During my little brother Gemini’s DJ show at the Vortex this week i took the time to try out LL’s CHUI viewer (Communication Hub User Interface).

For those who are still oblivious to what CHUI is, it’s a development trial viewer testing out a new way to present Chat features in Second Life.

During Gemini’s shows i often kick back, chat to a large number of people nearby and also tend to get a lot of IM’s, so it seemed a perfect time to try out the CHUI viewer.

I only use the Official Viewer so i have no idea if CHUI is anything like what Firestorm or Cool Viewer have. My current set up for Chat is to have the nearby chat in the top left and next to it the IM & Group message tabbed window.

having it this way is an old habit. Something about separating Private IM’s from the live nearby chat felt right.



And this is the new CHUI window



So What Does CHUI do thats different?

• Well first off you notice that instead of Tabs running along the bottom of the window for each conversation, you get a strip of little icons down the left of the window. You can click an icon to separate a chat from the main ‘conversations’ window.

• You can minimise the conversation window to just a small strip of icons that flash orange when you receive new messages, allowing the window to be almost hidden yet you still get visible updates on activity.

• There is an options button within the ‘Conversations’ window allowing you to change the format the chat is displayed.

• There is a proper browsable chat log of all conversations and options to manage them which is available from the ‘Communicate’ drop down menu item.

• Thats pretty much all there is to it. They have basically moved stuff around making it easier and simpler to use.

New window system for checking up and deleting chat logs

Is it simpler and easier to use?

OK well, using CHUI as it is intended it works really well. The Conversations window is nice and compact and the chat log once you know where to find it, is great for keeping track of offline messages.

When it came to setting it up to how i traditionally use chat, (with nearby chat separate from IM’s) i found it not quite right. I’m guessing LL are not expecting many to use the Chat Hub in this way because it seems unfinished (which it currently is). When you click on the separated nearby chat window the ‘Conversation’ window changes to display a blank window making the whole point of separating the window kind of pointless.

During Gemini’s show though i ended up not having the Nearby Chat separated. In fact the Chat HUB seemed to work so well as it is intended as one whole tabbed window with flashy icons that perhaps i should do away with my tradition of separating chat windows.

Im pretty sure when LL incorporate CHUI in the main viewer there will be some who complain that they can’t have things like they used to be. But from what i can see the new Communication Hub User Interface is an improvement and i will change my ways in order to benefit from it.

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