- Foothills (talker)
Foothills, originally called Elsewhere is the 3rd ever
internet talkerand was created using "Elsewhere" code, written by Simon "Burble" Marsh from University of Warwickand was based on the first ever internet talker, Cat Chat by Chris Thomson. The talker was renamed "Foothills" in honour of Michael "Footsteps" Wheaton from Florida State Universitywho gave the talker a new home after it was booted from its initial home at University of Warwick, where it was opened in May 1992. It is currently the 4th most popular ew-too talker in the world with 2558 connections per day (as at November 2005). [http://charts.ewtoo.org/] It is currently administrated and coded by "Jonathan". [http://list.ewtoo.org/details.cgi?abbr=fh] It currently averages about 10-15 users on at a time. [http://list.ewtoo.org/usergraph.cgi?abbr=fh&id=1133731392]
Cat Chat was created by Chris "Cat" Thompson, who was a university student at
University of Warwickin England, as LPmudbut without any of the monsters or the gameelement. It commonly had about 20 users on it at a time. It used the University's network to the internet via JANET (Joint Academic NETwork), which only connected to a sample of other Universities, and was never connected to the entire internet. It was shut down in February 1991 out of fears that the "JANET police", i.e. representatives of the Joint Academic NETwork might have found out about the talker and "Cat" might be prosecuted for stealing bandwidth and misusing the university's computer systems.
After it was closed, Daniel "Cheeseplant" Stephens, a user of the talker, was inspired to create his own talker, Cheesehouse in honour of Cat Chat, and thus talkers were born.
Cheesehouse was opened on 8 February 1991, using the same ports that were previously used by Cat Chat, and indeed a lot of the users to the talker were unaware that it was an entirely different talker. Whilst Cat Chat had been down for several months, a few University of Warwick students tried out the old port number just in case, and thus the "
refuges" from Cat Chat formed the basis of the early user numbers.
Cheesehouse was initially only opened whenever "Cheeseplant" was physically in the computer laboratories, however that was several hours per day. But as time went on and the code was developed and University of Warwick was opened up to the internet in all of its glory, "Cheeseplant" made the decision to occasionally leave the Cheesehouse talker open when he was not in the computer laboratories.
On 4 February 1992, the University of Warwick administrators, under the direction of the Director of Computing, closed Cheesehouse, removed access to the network port, and placed a banner message indicating that it had been withdrawn. "Cheeseplant" also received a threatening e-mail from Mark Brady, a system administrator from
UMIST, requesting for personal information about the people who used Cheesehouse, as well as access to logs of what they said.
"Cheeseplant" was unable to respond to these requests, primarily because he had never logged any conversations, and as a result received a number of other threatening e-mails from Mark Brady, suggesting that the talker was a "hotbed of hacker activity".
On 6 February 1992, "Cheeseplant" was suspended from the University of Warwick computer system, as penalty for operating the Cheesehouse talker on their network, and stealing their computer resources. "Cheeseplant" met with the administrators of the University of Warwick computer services, and explained his case, which was successful in that he managed to get his computer account back. However, he would never again open his talker.
Elsewhere, as it was originally called, was created as a kind of offshoot from Cheesehouse, and, like Cat Chat and Cheesehouse before it, was written by a university student at
University of Warwick, Simon "Burble" Marsh, and hosted there, with its original site name being lily.warwick.ac.uk 2010, thus making University of Warwick known as "the home of talkers".
The talker existed at University of Warwick for 6 months, hidden from administrators due to its small size and low bandwidth, rarely having more than 20 users on at a time.
In November 1992,
system administratorsfrom University of Warwick discovered Elsewhere, as they had similarly discovered Cheesehouse in February 1992, and they shut Elsewhere down.
It almost died then and there, if not for one of its users, Michael "Footsteps" Wheaton. Footsteps provided Elsewhere with a new site in
Florida, loligo.cc.fsu.edu 2010. In acknowledgement of his efforts, Elsewhere was renamed Foothills, a name that it carries to this day.
Move from England to USA
With Foothills, as it was now called, hosted in USA, and a much faster connection speed, American users had a much faster connection, without the massive trans-atlantic lag, and the popularity of the talker, especially to users in America, increased exponentially, and before long it had as many users as Cheesehouse had had while at University of Warwick a year earlier.
Florida State Universitysoon after the talker was first hosted there, and, whilst its systems administratorinitially tolerated it, early in 1993 he decided to boot the talker.
