Joining a Chat Room

It's time to hit a server and see it for real. On the way, though, you'll perform some automatic configuration that Chat needs to operate properly.


Before you open Chat, you can be online or off. If you're offline when you begin, Chat connects to the Internet automatically. Also, your browser need not be open for you to use Chat, although it won't hurt anything if it is open .

To start a chat and display the chat rooms list:

  1. Open Microsoft Chat. In Windows, you do so by choosing Programs, Microsoft Chat.

  2. Select the Show All Available Chat Rooms option, and then click OK to connect to the chat server listed in the dialog (see Figure 6.8).

    Figure 6.8. Step 2: Select Show All Available Chat Rooms, and then click OK.


  3. A message appears. This message differs by server, but typically it contains any special rules or instructions for the server, plus any disclaimers in which the server operator reminds you that he's not responsible for what people say there.

  4. A list of all chat rooms available on the server appears (see Figure 6.9). You are now connected to a chat server and are ready to chatexcept that, as a new user , you have not yet selected a nickname and a comic character, as described next .

    Figure 6.9. Step 4: A list of available chat rooms appears.


Choosing an Identity

Before you can join in a chat, you must create a nickname. And because of Chat's unique presentation style, you must choose a comic character, too. In addition, you can select a background that appears behind the characters in each panel of the comic, as you see it on your screen.

After you choose a nickname, character, and background, Chat remembers them for future sessions. You do not need to choose them again unless you want to change them.

Choose View, Options to open the Options dialog box, and choose the Personal Info tab if it is not already selected (see Figure 6.10).

Figure 6.10. The Personal Info tab allows you to set your preferences.


Click in the Nickname box and type a nickname for yourself. Your nickname should be one word with no spaces or punctuation, and it should also be unusual enough that another member hasn't chosen the same nickname. (If you attempt to enter a room where someone is already using the same nickname as you, Chat prompts you to change your nickname before entering.)


On the Personal Info tab, you can enter other information besides your nickname, such as your real name and email address. Think carefully before doing so, however. Any information you supply here can be seen by other members whose clients (like Chat) can display member profiles. If you want to keep your anonymity, enter your nickname and nothing else.

To choose the character you would like to use for your likeness, click the Character tab and click a name in the Character column (see Figure 6.11). The Preview column shows what the selected character looks likewhat you will look like to other Chat users if you stick with that character.

Figure 6.11. Select a character for your likeness.



When you're choosing a character in the Character tab, you can click the faces in the Emotion Wheel ( beneath the character preview) to see what the character will look like when you apply a given emotion to it when making a statement. You'll learn about choosing emotions later in this chapter.

You can also specify a background to use by clicking the Background tab and selecting one.

Entering a Room

To enter a chat room, you select a room from the chat room list. Figure 6.12 shows the list of chats available on the server. Each server has its own list, and the lists change often.

Figure 6.12. To enter any room in the list, double-click its name.



The chat room list reappears after you finish selecting your identity, but you can open the chat room list anytime you're connected to the server by clicking the Chat Room List button on Chat's toolbar.

In the list, the name of each room begins with a pound sign (#). The name of the room is followed by the number of members currently in the room, and sometimes also by a description of the conversation that usually takes place there.


When you first arrive in a room, you might not see any comic panels right away. The server shows you only what's been said since you entered the room. After you enter, statements begin appearing one by one as members make them.

Now that you're in a room, you can just lurk or listen in on the conversation, or you can contribute to it by sending your statements for all the others to see. Note that you are not obligated to add anything to the conversation. In fact, just lurking in a chat room is a great way to learn more about chats before diving in.

When you're ready to contribute your comments to the chat, just type them in as you did in the browser-based chats we discussed earlier.


While you're typing and editing your statements in the Compose pane, no one sees them but you. A statement is sent to the chat only when you press Enter. This gives you a chance to choose your words carefully and correct typos before committing your statement to the chat.

After you press Enter, those in the room who are using regular chat clients see your statement labeled with your nickname, so they know you said it. Those in the room who are using Microsoft Chat see your chosen comic character speaking the words in a say balloon, the type that surrounds words that comic characters say aloud .

You can format your words by picking a special balloon from the right side of the Compose pane. The balloons allow you to indicate you are thinking ( bubbles ) or whispering ( dotted outline). You can also have your character express emotions by picking the appropriate face from the Emotion Wheel in the lower-right corner.

There are lots of other chat clients out there. If you want to look for others, you can always check the Tucows directory at www. tucows .com.


Because some members in the room might not be using Chat and therefore can't see expressions, be sure your words alone carry your meaning.

Sams Teach Yourself Internet and Web Basics All in One
Sams Teach Yourself Internet and Web Basics All in One
ISBN: 0672325330
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 350
Authors: Ned Snell © 2008-2017.
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