[Still in early draft … please refer for the time being to the sub-menu items]
Virtual Reality & the Internet
Desktop VR and, in particular, 3D virtual worlds or multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) are among those computer applications that are changing our notions  of what a computer is,  of what an interface is, and  of what the Internet is (or can be):
- the computer from word-processor and document viewer to portal
Most casual users of computers up to around the late 1990s used computers as though they were glorified word-processors. With two already well established models—the typewriter and the television—for what a computer might be and do, it was the typewriter that, for perhaps obvious reasons, was to dominate: the computer, like the typewriter but unlike television, sat on a desk, its output viewed close-up, and was operated via a keyboard; most people used computers for writing documents, in any case the principal use of office computers; the computer was throughout the greater part of its history, unlike television but like the typewriter, a machine for creating content rather than viewing content delivered from some external source; and the monitor of the computer could therefore be conceptualised as simply an evolution of the one-line buffer of the 1980s electronic typewriter. Even with the popularisation of the Internet and the World Wide Web from the mid-1990s, text continued to dominate what was written to and read from the screen; and the HTML default font size (3) equated to the default word-processing 12pt text.
- the interface from ‘screen’ (surface, window) to ‘eye’
- the Internet from document repository to ‘place’ and ‘community’
This section explores some of the cognitive, social, interactional / communicational, and economic issues relating to desktop VR.