So, You Want to Pow Wow, Huh?

By Joe Burns

Use these to jump around or read it all...

[Pow Wow, Joe?]
[How Can I Start?]
[What You Need]
[It's In. Now What?]
[How To Pow Wow]
[What If Someone Wants To Chat With Me?]
[Pow Wow From Your Home Page]
[How Many Can Chat At Once?]
[What If I Need Help?]

     If you have read any of my other tutorials, you have no doubt picked up on the fact that I am not easily impressed, nor do new things really set me off my rocker. But I have tell you -- this is one of the coolest things I have run across in a while, and it worked the first time straightaway on all three of my computers. (Yes, three computers. Sad, isn't it?) Stay with me here and I guarantee you'll waste some great time with this thing called Pow Wow.

Pow Wow, Joe?

     Yeah. Here's the basic concept... what if you could log onto the Internet and look around to see whom else was on. I don't mean just anyone on your own server, but anyone on the Internet. And what if you could then ask each of these people to talk. Well, that's what this Pow Wow thing is all about. You and others -- talking (writing, actually) in real-time, over the Internet. This morning I spent a good half-hour talking to a guy in Birmingham, Alabama, about the differences between northern and southern BBQ. He won. The southern stuff is better.

     The system is set up by a group of people that call themselves The Tribal Voice. They have taken the time to set up a server that does just what I described above. You log into their server and look around to see who else has done the same. If you see someone you would like to pow wow, or "chat" with, you click on his or her name.

Please note: If you're looking to create your own chat room, take a look here.

     If the person you are attempting to contact accepts your request, your computer screen splits. What you type is on the top half and what your chat partner types is on the bottom half. Then you're off and wasting time.

     I have been in contact with the people from Pow Wow in writing this tutorial. My contact is Joe Burnsby of Tribal Voice. Yes, I know that it's just my name with "by" on the end. Take my word for it, it's legit. He calls himself hUey (that's the correct spelling). He sent me some tips that I will pass along at the end of this tutorial.

How Can I Start Pow Wowing?

     First off, you should go to the Tribal Voice Pow Wow Home Page and read all about it. I'll walk you through the process here, but the fine people at Tribal Voice have lain out much better. There's a great deal of information about the server and who these people are and the fact that they really hate it when you go on their service and cuss. So, you potty mouths should curb the lingo for the duration of your stay. (Oh yeah? Same to you!)

What You Need

     You will need the Pow Wow software to do this. The software will do all, and I mean all, of the work for you. As far as I can see, there are versions available only for Windows 3.x and Windows95 at the moment, but times change and I could be proved wrong very quickly. Here's where you can grab your own copy. The latest version at the time of this writing (9/27/98) is 3.03 beta. Just make sure to get the 16-bit version of you're using Windows 3.x and the 32-bit version if you are using Windows95.

The Pow Wow Software Download Page

     The file is about 2 to 2.5 megabytes in size. This could take a while. Download it into a temporary directory then click on the file. It will unzip itself, install, and ask you a few questions. They are basic questions like name, e-mail address, plus a login and password for the Pow Wow server. Make sure you write these down for future reference.

It's In. Now What?

     Now the fun begins. You need to follow this basic pattern each time you want to use Pow Wow:
  • Attach to your server.
  • Open the Pow Wow program you downloaded.
         Wait for it to connect to the Pow Wow server. You will see the attempt happening on the screen.
  • Once connected to Pow Wow, open your browser.

You must have both the Pow Wow and your browser open to use this!

How To Pow Wow

     Go to the Pow Wow White Pages on your browser while you are still attached to Pow Wow. Here's the address:

The Pow Wow White Pages

     On this page, you will be able to choose to look at the last 10, 20, 50, or 100 people that logged into the Pow Wow server. Choose one. When the new page comes up, look over the names and choose one you like and click on it.
     A request is sent to the person you chose. If they accept your chat request, the screen splits, and you begin your Pow Wow. Pretty slick.

     When first connecting, you will notice that well over 100,000 people are attached at one time. You can also continue to refresh the last group of people that logged on to see who's new. I have only been turned down for a chat twice out of probably 20 requests.

What If Someone Wants To Chat With Me?

     A window will pop up on the screen stating that you've been requested to chat. You can either accept or decline the chat. Accept, and the screen splits. You are Pow Wowing.

Pow Wow From Your Home Page

     If you make a point of attaching to Pow Wow each time you connect to your server (or at least each time you connect that you might want to have a Pow Wow), you can make it so someone can request a chat right from your home page. You'll do this with a simple HREF command set up to send a Pow Wow command. Like so:

<A HREF="powwow:username@domain.com">

     Notice it's very close to a mailto: command except with a "powwow" where the mailto: sits. Please notice the colon after powwow. Just make sure the username you offer is the same one you have as your e-mail login. Make your domain the one you're on, not the Pow Wow service. Basically, this will be your e-mail address.

     This will give you a nice button on the page to offer a Pow Wow:

<FORM METHOD="POST" ACTION="powwow:user@domain.org">
<INPUT TYPE="SUBMIT" VALUE="Click here to PowWow">
</FORM>

     If you place a Pow Wow request like the above to yourself, people can request to talk to you from your own page. If you put in someone else's address, you can request a Pow Wow with them from your page. Do what you'd like.
     Just remember, no one can receive a Pow Wow request without having the Pow Wow program on and connected to the Pow Wow server.

How Many Can Chat At Once?

     Up to seven. The page just keeps splitting. You always remain on top, though. I will tell you that after two or three, it gets very confusing.

What If I Need Help?

     These people at Tribal Voice are slick. If you click here, you jump to the Pow Wow help page. Not only can you look at suggestions, but many names of people who offer to assist are listed. Nice site.

Some Notes from Pow Wow

     These come straight from hUey and will change if he keeps me updated. Things I added are in italics.

     Something many people are not aware of is the PULS (PowWow User Location Service) which we also give away for free. This will allow you to our clone PowWow server anywhere you want in the world. Eventually we hope to have many more PowWow servers, just as there are many e-mail servers.
     Also many people don't know about RIGHT-CLICKING on the QuikSound list. (Pow Wow supports sounds.) Also I get a lot of people asking to paste into WhiteBord (That's the area where you write), but that is not available yet; it may be one day.
     Also I get a lot of people asking when will there be different voices for text-to-speech; the answer is "soon".
     With next week's release of PowWow, QuikSound will accept drag-dropped .WAV or .SIF files for directly installing sounds. Also next-week's release will have a storybook reader, in the utilities menu.
     These are all the main things I can think of that many powUsers are not aware of.
     Thanks for your services,
     -hUey.


     Those are the basics. Now go and grab the program so you can get Pow Wowing. Who knows, maybe you and I will split screens and talk today. I attach to Pow Wow now and again.

[Pow Wow, Joe?]
[How Can I Start?]
[What You Need]
[It's In. Now What?]
[How To Pow Wow]
[What If Someone Wants To Chat With Me?]
[Pow Wow From Your Home Page]
[How Many Can Chat At Once?]
[What If I Need Help?]



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