Public channels in Loudtalks Lite

By Alexey Gavrilov on April 19, 2010

The most recent update of Loudtalks Lite introduces new important feature — public talk channels. Public channels are open conversations between Loudtalks users, where as many as 100 people can participate at once. The concept is somewhat similar to Skypecasts, which were offered by Skype until discontinued in 2008.

Public channels are useful to:

  1. Meet the new people from around the world
  2. Discuss a topic with like minded strangers
  3. Share and receive updates on important time-sensitive information (traffic situation in your area, stocks market etc)
  4. Broadcast your status updates to interested followers (yes, like twitter)
  5. Learn a new language

Connecting to existing channels

1. Use menu Tools > Add a channel…

2. Enter channel name or the keywords (you can try ‘lobby’ or ‘support’) and press Next

3. It’ll show the list of the channels found. Click on the desired channel name to select it and click Next

4. After confirmation screen the channel will appear in your contacts.

5. To talk to the channel, select it in the contacts and use PTT key as usual. Please note that some channels may be “read-only”.

6. Use right-click on the channel name to Connect or Disconnect the channel or setup Auto-connect, when you log in.

7. If you want to delete the channel from your contacts you can use Tools > Delete selected contact(s) menu command.

When receiving a message from a channel both user name and channel name are displayed. In Loudtalks history you can use context menu on the incoming message to add the user who sent it to your contacts with one click. We are building the directory of the channels available to make the discovery easier.

Creating and managing your own channel

Have something interesting to share with the world? You can create one or more channels yourself!

1. Use Tools > Create a channel… menu command.

2. Name your channel, add description, select the channel type and click Next.

It’s very important to write a good and detailed description — the keywords it includes can be used by others to find your channel. Include the language of your channel, and its location (for location-sensitive information) into description. You can either allow anyone to talk on the channel or make it broadcast-only so you can talk uninterrupted. In the later case you may want to create another channel specifically for comments and mention it in the main channel description.

3. If the channel name is available, it’ll be created, added to your contacts and available for others to join.

4. The person who created the channel becomes channel administrator and have additional functions available in the context menu on incoming message in the history.

To fight abuse the channel admin can block any user from accessing the channel (or unblock the user previously blocked).

Hope you’ll enjoy the new feature! It’s still an early version of it so please share your suggestions and feedback — either in comments here or via ‘support’ channel in Loudtalks Lite.

Update (May 12, 2010): Now you can browse the public channels online.

New in Loudtalks Cloud — dynamic channels & remote configuration

By Alexey Gavrilov on September 26, 2009

With Loudtalks Cloud update published yesterday we introduced two new features and numerous improvements, which worth some explanation. These are dynamic channels and clients remote configuration from the admin console.

Dynamic channels

Now when configuring a channel in the admin console, you can choose from using group channel and dynamic channel.

Dynamic channels have a different icon and work differently too.

  1. Unlike group channels, when you add it to the user, only that channel (and not its users) is added to user’s contacts
  2. You can connect and disconnect the channel from the client software in real time by double-click (tap) on the channel name. That way you can easily skip the conversations, which are not relevant at the moment
  3. Since dynamic channels don’t “pollute” your contact list, they could potentially scale well beyond 100 users per channel so you can use it for broadcast to really large groups of users which was impossible before.

Along with the introduction of dynamic channels concept the group channels operations was also seriously redesigned. Both group and dynamic channels now include the following features:

  1. For messages received from a channel, the channel name along with sender name appear in the notification window (only user name appeared previously)
  2. Channels now have their own history display
  3. When the new message is received from a channel after a period of inactivity (“new conversation” event), the channel is selected in the contacts instead of a user
  4. Call setup time for one-to-many calls is faster than before and consistently under 1 second
  5. There is a grace time of 10 seconds for every message sent to the channel. During that time the person speaking couldn’t be interrupted. That solves the issue when many people start speaking simultaneously but still allows to interrupt someone, who took over the channel for too long.

Clients remote configuration

If you are running a large network, you may face the problem of manual configuration of every device, which could be troublesome. With remote configuration feature the network admin can setup certain client options for all users right from the web console.

Right now we enabled the configuration of automatic updates, auto-away and voice quality.

Voice quality configuration wasn’t available before and now you can select one of standard profiles or go real hardcore and modify raw codec options. This might be especially useful if you are using Loudtalks over the satellite internet (where traffic is extremely expensive).

If you haven’t tried Loudtalks Cloud yet, go ahead and try it now. It’s free!

Using VOX mode in Loudtalks

By Alexey Gavrilov on April 28, 2009

Loudtalks 0.9.0.52 introduced the new advanced feature, which requires some explanation. It’s voice-controlled transmission (or VOX) mode. The purpose of this mode is to allow you communicating without using a keyboard at all, which could be very useful sometimes although it might require some upfront configuration. You can switch between PTT and VOX modes on the fly using the hotkeys.

Turning VOX mode on

Before you can use VOX you should turn it on and probably tweak some settings. Go to Tools > Options… and open Control tab:

Click Apply. Now it’s enabled and you can close the settings. However if you start speaking now nothing would happen. This is because in order to keep the flexibility you can switch on the fly between push-to-talk and VOX modes.
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echo robot is broken

By Alexey Gavrilov on December 17, 2008

We’ve discovered “echo” robot, which is added to the new users’ contacts by default has been broken for a few days now. We are now working to isolate the issue and bring it back online. For now if you want to test Loudtalks briefly please feel free to add me (“alex”) to your contacts.

I’ll post a separate note, when echo is back online.

Known bugs in 0.9.0.35

By Alexey Gavrilov on February 21, 2008

We have discovered two major bugs in 0.9.0.35 release, which is currently up on the site namely:

  1. Multiple recipients messaging doesn’t work
  2. Connection via Microsoft ISA server http-proxy doesn’t work

They are fixed in 0.9.0.36, currently under development, which will be released very very soon. The new release will include many cool new features too:

  1. Messages history
  2. Automatic updates support
  3. Ability to assign mouse buttons as hotkeys
  4. Volume controls in audio settings
  5. Automatic gain control option
  6. Enhanced headphones mode

Loudtalks: Quick start guide

By Alexey Gavrilov on September 26, 2007

After testing Loudtalks with several users (thanks guys!) I realized that we need to do a better job communicating how the software works and all cool features we have. This guide (based on version 0.9.0.24 0.9.0.26, updated) explains Loudtalks step-by-step.

Download and Installation

The download is less than a megabyte and would take ~20 seconds on DSL connection. Once you received the file, launch it and follow the wizard.

Setup wizard

If previous version of Loudtalks is running during installation, it will be terminated automatically.

 

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Testing Loudtalks

By Alexey Gavrilov on September 19, 2007

We released a minor Loudtalks update today (version 0.9.0.20), which improves sound quality (makes it suck less) under bad network conditions (read — TechCrunch40 WiFi network).

If you want to try Loudtalks quickly, feel free to add me to your contacts.

  1. Login to Loudtalks
  2. Go to “Tools > Add a contact…”
  3. Enter “alex” and click Next, and then Finish

Leave Loudtalks running and when I come online I’ll add you and we can do a quick test.