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Network Virtual Worlds

2007-05-24

Category: General

To the average computer user, network connections are a bit of a mystery. They understand that the computers are talking to each other, but it all seems like technological magic. Most people can, however, understand the concept of walking through a building to find what they need.

There is a type of computer user who is more comfortable, and that is the game player. These people (I resist saying ?kids? because the number of them well over twenty-five years of age) will pick up a game controller and navigate through alien worlds and perform complex operations. They do not necessarily need to know about the internal workings of the computer because the interface looks more like the world that humans inhabit.

I?m not the first to suggest this, though I don?t have the names of all the predecessors, but I really do think we can combine the two concepts. Office workers should have to navigate their network by walking through a virtual world. These same workers could interact with one another within the network. Autonomous agents would maintain security.

The reason I bring this up, even though it is not a new idea, is that there are some really fun concepts here. Picture a secretary who must walk through a damp cave to get to a shared drive. She finally makes it to the entrance to the drive. It is a big, oak door with iron bands. The Security Application is a huge, muscle-covered, ogre with a club. The ogre demands the password. The secretary doesn?t remember the password but makes three guesses, all of which are wrong. The ogre squishes the secretary?s avatar with the club.

That should have given you a little bit of a giggle (if you?re the type of person who visits the LibertyBob site.) But wait; there?s more!

Let?s say that the marketing department has really annoyed the engineering department. Now a marketer is navigating the network alone. The marketer accidentally wanders into the engineering section of the network. A perimeter alarm lets the engineers know they have an intruder. The engineers change the appearance of their avatars to ?Marauder Mode? and go on the prowl. The marketer explains to the system administrator that barbarians captured his avatar and impaled it on a spike.

There are potential problems, of course. Is it bad if two employees? avatars have a virtual work-place romance? Should the HR people interfere? Who gets to set up the avatars anyway? It would be easy to see a system administrator with a sadistic or demented sense of humor giving out avatars that people don?t want. Imagine the boss asking why his avatar suddenly has a huge butt.

You should definitely push to have your employer switch over to virtual world networking. It will move the technology of the industry forward. This will also help people conceptualize what networks and communication are about. More importantly, it is a chance for you to create a virtual maze and attach it to your network so that annoying coworkers can be guided into it to be lost until the system administrator restarts them.


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