PHIL: How to Get Around

Mark Waks (
Mon, 13 Jun 94 15:49:48 EDT

Several people have been making a lot of references to "teleporting" and
"wormholes" and things like that. Is this really a good way to provide
access, from a user standpoint?

My view has always been a little different. Instead of a room providing
some sort of transport tubes to another location, I've always assumed
it would just have doors. A street would have storefronts. Like that. A
given storefront might appear on a dozen different streets, and a room
might be entered from a hundred different doors, but it always *feels*
like you're wandering in local space.

This ties into the universal-coordinate vs. local-coordinate question,
albeit obliquely. The question is, what does this system *feel* like
from the top? Do we have a conventional-space model, where a building
exists only in one location, and you get to it via "teleporting", or
do we throw away the concept of absolute space, and simply accept that
things tie together in non-Euclidean ways?

This is a long-term question, more related to the eventual design of
cyberspace than the creation of the technology, but it's something to
chew on. The teleport-tube model is likely to be less conceptually
jarring to the novice user, but the local-space model seems likely to
be more pleasant in the long run. I prefer the idea of walking down
the virtual street, and the stores I want simply happen to be on it --
and maybe on several other streets as well. A world of bazillions of
wormholes just doesn't seem quite as inviting. (And we *are* talking
about lots of these things if that's the model -- consider how much of
the text of the Web is just links.)

An issue to keep in mind as you start using this stuff...

-- Justin
Who finds the issues of navigating around
this space to be the really intriguing

Random Quote du Jour:

"The trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is
that you very often succeed."
-- from The Magician's Nephew