[AG-TECH] Persistent space?

Wenjun Liu wliu at mcs.anl.gov
Wed Mar 12 09:29:32 CST 2003


My name is Wenjun. I am the node operator for The University of Chicago
Hospital node and a guest graduate student of Futures Lab at Argonne.
During my one and half years of node operating, I got many questions
concerning AG use and still don't have satisfactory answers to some of
those questions by myself. Reading the new AG-USERS mailing list, I
realized that there are many experienced AG users and developers out there
in the large community of AG. I believe that some of you may help me with
those questions.

I understand that AG is supposed to be a persistent space that supports
both formal and informal communications. I can see how persistence works
in MUD or mailing list but hardly see persistence works in AG. Yes, there
is this virtual venue metaphor and Access Grid Lobby is open 24/7 with
many nodes always parked there, some with video of empty rooms, some with
blue screens. I hardly saw anyone uses this persistent space in a
non-trivial way, that is, really gets something communicated besides empty
room videos and "Do you hear me?" testing calls. Almost all communications
I observed in AG are done in a very formal way: they are pre-scheduled
with AG Schedule (I counted 2019 such scheduled events from September 1999
to February 2003). Hence, AG users (not node operators) usually come to a
node at a scheduled time; have their meetings; immediately log off (by
node operators) right after the meetings; and leave. And, by the way, it
seems that real AG users (not node operators) hardly appreciate the
virtual venue metaphor. They simply need to know how to get to that
physical conference room. Only node operators care about virtual venue:
it's their job to know it (by "job" I mean I would not want to know it if
I could). 

Because persistent space and informal communication seem to be very
important concepts in CVE technology, I wonder why they are not being used
in AG. I tried to read and parse huge amount of AG virtual venue log files
in hope of finding any such informal communication done in AG persistent
space. No luck so far. Of course, there are physical room constraints on
unscheduled AG use. With many PIGs up and running, do people have better
chance to casual encounter with each other? Did any of you use AG
informally? How? Considering that we can easily reap the benefits of
persistence in MUD and mailing list, I wonder why we can't do so in AG. Is
this a user problem (for AG-USERS) or a technical problem (for AG-TECH)?

Thanks for sharing your experience and insight.


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