Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Cool Feature From Yahoo! - YM! Pingbox

Did I ever mention I am a loyal user of Yahoo! Messenger (YM)? I think I did in one of the earlier posts.

In the post, I mentioned the emoticons or smileys from CBox weren't as attractive as YM's and I took some silly time to map YM's emoticons into the CBox (silly 'cause not many people use it. Haha, what a jackass!). Anyway, as long as I like it, what's wrong with it, right?

But now, I guess I may look more sillier. Why? YM now provides a CBox like feature called Pingbox that fully supports all YM's emoticons!

Let's see how it works while of course you can immediately jump into it by trying my Pingbox on the right (if I am online), right below my CBox, the Talk Cock Box.

To create a Pingbox for yourself, certainly you need to be a YM user, not necessarily to be a loyal one like me (Haha...) but by least be familiar on how to use YM on your workstation. Although older version of YM works with Pingbox too, but I recommend upgrade to latest version which is version 9 to have full integration of Pingbox with YM.


2 ways to create your Pingbox, it's either visit to Pingbox site, or from YM directly as shown above, you will be directing to your Pingbox Studio that lists all the Pingboxes (up to 10) you have created. You will need to sign into Yahoo! if you use former method and make sure it's the same ID you use to logon to YM if you have multiple IDs.

This is how it looks like for the first time you create your own Pingbox...


Select your background theme and make necessary customization as you desire, you can preview immediately on the right to see how your Pingbox looks like. 3 things to note here:

1. You can't select background color if you have picked any background theme. Unless you are a dull bugger like me (or may be as fussy as me), none of the theme fits me, so I picked the big X (means no background theme lah) from the background theme and then picked my favorite black color from the background color. It's also to blend with Jacko.MY blog theme.

2. Display name does not necessarily mean your YM ID. In other words, no one will ever know your YM ID through Pingbox and therefore your privacy on YM is still intact, unless you use your real YM ID as your display name. You can use any name you want, but don't clone Jacko lah. I am in the process to copyright it. :P

3. This is kinda important one if you plan to create multiple Pingboxes for different sites you own. Give the Pingbox a meaningful name that reflects which site you are going to deploy this particular Pingbox.

Next, you are almost done or you can click the Edit link to go back to the customization page...


Click on the platform or website that you are going to add this Pingbox. If your site platform is not listed, then select the default Code Only, it should work flawlessly as long as script is allowed and supported.

After you deployed the code onto your site, this is how its first look looks like when a visitor visits the site...


If the Pingbox is enabled and you logged on to YM, the visitor can enter a nickname to identify him/herself and chat with you like this...


After a while if there is no message exchange, the session will be disconnected...


From Pingbox owner's point of view, whenever there's is visitor to your site, you will be notified just like when your YM friend comes online, provided you have the Pingbox enabled and you are not in invisible mode...


Notice the blue arrow pointing to Jacko.MY? This is the Pingbox name that I recommended to save your Pingbox(es) with meaningful name. It's automatically created when you created your Pingbox and removed from YM when you deleted the Pingbox. If you have multiple Pingboxes, you will see multiple of such groups created in your YM window. And with the appropriate Pingbox name, you can easily know which of your site the visitors come from.


Right click on the Pingbox name provides you options to manage the Pingbox that includes to turn off the Pingbox so that you will be offline in the Pingbox (visitors can't IM you) but still online (visible) in your YM.

There are several ways to turn on/off the Pingbox:

1. Turn on/off the Pingbox as shown above via YM.

2. Turn on/off from the Pingbox Studio.

3. Log on to YM in Invisible mode, Pingbox will be off.

So far there are 2 big differences I observed between Cbox and Pingbox:

1. The chat in Cbox is visible to everyone who visits your site whereas Pingbox is one-on-one private chat between you and the visitor. You can see that visitor 3 has no clue that I was chatting with "jacko myself" simultaneously...


2. Cbox is asynchronous chat but Pingbox is real time chat. When you offline from YM, your Pingbox business is off and no one can send you message. In Cbox, visitor can leave you message regardless you are off or online.

You can find more details in Pingbox FAQ.

After gone through the test, I think CBox is still preferable than Pingbox (for me), I am loyal to YM though. It's more prone to spamming and harassment as anyone can just send IM to you in real time whenever you are online (unless you turn off Pingbox which defeats the purpose right?). I usually have my YM turned on 24x7 but I am not always at my workstation, I do not want many pop ups from Pingbox to fill up my screen. Anyway, I just put it on Jacko.MY for a trial run, let's see how it goes...

p/s: it seems that the Pingbox code generated by Yahoo! has compatibility issue with IE. My IE7 does not load the Pingbox. Anyway, I don't use IE, it's better off IE to Firefox or Chrome ;)