Dress rehearsal

I’m finally getting around to considering what might happen here on election night. New server arrangements seem to have put an end to the heavy demand problems experienced by my WordPress database last week, but there’s no guarantee it would be able to handle the load on election night. In any case, chat rooms are probably a superior option, so I am giving this here Meebo feature a workout to see how it copes. At 10.30 EST (UPDATE: Not going to have my act together before than. Stay tuned – WB), blog comments will be closed for half-an-hour and the Poll Bludger faithful asked to carry on their normal discussion on Meebo. If all goes well I’ll have a couple of these running on election night, one being general and the other state-specific. My apologies to anyone who has firewall/proxy/software issues with this – hopefully I am allowing enough warning in advance so you can resolve these beforehand.

My other big idea is to have a separate chatroom on which only invitees can comment, but which anyone can view, to serve as a “news ticker”. At the risk of turning this into Studio 54, access will be limited to intelligence sources I deem to be high value. However, I am also putting out a call for volunteers so we can have a person monitoring each of the various election broadcasts on Saturday night so that any little nuggets that come to light on a particular broadcast are shared among all. If you’re up for this, please drop me a line at pollbludger – AT – bigpond – DOT – com.

In the meantime, feel free to familiarise yourselves with Meebo by stuffing around with it beforehand. It’s very easy to use: click on “edit nickname” to, like, edit your nickname (otherwise you’ll get a generic Meebo handle), type whatever you like in the small window immediately above, hit return, and bob’s your uncle.

NOTE: If this isn’t working at all, please let me know in comments.

NOTE 2: Seems I’ve got something basic wrong here. Am looking into it.

NOTE 3: Turning it off for the time being until I work out what to do.

NOTE 4: After a sort-of-successful experiment with Meebo, more chat room fun is scheduled for this evening.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

92 comments on “Dress rehearsal”

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  1. I think you use the one in the into bit William wrote. I did, I said test from West Hoxton, NSW or words to that effect and it appeared on the screen. It seems at this point to work just like standard chat functions in most places that I have been used to in the past.

  2. Same here. Better off registering an IRC channel on Austnet or similar (Austnet only allow one channel registration per person), perhaps this can be shared around and then you can use a dedicated client like mirc which acan handle multiple channels/networks so you can have one on austnet, one on undernet etc.

  3. I was just thinking tonight that this site would probably melt down on election night. Sounds like a good solution, William, if you can get it to work (I just tried but report the same symptoms as others already have).
    William, I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you this, but make sure you have Glen (or, if he is unavailable, ESJ) in Studio 54 on the big night. Otherwise will be too one-sided.

  4. According ot the meebo wiki…

    There is an infrequent bug where the buddy list doesn’t come up upon login.
    1. Log out of meebo
    2. Refresh the meebo page by holding down the ctrl key and hitting F5 key
    3. Log back into meebo

  5. Perhaps Meebo isn’t quite the tool you need William?

    Can I broadcast messages to everyone?

    At this point, there is no official way to broadcast messages but you can set a customized away message using the away menu near the top of your buddy list that all of your visitors will see.

    How many people can talk to me at any given time? Is there a limit?

    Right now we have set the limit to 100 people who can see you online through your widget. In the future, we may make it a preference to help you do some crowd control. If you’ve got 100 peeps IMing you at any given time, you’re pretty popular and might wanna hit that Invisible mode! You can also disable a widget in the meebo pref pane.

  6. I am told that: “Real IRC involves running an actual server and everyone needing their own special MIRC software”. Does anyone disagree? If so, could they lend their assistance in setting it up?

  7. Here’s the answer

    Meebo Me Widget for WordPress

    The people at Meebo recently announced a new service called MeeboMe that lets your visitors chat directly with you on any web page. The sad part is that this isn’t a shoutbox where every visitor can see each other–it’s a direct connection to you, just like an instant messenger. It’s a widget for WordPress.

  8. The prob with irc it attracts hackers etc so if you do use it you need to have an invite only room. As far as i know to use IRC you need to download a program like MIRC and we will all have to do that. The opera browser carries its own IRC program

  9. Yeah, what Dave from Albury says. I just set it up for my site and it allows me to interact with my customers, but each one on their own, not everyone in one big chat room

  10. Hi,

    Can anyone tell me of the best sites, apart from this one, to get live, seat-specific counting updates on Saturday? Does the AEC do it on their site?

    Any help much appreciated.

  11. [Hi,

    Can anyone tell me of the best sites, apart from this one, to get live, seat-specific counting updates on Saturday? Does the AEC do it on their site?

    Any help much appreciated.]

    Looks like this site is going to be good, provided it doesn’t crash of course.

    I believe they will have real time booth by booth results, which the ABC and AEC don’t have.

    But that is only going on past experience, it may be different this time.

    The ABC webpage is very reliable.

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