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      05.02.2010 01:32
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      "Paltalk" is an instant messaging application. The service was first launched in 1999 and is currently in build version 9.8 as of February 2010. The service runs independently from popular communication programs such as ICQ or MSN Messenger, but allows buddy list integration and basic instant messaging with said services. The application installs flawlessly and features moderate system requirements which include:

      Operating System: Windows XP or higher
      Memory: 1GB of RAM
      Hard Disk: 12MB of free space.
      CPU: Intel Pentium Processor and Higher

      Paltalk was first brought to my attention after experiencing hassles with Yahoo Messenger. The quality of Yahoo's chat room userbase was deteriorating at the time I flocked to Paltalk a few years ago, and my fellow professional wrestling fans were all jumping ship. I decided to tag along as Paltalk is said to offer "crystal clear TV quality video" which would definitely be a step in the right direction in comparison to the very choppy Yahoo Messenger frame rate.

      At the time of my initial installation the version was 8.5. The interface was based on a bright blue and white design and offered a simple Windows based menu system for navigation. I recently installed the latest software in attempts to catch up with lost buddies and after a few unsuccessful log in attempts found that this design was altered dramatically. The client now features a black and off-white design but still showcases its easy to use menu system.

      Most of the service is concentrated in the "actions" menu which loads Paltalk's instant messaging features, chat room list, audio and video features, and web based video games. Each click of the mouse quickly loads an ad supported window which guides the user to a specified point within the messenger. Most users will find themselves accessing chat rooms to connect with other users, and this is found within an appropriately labeled "Join A Chat Room" option within the actions menu.

      The chat rooms on offer are segregated by category. These include chats related to "Radio & TV", "Education", "Games", "Religion & Spirituality", and regional chat rooms based on categorical continents. Paltalk also caters to strong conspiracy theorist and political extremism communities within the "Social Issues and Politics" category. The majority of the topics within each category are sparsely populated, and it is only truly within the "Adult" category that Paltalk's userbase comes alive. This area is often filled to its chat room limits of 500 members per room and is spread across several rooms where members access user streamed pornographic content, but it is also here which houses Paltalk's notorious "insult" chat rooms.

      In March 2007, a resident in my local community took his own life while broadcasting webcam video through one of the aforementioned insult chat rooms on Paltalk. As the name may imply, members gather to hurl insults and "troll comments" at one another in a "friendly" environment. On the night, users witnessed the man punch a hole in his ceiling and commit suicide by hanging; all while chatters encouraged him to go on until the point of death. One user commented "hope hes insured" as the man died within their sight. I never knew him but live less than 100 paces from his former place of residence. It's a bone chilling sight to pass the home knowing we were both at one point members of something which exacerbated a situation in his life to the point of ending it.

      Paltalk itself provides functional text based messaging and chat for free. "Basic" members may also broadcast and listen to audio using a compatible computer microphone and speakers. Users wishing to broadcast and access video feeds, however, will be required to purchase a subscription plan. As a former member of Yahoo, I was used to painstakingly slow video speeds and requested assistance from one of the included Paltalk help rooms. I was informed that their value "blue" package reached speeds of up to 15 frames per second whereas the "green" package was comparable to television speeds. I felt the "blue" package would best suit my needs and purchased a year long subscription at the cost of $39.95 USD. This was immediately activated with my credit card purchase and I was watching video in no time. Unfortunately, the advised speeds were significantly below what I had expected. Frames chopped along at a sluggish pace and I found the experience to be poor at best. My subscription did last for 365 days from the date of purchase but I did not renew it after its eventual expiry.

      The subscription plans now available on Paltalk include blue, green, and purple. Blue and green's pricing remain in tact with green charging $59.95 USD per year, but purple is a new option which claims to boast even higher speeds than green at the cost of $199.95 USD per year. It's possible that the frame rate of the green package was lowered to accommodate purple's speeds but I can't confirm that at this time. All subscription packages remove banner advertisements and allow numerous video streams to be opened at once.

      My usage of Paltalk was primarily concentrated in the professional wrestling chat rooms. I was able to watch video content with previously known friends from Yahoo Messenger, but due to the blue package's low speed didn't find it to be an enjoyable experience; I felt I paid for something I was receiving for free on Yahoo's service. I also found that the video would often desynchronize from the audio which left the wrestlers body slamming one another to silence and the sound of the ring canvas rumbling loudly at otherwise stationary intervals. On recent testing of the video feature through Paltalk's "website widget" which embeds video chats for free viewing, I found the audio lag is still evident within Paltalk and it is not something which I would choose to use for action based events.

      Paltalk is not something which I would recommend to prospective users. It is not all bad, no, and I did come across some lovely people within the more civil trivia based game rooms and some religious chats, but much of the userbase aren't individuals who I would willingly choose to mingle with in person. The service serves up depraved and extreme content in a great abundance, and its lack of central regulation allows for any grotesque material to be transmitted within its chat rooms. My attempts to reconnect with former lost buddies on the service was unfruitful and the software was uninstalled from my computer. It will not be installed again.

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        04.07.2001 03:14
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        I've been on PALTALK now for about two years now and can honestly say it's one of the few programms i just could not do without. WHAT IS PALTALK? Well it's a small programme abit like yahoo messanger but with top quality voice chat. The system works on two levals the first is alot of rooms with different topics of disscution in each IE religeon....sports...news...and so on. the second leval gives you a personel "one to one" with anyone you meet there or a friend you already know who is also a member. HOW GOOD DOES IT WORK? Paltalk is always upgrading itself...It lets you know when the new version comes out and it's just a simple download (easy). They have irond out alot of small problems since i've been a member and i think it's not far of spot on now. MY EXPERIENCE. The main use for me on paltalk are the TOPIC ROOMS..It's great talking to people from all over the word about what intrests you. The insult rooms are a personel favorite of mine "but beware" these rooms are not for the faint hearted. A good majority of my friends use Paltalk now and i can tell you i've saved a few quid on phone calls. Paltalk is without a doubt to best communication tool i have found and believe me people i've been looking.

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          20.06.2001 00:17
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          Paltalk is great. You do need a mike of course but in some of the chat rooms you can go in even though you havent got a mike and type whatever message you want to send but still hear other people talk. I am not very fast at talking and have a friend in the states. I find it just like the telephone. You firstly download it. This will only take you a couple of minutes. Then choose a name. When you are ready you can choose a room to chat in just like you can in any chat area you go to. It can be language, hobbies and interest or even country and county/state. To talk you hold down the ctrl lock. To listen release it. To be perfectly mannered you will find a hand on the right of the page and if you click on that when the room is packed (if you want to say something) then when your name is to the top you talk. You can also go into a room of your own and just talk to your own friend/s and basically lock everyone else out. A lock will show that it is locked. This is a great way to talk to other people on the internet for the price of your internet bill. To hear accents is great.

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            01.06.2001 02:17
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            • "half script always missing!"

            I downloaded [pal talk at the request of a friend of mine. I dont use it very often as i find there are always problems with it! Every time i try to log on it takes ages for it to accept me! When i do half of the script is always missing. Its full of banners which are very annoying. It is good to see the ppl with whom you are chatting, but as i dont have a web cam not much good to me. Ther are quite a few chat rooms but the ones ive found seem to be full of perverts! Or may be i just seem to attract them :( I have stopped pal talk from coming on when i turn on my pc and i can still access when i want but dont much! If you have a web cam and have a freind or relative who lives far away and you dont get to see them much then maybe its a good thing but its not for me.

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