v5 FAQ

1. Cynthia's mail

Some of the attendees noted that they didn’t like the change in the ‘say’ output, ie it now shows as Cynthia: hello, rather than the old way, Cynthia says, “hello.” We felt it took away from the feeling of being in a conversation.
This is back as
- Cynthia says, "Hello" and
- Cynthia dice: - Hello etc.
according to the reading user's language setting. The "You say" receipt is back (but switched off as default) in order to reduce general confusion, and in order to enhance the feeling of creating a collaborated conversation (almost: emoting)
We noted a problem changing languages. The MOO was parsing in French.
The parsing in the beta site is a mix, because the v5 code is put on top of an old French database. All new installs or upgrades will be parsing the old way. There will be no changes to the built-in parser.
We all loved the EduCenter object.
Some were not fond of the drop down menu for who to send a MOOmail to.
Why? - It has changed now to be consistent with the other drop downs in, e.g., Access.
Some were not fond of the floating toolbar. We noted that if the window is closed once it’s floating, you can’t get it back. Or at least there is no obvious way to do so.
There is no good help function to document the new functions. No wonder you didn't find out. Sadly, different browsers handle the "float" link feature well, but not the "dock" link feature. So any frame exploded to be a separate window can be reinstalled with a text command rather than a link.
Some noted that when switching from the amber to azure color theme, it gave is the old toolbar buttons and the float and dock options. We assumed that Daniel had only implemented the new toolbar look on the amber theme option.
No, it was all there, but there was a bug. It's OK now.
We noted that the liked have the idle in the who browser the way it was before.
I don't understand. It's still there. In addition to the telnet-idle (text commands given), there is now an Xpress idle count. Many users have complained that they were in fact NOT asleep, or idle, but that they have been working in Xpress, creating documents, writing, reading following courses etc. This should be honored as activity, not idleness.
We liked very much the ‘order’ button that allows you to reorder exits and objects in a room.
We wondered whether the security issue related to the ‘shared ownership’ system has been resolved? There was a question about whether the shared ownership is for groups only or also for individuals?
1. Sorry, what security issue?
2. Both Individuals, Classes (Parents) and Groups can be Shared Owners. They can even be mixed.
There was a general consensus that having all the players online in the who pane is not good. [...]
This has changed considerably. I have sent a mail about that. Thanks especially to Jeff for valuable input in this regard.
We thought the animated recorder image looked like a puff of blood.
I totally agree. I have asked for new icons, but haven't gotten any. There will be better ones, I hope.
We thought, also, that the browser toolbars should not show up in the session window.
It needn't. See the FAQ (below).
But we didn’t like that the location mouseover in the bottom of the browser window was gone.
It isn't. See the FAQ (below).
It was nice to mouseover an object link and see it’s URL at the bottom of the window as a quick way to find out an object’s # and it’s dedicated URL address.
Again, see the FAQ (below). In addition to that, I have made tooltips (yellow floating boxes on hover) which show both the object number and the owner.
Some felt the toolbar icons should be words again.
I don't understand. Which ones? What words?
The who browser in The Parlour is repeated in 2 frames.
I don't understand.
There was a question about whether we are going to totally eliminate the telnet option for logging in. Should we?
We should eliminate the telnet option from the login page, I agree. Telnet access with a standalone client like tkmoo, Pueblo, or even MOOtcan, however, shouldn't be blocked.
Accessibility issues were discussed. Frames create problems for visually impaired users. We would consult John Slatin of UT-Austin for help with this as he has worked on the problem for some years.
Interesting. Indeed, frames are a problem, but if a framed page is well written, even blind people can navigate smoothly there. All apps (exception: old help) are now non-frame pages. I can't see the main client window being non-frame. Anyway, input in that direction is highly appreciated!
We would do more ‘package’ creation of objects like the EduCenter, such as package a role-playing activity
Be my guest!
The usability study is valuable and should be done before every major release. It lends credibility to the project.
The Consortium should hire a graphics designer to create all icons.
I like Jan's icons. But be my guest.
Daniel should focus on finishing up loose ends and bugs in v5 and reserve major changes and new ideas for v6.
Agree... Still I am really bad at restraining myself, and there are so many challenges and ideas along the way waiting to be implemented. But I see the point, I always have, and try the best I can. There is one major change though already in v5 which has been announced for v6. See seperate file.
Have only a limited number of core-supported browsers and let people who use other browsers and have figured out how to make it work in them, contribute details and/or code back to the project.
He asked the general question about where we are going with v6, ie in the direction of a text/web combination, or something else?
Let's get v5 up and running as a public release, and we'll see.
In terms of shifting away from using the term MOO, it was noted that perhaps we need a ‘perceptions management’ strategy, not a de-complexifier strategy.
Very interesting.
Discussion about support services in light of the Open Source model for the project. We need to emphasize the Open Source aspect, which legitimizes the project and creates a structure for collaboration, but we must also recognize that there is no tech support model for much Open Source work. We could have 3 levels of support: A listserv or forum Users would buy email service to query support for answers Users would buy setting up and maintenance services, enCore hosting, and other possibilities of this nature.
I see Lingo (my project) as a consortium client, providing a help desk. The help desk might consist of different people and institutions. There is still the idea of hosting MOOs with integrated help.

