See Copyright and Usage Notice
NOTE: this chapter was written in 1997 and some items may be out of date (technical and user interface descriptions). We encourage you to visit the Digital Space Traveler Home Page at the following address to get the latest version of Traveler and the latest documentation on how to use Traveler:
Meet The Utopians
In this section we will meet some citizens of the Traveler universe, sometimes called Utopians after the gateway to all the Traveler worlds. First we will chronicle the amazing family of Sunset Dawn and Razz, and tell you the story of the youngest human to use the Internet! After that we will present an interview with P.J.S. The Cat, well know Utopian country music star.
The Kindrick Story: The Family that Travels Together
The Kindricks are a family in Virginia in the USA. Sunset Dawn and Razz (their avatar names) have two lovely children, Matthew, 5 and Mark (or Markee, as everyone calls him), just born at the time they were using Traveler. Markee actually got out of his crib one day and up to the microphone. With nobody watching, he put his thumb on the space bar and opened the microphone, which he then put into his mouth and started sucking. Markee wanted to be part of the fun he had watched since the day he was born. Other avatars heard this sucking sound and came over to find out what was happening. They must have thought that this avatar was trying to imitate the little baby from the Simpsons and doing a pretty good job of it! Markee had got what he wanted, his own private communication with the faces on the screen. As far as we know, Markee is the youngest person to ever use the Internet.
Figure 9.36.2: onf1.jpg
Sunset Dawn's avatar
In their own words: Sunset tells her part
We were sitting one night watching TV and we were watching a program called "CNET". We just started getting in to the computer and htmls. We wrote down the URL for Digital Space.. (http://www.Digital Space.com).. We downloaded the program and it gave us a password. It was like that for a little while. (with the passwords ). We made up our avatars. I was Sunset Dawn and my husband was Razz (our net names). I was the cat avatar and Razz was the dog. When we started going to Utopia it was a site to see. At the time where were just a few of us. I remember the first day I went there. JM (a person from Digital Space) said "hmmm Sunset Dawn I haven't seen that name before". And things went from there.
A few months later my two sons were a part of Utopia too. Mark was 6 months old and he loved trying to made sounds though the microphone and he loved watching the avatars and the colors. Mark liked this program from the first time we let him see it. He started making sounds at Digital Space around two months though the microphone.
Figure 9.36.3: onf2.jpg
We have another son Matthew. He started picking his own avatar at five years old. He really liked the guy with brown hair then though the months he liked the pony. And he loved getting on Digital Space and helping people with their moves, seeing them selves, telling other people everything as to how to use the program. From this program my son Matthew had learned how to read, write, and spell peoples' names. Matthew has learned to talk with people on their level. He is like a little man.
A few months after we were a part of Utopia.. Digital Space asked us to be a part of a new program called the Host Program. We where so happy and honored that we said yes. All we had to do was talk with people, host events, like playing music, and things like that. At the time Hazel Holby was the leader in the Host Program for Digital Space. We talked on the telephone, though email as to what we we're going to host. I decided to host a tour for Digital Space . Show people around and give them history about how Digital Space started. People loved it. I have made a lot of friends. Wally was a part of helping with the tour. We would take people to all the places in Digital Space and they loved it. We started at the Utopia Gateway then from there we would go though all the places in Utopia. Razz decided to start Name That Tune With J.R.. .. They would play a little bite of music and people would have to guess what the name of the song was..
A few months later Digital Space decided to do a new program called the Test Drive Program. The Test Drive Program was created to test the Digital Space server, see how many people the server could hold, help the new users, talk with people, make Digital Space a better place to make friends, teach people how to use the program, and help people out with problems. Digital Space asked me and Razz to work in the Test Drive Program for two months and get paid for it. I was happy and honored again because Digital Space made us feel as part of their own team. It's a great feeling to have knowing the people at Digital Space let us work with the Digital Space team.
