to take care of on your own. Plus, we don't even need to know the outcome! However, we could not more highly recommend that you safeguard your personal and confidential information using passwords that are extremely hard to guess or crack. When you secure your personal data with strong passwords, you place a barrier between your information and cyber criminals who want to steal it for their own gain, no matter the cost to you. Take a step today toward better protecting the theft of your identity, your money, and your personal information by creating strong passwords. Although no information that you may access online and protect with a password can be guaranteed to be safe, using a very strong password is a great defense. Don't make it easy for your confidential information to be accessed. Lock down your data by creating strong passwords right away.

You may test the strength of a password you are considering by using our Password Meter. As you input your password, view the Score and Complexity information to see if your password is strong. The higher the Score, the stronger your password. If you want the password you are checking to be visible to you, uncheck the Hide checkbox. Try the Password Meter.

Security Alert: Update Adobe Flash

News broke this past week of a new exploit with Adobe Flash. We made ParaChat customers and users aware of this exploit via our Facebook and Twitter pages on the day this information was first released. The exploit could have allowed an attacker to steal log-in credentials to some of the Internet's most popular destinations. It is recommended that users with FirefoxOpera, Safari, and Internet Explorer versions below Internet Explorer 10 should update their computer's Flash installation immediately. Flash should update automatically for users with Chrome and Internet Explorer 10 and 11, but these users may wish to check that Flash has been updated as a precaution. Check our knowledgebase to see which version of Flash you have installed and how you can check if your Flash version is up to date.

Keep the chat love alive, and we'll see you again next week!

The ParaChat Team

Copyright © 2014 M Square Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Weekly Chatter For July 7, 2014

Community Chat By Numbers

Most of the live chat conversations our sales team have are with newcomers to our web site doing their chat software due diligence. These visitors are seeking to quickly and succinctly differentiate between each of our community chat service levels, and then compare those service levels with our competition. Our web site, knowledgebase and documentation are laden with grids, images and information to make the decision-making process unburdensome, but there is truly no substitute for instant live help in the ultra-fast pace of today's information flow. Although this would otherwise be an incredible segue into the virtues of ParaChat LiveHelp, we want to instead place the key differentiators between each of our community chat service levels into focus. Our sales team has a wealth of expertise in explaining each of our service levels in brief, rapid bursts at the moment a prospective customer is fully engaged. We will indeed draw upon their experience in keeping this information concise, but this particular forum affords an opportunity to provide a few more details at a slightly reduced tempo. Each of our service levels has their own nuances for sure, but the top-level differentiators are usually enough information for a prospective customer to lock in on one service level in particular.

The first key differentiator involves free versus paid services. Our free services are supported by advertisements. Our paid services are supported by software license fees, have no advertisements, and are embeddable into your own web site. Right away, there are two distinct prongs. ParaChat Basic and ParaChat BasicPlus are our two free, ad-supported service levels. BasicPlus is different from Basic because BasicPlus includes access to an abundance of admin features and customization options that are simply not supported by Basic. It's really important to understand that our advertisement placements are intentionally unintrusive to the chat environment. Many ad-supported services will intentionally obstruct the chat's core functionality, but we have no interest in that. Usability is paramount to ParaChat, and we do not sacrifice it in exchange for ad revenue. Most customers who are seeking a free chat service from ParaChat will choose ParaChat BasicPlus, largely due to its free admin tools. ParaChat BasicPlus is also the service level we recommend to those seeking a free chat service. When you choose one of our free service levels as your chat solution, up to 200 users can log in at the same time!

The second key differentiator is the user limit, which is the number of users that a customer expects to access their chat service at the same time. Our paid chat service levels are licensed in differing user limit increments to accommodate virtually any number of concurrent user connections that a web site community, or an event, may require. The user limits are flexible; many prospective customers simply have no idea how many users will access their service until they have built a history over time. We understand that, and have built that into our pricing model. The key number of simultaneous users is 200. Once again, there are two distinct prongs. If you expect fewer than 200 users to access your ParaChat service at the same time, consider ParaChat Standard or ParaChat Professional as your chat solution. We license each in 10, 25, 50, 100 and 200 user increments. If you expect greater than 200 users to access your ParaChat service at the same time, then consider ParaChat Enterprise as your chat solution (or ParaChat Event for one-time or short-term use).

