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The Tale of Usera

This is the Tale of Usera and her adventures on the island of Java. I don't know what she learned, or if she'll ever go back, but I know that she's grateful to the object-oriented nature of Java, for it let her traverse the world of language as she could no other.

Usera stood on the train platform and tapper her foot impatiently. As she checked her watch again and realized that she was three days late for work, she heard the train's departing whistle from the track behind her. She had missed it. She had had it. It was time for a vacation. The travel agent had given her a brochure for the land of Hot Tubs and Mambo Lessons, but Usera decided that she wanted an adventure - something more interactive than Hot Tubs and Mambo lessons; she wanted to explore different orientations.

Time was, when someone caught the wanderlust, she would set to sea. But in Modern Times, even the sea plus everything in it was too limited for high adventure. The new h ot spot was the floating island of Java. This revolutionary island wasn't bound by the law of reflexivity. It could manifest itself into existence and even anchor itself to the earth's core, anywhere it chose. More importantly, it could manifest itself anywhere you chose (for a modest luxury vactaion fee).

Usera arrived at the main terminal of Java's Travelport and went to the nearest "create-a-car" agency to procure some wheels. After supplying some biographical data, Usera was rewarded with her own car creation guru who guided her through her selections. There were a myriad of ideal cars to choose form, but Usera settled on a little red bug. Her guru replicated one for her and began to explain how to operate it.

"You can go absolutely anywhere in this vehicle. Anywhere!" he emphasized passionately. "But you must always drive in loops" he added.

"Well, I wanna go everywhere!" exclaimed Usera.

"Hmm, yes, everywhere. Let me tell ya, it doesn't take nearly so long if you put limits on that." he said seriously.

"Limits?" Usera scrunched up fer face.

"Indeed. We find Everything works much better that way. Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking you to know specifically where you're going. I don't expect you to move oout of the abstract or anything" he assured her. "But say you wanted someplace sunny with a beach, you could tell the car to stop when those conditions are met and to continue to circle until the are."

"That sounds fun," Usera managed, "but hard to remember."

"Nonsense. If you string all the steps together then there's only one thing to remember." he pointed out.

"OK," she replied, "where's the key?"

"The key?" her guru asked dumbly.

"Yes, to start the car." she explained.

The agent looked worried. "I don't deal in hardware" he said, and darted off.

Usera looked around and found a cubicle labeled "AQ". She peered in at a woman talking busily into a telephone receiver. Usera waited until the receiver had been put down momentarily before she approached.

"Excuse me, are you here to answer my questions?" she asked.

"No. I'm here to assure you of the quailty of our product." the woman said curtly.

"Well, I just created a car, but I need a key" she explained.

"A key?" The woman looked blank.

"Yeah, to make the cur run." Usera filled in.

"Well, why don't you import one? After all, you are in the main travelport." the women suggested impatiently and returned to her telephone reciever.

Some vacation. Usera set out to find a receiver for some input she wanted to get off her chest. She encountered an array of travel coordinaters designed to listen to her complaints. They had one designated response to her different complatins, a single println of output reading "Sorry for your inconvenience. Have a nice day."

"Urgh! I should have gone to the land of Hot Tubs and Mambo Lessons." useera lamented.

"You want an applet," coordinator1 told her.

"I want more than just a little apple" she replied.

"You're right," said coordinator2, "you want a big Macintosh." He handed her one which she received hesitantly.

"Wait!" cried coordinator3, "don't take a single byte out of it. There's a spider in it." he warned.

"Of course there's a spider. The spider is the key." insisted coordinator2.

"Not another key." thought Usera.

"You need a web browser to use an applet." he continued.

"What's an applet?" Usera finally asked.

"It's how you get to the land of Hot Tubs and Mambo Lessons from here. It's the island of Java manifested, incarnated in that land. But there's no Travelport to deal with." coordinator1 explained.

"I'll go anywhere where I don't have to deal with this Travelport. How do I get there?" she inquired.

"You put some bytes into the Mac." instructured coordinator3.

"What's the difference between that and taking a byte out of it?" demanded Usera.

"It's the code." they replied.

So Usera followed the code and journeyed nto the land of HTML. Upon arriving, she was not encouraged. It wasn't much to look at, and there was another QA person there.

"Why is everything so bland?" Usera asked her.

"Because this is your piece of the web. You must create your identiy here." the QA person replied.

"I don't want to invent my identity!" moaned Usera, "I'm on vacation!"

"Well, you could explore other people's thoughts and colors. This is the land of Hot Tubs and Mambo Lessons. Everyone else is creating herself here, so you can avoid yourself forever if you want."

And that's exactly what she did.


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Source text last modified Thu Apr 23 10:52:02 1998.

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