While, I, Sunset Dawn, was doing the Test Drive Program I made a lot of new friends and had a lot of fun. I was there every day and did my job as if I was out in the work field. I really enjoyed those two months. After the two months ended I still went to Digital Space and still try to help out. I love the program. It has helped us become a better family and can't get too much of Digital Space. hehehe. I hope you have enjoyed sharing this time with us and thanks to Bruce Damer for letting us be a part of his book.
Razz adds his two bits
Figure 9.36.4: onf3.jpg
Hi Razz here. When I think back to when we got our P.C. about a year and a half to when we got connected which is about a year and three months, to now. I feel that Digital Space Traveler has to be the best thing that has happened to us since we have been on the net. With Digital Space I feel that the whole family has come a long way. Digital Space has made it so easy to communicate with our friends and to make new ones almost each time we log on. One of the best experiences that stands out for me was when I just got a new hard drive. I put in the P.C. and had it all together to turn on the P.C. The P.C. saw it as it booted up but when it got to Windows 95 it did know that it had another drive. I being new to all this wasn't sure what to do. I knew I had a friend at Digital Space name HD Rick who had put in few. So I logged on and saw him there. But to make a long story short he helped me finish installing my hard drive while I was logged on to the net at Digital Space. With Digital Space we have able to find a lot of neat things on the net by just talking to your friends, and learning about our P.C. so much more in so little time.
I just what to take the time to thank Digital Space and all our friends at Traveler because that's what make our time on the net so special.
Figure 9.36.2: onf4.jpg
The whole Kindrick family including baby Mark, world's youngest avatar
Christmas was so fun to see my wife log on and go Christmas caroling. It was a very special time for us because we got to do it with our friends. Digital Space Traveler is truly the best the net has to offer.
An interview with a star Utopian
We reproduce this interview with P.J.S. the Cat, a well known Utopia citizen, with the kind permission of Digital Space Technologies. She tells us about her nightly experiences in Traveler worlds and weekly country music jamming sessions.
Interviewer: Tell us what P.J.S the Cat stands for.
P.J.S. the Cat: Contrary to popular belief, it does not stand for "Peanut butter and Jelly Sandwich." Actually, it is the initials of my name.
Interviewer: Why do you think so many other Utopians chose you as a featured personality?
P.J.S. the Cat: Well, I think probably because I'm always happy and keep a positive attitude. Also, I've had many comments that everyone likes my laugh - and I laugh a lot. *editors note* PJS's laugh is definitely contagious
Interviewer: What's your favorite time to visit Utopia?
P.J.S. the Cat: I like all hours - both day and night but nighttime is busier so I usually end up spending 3 or 4 hours in Utopia. There's so many interesting people to meet.
Interviewer: Is there any experience or event in Utopia that stands out from the rest?
P.J.S. the Cat: Actually, one of my favorite events is on Friday Nights in "Mitzi's Lounge" where there is a weekly country music concert in Utopia - two guitar players and a harmonica player get online and play and they're quite good!
Interviewer: I'm sure you've met many Utopians - is there someone in particular who you see often or who you enjoy talking to?
P.J.S. the Cat: There is one man - JimBob, I think, who is very entertaining. He comes into Utopia and usually talks about B-B-Q ribs and B-B-Q chicken. He also is a CB operator so he talks with some CB slang, and says things like, "Did you copy that?" Everyone really enjoys his company.
One fine evening in Utopia (after a certain time of day, your own local time or California time I am not sure), the sun sets in Utopia. After the sun suddenly set (no sunset or dawn here other than Sunset Dawn herself, see The Kindrick Story: The Family that Travels Together above) you could see the stars beyond Utopia. Tonight I noticed a tiny moving speck in the heavens.
Figure 9.37.2: on6i.gif
Leaving Utopia behind
Was this a moon of utopia? I flew out, farther from the warmth and light of Utopia's main plaza than I had ever gone before.