The third and final key differentiator is the inclusion or exclusion of advanced features like chat transcripts, the event moderation tool for managing Q&A, secure encrypted chat, multiple permanent rooms, multiple site-level administrators, and full access to all customization options. If none of these advanced features are important to the management and administration of your chat community, then you may wish to consider ParaChat Standard as your chat solution. ParaChat Standard does not support any of these advance features, and there is no method to add them (apart from upgrading to a service level that does support them). If one or more of these advanced features is important to you, then you would need to consider ParaChat Professional or ParaChat Enterprise/Event as your chat solution, depending upon the number of users you need to access your ParaChat service at the same time. If a prospective customer knows whether they want a free chat service or not, has a general idea of the number of users who may log into their chat service at the same time, and whether a short list of advanced features are important or not, then they can easily choose a specific ParaChat community chat service level as their chat solution. And if they don't know, well there is no cause for concern or distress. Since there are no contracts or set-up fees, our customers are welcome to upgrade and downgrade their service at the end of any license period. Try it before you buy it too!

Webmaster Tool: Free Upload/Download Speed Test 

If your Internet connection seems slower than normal, a variety of factors could be at play. Before contacting your Internet Service Provider, it may be helpful to run a Speed Test. A Speed Test is a free analytical tool that tests your Internet connection speed against different servers around the world by sending and receiving packets of data. Tests are conducted over HTTP, just like normal web browsing. Once the test has been completed, your connection's download and upload speeds will be presented to you. You may use this information to compare your connection speed with others who use your Internet Service Provider, or to alert your Internet Service Provider of a potential issue with your Internet connection. Check your speed now!

World Cup Live Chat

Last week, we had World Cup Fever. OK, so we may still have World Cup Fever this week, but our temperature has been reduced by a degree or two after the elimination of the United States by Belgium. Firstly, our congratulations to Belgium on a well-deserved victory. Secondly, our congratulations to Argentina for beating Belgium. Such is life. By the publication of our next newsletter, the World Cup 2014 will be history. But we are greatly looking forward to watching Brazil, Germany, Netherlands and Argentina compete for the championship! Please join us and other fans in our World Cup live chat room during the remainder of the tournament. See you there!

Keep the chat love alive, and we'll see you again next week!

The ParaChat Team

Copyright © 2014 M Square Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Weekly Chatter For June 30, 2014

Independent's Day

If you are lucky enough not be conditioned to look at the calendar in terms of financial quarters, please disregard the fact that this week ends the second quarter of the traditional fiscal year. Yes, somehow, 2014 is half over already, which in today's world means that you should expect to start seeing Christmas advertisements at any time now. On a brighter note, July 4, 2014, falls during this week. In the United States, the country in which ParaChat is located, July 4 is celebrated as Independence Day. July 4 is the date in 1776 in which the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, while convened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Declaration of Independence is a document that explains the decision made by the Congress to separate from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Although two days earlier on July 2, the Congress approved the resolution on independence that was proposed by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, the celebration of American independence from Britain has long been associated with the July 4 signing of the Declaration of Independence. The date "July 4, 1776" is emblazoned across the top of this well-known document.

July 4 is a federal holiday here, and is the National Day of the United States. If July 4 falls on a weekday, non-essential federal government offices are closed, and traditionally, banks and many private businesses will also close for a day of celebration. Celebrations include fireworks displays on both a national, state and local level, commonly occurring near centers of government or monuments. It is also a time when families will gather at reunions to watch or participate in parades, attend county fairs, carnivals, circuses, sporting events, music concerts, and barbecues. July 4 falls on a Friday this year, so expect commonly available services provided in the United States to be closed for the entire day. Although ParaChat's sales office will be closed on July 4, our support team will be available for any questions or issues that may arise during this time. We love you, Support Team!

But Independence Day is also a time to relish the fiercely independent spirit for which America has traditionally been well known. It was the start of a new revolution, after all. The American Dream, and our American work ethic, are as closely tied to this independent spirit as they are to the birth of the nation itself. The United States was essentially formed by those who were drawn to its shores in pursuit of freedom, through which prosperity and success were opportunities made available to anyone who wanted to work hard for them. The Declaration of Independence itself says that, "all men are created equal" and have "certain inalienable Rights" such as "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Regardless of your nationality, this is a time to not only reflect upon this independent spirit that makes each one of us a difference-maker should we decide to act upon our independent thinking, but to rekindle it if needed. The time ahead is as uncertain as it has been at any time in our human history. Independent, critical thinkers: your time has arrived to turn your thoughts into action, a new revolution to awaken those caught in the quagmire of meaningless pursuits for the benefit of the few. To you, Happy Independent's Day!

