E-mail lets you send messages to other people, which they will read whenever they log into their computers. This is sometimes called "asynchronous communication," since the writing and the reading are happening at different times.
"Real-time" or "synchronous" communication is very different. You write and your recipient reads at the same time (and vice-versa). You are both connected to the same distant computer, which is running a "Chat" or "MOO" server program. You need a special program, called a client, to make real-time interaction work well. It is possible to do Chat on the Web at special sites running specific software, but not a MOO. We'll try Chat both ways, to see which works better for you.
Please start by downloading a Chat client using Netscape or Internet Explorer. Go to one of the following sites, and click on the name of the program or on the download button. If it takes more than 20 minutes, try a different location; there's probably a problem with the server.
Go to that site, then click on the program that's for type of computer you have. If you don't have either Netscape or Internet Explorer, see if you can have someone else download it for you.
While you are downloading, try for a copy of MudWin as well. It's a MOO client, which means it's something that lets you more easily use a MOO (Multiuser, object-oriented dimension/dungeon -- these started from online Dungeons and Dragons games--MUDs, but have acquired greater respectability in their MOO form). Find MudWin by going with Netscape or Internet Explorer to
If the file does not automatically extract when you double-click on it, you will need to use WinZip to open any file ending in .zip the first time. After you run WinZip, you'll have an .exe file (and you can delete the zip file). Before you can run the Chat program or MudWin, you will need to start up your network connection. For many people, this means dialing into your Internet provider (if you have a modem connection), then starting Winsock (it comes with Windows). Please talk to your local technical people to know just how to make a network connection -- there are many, many ways that your network and computer could have been set up. Let me know if you have problems with downloading or running these programs, and I'll see what I can do to help.
Last updated January 16 2004 by D. Healey, Deborah.Healey@orst.edu