2. FAQ

Any reason why the browser toolbar is back in?
It's not "back in", really, it's a complete other story. In order to avoid unsolicited popup windows, the Xpress client mainframe is now opened in whatever window the login page was. This means that the size of the window and the number of its toolbars do not change. The mainframe cannot and should not take control over the user's browser window. The user, however, can, in two ways: (1) All decent browsers can hide and show toolbars. Since all frames are resizable, they will realign after the user closes the bars, and use the available space. (2) Before login, the user might choose "get maximum screen" just below the input box. Javascript will open a (solicited!) window with no, or minimal, toolbars, and use all space available. I think it puts the user back in control again. And makes the mainframe available again for those with popupblockers.
Could you explain how the projector works? How do you push a slide to everyone?
The slide projector contains up to 30 slides. A slide can contain (html) text, images and sound. There are two "modes": 'all slides' and 'single slide'. A single slide is shown by clicking the exlamation mark icon in the head row of the slide. A slide projector's :_html shows all 30 slides in preview except empty slides and sealed (hidden) slides. Any slide may be hidden individually and opened manually (to prevent peeking). - If a slide contains a URL in the first line, the slide is regarded as an external resource (formerly a web slide). When shown, only the external resource is shown, and any possible text below the first line is disregarded. If the first line is not a URL, then all the text is shown. The contents of a slide is parsed and tagged. - ALAS, there is a bug in Safari that prevents slides from being shown individually in the web frame. Grrr. Have to find a workaround for that. But if a Safari user pushes a slide, all other users will see that exact slide in their web frames.
Does the projector let you cheat and skip to later slides?
Yes. The slide projector displays all available slides, both in individual view and in complete view. You may individually hide slides you don't want other to read, and can open them individually when they should be revelead. Co-ownership overrides hidden slides. Skipping slides is usefull for student who come late to class and/or must leave early and want to have an idea about what has been done so far and/or what will be covered.
What's the difference betwen the bookmarks/logs and the recorder?
A • RECORDER is room-dependent and makes a log of what is being said publically in a given room. The • HTML CHAT LOG is a personal log which is not room-dependent and follows the user wherever he goes. This log stores everything printed to the user; paging, @who commands, eval returns, everything. The • COMMAND LOG is a personal log of all which is entered into the command line. Both logs (input/output) can be emailed to the user with a button click.

Explanation: Input and output are now HTML form requests and not transfered through Java any more. There is no retaining history of neither input nor output except for what is in the database. This means that in order to access input or output history, these data (strings) must be stored somewhere, and the obvious choice is on the user. Each time the chat area is updated is really just an instruction to view a part of the user's property "output_queue". The amount of lines can be set in the preferences. For convenience, this property is not deleted or cut off until the user does so explicitely. If this causes bloating, this might be changed into a max amount of history later.
Why is the Chat jumpy? Is there a way to smooth that Chat jump possibly?
Each time the Chat is updated is not an appending of one line to the text which is already there, but a complete re-draw of the whole page. Web pages are shown from the top to the bottom. As you know, if the contents of a page exceeds available space, the overflow is hidden, but normally retrievable through the use of scrollbars. In order to always make the bottom part show, I found no better solution than to include an a-name-tag on the bottom and instruct the page to show that a-name-tag. Browsers can now render pages while they are loading, thus showing the loaded parts before the unloaded ones. The a- name-tag is the last item on the page, and must be, so it isn't found until the complete page is loaded. The instruction to show that spot is not executed until that tag is encountered. The bigger the page, and the slower the connection, the more visible (and obnoxious) the jumping will be. The best solution would be to allow maximum space for the chat and to choose a number of lines that cover 90% of that space. I reduced the initial 250 lines default to 50 lines. In any case, that number is only for synchronous viewing, it dow not mean to actually cut the log, just to reduce the number of lines shown. You can always have the Chat Log (which is not automatically updated, thus not jumping) opened in another window and retrieve history from there.