Friday, October 31, 2003

A little rant about There.com
Well, I'm about three days into the free trial over at There.com, which is the new 3-D interactive environment. There's some good and some bad, but right now, I'm frustrated with them and want to post some of the bad.
- The free trial is not free. If you want to do pretty much anything, you have to get your hands on there bucks. Assuming you don't start off ready to earn there bucks by showing noobs around, you have to purchase there bucks. After a day, I was ready to fork over a little bit of cash to use some there bucks and see how some more features worked. [I thought that was pretty generous of me.] So I went to the page to buy therebucks, followed the instructions, charged it to my debit card, and... no there bucks. Frustrated yesterday at the zero balance in my there bucks account, I did the IM thing with a help agent (done well - very fast). However, while she was there quickly, she wasn't actually helpful. Apparently, when you buy therebucks, it takes "1 to 4 days" for the charge to "go through" and for you to get your therebucks. So for two days now, I've pretty much been able to do jack squat in There, despite the fact that I've charged real American bucks to my account. Paypal told them they were paid, and they accepted the payment, but no credit to my There bucks account. Couldn't they just assume it will go through and give me the there bucks? Then if for some reason the payment did not make it, they could just remove the there bucks from my virtual account and take back whatever I had purchased? (The things you purchase are like virtual clothes and virtual rental properties, you don't actually get anything they'd have to repo.) This is such a problem it probably will prevent me from getting a membership. Also, it would have been nice to know the therebucks would not be instantaneously converted. And adding this material piece of info to the page would not have been difficult.
- You have to use internet explorer. There.com does not support standards complient browsers. So now the only reason to have IE on my desktop is to launch There. That sucks, There.
- When the system is down, you go to There Central, which is sort of a browser based portal for all things There. That's fine- it's a huge system, and they're still working out the bugs. But how about a little news piece at There Central, so I know when it's back up?
- There's some bug in the system that automatically hangs up my dial-up connection every 15 minutes or so. No other program that I use online does this to my connection. This is the kind of bug that would make someone get frustrated and not use the system, don't ya think? I mean, your right in the middle of a conversation with a sexy avatar in a catsuit, and ~poof~ you're disconnected. To the person you're talking to, you just kinda vanish. Not good.

There are good things There. You have hover packs to get around. You have tons of parties to go to. The IM interface is easy and intuitive. The graphics are really well done. Excellent costomization. Great, interesting environments (although night time would be nice, especially at all the Tiki bars). It's sooo close to being the first of its kind and worth the subscription. Hence my frustration.

I'll keep you updated. Oh, and if any of you are in There, my handle is Sagcat. If you decide to try it out, use me as a reference, and I'll get some there bucks (someday.)

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