ParaChat Feature In Focus: Secure Encrypted Chat 

Securing electronic communications over the Internet is more important today than ever before. Ensuring the privacy and security of communications is equally as important as submitting encrypted personal and credit cardinformation during ecommerce transactions. Are your private chat communications being compromised? Guard them with three layers of protection using ParaChat's Secure Encrypted Chat Module.

The first layer consists of encrypting chat messages sent between the ParaChat Client and ParaChat Server. Messages submitted and received through a ParaChat room are encrypted using a Secure Socket Layer (SSL), which is controlled by ParaChat. Because the ParaChat applet class files are downloaded from a secure web server, there is no cause for concern about having malicious chat code running on a user's computer.

The second layer is through the downloading of the ParaChat Applet Class Files from a secure server. Unlike an installed application (i.e. web browser, email client, IM client), ParaChat's client is a Java applet which is downloaded each time a user loads the web page that contains the applet, and before a user logs in to connect to the chat server. Applet class files are Java code that is executed by Java VM on each user's computer. To ensure the applet class files come from ParaChat, the class files must be downloaded from a secure server owned and operated by ParaChat, and certified as such by a Certificate Authority.

The third layer is embedding the ParaChat room code into a web page that is also downloaded from a secure server. When a web page is served from a secure server, its web address will begin with HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure). HTTPS is ordinary HTTP protocol exchanged over a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encrypted session. An encrypted connection to a web server protects data in transit between a user's computer and the web server that served the web page.

With three tiers of security working together, your can be confident that your chat messages are secure in transit. For more information, please visit the Secure Encrypted Chat article in our Knowledgebase.

We've Got World Cup Fever!

We are very happy that our home country, the United States, has made it into the World Cup Round of 16. This newsletter will be published in advance of the United States vs. Belgium game, so we obviously don't know the outcome yet. Although we will cheer on our home team to a hopeful victory, we also offer our best wishes to team Belgium, and to our friends and family in Belgium, who will be doing the same for their home team. Join us and other fans in our World Cup live chat room to chat with other fans during the remainder of the tournament!

Keep the chat love flowing, and we'll see you next week!

The ParaChat Team

Copyright © 2014 M Square Inc. All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Weekly Chatter For June 23, 2014

The Longest Day

There is nothing quite as disappointing to a child as being told to go to bed on a summer night when it is still light outside. Yet the childhood memories linger of lying there wide awake as the final moments of the day decay -- squandered playtime lost forever at the request of unreasonable parents. With a window ajar, the taunting song of birds still foraging the day's last meal combined with the playful yelps of cool parents' children ride on the evening breeze. Who could possibly sleep under those conditions! But the rebuttal always seemed to fall on deaf ears. The fight was won on most of those summer nights as children around the world remained defiantly awake in bed until darkness prevailed just to prove they could have used that time more wisely. It is not until later in life we discover that those long summer days encroached on parental free time if bedtime lingered until pitch darkness. The call to bed was less about a child's health, wealth and wisdom then it was about a mom and dad's good night's play.

For what seems like the entirety of human history, there has been a mystical appeal of the summer solstice, a celebration of Earth's annual cycle. It continues even today. Midsummer is a festival of the summer solstice celebrated in Northern Europe, among other places. Festivals vary from culture to culture, carrying traditions and history forward from generation to generation. Celebrations include singing, dancing, collecting special herbs and flowers, raising of maypoles, and burning bonfires. Specific plants that flowered around the solstice were thought to have medicinal benefits, and were harvested while Midsummer accentuated their healing powers. Fires were burned to drive away evil spirits and witches that were no longer kept in check as the sun changed direction. Perhaps the most infamous marker of humankind's intrigue with the longest day is Stonehenge, near Salisbury, England. Thought to be constructed 4000 to 5000 years ago, tens of thousands of revelers still gather today at the summer solstice to witness the sun rise in alignment with the Heelstone. As no written record was left by those who constructed it, it's specific importance for them remains open to debate.

