Instant Messaging (IM)



In order to participate in Instant Messaging the only requirement is that you have the latest version of the Adobe Flash player. If anyone you're attempting to chat with is having trouble with the Instant Messaging feature, they should go to and upgrade to the latest version of the Flash player.

The Members Online panel is positioned to the lower right of the web site. It can be expanded by clicking anywhere in the title (top bar) area. Clicking the title area again will minimize the window. To chat privately with a fellow member simply click his or her name in the Members panel. Each Member's name you click on will spawn a private messaging window as seen below. You can open up to 4 private messaging windows at any 1 time.

Chatting with another member is simple: Click your mouse anywhere in the bottom region of the window to enter your message then press your <Enter> key to send the message. That's all there is to it — you can now easily chat with fellow members as you browse the site.

SCREEN RESOLUTION: For best results use a screen resolution with width of 1280 pixels or greater. Any of today's wide screen monitors will have at least a 1280 resolution. At this size the Members panel will never cover any site content. If you are using a smaller screen resolution the Members panel will cover site content, but it can be easily minimized or closed completely by clicking the X in the upper right corner.

YOUR PHOTO: Your "Master Photo" is displayed at the top of the Members panel. All messages in the chat window are also preceded by your Master Photo. If you have no Master Photo you will see a default image. Your Master Photo cannot be set from within the Instant Messaging interface. To set your Master Photo click on the Edit/Upload Photos link on the web site and follow the directions on screen.

SEARCH FOR MEMBERS: If there are many members logged in at the same time, you can quickly search for members by clicking "Search for members" in the Members Panel and entering the first few letters of the member's name.

SOUNDS: A sound will be heard whenever a new member logs into the web site. Another sound will be heard every time a member sends you an instant message through the web site. Sounds can be disabled by clicking the speaker icon in the Members panel. 




   Has not typed anything for 5 or more minutes


   Member is currently typing


Should you forget what the icons mean, hover your mouse pointer over them and the member's status will expand like this:


TIP: Hovering over a member's name will pop up a window allowing you to quickly jump to the member's Profile page.

TOOL BAR: The icons on the tool bar allow you to insert emoticons, bold and/or italicize your text, change font color, and quickly jump to these help instructions. You can also start a Private Chat session.  

PRIVATE CHAT: Clicking the "Private Chat" button in the tool bar allows you to jump to a larger private chat environment that allows the sharing of photos, webcam feeds, and YouTube videos. You can also invite additional members to the private chat. You can start as many Private Chat sessions as you'd like (as long as you can keep up)!


CHANGING YOUR STATUS: At times you may not wish for members to see you online. In the Members Panel you can change your status to any of the following:

Online:   You are currently available and accepting Instant Messages.

Away:  You are online, but not currently at your computer.

Do Not Disturb:   You are online but wish to block incoming Instant Messages.

Invisible:  You will not show up as being online for any other site members.



Can I turn off my Instant Messaging (IM) feature temporarily? Yes. Click on the ‘X’ in the upper right hand corner of the IM Member online. You will get a pop-up saying: “You are about to turn off the Instant Messaging Feature. If you wish to turn it back on, simply close your browser and come back to our website.”  Once you come back to our website, you might have to log back in.


DISABLE INSTANT MESSAGING: If you wish to completely turn off the Instant Messaging feature you can do so by clicking on the Edit Profile link and deselecting "Allow other members to send me Instant Messages through the web site." If you disable the Instant Messaging feature your status will automatically be set to Invisible, no other members will see you online, and you will also no longer see any other members currently logged into the web site.


Can the IM window be moved? No. It works best along the bottom of the screen. You can launch up to 4 IM windows at any one time. Although these windows do pop up in front of site content, they can be easily minimized or closed. You have full control over what IM windows appear and when.


Can I start more than ONE (1) Private Chat? Sure you can. You can be in unlimited simultaneous Private Chats; if you can keep up with it.


Will IM work on my iPhone or Smartphone? No. Most don't support Flash to this day. At least for the moment, if you want to IM you'll need to use a regular computer. We are working on a non flash version.


 FYI -- the IM system does a thing called "listening". It's always listening, every second, to see if somebody is online. If you leave the site open in another window, or leave it open for the night, etc., you're going to continue showing up as online because you actually are. You might not be sitting there, but if any page of the site is currently on the screen or in an open window, technically, you're online.



LIVE CHAT INSTRUCTIONS -- In order to participate in Live Chat you need the latest version of Flash installed on your computer. You can get that free at
 . Instructions for using webcams are included here, though I doubt very many of us will be using them. Webcams are NOT required in order to participate in Live Chat.












This is where conversation occurs. At the bottom of this panel is the Control Bar. The Control Bar is used for controlling various elements of your chat. Messages can be entered under the Control Bar. Pressing the Enter Key or clicking the Send button makes your message visible to all participants.

All messages in the conversation window are preceded by your "Master Photo". If you have no Master Photo you will see a default image. Your Master Photo cannot be set from within the Live Chat interface. To set your Master Photo click on the Edit/Upload Photos link on the web site and follow the directions on screen.



NOTE: New members joining the chat room will see the last 20 entries made by other participants, allowing them to quickly see the current conversation and begin participating.









This is the "Media Window." Members in the chat room can use this window to share photos, YouTube videos, and live webcam feeds. These items can be shared by using the Control Bar.







The Members panel shows who is in the chat room. To the right of each member's name you might see any of the following icons:

 Currently participating
 Has not typed anything for 5 or more minutes

Should you forget what the icons mean, hover your mouse pointer over them and the member's status will expand like this:




  Member is currently typing.
 Member is sharing a webcam.
  Member is currently watching your webcam.



