Monday, July 28, 2014

The Weekly Chatter For July 28, 2014

To Free or Not To Free

The appeal of something free is sometimes overwhelming. Our decision to jump in head first to get a freebie can often be too hasty. How much freeware, how many toolbars, and who knows what kinds of malware have been inadvertently downloaded and installed initially because of its appeal of being no-cost. Yes, we are all guilty of it. Some of us have had a higher price to pay than others for freebies in the form of viruses, trojans, ransomware, and complete losses of entire computer systems. We are primed with wanting freebies from a young age. Our parents and grandparents have always said that the best things in life are free. That group includes (but is not limited to) STD's, gum stuck in your hair, ticks embedded in your scalp, under-cooked ham samples at the local grocery warehouse, second-hand smoke, poor decision-making by elected officials, and crack sweat. But these are the same bewildering people who also explained to us that there is no such thing as a free lunch. So we escape from our parents' nests, barely unscathed, pitched with a final confusing lesson that you can't have it both ways, and believing in the end that the best thing in life is indeed a free lunch. So we click on anything that's free, and too good to be true. The next thing you know, you're heaving your entire computer in a lengthy line at the Geek Team because you don't know how to take out a hard drive let alone open up the side of your computer.

With experience comes wisdom. Usually one bad move is enough to avoid landing back in line at the Geek Team, lying embarrassingly to other non-tech savvy strangers in line who wound up in the same boat (incidentally, these are often the times and places where you meet your life partner, so keep an eye out for love at first sight). At ParaChat, free is simply a choice we offer. We help you to navigate through the trials and tribulations of your childhood parental guidance so you may take the time to explore both our free and fee-based services, and ultimately make an informed decision about which service is right for you. Our free services are ParaChat Basic and ParaChat BasicPlus. Did your parents ever mention that the best things in life are free, and they're even better if its name has Plus in it? Well, they should have. Although our advertisers help us to keep both Basic & BasicPlus free for you, there are huge differences between ParaChat Basic and ParaChat BasicPlus. The first one is that only BasicPlus provides you with access to ParaChat's infamous administrative features, via the chat room's Admin Console, and the web-based service administration area. Basic has no administrative features. The next huge difference is that BasicPlus is exclusive to your use, and is not connected to any other ParaChat service. Basic, on the other hand, is part of our global chat network, so it is connected to other rooms. ParaChat was essentially created as an adverting platform in 1996, and many rooms that are part of our global chat network have been online since our beginning! As a Basic customer, you would be part of an illustrious group! With either of our free services, users of the service must adhere to our Ad Policy while they chat to ensure a family-friendly environment. Any user who violates our Ad Policy should be reported to us immediately.

If an ad-supported free lunch with administrative features does not meet the requirements of your web site, we are pleased to offer an exciting array of ad-free service levels. Our range of fee-based services is licensed to accommodate web sites of any size and type. ParaChat Standard is our introductory chat service that includes access to a set of administrative features and customization options that would accommodate most any web site. Fees are flexible, and proportionate to the peak number of simultaneous users up to 200 concurrent that you expect to chat at any given moment, to keep the service cost-effective. ParaChat Professional has 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. Fees are also flexible, and proportionate to the peak number of simultaneous users you expect to chat at any given moment, up to 200 concurrent users. But if you expect greater than 200 users to access your ParaChat service at any given moment, then you would choose ParaChat Enterprise as your chat solution (or ParaChat Event for one-time or short-term use). Both ParaChat Enterprise and ParaChat Event include the same advanced features included with ParaChat Professional, but are separately load-balanced to serve the higher demands of enterprise-level web sites. Which ParaChat will you choose? That is the question.

Firefox 31 Released 

Mozilla released Firefox 31 in the past week, with new features, feature enhancements, bug fixes and stability and performance improvements. As is customary, we encourage our customers and users to keep their web browser up to date. For information about how to check your Firefox installation, please see the How can I check that my Firefox installation is current? article in our Knowledgebase.

According to the Firefox 31 release notes, new features include a search field in the new tab page, the Prefer:Safe parental control feature, a malicious download detection and blocking feature based on Google Safe Browsing, and the ability to handle .ogg and .pdf files if no application is already specified, and more. The update also includes implementation of WebVTT and CSS3 for HTML5, and cool developer tools like the Add-on Debugger that allows developers to run the JavaScript Debugger in the context of an add-on. Game and animation developers should also benefit from a new Canvas Debugger, which will debug frames rendered on a Canvas element.

Feature In Focus: Event Moderation

ParaChat includes a great event moderation feature that is used to manage live Q&A-style online events. The event moderation feature is easy to set up, easy to use, feature-rich, and intuitive for end-users, moderators, speakers and room administrators alike. When the event moderation mode is enabled in a ParaChat room, the main chat window becomes a "read only" Q&A environment. Users may no longer submit their chat text messages directly to the main chat window, and private chat messaging is disabled during an event. Instead, user chat messages are filtered to designated moderators for review instead of being immediately posted to the live chat window. The moderator may reply to the question, or forward it to a designated speaker for reply. When the reply is posted, the original question appears along with the moderator or speaker's reply in the main chat window for all users to read. 

When the moderated event is over, event moderation mode can simply be disabled on-the-fly to return the room to an open chat setting. A transcript of the event can be retrieved for posting and distribution. Transcripts are always enabled for moderated events and cannot be disabled. This is to insure a transcript is created for your event. The event moderation feature is an advanced feature, and included with the ParaChat Professional, ParaChat Enterprise and ParaChat Event service levels. To learn more about this feature, please visit the Moderated Events section of our documentation, or request a free ParaChat evaluation to try it out on your own site!

Thanks for chatting, and we'll see you again next week!

The ParaChat Team

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