There’s an old saying familiar to those who work in radio: Radio has the best pictures. It’s obviously a jab at television. But it’s also completely true. Since it doesn’t literally have pictures, listeners are left to imagine, and imagination is almost always better than anything that can be jammed into images. This all goes doubly so for books and reading. I was grudgingly going along with Apple’s production of Asimov’s Foundation series of books. Until they showed me the Mule. (You either know this character, or I’ve lost you.) My heart sunk.

If you explore MicroMUSE today, you’ll get a preview of the fate that awaits all of our social systems. The streets are empty, but it’s more than that: there is a palpable sense of entropy. You can query the system for a list of commands, but many of them no longer work. It’s half glitchy video game, half haunted house. Sometimes it falls offline entirely, only to return days later.

The system still speaks. You are welcomed by the transporter attendant, who gives directions to all newcomers to this space city. It cautions you: Clear communication is very important in a text-based environment…

~ Robin Sloan from, https://aeon.co/essays/before-minecraft-or-snapchat-there-was-micromuse


This article was nearly too much for me to read. That’s the Internet that was growing when I started tinkering. Today, with god-like power (from my 1994 perspective) at my fingertips, it took me 3 seconds to install a telnet client. And just a minute more to learn the answer to Sloan’s main question, “As kids, we make secret worlds – in trees, in our imaginations, even online – but can we go back to them when we’re grown?”