About ten years ago, when I was wandering around the library at the University of Virgina looking for something that would teach me about the shape of community online, I found My Tiny Life. I pulled it off the shelf and started with the first few pages in which the author confronts a RL server in Palo Alto that happens to contain LambdaMOO.
It's a wonderful little depiction of a person trying to reconcile a vibrant and rich virtual world with the "silent, bone-white" machine that houses it. After reading those pages, I was hooked. I had found the kind of writing and subject that made me sit down on the floor right next to the bookshelf -- I didn't want to expend the time or energy to find a table. I wasn't the only person affected this way by reading My Tiny Life. E.g. Larry Lessig's blurb on the back cover says: "Dibbell's story is why I teach cyberlaw."
Well, the main point of this post is that Julian has made his wonderful book available as a free download. You can get it here, in a very spiffy PDF file. The Web is now a richer place.
The secondary note is that Julian would like to make MTL even freer. Yet he hasn't managed that trick yet because apparently there's a little problem with the phones at HarperCollins UK. Explanation of that here (and that page also includes his reasons for wanting to release the book for free).
Comments on My Tiny Life Now Free:
Thanks for the info. A good read.
Posted Jan 17, 2008 1:42:55 PM | link
Am I the only one wondering about the exploitation of those Indian information slaves who only got $500 to type up Julian's book? Is this what it means for "information to be free"?
Posted Jan 20, 2008 3:05:35 AM | link
Hurrah. The stalker is back.
Posted Jan 20, 2008 4:32:29 AM | link
Awesome read so far. Thanks Julian!
Posted Feb 2, 2008 12:50:59 PM | link
I enjoyed reading My Tiny Life.
I thought back to what I was doing with computers from 1990 to 1994. Mostly playing MSDOS games on my 80286. I didn't even know about the internet back then, and my interactive experiences at the time were limited to BBS doors and chat rooms. I discovered the internet in 1996 with Windows95, the WWW, and email. I knew it had been around well before that (archie, gopher, usenet), once I got acquainted, but my path had just never crossed with it before that point. So this read was especially interesting for me.
P.S. I visited LambdaMOO after reading the book. I had hoped that a "text loving" community might have remained fixed to the place, but even the living_room and hot_tub were ghost towns. I wonder if our current crop of MMOs will resemble this after the "next big thing" (whatever that will be) inevitably comes along.
Posted Feb 3, 2008 11:47:23 AM | link
Yeah its a bit sad. I popped my head into TinyTIM the other day hoping to catch up with some old buddies, and it seemed really empty compared to the old days. Its sad. Some of these old text communities are nearly 20 years old.
Posted Feb 3, 2008 8:49:52 PM | link