We also mark the beginning of summer at ParaChat as each of our ancestors did, but in a different way than burning fires, or picking flowers. It is not the same as relishing school's final bell of the year, or the nostalgia of an Alice Cooper song. Our customers and users represent a truly worldwide base, and our traffic ebbs and flows with customary summer holidays. For most of the year, and as one would expect, our business-oriented traffic is highest during the week, and our entertainment-oriented traffic is highest during the weekend. But once school lets out around the world, our traffic essentially surges to become a 3-month weekend. As working families take summer holidays, business-related sales and support inquiries tend to take holidays with them. We see fewer orders for business web sites, and more orders for personal web sites. We receive less sales inquiries related to how ParaChat can generate and retain revenue for a business, and more sales inquiries about how ParaChat can generate and retain traffic for a site. It's a fascinating time of year for our business. Although we anticipate these changes, our core operation does not really change at all. We remain fully staffed for sales, support and development regardless of what the longest day means to the rest of the world. Have a great summer, and we're here to serve you all season long!

ParaChat Feature In Focus: Gag By IP Address 

For many years, ParaChat software has included a Gag feature, which is synonymous with silencing a user in other chat applications. When a gag is applied by an admin on a user, it allows the user to remain logged into the chat room, but blocks their chat messages from displaying publicly to users other than themselves. If an administrator does not want to expel or ban an unruly user from the chat room, the Gag option is an ideal tool to have at their disposal. Many argue that the Gag feature is an even better administrative tool than expel or banning. It could be considered a better tool for many reasons. A gagged user does not see any difference in their own view, so they are unaware that their chat messages are no longer displaying. They think everything is normal since everything appears normal to them. There is consequently no attempt by the gagged user at any sort of reprisal or workaround that may further consume an administrator's time and effort. Gag is a non-combative way to negate an unwanted user's comments from the room. Eventually, a gagged user simply becomes bored and goes away.

For the Gag feature to be most effective, it is important for an admin user not to disclose the fact that they're going to gag a user. There is no reason for an admin user to show any of their cards. It may also be useful to configure your ParaChat service to allow only one connection per IP address so that the user is less apt to log in twice using two different user names to see if their messages are visible. In cases where a user becomes aware that their messages are no longer displaying, ParaChat includes the option to gag a user not only by user name but also by IP address. In more severe cases, a cookie gag can be applied so the user is no longer able to post messages from their computer regardless of their number of connections, user names or IP addresses. In any event, it is always best to have the deck stacked in the admin user's favor. The Gag feature, with the option to also Gag by IP and/or Cookie Gag, certainly adds aces to an admin user's deck.

Upgrade Deals

We love to offer deals on service upgrades. Not hidden deals, but deals in plain sight. If you're interested in upgrading your ParaChat service level from one service to another to take advantage of exclusive features, or if you're just looking to increase your user limit or add a fee-based option, don't strain yourself! Just click the handy Upgrades tab in your ParaChat service administration area. Click through the upgrade opportunities to see special pricing for existing customers. Take advantage of us; no dinner or movie required!

Keep chatting, and see you next week!

The ParaChat Team

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Weekly Chatter For June 16, 2014

Chat software or chat software?

Successful small businesses have a knack for identifying and targeting niches. Ideally, a business will discover a niche at the niche's inception, before it could even be defined as a niche. Or with even greater good fortune, the niche will discover them. Chat software is certainly a niche market, and as ParaChat first came to market, it was a chat software leader in the Java revolution that was born in 1996. Java 1 was released in January, 1996, and ParaChat was launched in November of the same year. Today, chat software is still considered a corner of a very broad Internet communication market. Yet the term chat software itself no longer means the same thing as it was once defined nearly two decades ago, or more. Online text chat really came to popularity through Internet Relay Chat, which pre-dates the first Java release by 8 years. It's not so much that other programming languages have been developed to compete with Java in such a way that chat software has simply been remolded. Instead, the term chat software has become more commonly synonymous with one-to-one live help applications rather its historical relationship to community, or group, chat.

