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Posts Tagged ‘Chat’

Hosted Chat for Your Site

March 19th, 2007 No comments

Update (2007.04.30): inCircles will now be Pladeo. You will need to update your embed codes to http://www.pladeo.com/ or go to the site and generate new code.

This chat is a hosted Flash chat solution by inCircles.com and it is currently in Alpha release. Obtaining the embed code is a simple 2 step process. Configure a few basic items (provide an email address) and then enter your site URL to generate the code. It doesn’t get much easier than that. It seems to work pretty well.

There is an interesting feature along the top. It provides a list of popular pages in the inCircles network. While this is a good tool to expose users to new sites, it would have been nice to have the option to disable that or at the very least have a recommendation/relevance engine driving it. We’re not sure that it adds any value in its current state and may actually deter people from using this chat. Why would we promote other non-relevant sites?

Discovered this over at Widgets Lab.

Categories: Widgets Tags: ,

Ning Brings Social Networks to the Masses

February 28th, 2007 4 comments

Ning has re-launched with new functionality to make it drop-dead simple for just about anyone to create their own social network. We have spent the last couple of days playing around with the system. To start your very own social network, just sign up and follow a few simple steps. The basic features are all there; layout customization, RSS feeds, forums, member profiles, blogs, videos, images, etc. You can even add widgets and embeds; this is where it excels as you will see later.

This new release actually allowed us to execute on a project that we’ve been planning for a long time. We just never had to time to develop a social network from the ground up. With Ning, we don’t have to. We can let Ning handle all of the technical issues, which will allow us to focus on developing the social network itself. Check out our Ning social network. It will especially interest you if you are a hockey fan.

Our New Social Network on Ning: Center Ice

Our Center Ice hockey network is a bit of a mashup. It’s obviously built on the Ning platform, but it includes additional value add content via the use of widgets. The default RSS feed feature parses the NHL Plays of The Week content perfectly from YouTube. Daily game scores are provided by SpringWidgets Scoreboard. And surprisingly, Ning allows javascript on their system. We have taken full advantage of this and added full game videos using the Google AJAX Search API.

Center Ice also provides three methods of communication among its members. The default forum from Ning is provided for asynchronous group communications and a live real-time video chat room is powered by Stickam. Couple of the StickiWidgets services provides the glue that binds the Ning platform with Stickam. Lastly, each member can add a personal blog to their profile page for member centric communications.

The question is, “Will anyone care?” For the average person, they just want something there that they can be a part of. They are not going to care about the platform or putting the work into creating the social network. However, Ning does provide people like us with the ability to easily build these networks. And ultimately, it’s up to us to bring the users to the network. We applaud Ning for building a system that is easy to use, customizable and open to widgets.

Does it have limitations? Sure. But, not everyone wants to take on the task of building and maintaining the technical infrastructure to run a social network. We are more than happy to accept that trade-off. Now we just need users. So if you’re a hockey fan… Check out Center Ice.

If you are interested, Ning also has a developer program and premium services.

Update (2007.3.2): added Grazr and some hockey news feeds

Stickam Data and Images Now Updated Every 5 Minutes

January 3rd, 2007 No comments

To help bring in the New Year, we have updated and optimized our data services. All data provided by StickiWidgets is now updated at 5 minute intervals. This should help everyone who is using our widgets and/or services. Unfortunately, due to technical limitations and the nature of real-time events, 5 minutes is about as a good as it’s going to get and you will occasionally miss someone.

All image widgets have also been set to be re-generated every 5 minutes. As a result, the status chicklets and chat room images will now be more accurate.

Both the Serendipitous Chat and Kismet Chat sites also benefit from this update. Additionally, we have new code on these two sites to make on-demand checks with Stickam before returning “Live” users. The outcome is significantly fewer off-line users.

Keep in mind; this is completely on our side. Stickam itself also caches their data so the actual freshness of the data is our interval plus theirs. However, their update interval should be significantly faster than ours so it should not be much more than 5 minutes combined.

Categories: Widgets Tags: ,

Wablet Preview (private alpha)

November 20th, 2006 No comments

We had the opportunity to try out Wablet web chat IM. Wablet is currently in private alpha so our preview will be limited and a high level look at the service. The service allows you to consolidate your various IM accounts (currently supports Yahoo, MSN, ICQ, and AOL) and create a Wablet IM account. While this is nothing new and has been done with various desktop and online services (Meebo, Koolim), they do have some other interesting features.

The Wablet flash chat client is relatively simple and functions well. There’s really not much to say at this time. Since it is still in alpha, there are features that are missing or only partially implemented at this point. It does have the basic functionality though. Compared to our favorite desktop client (Gaim) it does lack in features and plugins. We will see if they are able to provide the feature set that matured desktop clients offer. It’s hard for us to see that happen, but we don’t believe that will matter for most users. The ability to have access to your IM accounts from just about anywhere is the big draw. No more worrying about what client, if any, is installed. As long as the computer has a modern browser and Flash, you will be able to chat. No desktop client will give you this.

Site chat widgets are also nothing new. Again, Wablet provides a simple way for you to customize and add widgets to your web sites/pages. These widgets allow you to chat with your web site visitors. It also gives people an easy way to contact you without knowing or remembering your IM account info and having a compatible IM client installed. So, if you want to chat with a friend of yours while on vacation, you just need to go to their blog and use the widget. No need to worry about what network their on, what software you need or their account info to contact.

Lastly, well not really, but last of the major points is the ability to create different online personas. This feature is what really makes Wablet stand out from the other. We don’t believe we have seen this feature on any of the other services. You can use the same account but display a different persona to your visitors. Have one for your personal blog, one for your social network like MySpace, one for your web email and/or a different one for your professional chat.

There are of course other features like contact lists, message logs, etc. Again, since this is still in private alpha we have only provided an overview. While we probably will not replace Gaim with Wablet as it stands, it definitely is something we will continue to monitor and run along side Gaim. For users who don’t need specific plugins/features that desktop clients offer, then Wablet would be a great choice once they go public. The ability to access your account from just about anywhere is great. And, for users who want to provide different identities/personas through web widgets then Wablet is the only choice (as far as we know).

Categories: Widgets Tags: , , ,

Open Source Web Conferencing – 1videoConference

November 12th, 2006 1 comment

There’s an open source web conferencing project gaining popularity over at SourceForge. It looks to be a very interesting project and promises a lot of features. Unfortunately, it’s currently in alpha and seems to be rough around the edges still. However, if they can deliver everything they promise with ease of use, installation and a cost effective hosted solution, then they will have many small business owners waiting in line.

There is another audience they could also be targeting. Many web sites are still run by hobbyists and non-technical individuals. Having to go over to SourceForge, downloading something and then installing it on a web server is beyond a lot of site owners. A simple hosted solution where people just need to cut and paste a few lines of code would be great; this is in the plans according to the demo. The question is how much will it cost and what features will it have?

While not directly comparable in feature set, Userplane has many different price points depending on usage with or without ad support. 1videoConference could do the same with a tiered pricing structure and feature set. Want a plain video presentation hosted platform? Get it with ads for free. Need a video conference system with no ads? It’s a nominal price of x dollars a month. Want the whole enchilada with whiteboard support and collaborative tools? That will be an additional fee, thank you very much…

We will keep an eye on this one and see how it develops and differentiates itself from the others.

[via TechCrunch]

Categories: Misc Tags: , , , ,