Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Weekly Chatter For June 2, 2014

Happy Birthday! LOL Turns 25

Twenty-five years ago, ParaChat was not yet even a distant glimmer in a clever developer's eye. Internet shorthand, however, was emerging to abbreviate and convey emotional statements on Usenet, IRC, and in BBS chat rooms. Included as a component of Internet shorthand at the time was the acronym LOL. LOL is generally accepted to mean "laugh out loud" or "laughing out loud", and would be used as a written expression of an emotional reaction to a statement that a user found to be humorous. Its use would convey that the user was not merely smiling or happy by a statement made in the chat room by another user, but that it physically made them laugh out loud.

The 25th anniversary of the use of LOL is attributed to its appearance in the May 8, 1989, issue of FidoNews, a weekly newsletter published online by the International FidoNet Association. In fact, a copy of the original newsletter is still available online today. Obviously, LOL's reference in the newsletter would suggest that it was already in widespread use in May of 1989. With no earlier attribution available, its 25th birthday has been declared nonetheless. However, in an undated article, Wayne Pearson claims to have coined the term LOL "in the early-to-mid-80s". According to Mr. Pearson's article, "LOL was first coined on a BBS called Viewline in Calgary, Alberta, Canada," after a friend "had said something so funny in the teleconference room that I found myself truly laughing out loud."

Today, Internet shorthand still has a secure place in our written communication toolbox. In fact, some shorthand has made the jump from written use to verbal use! Who hasn't heard OMG or LOL spoken aloud at any tween or teen gathering spot at one point or another? Regardless of the emergence of graphical representations of emotional expressions such as emoticons and avatars, shorthand acronyms for use in text-based communication are here to stay. Their continued acceptance was further secured by their induction into the Oxford English Dictionary in March, 2011. Plus, use of acronyms can certainly help any chatter speak their mind without any fear of their words being censored by the profanity filter, or repercussions like being banned by a sensitive administrator. ROTFLMFAO!

Java 7 Update 60 Released 

On May 28, 2014, Oracle Corporation released an update to Java SE 7. Java 7 Update 55 was updated to Java 7 Update 60 (see Release Highlights | Release Notes | Bug Fixes). The Java plug-in is required to load the ParaChat Java chat client in a web browser window. Oracle releases updates to Java from the web site on a regular, quarterly basis. Java 7 Update 60 is a scheduled update, and will expire on July 15, 2014, when the next Critical Patch Update becomes available. Critical Patch Updates are updates from Oracle that include security vulnerability fixes. The next Critical Patch Update for Java is scheduled for July 15, 2014.

Certain key ParaChat features are only available via the Java chat client. For example, the chat room's Admin Console graphic user interface, which is used by administrators to control the chat room and chat roomusers, is only available via the Java client. Additionally, features related to the Event Moderation feature, such as the Moderators Console, and the message submission input field, require the Java client in order to access those features. Quite a large number of customization options are only supported by Java as well, and these options are designated as such in the ParaChat Software Documentation using the Java and Flash logos.

We highly recommend that users keep their computer's Java version up to date. Not only should users endeavor to keep their Java version up to date, they should also remove any old version of Java that may still be installed on their computer. When updating your computer's Java from the Java web site, the Java verification routine will not only check your computer to ensure the latest Java version is installed, but it will also find and remove out-of date versions. Please visit How can I be certain my Java version is current? for information about how to update your Java today.

Feature In Focus: End-User Ignore By IP Address

This week's Feature In Focus, also referenced in a post to our Facebook and Twitter pages this past week, highlights an end-user feature rather than an administrative one. Ignore By IP Address is a new feature added to ParaChat in our last release. Although there are administrative features included with ParaChat software to prevent users from logging in under multiple user names from the same IP address, the default configuration permits multiple connections from the same IP. If an administrator does not modify the default configuration, then users may unwittingly be stumped about whether they are chatting with the same person or not. To ignore a user in ParaChat is to prevent their chat messages from displaying in your view of the main chat window. The option to ignore a user's messages has long existed in ParaChat, but the option to ignore by IP is an additional improvement to this function.

Should the occasion arise that a user wishes to ignore the chat messages of other users for whatever reason, the Ignore By IP feature blocks messages from every user who is logged in from the same IP address. This is also an effective tool if an ignored user decides to log out, and back in again, under a new user name. Their chat messages will still be blocked from displaying in the chat window. Caution must also be exercised, however, because users who connect from behind the same corporate firewall may have the same public IP address. In this circumstance, ignoring a user by IP may result in ignoring all users logged in from the same company. For more information about how to use this feature, please see the End-User Ignore By IP Address article in our Knowledgebase.

Keep chatting, and see you next week!

The ParaChat Team

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