Chat Assistant - Input Bar

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    Chat Assistant
       What is it
       Getting Started
       Input Bar
       Kb Shortcuts
       Stored Msgs
       Conv & Dict

Input Bar

The controls on the input bar are simple.

But a few things are just different.

Discarding all the input

On the BBO "Chat box" the Esc key does two things. It makes the chat box 'go away' and it discards the contents, so anything you have typed is thrown away. In ChatAssistant these two things are separate actions.

The grave key ` (top left) and/or Ctrl-J and/or Ctrl-';' are the equivalent of making the Chat Assitant box 'go away'.

To delete the text you can use the Esc key (you do need to have the Esc key set to do this in Prefs) OR select the text you do not want and hit the delete key (Del). The standard way to select all in Windows application is Ctrl-A.

Restoring and Re-Sending a Sent Message

Ctrl - Z (& Ctrl - Y) Undo (& Redo), will go back through past sends. This means you can undo back through the previous send (or more) and so retreive the past Chats you have sent and send them again somewhere else.

Replying to a new message first

There are two ways of saving the currently being typed text so that you can instead reply to another more recent message.

Alt - Z Typing Alt-Z pushes the current text that is showing in the input box into the 'undo buffer' and leaves the Input bar clear. You can restore the text by presing Ctrl-Z a number of times normally at least 4 times.

Ctrl - A then Ctrl - X this is the windows standard of select all (Ctrl-A) and cut to clipboard (Ctrl-X). You restore the text by a normal paste (Ctrl-V). ChatAssistant also gives to do these two actions for in only one sequence Alt - X in addition this does NOT attach the exta linefeed that Microsoft add by default.


The five Kibitzing buttons

The five Kibitzing buttons, seen here in minimized mode.

They are not part of the chat system.

They set Kibitzing mode to the particular value selected, saving you the user the time and trouble of clicking on the various options dialogues that BBO supplies.

ALT and the appropriate letter is the short cut for all the kibitzing buttons. No other ALT keys are supported either in BBO or in ChatAssistant.

The 'Chat to' selector

The 'Chat to' drop-down selector has the same functionality as the one on the standard BBO chat. On ChatAssistant however inside the dropdown there is an additional colored letter that gives an instant visual indication as to the current setting. The letters used are the first letters of the words Room, Club, Lobby, Tournament, Kibitzer & Private (or Person). If you are seated at a table there are also options for sending to Opponents, LHO left-hand opponent, RHO right-hand opponent and Kibitzer Including Opponents.

Many of these choices have a control key shortcut - see the Keyboard Shortcuts page for details or just move your mouse over the text or button and read the popup description. The control keys to note as being non-obvious are (inherited from BBO), Control-S shows the Room (meaning Send) and Control-I for Kibitzer Including Opponents Control-< for LHO and Control-> for RHO.

Advice to New users

Way below you will see a complete detailed descripton of the Chat Selector buttons 'C' and 'KR' in the image above. This indented section is the simple version -

1. Move your mouse over the two 'C' and 'KR' buttons so you can see exactly where each of them is.

2. Click on them in turn and/or Use Ctrl-M and CTRL-N to set your buttons to look like -

3.This will mainly be what you want.
     When chat to a person it will stay set that way.
     It will follow the default of the room / (sitting / kibbing) you are in.
     hint click the ` grave key a couple of times when you first enter a room

4. Use Ctrl-M (or click the second button to change the default to be 'R' or 'K' as you want it. Again converstaions with people will be sticky but you can control the room default.

5.Use Ctrl-S (Room'R') and Ctrl-K ( Kibitzers 'K' ) these are the normal BBO Ctrl-Keys to set a one message change dest change.

6. Hint - Play with these on a hidden table so you know what they do.


Selector buttons (detailed version)

Just before the 'Chat to' dropdown selector are two (mouse over) 'C' and 'KR' buttons.

Selector Policy button     ('C' in the image above)

The Selector Policy button can take one of three values, 'C' (Change), 'n/c' (No Change) and 'n/c & KR' (No Change except for KR).

'n/c' - When set to n/c (no change) then whatever value you have set in the 'Chat to' box is kept. This can be very useful when messaging a person. Their name stays in the chat to box after you press send.

'C' - Change, after you press send the 'Chat to' box will always change to whatever the next button is showing - K, R, or k/r. See the Default Selector button below for more details.

'n/c & K, R' - (No Change except for K, R). After a send if the 'Chat to' selector is showing anything except K or R (for example P, a person) then it will not change. If it is showing K or R then the normal change rules apply - see the button below.


Control N- will step through the three values, just as clicking the button does.


Default Selector button     ('k/r' in the image above)

This value shows as grayed out if the preceding value is 'n/c'. When valid the default selector button shows the value that the 'Chat to' drop-down will be set to after the next send. It can take one of three values, K, R or 'k/r'. Click on it to change it. The R and K will set the next 'after send' 'Chat to' value, to Room or Kibitzer (if available). The 'k/r' setting does the following - then ChatAssistant will query the BBO application and try to discover if you are either playing or are a kibitzer and show you the result. Normally this means that if you are playing (seated at the table) the value in the drop-down box will become R, if you are not seated it will become K. This is the way the standard BBO 'Chat to' box value behaves.