Figure 9.37.3: on6k.gif
The Utopia colony against the night sky
I turned around, and saw the amazing sight of Utopia, like some space ship adrift in the cosmos, far behind and below me.
Figure 9.37.4: on6h.gif
Wow, an alien or a Utopia citizen far from home?
I finally arrived at 'the moon' and it turned out to be another Utopian. Wow, what brings you way out here on such a fine night? I said. The other avvy (avatar) was very friendly and told me he was a postman in England. Wow, I said, I just met someone who works in a chocolate factory in Germany, I guess it is not just engineer geek types like me who are into avatars!
Figure 9.37.5: on6j.gif
Finding our way back to the Utopia waystation
He agreed and said he wondered if the world would need postmen in the future if they could just talk through avatars. We raced each other back to Utopia and called it a night.
With several pretty wild avatar models available and the ability to stretch or shrink them and change colors, you can really customize yourself and strut through the avatar masquerade.
Figure 9.36: on35.gif
Wild fashion show in Utopia.
By the time you read this, Traveler may let you import your own avatar models in VRML, and then you may see a truly strange range of characters flowing through the space!
Figure 9.37: on12.gif
Love affair with the Cat Lady.
You may meet someone really chique, like the white tiger created by Sunset Dawn, shown here rolling herself around by pressing the Tab+Arrow keys.
Sport zone ten hut!
Figure 9.38: on51.gif
Team sports in Utopia.
Sunset Dawn, a Traveler Host took me on a tour of one of her proudest creations: the sports bar. Here avatars play interactive games, usually once a week. Here are some examples.
- Soccer and football: Players use a "dead avatar head" for a puck put there by the good folks at Digital Space. A coach flies above two teams of three or four each while they are on the field (see the figure above). If a team can bump the head through the goal posts, it scores a point. Games run up to 15 or 20 points, winner take all! If you know how modern-day soccer actually originated, you should get a kick out of this newest version!
- Sumo Wrestling: There is a wrestling ring. Avatars have three turns to push each other out of the ring, with a coach looking on. This is truly hilarious to watch!
- Basketball: To make a basket you have to raise yourself (your avatar) up and bring it down through the hoop. Your avatar is the ball, hope you don't mind being bumped around!
More games are being invented all the time; check the Utopia calendar of events.
Figure 9.38.2: on6a.gif
The End Zone area.
Sunset's sports bar has inspired a larger event: the "End Zone" Monday Night Football (seen here). In this area, you can listen to football games broadcast live into Traveler. Who knows, you may soon be butting heads with Joe Montana. Check it out! Find the End Zone at: http://www.Digital Space.com/.
The great avatar statue in Utopia points to the events calendar home page at http://www.Digital Space.com/utopia/. Here is a sampling from a recent calendar:
Monday: Host Wally runs a photography session in which screen captures are taken, developed, and put on a Web page, all instamatically!
Friday: Razz hosts Name That Tune in which users play a section of music from a CD while their microphones are on, and others have to name the group and song. Everyone gets a turn to play their own music.
Sports lounge: Interactive games once a week (scheduled soccer, wrestling, basketball, and other games).
Traveler as the perfect voice supplement
We have found people using Traveler to give them a live voice conference while they do another activity, like play bridge in the Internet Gaming Zone (you can download it http://igz2.microsoft.com). These players can play board games using the Gaming Zone and communicate by voice running Digital Space Traveler at the same time. The other Gaming Zone players who are just communicating with text chat will not know that the other team has a voice connection. Those with the voice feature could have a chance to cheat, as the text-only players will not pick up on what they are saying, but hey, where is the fun in that?
Other communication tools to use with Traveler
Others use ICQ at http://www.icq.com/ to find and chat with friends online while running Traveler. You can also use MUDs, MOOs, Microsoft's Net Meeting, Powwow, or Internet Relay Chat as a supplement to Traveler to make communications easier. Having text chat directly in Traveler would be useful and this feature may be included by the time you are reading this book.