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123 Flash Chat Room Tutorial

by Kristen Skold

123 Flash Chat is the program we use here for our chat room.

There are two requirements to use it. First, you need to be registered with Digital Scrapbook Place. If you have a screenname for posting in the forums and galleries, you're registered. If not, you can register for free here, and get the free welcome kit. Second, you need to have the Flash Player installed on your system. If you don't already have it, you can download it here. If you're not sure, go to the Chat link - if you see the following screen, you have the Flash Player.

To enter any of the chat rooms, type in your user name and password and click the Login button.

Next, click on the chat room you want to enter - usually the DSP Chat Room (most of the others are for DSU classes.)

You should hear a doorbell sound and see the following screen.

To chat, click in the space at the bottom and type your message. To have it appear in the upper screen for everyone to see, click on the Send

button or press the Enter key on your keyboard.

Changing the Look of the Chat Room

There are several ways you can change the look of the chat room.

The most useful is to change one of the Options settings so the name of the speaker and the message appear on the same line. This gets twice as many lines of conversation on the screen, and makes it easier to keep up.

Click on the Options button at the top of the screen.

The following screen pops up. Click on the first checkbox Display speaker and message in a single line. You can change any of the other settings as well. Then click Submit and the window will go away and the change(s) will take place.

You can change the way your text is formatted -whether it is Bold, Italic or Underlined. Just click on the appropriate icon.

You can also change the font color by clicking on the colored square. You can choose one of the offered colors in the screen that pops up. You can also type in your own custom color if you know the code for it. When choosing a color, don't make it too pale - pale colors don't show up well and can be nearly impossible to read (rather as though you were whispering in a noisy room!)

You can choose an avatar to appear next to your name in the list on the right, and next to your comments on the left. Click on the Change Avatar button on the left end of the formatting bar.

You can choose any of these.

You can add smilies to your comments by clicking on the Add Smiley button. These are animated, so they add a touch of motion to the screen.

Lastly, you can change the background of the chatroom. This adds a very subtle watermark design to the screen. If you look at some of the previous screen shots, you can see I have mine set to sleeping beauty.

Different Ways to Communicate

Most comments in the chat room are general. But there are ways to communicate with selected people.

You can direct your comments to a specific chatter by clicking on her name in the list on the right. Don't choose either private or ignore - just click. This example would result in the screen reading:

Kristen says to Ann_Maree3:

You can see two examples here - "Gayle Smith says to sboddington:" and "sproke says to Karen:"

To change back to the regular setting, click on All Users at the top of the list.

You can also send a private message to a chatter. Click on her name, and this time click on private.

You'll get a smaller window that shows up over the regular chat room. You can change the formatting here, too, if you like.

You can "roll up" the private chat window by clicking on the _ button in the upper right. This gets it out of the way of the general chat room without closing it. The window will flash when the other person has answered you. When you're done with the private chat, click on the X in the upper right to close the window.

Other Chat Room Features

There are several other controls collected at the top right of the screen.

The first one controls the sound. If you'd rather not listen to the doorbell every time someone enters, you can click on the Sound control.

The second one gives you access to the chat history.

You can click the Select button, and then use Ctrl-C to copy the transcript of the chat so you can paste it elsewhere. Clear will erase the history and Close closes the history window. The Message history will only record the chat from the time you entered the chat room.

The third button is the Scroll Lock. This is useful if you want to back-track and read part of the chat that's already moved off the screen. Without the Scroll Lock, as soon as someone types a new line the screen will jump back to the bottom to show the new comment. With the Scroll Lock, the screen moves at the same rate as normal, one or a few lines depending on how long the comment was. To jump back to the regular position, click on the button again.

The fourth button clears the screen.

The fifth button takes you out of the chat room, putting you back at the original login screen.

You can change to another chat room by choosing it in the drop-down menu. The class chat rooms have additional passwords so that only registered students can enter them.

Go ahead and experiment with the chat room. It's an excellent idea to "sneak" in there before attending your first chat and just play a little. You can't break it, and you'll feel much more confident in the chat if you're not struggling with the chat room itself while you're trying to keep up with the chat itself.

For a printable version of this tutorial, click here

© 2005 Kristen Skold

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