Chat Blazer from Pendulab is designed for enterprises looking to create their own chat rooms, whether for business, nonprofit, or educational use. Possible scenarios include a chat community sponsored by a Web business for its users, a members-only discussion, customer support, a moderated or celebrity chat, or events and conferences.Chat Blazer from Pendulab is designed for enterprises looking to create their own chat rooms, whether for business, nonprofit, or educational use. Possible scenarios include a chat community sponsored by a Web business for its users, a members-only discussion, customer support, a moderated or celebrity chat, or events and conferences.
The "Gold" version of Chat Blazersupports additional capabilities, such as support for an unlimited number of connections, or the capability to embed the chat applet into a Web page or ban users by IP address. The enhanced resource architecture uses no more than 1 percent of CPU cycles to serve the application and listen for connections.
Chat Blazer employs multithreaded Java technology and can run on any Java-enabled platform, including Windows, Solaris, AIX, MacOS, HP, Unix, and Linux. Chat transcripts are logged, as are users' entry and exit times. The server can be operated away from its physical server location so long as the sys admin has a Telnet connection.
Chat Blazer's administrative manager incorporates extensive channel management functions, such as creation and renaming of channels. A profanity filter enables server administrators to moderate and "clean" the chat world of off-color verbiage.
The capability to change the look and feel of the chat interface makes it possible for enterprises to customize to their particular purpose, application, or Web site. Aesthetic modifications can be made to the font color, background color, border color, label text, chat text area, and other areas. The Gold version allows the server administrator to rotate banners, with the capability to configure individually linked URLs for each banner in the banner rotation queue.
The chat client requires no additional software or plug-ins. Clients can customize labels, text, "look and feel," and other visuals. Client-side profanity filtering is also possible, and other users can be selectively whispered to or ignored.
The Moderator Plug-in, an additional feature for Chat Blazer Gold, enables a Webmaster to host a controlled chat environment, whereby messages from chat participants are routed to the moderator, instead of being sent to all other chat users, as is the normal protocol. The moderator can preview each message and decide which to broadcast. This is especially useful for conferences, Q&A sessions, and celebrity chats. The feature also adds the capability to have a moderated chat in selected rooms, more than one moderator in a room, and set a maximum number of moderators per room.
The main control interface of the Chat Blazer Administrator is designed as an applet for remote administration of the chat server and network. The Channel Management Console features a simple design and convenient GUI operation for configuring the chat room's operational parameters (e.g., silent entry and creating, deleting, or renaming a room). Other consoles allow the administrator to manage user passwords. The channel junction client interface provides an intuitive window for switching rooms or channels, with a view of the names of other chatters. One-to-one chat windows are also available.
Chat Blazer is easily installed by unzipping the files and performing a command-line start-up. No tweaking is necessary. Pendulab also offers the option of doing the installation for enterprises that so desire. Support is available by phone, for emergency support, or online, with responses (the company claims) usually within a day.
The one major requirement for installing Chat Blazer is that a Java compiler be present on the host machine. This can be obtained from Sun Microsystems' Web site. Pendulab will also install it on customers' machines free of charge. A Java-enabled Web browser (like Internet Explorer or Netscape) is necessary for the chat client.
A free trial download of Chat Blazer is available for a 30-day evaluation. The full-featured version is priced starting at $294.95 (with a 30-day money-back guarantee). Our experience with Chat Blazer revealed a sensible chat solution that should work well for many businesses and nonprofit organizations, although it may be a bit pricey for smaller enterprises.
But that's relative to its intended use and how much revenue adopting it is expected to bring in.Pros: 7 Convenient and effective way to lend chat capability to a Web site; 7 Runs on any Java-enabled platform; 7 Gold version supports unlimited users
Cons: 7 May be too pricey for some SOHO businesses, especially those that are not going to use it as a revenue stream through banner ads
Note: In June 2001, Pendulab discontinued Chat Blazer v2.0 and replaced it with Chat Blazer Enterprise v4.
New in Chat Blazer Enterprise v4: Firewall support; encryption; advanced text component, with highlighting, copy and paste, and clickable URLs; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 5
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