hi, sXi, thanks or the reply. Yes I read that bit about the update. I might try reducing the update to 1 second.
I should point out that I (and the website's main audience) are in Britain and there's a latency issue with Dreamhost. Although it's extremely fast once you have a connection to actually get one takes a few more ms that desireable and for an app like this it makes it ever so slightly sluggish.
So I'd be interested in experimenting with the socket to see if it made any difference.
(as an aside, I'd normally use IRC for such a purpose but as the chatroom is only required for maybe three special nights a year it's not practical to ask members to install a program and all the java applets we've tried are just ghastly).