NOTE: All member names are clickable to their Profile pages. If you want to know more about the person you're chatting with, click on their name and their Profile will launch in a separate window.












The Control Bar is used for sharing media and adjusting font, font size, and font color.


Insert emoticons.





Share a YouTube video with fellow members. To share a video, open YouTube in a separate browser window or tab. Find and play the video you wish to share. While watching the video select and copy the web address in your browser's address bar. You can also copy the "embed code" YouTube provides for sharing videos on other web sites. Return to the Live Chat window, roll over the YouTube icon, and paste the YouTube address into the white box. Click "Share" or press your Enter key to share your video with all participants in the chat room.





Share a picture. You can enter the web address for any picture online you wish to share, or you can upload a picture from your own computer to share with fellow members.







Click the webcam icon to allow other participants to see you. If you want members to also hear you simply plug in a microphone. Whenever a participant shares a webcam, a webcam icon will appear next to their name in the Members panel. Click the icon to watch the feed. Click the webcam icon next to a different member's name to switch to a different feed. If you wish to turn your webcam off, click the "Stop Sharing" button on the monitoring window (if it's not currently open you may have to click the webcam icon on the Task Bar to open it again).



IMPORTANT: There is no 3 way or voice conferencing abilities in this Live Chat application. You can only watch 1 member's webcam feed at a time. Likewise each member can only watch 1 other member's webcam feed at a time. If you want a member to see and/or hear you, and you also want to see and/or hear that member, you must monitor the member's webcam feed, and the member must monitor your webcam feed. Pay attention to the watching icon () so you know when other members are watching your webcam feed.

Is there a way for 1 person to share audio and video with the entire chat room at once? There is. If one person (let's call this person The Presenter) wants to address the entire group of chat members, then all parties in the chat room should click on The Presenter's webcam icon. While all participants would be able to see and hear The Presenter simultaneously, everyone would need to type their responses back to the Presenter, because at most The Presenter could only see and hear one other person (because The Presenter too can only monitor one feed at a time like any other chat participant).

If you have your webcam monitoring window open while chatting you will see this symbol followed by the number of people who are currently watching your webcam.



NOTE: The webcam icon will only appear next to members' names who are sharing a webcam. If a user has not enabled a webcam, no webcam icon will be present.












Use these font tools to select font, font size, bold, italic, and font color.






Click the help icon at any time to return to these live chat instructions.









If you want chat participants to see and hear you on webcam, you'll need a webcam and a microphone. In order to eliminate sound echo you must ensure sound emitted from your computer speakers cannot travel back through your microphone, causing a sound loop (the source of echo). Echo can be avoiding by utilizing a headset or headphones, or by using a microphone or speakerphone with echo canceling technology.

If you need a webcam or microphone compatible with this Live Chat system here's some we recommend:











Logitech Conferencing Starter Kit with Chat Headset

Automatically follows your movements. Everything you need to use the PHS Class of 1962 Live Chat system.





Click for more details at






Logitech Webcam Pro 9000
Includes noise-canceling microphone and in-line volume control. Great when paired with a stand-alone webcam.


Logitech Webcam Pro 9000
Intelligent Face Tracking keeps you center-screen. Use with headset with microphone or echo canceling speakerphone.


ClearOne Chat 60
Chat without headgear or earpieces! Crystal clear audio for everyone in the room. Highly recommended. Use with stand-alone webcam. Click for more details at









I clicked the webcam icon but my webcam did not come on. What should I do?

Answer: Generally, most webcams will activate when you click the webcam icon on the Control Bar. If yours does not, make sure you can see your webcam feed using the software that came with your webcam. Once you can, close down your webcam software and then try clicking the webcam icon on the Control Bar again. If you have an issues, first check to make sure the webcam is working properly. This can be done by turning off your computer, unplugging the webcam, turning your computer on and then plugging it back in. Let the system pick up the webcam, possibly reinstall or repair drivers and then see if that works. If not, chances are another problem is occurring between either the webcam or its connection.

: My webcam is on, I can see my feed using the software that came with my webcam, but after closing that software and then clicking the webcam icon on the Control Bar I still cannot see my feed.

While most of the time your webcam will be auto recognized, many things can affect Live Chat's ability to accurately detect your webcam, such as the age of your webcam, method by which it connects to your computer, and version of your Operating System (OS). Older operating systems are more likely to have difficulties detecting your webcam. One thing you can try is downloading Skype from Skype is one of the most popular services online where webcams are frequently used. Does your webcam work with Skype? If it does not, it's a good indicator it's time to upgrade to a newer webcam.

Question: I use my webcam with other applications. Is that a problem?

Answer: Possibly. Close all software before starting a new webcam session Sometimes after you finish using the webcam in a software application, the program may not properly release the webcam for other activities in other applications, or even the same application. Sometimes you cannot use the webcam because it is being accessed by another program by default. So, if you are having a problem with your webcam, close the program you are using it in, reboot your computer, and then try using the Live Chat application again.

Question: Should I do anything with webcam drivers?

Answer: If everything else has failed, try downloading the latest drivers and updates for your webcam. Some webcams may not be recognized by the Live Chat application unless you have the most recent drivers and updates for your webcam. If you installed the webcam separately, go to the webcam manufacturer's website and download the latest drivers, updates, plug-ins, or conversion utilities for any webcam video software. TIP: Be sure to verify the webcam drivers and software are compatible with the OS version of Windows or Mac you are using!

Question: Nothing has worked. I think I need to buy a new webcam. Any other suggestions?

Answer: Sometimes new hardware is the only solution. While waiting for your new webcam to arrive, have you considered using a laptop computer with this Live Chat? Most laptops sold today come with a built-in webcam.