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Virtual Room Example

General
Chatzy is a free online chat service. This tool allows anyone to create their own private chat room and invite people to join via email. You may also choose to post the link on your blog or website in order for those visitors to join the chat room. Chatzy is free of charge and does not contain any advertisements in the quick chat room. Users are encouraged, but not required to register with the site to begin using the service.
Getting started with Chatzy is very simple, as Chatzy does not require users to register. However, there are some advantages to registered users.

Advantages of a registered user:
  • As a registered user, you automatically keep a "My Rooms" list where all rooms you enter, create or get invited to are automatically saved.
  • In each room on your "My Rooms" list, preferences such as name and color are saved for next time you return to the room.
  • You can set invitation permissions, e.g. you can specify that nobody or only registered users may send you invitations.
  • You can enter into rooms where the owner only allows users with a confirmed email to enter.



Registration
Registration is also very simple. Go to Chatzy www.chatzy.com from the home page click the login/signup button, which is located at the top right corner of the page. Enter your email address and select whether you are a new or existing user. Next, click the “send password” button. If you are a new user, you will be emailed a password. If you are an existing user and forgot your password, you will be able to request a new one by following the same directions for a new user.


Creating a Room

Chatzy offers two room types; a quick chat and a virtual room.
Quick chat- used primarily for small private chats with people you invite via email. This option does not allow you to specify room passwords or change properties after it starts.
Virtual Room- has many more options than quick chat and is intended for large audiences. This option allows the creator to set permissions by email address, choose what features the users have access to, and define passwords and a custom welcome message. In addition, you can change all properties (such as the title/subject) at any time after the chat starts.

Once a chat room is created, it cannot be removed. However, you can clear the entire chat history (select "Clear Chat" on the menu) so noone can see what was written previously. In addition, chat rooms that are not used for a period of 14 days will be deleted automatically.
How to create a quick chat:
  1. go to www.chatzy.com
  2. Click “start quick chat” from the menu on the left side of the screen
  3. Enter your name, chose your text color, give your chat a title, invite people via email and add a message
  4. Once all the information is filled out click “create my chat room”
  5. Viola! The chat room is setup. The people that were invited will get an email with a link to the chat room. If you do not plan to register with the site, you will need to save the URL of the chat room that was created in order to access it again. If you did register then your chat room will be saved in the “My Rooms” list.

How to create a virtual room:
  1. go to www.chatzy.com
  2. Click “create virtual room” from the menu on the left side of the screen
  3. Once all the information is filled out click “create my virtual room”

The creator does not have to be present for others to participate in the chat room. A virtual room may be added to a blog or website to serve as a free chat hosting service. Virtual rooms can be customized with custom skins.

To apply a custom skin:
Go Room Properties, under Premium Options.
A custom skin defines the room's background color and text color, as well as the preferred fonts and text size.


Invitations and access control


How to send out an invitation to chat:
Go to the home page, enter your name, one or more email addresses to send the invitation to and a subject for the chat. Chatzy will then send out an email invitation immediately. You can also send out invitations directly from a chat room by clicking on "invite people" on top of the page and filling out the form that appears.

The invitations are just a means of communicating the chat room address, which is needed in order to enter the chatroom. The recipients can save the address and access the chatroom at any time.

In a quick chat, you cannot "uninvite" people (but you can always start a new chat and make sure not to invite the unwanted person). In a virtual room, you can either change the password or exclude the user in the visitor list by clicking on the icon in the right side of the row.

How to control access to a virtual room:
When registered users are creating a virtual room, the "Allow to enter" dropdown box under Room Properties gives three options for authenticating users:
  • You can allow all users who know the particular chatroom address (e.g. chatzy.com/123456789012). You will NOT be able to ban individual users with this option.
  • You can allow only registered users, users whose email address has been confirmed by Chatzy. It doesn't matter if the users have been invited or not.
  • You can allow only registered users who have received an email invitation for the room or ones that were added manually to the visitor list (or who know the admin password).


As administrator or moderator in a virtual room, you can ban unwanted users, but only if they have registered their email address with Chatzy. If the room is open for unregistered users, you cannot ban or silence them. A banned visitor can just enter again under another name. To prevent unregistered users from entering your room, select the appropriate option in the "Allow to enter" dropdown box under Room Properties.

Viewing a video in a chat room:
To post a video in a chat room simply copy the URL of the video and paste it in the chat box then hit enter. The original video thumbnail and description are automatically retrieved and shown.

