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Introduction to COSETI HearMe Chat Rooms


Four Good Reasons for HearMe™

  • To bring more traffic to this Web site.

  • To put SETI enthusiasts in touch with each other.

  • Allow me to host international SETI web-based meetings.

  • Allow me to communicate with family and friends in England.


HearMe Web Site


Now you can join a new online community and voice or text chat about Optical and Microwave SETI with other people who are simultaneously accessing this Web site.  Family, friends and associates wishing to reach me should use the semi-private chat room on the Axis 240 help page.  However, to find me, try the public chat room on the home page first, otherwise known as "Channel 1".  If I am viewing any of the channels, "COSETI" will appear in the respective listing.  When you enter a room, a random guest name (number) will appear indicating your presence.  A bell sound will be produced by the PC's speaker of every participant already in the chat room when a new user enters or a user leaves.  You can stretch out the VoicePresence Text Chat box to fill the area available on your screen to the right of the HearMe box (see images above).  This chat facility requires Internet Explorer 4.0 or above.  When using HearMe for the first time, you will be asked to allow automatic installation of "HearMe VoicePresence" in your browser.  This is required for activating HearMe.

I recommend that your right click on the name and overwrite it with your actual name or use the "Options" menu to make the change.  This change will be retained for future sessions.  Note that this name will also be displayed if you enter any other HearMe chat room anywhere on the world wide web.  Remember, none of these channels are really private.  If anyone accesses a channel they will be listed.  For the moment, all channels have been set up for 1 minute maximum talk at a time.  If you should find someone being offensive and abusing this facility, just right click on that person's name or guest number to remove him or her from your list of chat room participants.

From time to time, you may need to click on the "Audio Configuration" link to readjust your microphone and speaker settings as the microphone level appears to sometimes get reset to zero.  This link takes you to the HearMe Web site's Audio Adjustment Wizard.  If you cannot hear other participants or they cannot hear you, you should check these settings first.  Indeed, it appears to be a good policy to recheck the Wizard Adjustment levels before starting a new session on the following day.

Adjust the recording level so that a significant amount of yellow appears on the modulation level bar meter.  On my PCs, the sensitivity of the audio link appears to be quite high and the talk level bar display in the HearMe chat box on my Web pages is actually deceptive.  When the recording level is correctly set so as not to overmodulate and distort the sound, only a couple of green bars will show up on the talk bar at peak sound levels.  Attempts to increase the level, to what would appear to be a more appropriate setting, will only cause distortion.  It would appear that the internal audio gain of the HearMe system is set too high for what the bar indicator actually displays, and doesn't mirror the setup done in "Audio Configuration".  In other words, both bar indicators should show the same audio modulation levels for the same audio input - but they don't!

I would suggest that Channels 1 to 3 be used as worldwide public access channels.  If you maintain your own SETI-related Web site, all you need do to share these same channels is to add the appropriate code to your site.  This code is given on the respective channel pages reached via the links below in the channel description section.  Note that the Channel 1 chat room is automatically available whenever you access the home page on this site or the Channel 1 page.  The center of the footer of every page, except the home page, contains a link (with bright green background) to activate Channel 1 in a separate window.  The other channels are activated when you visit their respective channel pages.  Each chat channel or room can support up to 500 simultaneous users.  You can only have one channel active on a PC at a time.

It is interesting that HearMe functions correctly even on PCs sharing an Internet gateway.  I was able to test the HearMe six channel configuration on my Web site using two PCs sharing Internet access on one cable modem.  The delay between speaking into one PC and hearing my voice on the other PC was between one and two seconds.

It is recognized that one of the main reasons that AOL has grown so much in recent years has been the availability of chat rooms.  We humans are a very sociable species with a great hunger to interact.  Bringing this HearMe facility in both audio and text to this Web site should significantly increase traffic flow and help improve understanding of SETI-related subjects.  Since I have very little time that can be spent "chatting", each of you visiting a room can be of help in answering questions put up by other users - don't be shy!  This is the first time that the COSETI Web site has had the capability to bring OSETI enthusiasts together.  Now YOU can find out who else is surfing this Web site.  Forgive the pun - you are not alone!

One nice thing about this utility, besides the excellent Voice over IP audio quality, is that it passes through the WebRamp 700s firewall without any problem.  There are many Internet communications programs that will not pass through most firewalls, such as NetMeeting.  It puts NetMeeting's audio quality to shame!  I am so impressed that I am giving serious consideration to buying shares in the company!  This is a real neat Java program and it's free.  The company makes its money by selling more advanced systems and is located near the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California.  I look forward to the day when we can not only HearMe but also SeeMe (in real time) on this Web site.  


HearMe COSETI Channel Descriptions:

Channel 1
Public Optical SETI Chat Room available from the Channel 1 page and on all pages on this Web site (see the footer).  Once this channel is activated via the footer link, it will appear in a separate browser window which is then available to all pages on this site.  If you install HearMe on your Web site, you can make this your public chat room as well, so that it becomes a worldwide chat room.  Webmasters, please click on the "Channel 1" link for instructions on how to do this.  The channel name is "#COSETI Channel 1".  The "#" sign makes this chat room accessible throughout the World Wide Web.  If I am available, you could ask me a question or for help in navigating this site or solicit such assistance from others listed in the HearMe display.  I request that all users wishing to use the chat room, to please properly identify themselves by clicking on "Options" to replace the Guest Number with their name.

Channel 2
Public Microwave SETI Chat Room available from the Channel 2 page only.  This covers all other aspects of SETI, including astrobiology (bioastronomy).  You can also make this a worldwide public chat room on your Web site.  The channel name is "#COSETI Channel 2".  I have split up these chat rooms as it is expected that they will, in time, prove very popular, and will thus get rather crowded.  In this way, the primary purpose of this Web site is represented by Channel 1.

Channel 3
Public SETI Chat Room for Young People via the Channel 3 page, and is available for the entire World Wide Web.  The channel name is "#COSETI Channel 3".  It covers all aspects of Microwave and Optical SETI.

Channel 4
Semi-Private Chat Room from the axis240.htm page.  For family, friends and associates.  May be used in conjunction with the Axis 240 Camera Server.

Channel 5
Private Chat Room for Professional SETI Researchers.  This web page is not linked to any other part of this Web site.  The URL for this page will be supplied to my colleagues on a need to know basis.  For instance, this chat room can be used by the OSETI III committee to conduct conference business on a more secure basis.

Channel 6
Private Chat Room for myself.  This web page is not linked to any other part of this Web site.  The URL for this page will be supplied to other parties on a need to know basis.

HearMe is free and has excellent audio quality.  For more information about HearMe and how to use it, click on the links below:  


First Uploaded: February 12, 2000
Revised: June 2, 2001

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