Loudtalks for Windows

By Alexey Gavrilov on November 30, 2007

Hurray! The new release is here. One of the most expected features is support of the installation to the USB flash drive. This new version is completely portable. You can install it on USB drive and take with you anywhere — no traces will be left on host computers.

Changes list:

  1. Bugfix: Contact authorization re-request interval reduced from 1 hour to 3 minutes. Should fix most of the issues with authorization.
  2. Support for portable use from USB flash drive. Loudtalks will detect automatically if it runs off the flash stick and will use program folder for the configuration in that case.
  3. Double click on the tray icon hides Loudtalks window
  4. Added quick problem report form. Use “Help > Report a problem…” to send us bug reports and feedback
  5. Sound alert precedes a message received after a long period of inactivity (the sound can be configured or turned off completely in Options)
  6. Improved blind accessibility — the contacts list is now compatible with screen readers

Download the latest version

Why Loudtalks is faster

By Alexey Gavrilov on November 27, 2007

We often mention that Loudtalks is faster than alternatives. What exactly do we mean? One meaning is that it’s lightweight, uses very little system resources and will work fine on older PCs too.

More importantly, it allows to communicate faster by skipping through the clutter and giving the ability to speak the very same moment you decided to say something.

Consider you want to ask co-worker a quick question. Here is how the timeline would look if you use Loudtalks, phone call (i.e. Skype), and an instant messenger (i.e. ICQ):

Speed comparison

Loudtalks wins this case because it offers “always on” voice channel, without overhead associated with a phone call ritual.

Using “voices” to find new friends in Loudtalks

By Alexey Gavrilov on November 7, 2007

This is a second iteration of Deepwell experiment. The previous one (the attempt to use it as a test contact) was unsuccessful and resulted in a bunch of support emails, which sounded nearly schizophrenic: “…sometimes I hear voices, how do I hear myself?”

We let “echo” do what it’s supposed to do and moved Deepwell robot over to “voices” username. After a little modification now it could be used to meet new people in quite unusual way.

Here is how to use it:

  1. Add “voices” to your contacts
  2. Select “voices” in your contacts list, push F7 button and speak something about yourself for 5-20 seconds.
  3. Release F7 button and hear the message from another user, which will be randomly picked up from the queue.
  4. Watch the status line as it tells you, who was the author of the message you are hearing
  5. If you like, what you hear, add the user to your contacts and as soon as he approves your request — you can talk!
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 until as necessary 🙂

Since this feature is experimental and just launched you might notice that there are few messages in the pipeline. That’s normal and if anybody will find it useful, there will be many more interesting people to meet there soon!

“DeepWell” project

By Alexey Gavrilov on November 1, 2007


(update 11/6/2007: Based on feedback from users, we replaced “DeepWell” build with a normal echo, which repeats back whatever you say to it. DeepWell moves over to “voices” username)

Today we launched the first bot in Loudtalks network. It’s name is “echovoices” and it’s added to all new users’ contacts automatically. You can add or remove it manually too.

The first purpose of this bot is to help users testing Loudtalks themselves before inviting friends. It does that in somewhat unusual way. The best way to experience “DeepWell” project is to login to Loudtalks, add “voices” to your contacts and tell something to it.

If you just want a spoiler here is what it does.

Read the rest of this entry »

Loudtalks for Windows

By Alexey Gavrilov on November 1, 2007

Changes list:

  1. Feature rollback: don’t force microphone boost. Added few versions back it fixed some users’ problems with low sound level, but also created them for others (too high noise). We are working on more intelligent solution. In the interim please use a manual procedure for adjusting your microphone level, when necessary
  2. Automatically set Busy mode, when sound is muted. You won’t miss any message anymore because your sound was off. This is especially convenient, when your laptop has the hard mute button (my Thinkpad has the one)
  3. Bugfix: Busy network conditions sometimes caused flashing contacts online status back and force.
  4. Better handling of concurrent speech and interruptions. It means when you speak to someone and incoming message arrives it won’t be lost or played immediately (which would create potential privacy breach). Instead it’s queued and will be played after you finish speaking.

Download the new release

Enjoy and as always we are looking for your feedback and suggestions.

P.S. If you are a new user and noticed a weird “echo” contact in your contacts list don’t pay much attention just yet 🙂 We are testing it right now and it’s a little buggy. The stable version is expected tomorrow along with the announcement. And no, it’s not your typical “echo test application”.