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Writing for Webheads
Presentation at ESADE in Barcelona

July 2, 2000

Overview | HearMe text chat | The Palace | Homestead logs and Guest Book

These are the logs which have been preserved from the HearMe voice chat, Palace avatar chat, and Homestead text chat which centered on the CALL conference held at ESADE in Barcelona on July 2, 2000. The handout for the presentation, linking to details of the conference, is at

Hear is a brief explanation of the chat sites:

HearMe is the company responsible for the Voice Presence plugin that allows people to voice-chat via their browsers. The facility is implemented by visiting and having code emailed to you which you place in an html document. When you put the document on the web, people can visit your url and talk to each other. The site we have set up for the Webheads class is There is a text chat option as well, and the log of that is what you find here.

The Palace is an avatar-based chat client. A company called Coterie,, has created a set of backgrounds at which they maintain free of charge for the use of EFI, or English for Internet, at The backgrounds are linked giving users the impression they are outside a schoolhouse or in its various rooms. The Palace client has many features of interest to students, such as ability to select or customize avatars, use props in paralinguistic communication, etc. Implementation requires everyone in the chat to download and install the client, available at, and then meet at the chat gateway at

The chat was a little restricted at the conference because the client had been registered and cloned on all the machines at ESADE and as such only one of them could enter the chat since they all had the same registration ID. Therefore, we put the one machine we could use from the conference on the projector at the front of the room. Three people from the conference rotated through that computer and kept up a chat with two students from the Webheads class who joined them there. The two students, Moral and Ying Lan, gave what amounted to an eloquent presentation of our class and the work we've been doing in it for the past couple of years. This is preserved here.

The Homestead chat site is an easy-to-set-up and easy-to-reach site on the web which forms a convenient place where people who are paying attention can meet online for text chat. Its creation was simple: I set up an account with Homestead and invoked their page builder. There was an option to drag an icon for a chat window onto the page, and also one for a guest book. This resulted in a url at which users can connect for text chat, But there are several disadvantages to the client. The chat window is too small and cannot be resized as far as I can see. To keep a log you have to cut from the chat window and paste to an editor, and the buffer is small so this has to be done frequently while chatting. The greatest disadvantage for its use at conferences is that it is easy for people to join the chat unnoticed, become frustrated due to lack of interaction, and leave without having accomplished anything. During the Barcelona conference it was impossible for me to cut and paste from the chat window until the very end, and that is what you find here.

The Writing for Webheads class meets every Sunday at noon GMT in the sites described here, and anyone is welcome to join us and talk with our students.

Overview | HearMe text chat | The Palace | Homestead logs and Guest Book

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Last updated: July 23, 2000 in Word 97