A search for chat software in any search engine will return more results than anyone could possibly review in a lifetime. But what is noticeable is virtually all of the top results for that keyword combination -- both organic and sponsored -- are related to live help chat software rather than community chat software. With our business, we detected this semantic shift during the course of 2008. During that year, the scale of general inquiries we received about ParaChat began to infer live help chat features that were not present in the type of community chat software we developed and licensed at the time. This basically meant the semantic change related to the keyword search was beginning to draw organic traffic to our site seeking a type of software that we did not offer. By sheer word association, a niche had discovered us. The decision to license a live help chat software was an easy, obvious one to make that year. Rather than abandoning our flagship ParaChat community chat software, we welcomed ParaChat LiveHelp to our product line.

Licensing two completely different services that are both considered to be chat software has not been without its challenges. Placing oneself in the mindset of a licensee seeking a live help chat service is a great deal different than the mindset of one who seeks community chat software. Our web site is essentially divided into two segments to ensure that the new visitor to our site is instantly aware upon their arrival of which route they must take for information about the specific chat software type they are seeking. Of course, there is no substitute for real help when a new potential customer arrives on our site. Our technical sales team is accessible by using our toll-free telephone number posted on every page on our site, via support ticket for tracking and history purposes, and by click-to-chat instant live help using the same ParaChat LiveHelp service we make available for your site too! So no matter whether you are seeking chat software, or chat software, we are here to serve you either way!

ParaChat Feature In Focus: Chat Transcripts 

Often internally referenced as the Great Differentiator, ParaChat's chat transcript feature is one of the most sought after features. Chat transcript log files have been part of ParaChat since its inception. The ability to retain and preserve for posterity the CEO's annual chat, a VIP event with a top recording artist, a moderated event with a tech guru, or the mundane claptrap that ensues when the admin is not present, is essential for many sites, and required by law for others. To protect privacy, chat transcripts are off by default. When turned on, transcript log files are accessible only through your secure ParaChat service administration area, and can only be retrieved manually by a site-level administrator. The files are stored on the chat server for review and retrieval for 30 days, unless the site-level administrator decides to delete them sooner. The site-level administrator can also manually select to have specified chat transcripts emailed, or configure their service to automatically email chat transcripts at the end of each day to an email list that they populate and control.

The chat transcript feature is more than just a log of chat messages. It can be configured to record chat text in dynamic, user-created rooms, record private chat messages, record IP addresses for attribution and after-the-fact administration purposes, timestamps, and to remove unwanted clutter such as join/leave messages, sent sounds, etc. So why do we call it the Great Differentiator? Because chat transcripts are not included with ParaChat Basic/BasicPlus or with ParaChat Standard. If chat transcripts are an important feature for you, then you would need to choose ParaChat Professional as your chat solution, or greater. One of the most popular questions asked of our sales team is if it is possible to add only the chat transcript feature to ParaChat Standard, and if so, how much will it cost? The answer is yes, and the cost is the difference in price between ParaChat Standard and ParaChat Professional! More information...

FREE is our Standard!

We have been giving things away for nearly two decades! ParaChat Standard is no different. We know that when you try it, you will love it. You can order ParaChat Standard for your web site right now, and pay absolutely nothing. Order it, play with it, embed it in your web site, ask our support team questions, interact with your site visitors, take their feedback, pass their feedback on to our support team, try to break it, get grandma addicted to chatting, and really get your feet wet with it. When you order with More information...

Keep chatting, and see you next week!

The ParaChat Team

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Weekly Chatter For June 9, 2014

Instant Freebie: Try It, Buy It, or Not

ParaChat is software as a service. Our objective is simplicity. For our fee-based services, an order is placed, and then we provide the embed code. The customer publishes the page with the ParaChat embed code to their live web site, then they hope it works as expected and visitors to their web site use it. Done. It would be difficult to make that process any easier. But let's say we try to make it easier by eliminating one of the steps. Let's eliminate the guessing -- the hoping-it-works part, and the hoping-visitors-use-it part. We accomplish this by providing a free instant evaluation of a full version of our software services to anyone who wants to try it, any place on the planet. We want our customers to see first-hand what we've spent 18 years building for them. We want your users to see what you're contemplating as an addition (or as a replacement) to your site for their live interaction, pleasure and entertainment. We put it all on the table, for free, so there is no guesswork. It's either the best thing since sliced Westphalia pumpernickel, or it's bimbo blanco. No matter your preference for yeasty delights, hope has been eliminated as a decision-making component.