When a visitor clicks on the video thumbnail, the video is played inside the room and the visitor's icon changes to show other visitors that he/she is watching the video. (Visitors can also hold down CTRL or SHIFT before clicking in order to play the video in a separate window.)

Simply include any URL (internet address) ending in .jpg, .gif, .bmp or .png in your chat post and it will be automatically converted to an inline image. You can also post it using the /image command followed by the URL of the image.

If the image is on your computer, you must first upload it to a free file-sharing service like Dropbox, ImageShack, or any other one. The image shows up in your room as long as it is available at the specified web address. For security reasons, only registered users can post images.



Features and daily uses



Timing out
When you have been inactive in a room, you are asked to confirm that you are still following it. If you don't respond within a certain time, you will be logged out automatically. This saves free spots and system resources for more active users.

In a Premium Room, the administrator sets the timeout values. In a free room, the timeout depends on the number of visitors in the room:
  • 6 or fewer visitors in the room- 60 minutes until you timeout
  • If there are 7, 8, 9 or 10 visitors- 50, 40, 30 or 20 minutes, respectively,
  • If people are waiting in line to enter the room (more than 10 visitors)- 15 minutes

Saving the chat room:
  • To save the whole chat room history for your records, just click "Save Chat" on top of the screen. This will open up a new window, which you can easily save on your computer by choosing "Save As..." in your browser's File menu. The saved page will also contain a link to the chat room through which you can access the live chat later.
  • To save a link to the live chat room so you can continue the chat later, right-click on the chat room name (just below the Chatzy logo) and choose "Add to Favorites" on the menu that appears. If you need to copy the address manually, it should look like this: http://www.chatzy.com/1234567890, where 1234567890 is a number that uniquely identifies the chat room.

Adding Emoticons to your chat:
  • Emoticons are graphical smileys. For instance, when you type :D this emoticon is shown:
  • When emoticons are enabled, a smiley button appears to the right of the chat input field. Use this button to insert one of 24 supported smileys.
  • In some rooms, the administrator may have chosen to disable emoticons by default, but you can always choose to show them when entering the room.
  • Likewise, if you think graphical smileys use too much bandwidth or slow down the chat (on limited connections/old computers), you can turn them off permanently on your device.

Using web cams:
Currently, Chatzy does not support Web cams.

Closing a chat:
The room administrator can choose to close a chat, for instance when he or she is not there. Use the following commands from the chat prompt:
  • /close closes the chat. Until it is reopened, only room administrators can post. Existing visitors can read and leave the chat; however, no new visitors can join the chat.
  • /open reopens the chat for posting and joining.

When a chat is closed, some users may still have permission to write multiline messages or change the contents of the room even when the chat is closed. This depends on the »Allow users to« box in Room Properties.

Private messages:
Private messages are a premium feature. It means that all visitors in Premium Rooms as well as Premium Users in any room can send and receive private messages.

You can send a private message in two ways:
  • By clicking on the visitor's name in the visitor list on the right (when shown).
  • By typing /pm [name] [message] in the chat. (Put the name in "quotes" if it contains spaces.)

When a message is sent to an online visitor, it is delivered immediately. If a message is sent to an offline (gray) visitor, it will be delivered the next time he/she enters the room. The message can be changed up until it is actually delivered.

Online status:
The visitor status is a personal message that is displayed on the Visitor List, as well as when visitors mouse over the visitor icons in the Visitor Pane.

You can change your status as often as you want, either by clicking on your own icon in the Visitor Pane (when shown), or by typing one of the following commands:
  • /status <message> updates your online status.
  • /away <message> marks you away and sets an away message. You can tell people what you are doing or when you are coming back.
  • /leave <message> makes you exit the room, leaving a message that everybody can see while you are offline.

Like most properties on Chatzy, the visitor status is a per-room setting, i.e. you can have as many different visitor statuses as you have rooms.

Inserting bulleted and numbered lists:
In a multi-line message, you can make bulleted or numbered lists by starting a line with a ¤ or § symbol (followed by a space):
  • ¤ makes the line bulleted
  • § makes the line numbered (1., 2., 3., etc.)

To finish a bulleted or numbered list, insert an empty line below it (a single line break continues the style).

Safety:
Chatzy is based entirely on the JavaScript that is built into all web browsers - it does not rely plug-ins or applet that the user has to install.

Upgrading to a premium account:
Chatzy was designed to be a free simple instant chat service, however this site does offer users the option to pay to upgrade to a premium account.
All payments are made through paypal. Pricing is as follows:

3 months for $10
6 months for $15
12 months for $24

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