Virtual Cafe Poetica - A lot to read but we think it is worth your time:

More than 3 years ago I had this dream about a Virtual Cafe - a place to really TALK and speak to and with each other with live voice chat. Mary and Rene liked the concept and we tried it. We set it up so that anyone who was a member of Poem Train could join in on our study and discussion sessions --- all about poetry. We each took turns teaching and/or just discussing poetry in general. We'd meet at night in a password-protected chat room WITH VOICE so we could hear each other -- as if we were all really sitting at a table together in a cafe. It was wonderful but we had to abandon it because the technology back then caused too many problems for Mary and some others. But now two years later, the technology for voice-chat is quite wonderful. Like then, I am working with a service/program called PalTalk. They seem to have gotten rid of the major bugs and it has tested it well. Your Ambassadors and few others have been in on several sessions at it has "worked like a charm." PalTalk still has some annoying issues which I've been able to isolate and been able to inform participants how to dodge the intrusions. Also, Mac users are still out of luck because they use different protocols so that really hurts if any of you are Mac-bound (like my wife, Vicki, here, who only uses a Mac). You need a microphone attached or on-board your computer but you can get them for under $20.00 almost anywhere - The one I used for years is about $15.00 at Radio Shack.

There can be some refreshing events that can take place in the virtual environment including "Open Mic Night" where members read and discuss their OWN poem(s). Different members may teach a class on some form or aspect of poetry reading/writing. It can be a place that brings our unique community just a little bit closer together.... and it's free and friendly.

Watch the Announcement Board and the Cafe Poetica News Ticker (at the top of the page in the Cafe) for notifications of these meetings in the Virtual Cafe Poetica (VCP). The room is PASSWORD PROTECTED so only our members can join in -- the new entry password will be posted with each announcement. Be sure when you sign up with PalTalk (Free), you use your SAME username that you use on Poem Train. It that name is already taken, just add numbers on to the end of your username.

Here are the instructions for downloading and Installing PalTalk - I am sorry they are so long - you may want to print out these notes:

REQUIREMENTS: Microphone and Speakers on your computer. Dial-up connections will work but will "suffer" from time to time because of the slow response time (speed). DSL and Cable users should have no problems.

In order to join in on our Virtual Cafe Poetica, you must first install the program known as Paltalk. I would advise that you not get "hung up" on all the other stuff and chat rooms they provide. There are too many nuts out there. The Virtual Cafe Poetica is a "locked room" and only those with a password (that changes with each meeting) can join in.

Paltalk is FREE. All you need is the free basic package to join us. The next level up costs money but will get rid of all pop-ups and advertising banners.

Click here to download PalTalk at and simply click on the "Download Tab" when you get there.

After you have set up your username (PLEASE use the same USERNAME you use at Poem Train) and password (suggest you use a different password always), read the instructions below to get rid of what i call "intrusions".

WARNING: You may already know about this warning from using other Internet password protected visits (like eBay, PayPal, you Credit Card logins, Banking online, etc.) NEVER, NEVER respond to an email that comes from PalTalk saying anything like "
" You have added as a new email address for your PayPal account." That is how identity thieves get your information when you click on THEIR reply URL in the email. PalTalk is no more "dangerous" in this regard than any other ... you just have to be Internet savvy and NOT respond to emails like that.

YOU WILL get an email (legitimate) from them with a four digit code you must use ONE time only as an entry code into PalTalk. But after that, the only password you'll need is the one YOU set up.


After you have installed or updated to a new version of Paltalk, here are the steps you need to take to get rid of their "intrusions" -- namely, to get rid of their auto-starting of Paltalk every time you boot your computer and also their audio welcome message.

To get rid of the PalTalk audio message (if you are hearing it):
Using your windows explorer (shortcut to that is to right-click on "Start" and then left click on "Explore"), go to the folder c:\Program Files\Paltalk and delete the file named "welcome.avi". DONE!

To get rid of the forced auto-starting of Paltalk:
(1) Using your explorer again, go to c:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs|Startup ***
(2) DELETE the file Paltalk.lnk and if you find a file named palstart.exe - rename it "". (Do NOT try and erase the file yet -- it won't let you)
(3) Go to C:\Program Files\Paltalk and rename palstart.exe to "" if you find it there.
(4) Now re-boot your computer. - You MAY get a message that Windows does not recognize "". THAT IS GOOD! Ignore the message and reject any help to fix it. Just let the computer finish its regular start up and then perform step #5 below.
(5) Using your explorer again, go to the folder that you renamed palstart.exe to and delete that file now.
(6) That should work --- if not, email me.

*** You may also have to go to: c:\Documents and Settings\ADMINISTRATOR\Start Menu\Programs|Startup and do the same steps

Also, if you see a new icon on your desktop that syas "Upgrade PalTalk", DELETE IT so you don't accidentally upgrade to their "payment" version

The last intrusion is that each time you boot PalTalk Messenger, you MAY get a message asking if you want to upgrade to PalTalk Extreme. You can then set it to remind you in 7 days. So every 7 days they'll ask you about upgrading.... a pain, but a small price to pay for a FREE voice chat room.


The process is to participate quite simple:

(1) Virtual Cafe meetings are open to all Poem Train Members (membership is FREE)
(2) These meetings will be announced on the Announcement Banner to the top of Cafe Poetica an in the Announcement Forum and in the Chat Terminal --- It will state a date and time.
(3) There will be a password stated in the announcement. You need that to get into the Virtual Cafe. It will change for each meeting and passwords will always be in lower case.
(4) If you want to see if the Cafe is open, here is where you will find it (only if in session) - After you run PalTalk Messenger, I suggest you CLOSE the other box that pops up, called PalTalk Sidekick. Then to the following:
a. Select "Actions" - List will pop up
b. Select Learning and Universities
c. Select Study Groups
d. If you do NOT see Cafe Poetica on the room list, it is NOT open. If you DO see it and click on it, you will be prompted for the entry password.
e. When you enter the room, you will see the other members who already signed in.
f. First time in, click on "Favorites" up at the top. Then next time, all you'll have to do is select it from favorites list as soon as you enter PalTalk Messenger. --- after you put in your password, if you get an error message that the room doesn't exist, it simply means Cafe Poetica is not open.

To let us know that you wish to speak, you click on the hand icon at the top (like raising your hand in school)
To actually speak, when you see the microphone is no longer next to another name --indicating someone is talking, you can then HOLD DOWN your control key (CTRL) and speak into your mic.

Everyone can always be "chatting --- answering -- commenting" while someone is speaking by TYPING in the chat dialog box. So it is recommended that you keep your eye on the screen while someone is talking.

WARNING: Once you are logged on and into the chat room, you will see a banner-advertising box on the bottom. NEVER (repeat - NEVER) click on anything popping up in that banner. Some of the "stuff" that gets flashed there looks legitimate or looks like a part of the normal process of their program --- but it is NOT. You may even see that you have won a Mercedes, "click here". DO NOT CLICK! I know the temptation may be great, but you really do NOT want to get involved with these things. Also, some of them do not "let you out" of their loop and you'll have to re-boot PalTalk. Just "be smart" --- never click on that area even if it says they just deposited money into your bank account and all you have to do to get access to it is to "click here". No matter what appears there will eventually go away by itself and a new ad will appear. Just tune it all out and stick to the poetry ~smile~. The ONLY way to permanantly get rid of this box is to pay $39.95 a year for their upgraded plan. I personally will just block it out of my mind when I am in the room.

See (and hear) you in the Cafe.