Does eliminating guesswork and hope from the decision-making process really make it easier? Just glancing at world-wide divorce statistics is enough to confirm what you already know is true. We want the partnership we have with our customers to last. Our free trials don't provide just a glimpse into ParaChat's workings, and partial access to its functionality. It's not a bread crumb trail laid to lure you toward a paywall through which you have to travel so you can really see its stuff. It is a full version of our service that you may use to make a final decision. Use the evaluation time to make ParaChat a part of your site. Take feedback from users. Ask our support team questions. Know with 100% certainty when you choose ParaChat as your chat solution that you have chosen wisely.

We offer a free, 50-user, 15-day trial of our community chat services. No credit card is requested or required. We are always pleased to increase the user limit and trial duration upon request. Take us up on it. Once your trial period is over, you may simply convert your evaluation into a paid service without any changes to the embed code in your web page, or to any of the customization and administrative settings you have configured during your evaluation period. There is no downtime, and converting your evaluation to production service is seamless to both you and your users. For our live help chat service, ParaChat LiveHelp, every order starts as a free 15-day trial. You can't avoid that. If trying a service for free without any option to pay up front is illegal in your country, then please do not order ParaChat LiveHelp. If if-then statements induce anaphylactic shock, please do not read the previous sentence. We want you to try ParaChat because we know you will like it. We know your users will like it. Together, we can spread more "like" in the world. Or not.

ParaChat Feature In Focus: Service Administration Area 

Perhaps the greatest differentiator between ParaChat and other chat services is ParaChat's amazing volume of useful administrative features. We provide access to hundreds of administrative features for even our free ParaChat BasicPlus service, and entry-level fee-based service, ParaChat Standard. Each time we embark upon competitive analyses, we are amazed by the contrast in administrative functionality afforded by ParaChat over other chat services by comparison. You can spend little or nothing on ParaChat service, and still have access to an unprecedented level of control. The ParaChat service administration area is truly the command center of your ParaChat service, and we want to be certain you experience it while you're conducting chat service due diligence.

Sure, ParaChat is ready to use instantly right out of the virtual box. It is intentional that we initially provide your ParaChat service so it can be deployed "as-is". You can literally have ParaChat working on your site in a matter of minutes, depending upon how fast you are with right-click menus or keyboard commands for copying and pasting. Our administration area offers the best of both worlds. For those who don't want to fuss and tinker with the chat service, ParaChat works great without any tweaking at all. For those who truly want to make ParaChat a seamless part of their web site, and to meticulously fine tune it to accommodate their custom needs, the administration area is the place for you.

The ParaChat service administration area is a secure, web-based, tabbed control panel, the link to which is included in your ParaChat order confirmation email. Depending upon which ParaChat service you order, it will likely be the first place you visit after our main web site. When you initially log in, you land on the aptly named Getting Started tab. The Dashboard tab is next, which provides an at-a-glance view of your current service configuration. Then things get serious with the My Site tab, followed by the My Rooms tab. ParaChat service configuration works in a hierarchy with "Site" level at the top, and "Room" level below it. Site-level settings apply to all rooms under your ParaChat Site ID, and room-level settings override the site-level settings so you may configure your ParaChat service on a per-room basis if you wish. The Users & Databases tab is where local user access is controlled, such as creating administrators, and password-protecting user names, configuring access to ParaChat's option integrated member database, or to connect ParaChat to your own external database. The Voice & Video tab is used for configuring the voice chat and video chat functionality you want to offer your end users. The Mobile tab is used to configure how you want to treat end users who wish to connect to your ParaChat service from any mobile device. You may contact our support team using the Get Support tab, and see available upgrade options and prices from the Upgrades tab. You license ParaChat service from us. When doing so, we place you in control.

Social Scramble

We take the first word or three from each of our posts to Twitter and Facebook in the past week, and scramble them to see if they provide any actionable guidance or enlightenment. Decide for yourself. Do you see an ulterior meaning?:

How can I find out if our Opera visits has what is illegal? Weekends were a bit unusual. It is our TGIF!

Did you find a Social Scramble in our posts with a deeper meaning? Let us know by tweeting @ParaChat with #SocialScramble.

Keep chatting, and see you next week!

The ParaChat Team