Paltalk offers all-in-one communications

Paltalk Messenger streamlines communication by putting instant messages, video chats, voice calls, and SMS all into a single user interface. While it may not be the most user-friendly program out there, it's certainly one of the more powerful.

If you've used an IM client like Trillian or Pidgin, then Paltalk's interface should feel familiar, with its vertical towerlike orientation, list of contacts, and status bar. The difference is that Paltalk does a lot more than those programs do--which is good. So, in addition to the typical IM contact list, there's a Chat Room panel, as well … Read more

The 404 317: Where someone poisoned the watering hole

Wilson's still at the car show, so Jeff and I play twosies under the table. We start off with a very important announcement that involves us literally showing up at your door with mace and a large, blunt object. We also reveal more details about our Meetup, apologize for yesterday's spoiler, and discuss some seriously screwed up stories!

Okay, so let's get a few business items out of the way while I have you here. FYI, we do have a ringtone in the works thanks to our buddy Jamie Lewis, check back here tomorrow for a download link. Also, be sure to keep sending in your adventure/prison/survival stories to win a copy of Tom Avery's book, "To the End of the Earth." Leave us an e-mail (the404 [at] cnet [dot] com) or call in at 866-404-CNET to submit an entry!

Finally, bust out your digital/analog calendar and mark this down: 404 MEETUP on April 16th (next Thursday) @ The Delancey. We plan on getting there around 7:30 and staying until whenever our legs give out. So here's what you have to do:

Go here. Sign up for a Meetup account and join "The 404 Podcast Meetup Group" RSVP for the Meetup on April 16th

Make sure you join our group even if you live somewhere else and can't make it to this one, it will still serve as a good barometer for future travels and meetups--we'll use this group to organize and plan all future events, so don't sleep on signing up and we'll see you next Thursday!

Now back to today's episode: who knew that you could get Viagra, the popular ED drug, in an aerosol can? In Europe, scientists are playing around with a spray-on version. We personally DO NOT have any experience in this field, nor do we suffer from any of those kinds of ailments, but Jeff just happens to have a "friend" that's used it for recreation and speaks good things. By the time this comes to the United States, it'll probably just be a laser point that you just aim at the little tadpole to awaken the bullfrog.

Next, we get a little tangential discussing a new service called TinyChat that allows users to create online chat rooms on the fly, which of course opens up a whole discussion about the old days of chatting, with IRC and AOL chats. Jeff takes advantage of the intimate studio environment and reveals a little something about his college years, but so what? Institutes of higher learning are practicallybuilt to encourage experiemtation. We'll get behind you and your freak flag any day, Bakula! Well...maybe next to you.

EPISODE 317 Download today's podcast Subscribe in iTunes Subscribe in RSSRead more

Camfrog takes a leap forward

Looking at previous iterations of Camfrog, the popular and free video chatting software, it was hard to deny that it offered a wide range of options and experiences for video chat aficionados. It was also hard to deny that the user interface was a disastrous mess of modular windows that made maneuvering through the program a frustrating and sometimes confusing journey. The new version of Camfrog has fixed that.

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Meebo launching media-enabled chat rooms

Meebo, which makes a multinetwork IM Web service, is launching a chat-room service called Rooms tonight. Like the company's other embeddable component, MeeboMe (review), it's simple to embed a Rooms viewer in a blog post or Web page. But Rooms is a full-on, multiparty chat room, which makes it a lot more interesting. MeeboMe, in contrast, allows only one-to-one communication between a Web site visitor and the Meebo user who created it--useful, but not as fun.

I've embedded a Rooms widget further down in this post. As you can see, there's more to it than just chat. Rooms makes it easy for users to share media and Web sites. All you have to do to embed a YouTube video or a Flickr photo (or media from Metacafe, Google Video, PhotoBucket, or MySpace) is paste the URL into the chat window, then other users will be able to play media directly, without leaving the chat session.

Room owners can make their forums open to everyone or by invitation only, and they can separately lock down the posting of media and links if they want (I didn't, so please keep your links clean). The media feature of Meebo Rooms reminds me of (review) and of YouTube's Active Sharing experiment.

Meebo Rooms is not the only embeddable group chat. We've covered several competing products: Weezu, Me.dium,, Chatsum, Yakalike, Planet Minibox, Yackpack, Yaplet, and Zpeech, for example. Meebo Rooms does take advantage of Meebo's slick, Web-based instant message service, though. You can easily invite people into a room by just dragging their name from your buddy list into the room. But Meebo doesn't force the chat/IM integration on you: If you want to invite people via e-mail, that's cool. And people who chat on the service's embeddable widgets don't have to be Meebo users at all.

Meebo Rooms users can also private-message the room's owner, who can then respond back to them in kind. This is a common feature in chat widgets, but I found Rooms' implementation of it exceptionally clear and intuitive.

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Tagged chatrooms with Lingr

Lingr is a really slick chat service that launched late last year. Lingr lets you create and manage Web chatrooms, combined with some handy technologies to help you keep track of conversations, even when you're not there.

I recently broke down a few of the top apps for chatting, both Web based and software downloads, but Lingr is a straight up chat destination as opposed to a piggy-backing service. Lingr lets you create your own tags for a chat room to make it easily searchable by others. These tags show up in a tag cloud on the front door … Read more