Control M - will step through the three values 'k/r', R, K, just like clicking the button.


Entering a room

ChatAssistant does not get told if you enter a room, leave a room, become seated or stop being seated. There are two ways ChatAssistant can know about these changes. One is to have ChatAssistant check frequently, see the setting in Prefs. However this is not recommended because it tends to create a flicker on some systems.

The second way is for you to prompt ChatAssistant to ckeck. This can be done a number of ways.

(Shifted ` Grave) the ' ¬ 'character. Recommended as it will work even if BBO has focus and you have text in the input area. The '¬' tells ChatAssistant to test and display the correct 'Chat to' that would apply if you had just entered this room (or other place).

The 'empty send' - if your input box is empty and the ChatAssistant has focus then this will work too.

A couple of clicks on the grave key ` will also have the same effect.

You can use the (Shifted ` Grave) the ' ¬ 'character at any time. Think of it as the reset that cancels out a Control-S, Control-K or the currently selected Persons ID.

H button - Safety CatcH

This is a 'mouse over' button. Once this button has been clicked the words Safety Catch appear in the drop-down selector. The way to use this feature is first to write your message, then to think about the destination and to select the destination either using the drop-down or by using control keys.

From the moment you select the destination you only have a couple of seconds before the safety catch pops back on. This means you must quickly click the Send button or press return to send a message.

This feature is provided for people who have "permission to speak" in important rooms like the ViewGraph rooms and wish to make sure that they never accidentally send private chat to the room.

Control H- will step through the two values, just like clicking the button.

Mail button

This is a 'mouse over' button. It will open the standard BBO chat window. You will then be able to send a BBO mail message, which ChatAssistant does not otherwise support. The mail button can also be used to send a very long URL that ChatAssistant would otherwise split over multiple lines.

You cannot get to the normal BBO chat window using the normal BBO Chat button. This is because ChatAssistant places the BBO Chat window out of sight otherwise its constant flickering becomes very annoying. There is a setting under Prefs to control this behaviour.

Send Button

The send button sends the message to BBO. You can also do a send with Ctrl-S or the Return key.

By default the Return key will do a send and the shifted return will put a line feed into the message area. There is a setting in Prefs to reverse the behaviour of these two key sequences.

The Conv Checkboxes

A key feature of ChatAssistant is that it automatically converts sequences like 'ks' to 'K!s' which will, in the normal BBO manner, be shown to everyone seeing the chat message as the letter K followed by the the symbol for spades. See the section on Conversion and Dictation for more information.

Occasionally you may want to send a message where this conversion is suppressed. Unchecking the first checkbox (or use Control-Q) will turn off conversion for all future sends. This is a copy of the 'Main Conversion' Checkbox on the Prefs section (near end of page).

Unchecking the second checkbox (or use Control-E) will suppress the conversion for the next send only. Stored messages which are set to come to the Chat input area and not to go directly to BBO will automatically clear the second checkbox on arrival. This is because stored messages are not converted.

When in slim mode the two conversion boxes are not visible so instead the result of what they would do (convert or not convert) is shown by the presence of the letter 'c' under the 'red x' button. If this letter is clearly visible, as above, then the conversion will happen but if the letter 'c' is grayed out then the conversion will not happen. The letter 'c' is not a clickable button, so to change its value you need to use the control keys described above - Control-Q and Control-E.


Wideness Slider

Moving the slider varies the maximum width of the output lines that ChatAssistant will send to BBO. ChatAssistant attempts to keep all output such that the sender's name appears at the start of every line segment. It also allows for the 'minimal' ChatAssistant to be on the right. There is no point in sending long line segments to other users if their minimal ChatAssistant covers it up so they cannot read it.

If you find that even with the slider at its widest extent your output lines are surprisingly short then check that you have entered your correct Login Id in the Prefs section. ChatAssistant may be allowing space for a longer username and yours actually is.

J Button

The J (mouse over) button is only of use when ChatAssistant is in order position mode and there are two choices of where the ChatAssistant input bar could be positioned. Clicking the J button or using Control-J will 'jump' the ChatAssistant input bar from one position to the other.

Tell Button

The Tell (mouse over) button adds the ChatAssistant URL into the input area so you can then send it in a chat message to tell others about the ChatAssistant.

Prefs/Msgs Button

The 'Prefs/Msgs' button switches the Prefs/Msgs window from visible to hidden and back again. When ChatAssistant or BBO is the 'active window' the ^ circumflex key (shifted 6) will also do this for you.

2nd Position Checkbox (to the left of the Prefs/Msgs button)

When checked, a second position for the window is added into the sequence so that now clicking the button or pressing the ^ (shifted 6) key means the window goes from hidden to 1st position/size to 2nd position/size and back to hidden.

Suggestion - set the 1st position/size to be small so that it fits and can stay visible in the bridge playing area without it covering anything important. Set the second position so that it is tall. This way you can click the escape key and quickly get to a window showing all your stored messages.

Minimal Button

The 'Minimal' button or the ` (grave) key will toggle ChatAssistant into and out of minimal mode.

Slim Mode Button

The 'Slim mode' button or the Ctrl-'minus' key will toggle ChatAssistant into and out of Slim mode.


The question mark (mouse over) button should bring you to this page.


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