Foothills' 3rd home
"Footsteps" gave Foothills a 3rd home, at backus.mtsu.edu 2010, however everyone knew that it would be for a short time only, as the University would eventually find it and shut it down.
Foothills' 4th home
Foothills moved to its 4th home at vulture.dcs.king.ac.uk 2010, thanks to another of its users, Jeremy "Fox" Doran, who hosted it at
Kingston University. However, this meant that the talker was back in the United Kingdomand hence its lag was again terrible for American users, and its popularity suffered because of it. Eventually, however, for the 3rd time in its history, the system administrators blocked the talker from operating.
Foothills' 5th home
Another user, Rod "Ecthelion" Morgan found Foothills another home, at marble.bu.edu 2010. This was the site of largest growth for Foothills, as it had a very good connection, and the user base quickly grow to have over 200 users on at a time on a regular basis.
Controversy - stealing the code to create Marble Madness
A few of the
superusers of Foothills became disenchanted with the way that Foothills was being run and stole a copy of the code to create their own talker, calling it Marble Madness, on shadowfax.surr.ac.uk 2010, named Marble Madness to reflect the super users' anger at the way that Foothills was being run on marble.bu.edu 2010. Marble Madness was never developed extensively while at shadowfax.surr.ac.uk 2010, but by November 1993 it was fully developed, when it was renamed Surfers and hosted on muscle.rai.kcl.ac.uk 4242 thanks to Ian "Roosta" Dobbie.
After Surfers was made public, there was a shift, European users started to use Surfers whilst American users continued to use Foothills by preference. Both talkers boomed, Foothills remaining the busier always, due to it being the oldest, and first thought-of, and also having the quicker link for the more numerous American users.
Public release of Elsewhere code
After 2 1/2 years of relative secrecy, Neil "Althanasius" Soveran-Charley placed the source code for Surfers on an FTP site, and soon Elsewhere-based talkers were everywhere.
Surfers, originally called Marble Madness, was created using
ew-toocode in 1994 and was the first internet talkerto have 1,000 users logged on at the same time, and is the most popular talker of all time. It is currently run by "Demi", "Sanman", "Mike" and "Furry". Its current coder is "Saraphale". It is currently (November 2005) the most popular talker in the world [http://charts.ewtoo.org/] with 4,819 connections per day.
It is often closed to new connections [http://list.ewtoo.org/viewreviews.cgi?abbr=Surfers&id=1133005825] due to its high popularity, and a user must e-mail the administrator in order to log in for the first time.
The talker is run on http://www.surfers.org/ on port 4242, probably in reference to
The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Its official advertisement [http://www.kps.pl/dmoz/index.php?c=Games/Online/MUDs/Talkers/Ewtoo] is of being "A talker inhabited by a group of lazy long-haired, tanned layabouts who bum around on the beach all day desperately trying not to do any work."
It is regarded as important to the [http://www.ewtoo.org/history.html history of ewtoo] , and hence to the history of
talkers, and is the primary focus of LiveJournal's [http://www.livejournal.com/community/spods/ spod community]
Resort is regarded by some as the most popular internet talker of all time, and the first to use Elsewhere Too or ew-too code, which would later become open source and the first popular code base. Resort was created in 1993 by Adam J. Foxson. It competes with Surfers for the title of most popular talker in the world, and as of November 2005 was a close 2nd  with 4,354 connections per day as compared to Surfers with 4,819. It has on average about 20-40 users online at any time  . Its coders are currently James Hawtin, Daniel Stephens, and David Thompson. 
* [http://www.cheeseplant.org/~daniel/pages/cph.html Cheesehouse History]
* [http://www.ewtoo.org/history.html Brief History of Ew-too]
* [ftp://ftp.cheeseplant.org/pub/cph/ Cheesehouse talker source code]
* [ftp://ftp.cheeseplant.org/pub/cph/README.SRC About the Cheesehouse talker and code]
* [http://www.foothills.tk/ Foothills Official Web page]
* [http://www.foothills.tk/fhmap.html Map of Foothills rooms]
* [http://list.ewtoo.org/details.cgi?abbr=resort ewtoo.org listing of Resort]
* [http://www.resort.org/ Official Web site]
* [http://list.ewtoo.org/usergraph.cgi?abbr=resort&id=1133731127 Graph of average user levels on Resort]
* [http://list.ewtoo.org/details.cgi?abbr=Surfers ewtoo.org listing of Surfers]
* [http://www.surfers.org/ Official website] - note: currently no info about surfers there, just used for connections.
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