If you read my last post, you’re probably aware that I was less than thrilled to be using LambdaMOO, the first text-based MUD (multi-user domain), as it was very hard to figure out the downloading process. I don’t like quitting, though, so I decided to give a second chance to LambdaMOO. After a little bit of web surfing, I found that I was supposed to download an application called TelNet. This is actually a separate part of the internet than the world wide web, which is still crazy to me, because I feel like I am only familiar with the web as the internet.
Once I downloaded TelNet, I was able to sign on to LambdaMOO as a guest, and I had to sign up for a character, which I would be able to receive in a day or two. This seemed so weird to me, because when I think of the internet, I think of things happening at the click of a bottom, or the stroke of a key. It takes about 30 seconds to get a Facebook profile, or a few minutes to get an e-mail account, but a whole day (maybe even longer) to get a character seemed very different to me.
As I explored the world as a guest, I found that I was limited to only a certain map (see image). At one point I tried to go off the edge of the map and found the text telling me I was only a guest and it didn’t matter that I wanted to go off the map, I wasn’t allowed (when I tried to go off the map as an actual character I found that I could lose my LambdaMOO privileges for three months, and tiptoed my way back to Lambda Street). The reason I bring the guest rules up is that this text-based world does have rules, and if you are a member, it seems as though you are more committed to the world. Guests may be people from other MUDs that have just chosen to browse this world.
It is all still somewhat a blur to me, but now I have gotten a character, started talking with people, and learned more commands in navigating this domain. And I can’t wait to share this all with you in my next post!
I can recall a time back in 8th grade when I would catch my mother peeking behind my back to check on who I was talking to on my Myspace profile. There were stories popping up about sex predators getting young girls to meet them, and concern grew greatly (see this archived article for more info http://tiny.cc/3y086 ).
I looked at 15 plus Myspace pages to see if these suspicions are still valid today. I did random searches by typing in partial celebrity/popular character names like “Ron Weas” and “Marylin M” and found that most times when I clicked a name to look at a profile it was private, maybe a sign that people are getting smarter about what they put online and who they show it to. When I was able to access profiles, I noticed that many had no information on it, as if someone had decided to make a Myspace profile, forgot about it, and left it as a mere imprint of themselves with no personality. Other profiles showed that peoples last log-ins were weeks, even months ago. One profile’s last comment had been posted over a year ago.
As far as perverts go, there were a few profiles that were sketchy. One man, age 51, had a friends list that was entirely female (most younger than him), but looked basically normal. A woman had a profile that was private, but her picture was of her behind. The most questionable profile I saw was a man’s profile, whose friend list was entirely female, many of whom were nude. He also had pictures he uploaded that he had taken of the backside of a girl, and pictures of other girls who didn’t seem to know they were in the spotlight.
I’m not going to say Myspace isn’t a place for predators, because people like those I’ve just listed are out there. But I don’t think we can assume Myspace is the only place predators lurk. When we put our information out there, or go out of our way to talk to strangers, and even MEET with them, we can’t believe it’s okay to have our guard down. There are strange people on the site, but there are also some very seemingly normal people, too.
And I don’t think blaming the site is the answer. I went on Myspace when I was younger, and I had the sense not to talk to strangers, and definitely not to meet up with them. I think parents who let their children use these sites need to keep watch. It may have been annoying, but knowing my mother would come in on occasion made me think about who I was talking to.
As far as I’m concerned, I don’t think Myspace needs to be seen as a strong threat. Not enough people access it like they used to. Compare the weekly or monthly log-ins on Myspace to the daily (sometimes several times in a day) log-ins onto Facebook and Twitter- it’s not the popular site it was about eight to ten years ago. Myspace in today’s world is taking up more web space than anything else.
My practicum project is the Social Moo option in Online Communities. I have to use a text-only virtual world like LambdaMOO, PythonMOO, or Rupert. The prompt says I “can think of it as a chance to travel back to the early days of the internet.” No kidding. When I Google searched “lambdamoo join” I came to a page that explained how to join with either Unix, or Windows 95/98/NT. After searching “Windows NT” I found that this system had versions released between 1993-1996. My Windows system is too new.
I abandoned LambdaMoo for a moment to try and search the Moo “Rupert” which was suggested on the prompt. I searched “Rupert Moo” on Google, and I got at least 3 search result pages that had no sign of the social MOO and about all the results linked to Rupert Moon, who I found out, courtesy of Wikipedia, is a “former international rugby union player.”
On to the next Social MOO, I thought, searching for “Python Moo.” I got to a Yahoo page that showed PythonMOO with a link to access PythonMOO and after clicking on the link, it said “the URL is not valid and cannot be loaded.” I turned then to Yahoo Search, typed in “MOO List,” and connected to http://moo.echoduet.net/list.php
I decided from there to choose LambdaMOO and was taken to their homepage. I looked for information on how to sign up or log into it. As I scrolled down, I found common commands for talking with others on the MOO, a few can be seen below:
Talking- “HELLO THERE (only one “ needed) You and everyone else in the room sees:
Guest says, “Hello there”.
Emoting- : SMILES (only one : needed) You and everyone else in the room sees:
The talking seemed a little complicated, but not nearly as complicated as trying to find a way to connect to LambdaMOO until I saw a button at the top of the page on the right side that said “Enter Lambda MOO.” I found this was not as obvious as, say, signing up for Facebook or Twitter, where an entire page is dedicated to signing up. After clicking this button, I was asked to select a program in which to use LambdaMOO. I choose Firefox, and when I clicked to run the program, I got continuous pop-ups of “Untitled Pages” on my browser screen. I ended up with about 30 before I could actually quit the browser screen. Then Firefox popped up again and started multiplying Untitled pages. This time there were only about 12 by the time I closed Firefox.
I reopened Firefox to make sure my browser wouldn’t do that again once I opened it. It didn’t, but when I tried to open LambdaMoo again it started popping up Untitled pages yet again.
Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll be using LambdaMOO.
While it was difficult at times to follow all of the abbreviations and different technical terms from the video, there were some things that definitely interested me about this video. I find it fascinating (both in the video, and in the readings we have done so far) that the internet started in different places responding to different situations. For England, the formation of the internet was to spring commerce, in the US it was a military response to try and accelerate knowledge and technology, and for France the internet was intertwined with scientific studies. This made me wonder if other countries also had the technological capacity and abilities to work on projects leading to the internet, and if they did, were these other countries also working on things that would ultimately link to the final product (so to speak) of the internet? We have read a lot of different stories about the creation of the internet, but these are only a few of potentially thousands of different tales. I wonder, What other stories about the creation of the internet exist?
I’m Jenny, a senior at UW majoring in English and Communication Arts. Needless to say, I have a lot of writing to do, but it’s okay, because I absolutely love writing. I was born and raised in Sheboygan, WI, which is known for having a church on every corner and a bar on every other. I currently work at Health First Wisconsin, a non-profit organization that works on creating healthier communities throughout the state. I love to run, write, be with friends, and watch sports (Go Badgers!) in my free time. I’m excited for this course because I enjoy looking at the ways people communicate online and how people use the internet in different ways. I’m hoping to find some new websites to check out over the span of this class. This is my last semester, and then I’ll finish my final three credits in London studying abroad. I can’t believe it’s almost over, but it’s been a fun ride!