The NetherNet Returns! Also, Hoovernotes

I was browsing the Jetpack for Learning Design competition on Mozilla, looking for interesting browser-based enhancements for my online teaching, I came across the following:

HooverNotes is a concept for a platform whose goal is to combine book-like annotations with collaborative processing. It shall be realized as a Firefox add-on integrated into the browser allowing to highlight, leave comments about and collect bits of important information related to a topic and several Web pages or a single Web page. These annotations shall take the form of text, hyperlinks, and multimedia content such as videos, images or maps. In this way, the actual Web content shall be augmented and enriched by the users – be it for learning or other purposes.

Annotations may be personal or shared with others, hence enabling knowledge exchange in a classroom setting.

Hoovernotes looks like it’ll be quite a useful little tool – more on that later in the week. It sparked a thought – it reminded me a bit of the NetherNet, ne Pmog. So I googled it, and lo! It’s back online:

GameLayers is very pleased to announce the return of The Nethernet! Now compatible Firefox browsers can play a lively game across the sites of the web. Will you encourage order or wage chaos? Install The Nethernet Firefox Toolbar Game to find the play hidden on the web around you.

The Nethernet was taken down from August to December 2009 while GameLayers worked to find a solid business model to support the game studio. We launched two Facebook games, Dictator Wars and Super Cute Zoo, which are not currently online. Many talented folks from GameLayers are now available, if you’re looking for hard-working people with online social game experience.

While The Nethernet was offline, the players formed a refugee community, and even built another browser game Nova Initia.

As of December 2009, GameLayers is hosting The Nethernet as a community-supported online game. Soon we will have a facility for donations to improve server speed.

Thank you to everyone for your support of GameLayers. We shall see what 2010 brings for The Nethernet!

My account was still active – I’m a level 8 seer, apparently. My mission that I created to experiment with this browser based game for learning still exists, and may be taken here. Yah! Although things don’t sound like they’re going overly well for GameLayers…

NetherNet Redux? Google Sidewiki

What always excited my about The Nethernet (nee Pmog) was the ability to annotate websites (refugees from the Nethernet keep the flame burning here).

So over at Ubernoggin, I see that the Googlemonster is allowing folks to annotate websites. There’s potential here.

From Ubernoggin:

I can’t help but be excited about Google Sidewiki. It allows users (with google accounts) to leave comments on any website. So now, rather than signing up for forums and chats to comment or searching through dozens of pages to read customer feedback, you can simply click a button in your browser and see what people are saying.

I could be wrong. I could be overly excited. But I can’t help feeling that this is HUGE. The whole of the web now becomes a social network. Every page can have an unbiases forum tacked on that’s viewable by anyone.

It will be interesting to see how this evolves. What was extremely cool about Nethernet, was how those annotations could be made dynamic (puzzles, explosions, you name it). Google as a game playing platform? Stranger things have happened.

The NetherNet No More

Goodbye Nethernet

What happened? It’s all gone…. my missions, my data points, a truly innovative use of the web… disparu. The only notification I got was when a wandering group of internet refugees contacted me:

Meanwhile I [dav2] am on
a quest
to find out why PMOG failed, and what can be done about it.
PMOG was a fascinating idea to take the drive of gameplayers (videogamers) and channel
all that energy into sifting the internet, doing productive reaserch.

A core of disgruntled and hopeful former users can be found at

A most useful post on the official gamelayers site:

GameLayers has retired The Nethernet. A hearty thanks to all our players, rivals and allies alike! Stay tuned as GameLayers prepares to announce their next project.

Way to go, GameLayers. See if I invest any time, energy, or free publicity blogging about your stuff, ever again.

Nethernet Puzzle Contest: I am the Champions

One of the main attractions in playin ‘The Nethernet‘ is the ability to lead people a merry chase through the internet. In its beta days, I created a ‘puzzle’ mission that ostensibly taught students how to research properly using internet resources. It took the player by the hand through a number of related websites, pointing out the who, what, when, where, why of that particular site, as it pertained to research.  Handy for distance ed students.

To make sure that students were paying attention, I tossed in a broken link at the end – the mission could not be completed unless the student correctly divined what URL to go to. The performance of the task demonstrated that the learning had taken place – plus I also got a list of players who successfully completed my mission.

There was a puzzle mission contest for Nethernetians (? perhaps the wrong word) this past April, and my wee little mission won first place. I now have 10,000 more ‘data points’ than I did before.  The accomplishment would be more meaningful had more than three people submitted their puzzle missions, but hey, they loved me! They really loved me!