The out of the box experience is a marketing phrase used by many computer vendors.

A good out of the box experience means that when the new computer is first removed from it's packaging, the user/owner is able to quickly and easily commence useful work with the product. Conversely, a bad out of the box experience would encompass troublesome installation and/or configuration of the product, with the resultant frustrations that are all-too-common with commodity computing products.

On SGI machines, especially the purple toasters, it was more than just a comment. You'd switch the machine on, and there was, available as a login, OutOfBox (and the password, in case anyone wants to know, is usually "oobeeboo"). You'd log on, and it would take you (through a VRML demo) to get to know your O2. It included several cute things, including:

  • Setting your system time by pressing on a button.
  • Representing your installation progress as descending down a staircase, with each stop to perform another step of the setup process.
  • After basic installation was complete, you walked into a 3D world, that among other things, included a VRML model (With on and off switch, working CD-ROM drive, and disassembly support) of the said purple toaster!

It was an excellent demo, and in my opinion, one of the best practical illustrations of using VRML to facilitate the interface.

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