SCREEN-L goes real time!
Starting next Monday, SCREEN-L will host a "real time" conference
each and every week. This means that folks will be able to meet
at a particular site on the Internet and chat instantaneously--by
typing pithy one-liners to each other.
The day: Mondays
The time: 2-3:00 p.m., Eastern (U.S.) Time Zone
The place: PMC-MOO, accessed via Telnet at
dewey.lib.ncsu.edu 7777 or 188.8.131.52 7777
The time, duration and day are open to change. They were chosen
based on suggestions I received that argued for a U.S. business
hours time so that people who only have Internet access at work
and those attending from Europe might be accommodated. I worry
about SCREEN-Litarians from Asia and Australia, though. Perhaps
if there's enough interest from those quarters we could establish
a second time slot.
So, how does all this work?
PMC-MOO is a text-based virtual environment at North Carolina
State University, created by the editors of the electronic
journal POSTMODERN CULTURE. You might even call PMC-MOO a
virtual reality, although there are no images or sounds
involved--only >descriptions< of images and sounds.
When you first connect to PMC-MOO, for example, you wind up in
the Lobby. From there you can travel to the Library, the Terrain
of Postmodernism, and the Conference Room--among many other
locations. In other words, a spatial metaphor structures PMC-
MOO. Each user has a virtual presence that he/she moves through
this virtual landscape.
SCREEN-L's conference will be held, logically enough, in the
Conference Room. So, participants initially enter PMC-MOO's
Lobby and then move into the Conference Room. When they do, they
will be told who else is there and they will see messages that
other participants type. All this happens with very little lag
time so someone in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (like myself) can chat
back and forth with someone from Australia.
There are no menus or cute little icons to press on PMC-MOO. It
is all based on typing commands, but you need to know very few
commands to connect and participate in a conference. It's
relatively painless. Honest.
And you can always get help by typing HELP, or HELP followed by
the specific thing with which you want help: e.g., HELP MAIL.
Oh yes, MOO stands for "MUD, Object Oriented," and MUD stands for
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REALLY SPECIFIC DETAILS
>>>>>> CONNECTING TO PMC-MOO
First of all, you must be on the Internet and able to use Telnet.
TELNET dewey.lib.ncsu.edu 7777 or
TELNET 184.108.40.206 7777
You'll be greeted with a "Welcome to PMC-MOO" message that
explains how to log in. To do so, type:
CONNECT playername password
and hit ENTER. (All commands must be followed with ENTER to send
them to PMC-MOO; this will be presumed in all the examples
below.) Replace "playername" and "password" with the
playername/password that you've >previously< chosen.
Fr'instance, I personally type:
CONNECT Jeremy.B chowderhead (not my REAL password! What kind
of a rube do you take me for?)
The first time you access PMC-MOO you don't have a playername,
but you can create one in a sec before actually entering the
system by typing (at the "welcome" message):
CREATE playername password
...and replacing "playername" and "password" with words of your
Be sure you don't put any spaces in your playername or password
or PMC-MOO will freak. Otherwise, you're on your own.
If you're not so sure you want to have a playername yet or you
just can't think of a way-cool one, you can noodle around in PMC-
MOO as a guest. Type:
>>>>>> GETTING THE HELL OUT OF PMC-MOO
Getting out of PMC-MOO is a snap. Just type:
Like many of the commands in PMC-MOO, the QUIT command must be
preceded by an at-sign (@)--just to indicate that you really mean
it, I suppose.
>>>>>> MOVING AROUND PMC-MOO
To move in a specific direction, type the name of that direction
(or the first one or two letters). To go north, type NORTH or N,
When you first "connect" to PMC-MOO you'll be placed in the
Lobby. From there you may go:
North to the Conference Room
West to the Terrain of Postmodernism
East to the Library
Down to the Conversation Pit
For instance, to get to the SCREEN-L conference from the Lobby,
type N. Ba-bing! You're in the Conference Room.
To get out of the Conference Room, or anywhere else, just reverse
your direction. Let's see, that would be SOUTH or S to return to
>>>>>> SPEAKING AND EMOTING IN PMC-MOO
To speak, preface your remarks with the word SAY or a quotation
mark ("). E.g., to say, "PMC-MOO is just atomic!" type:
"PMC-MOO is just atomic!
(Note that it's not necessary to close the message with another
quotation mark.) You'll see displayed:
You say, "PMC-MOO is just atomic!"
Other users in the same room will see, in my case:
Jeremy.B says, "PMC-MOO is just atomic!"
If you only want one person to receive a message you type, then
you must WHISPER it to him/her. Typing:
WHISPER "Jeremy.B is such a chowderhead." to bob or
WH "Jeremy.B is such a chowderhead." to bob
results in "Jeremy.B is such a chowderhead." being displayed to
bob only. Take care with this command to avoid the embarrassment
of a message meant for one person being displayed to all!
To do what's called "emoting" in PMC-MOO, preface your behavior
with a colon. E.g., to float up above everyone, type:
:floats casually above the crowd.
You and other users in the room will see displayed:
Jeremy.B floats casually above the crowd.
To kill the space that comes after your playername in a behavior,
preface it with two colons. E.g.:
::'s face turns red.
This results in the following display:
Jeremy.B's face turns red.
>>>>>> A FEW OTHER HELPFUL COMMANDS
Gets you a description of the room you're in and who's there with
you. Helps you avoid getting lost.
(Note that this is one of those at-sign commands.) gets you a
list of all users currently connected to PMC-MOO and tells you
where they are.
As you wander through PMC-MOO you'll come across a broad variety
of objects--including television sets, VCRs, books, x-ray
glasses, and other users like yourself. You can do all sorts of
things to these objects--from picking them up to throwing them
around to turning them on to winding them up, but it's hard to
know what an object will do unless you first examine it. That's
where this command comes in. Basically, it gives you clues as to
what an object can or might do.
To check out an object or another user, type:
Replace "object" with the thing you want to examine. E.g., in
the Conference Room is a video camera. To find out how to
operate it, type:
@EXAMINE Conference-Room Video Camera or
This command will give you various details about how to
start/stop the video camera, as well as how to pan or zoom it.
If you're having trouble with words running off the screen too
fast for you to read, these commands will let you get that stuff
under control. These commands are too complicated to describe
here, but typing HELP followed by the command name will get you
all the details.
Questions/problems/suggestions should be sent to Jeremy Butler
([log in to unmask]), the coordinator of SCREEN-L.
Questions about PMC-MOO in particular may be sent to
[log in to unmask] The supervisor of PMC-MOO is John Unsworth.