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Where Were You When PLATO Was Born? 162

PLATO, cradle of so many firsts, was born 50 years ago. Next week the Computer History Museum is hosting a two-day conference to celebrate the anniversary. Microsoft's Ray Ozzie, who worked on PLATO as an undergraduate, will be one of the keynote speakers. Co-producer Brian Dear has put together a list of today's technology notables and what they were doing in 1973, the year that social computing suddenly blossomed on PLATO.
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Where Were You When PLATO Was Born?

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  • by EWAdams ( 953502 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @08:42PM (#32343640) Homepage

    PLATO rocked, but to be honest it didn't have anything to do with me.

    Think of a better headline.

    • OK, PLATO [wikipedia.org] was the most expensive and complicated teacher ever built by mankind. If PLATO was so smart, shouldn't it have put together this list of "who was where when" instead of some blog-monkey?
    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      Me either, I was on an Air Force flightline in Dover, DE. The computer that mattered to me was a building full of bookshelves full of circuit boards hooked up to a C5-A simulator; I got to play with it when I hauled two big air conditioners to it in the snow.

      It's amazing how primitive the world was then -- a modern cell Phone is probably more powerful than that building full of circuitry was.

      But that was 40 years ago, not 50. I was only 11 years old in 1963. I'd bet most slashdotters weren't even born then.

  • nowhere (Score:5, Informative)

    by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @08:43PM (#32343652)
    Sorry, but Plato was born and died a few thousand years before I was.

    (Yeah, I know, wrong Plato, but with that headline, you knew someone was going to say it.)
  • So, What Is PLATO? (Score:4, Informative)

    by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @08:44PM (#32343656)
    The links don't say what PLATO is, except "the greatest untold story in the history of computing". So, what the heck is it?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hedwards ( 940851 )
      PLATO was the first ever computer based instruction course. Which I definitely wouldn't expect most people to know. The only reason why I know is that the community college my mother works at they use it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Trepidity ( 597 )

        It was also one of the earliest persistent online communities [wikipedia.org] (before the WELL, Usenet, and BBS eras).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ixitar ( 153040 )
        I worked on the PLATO system at Control Data Corporation while interning in college. It was a pleasure working on it, but it was a system before its time. When the PC came out, the PLATO system could not adapt. Its screen resolution was 512x512 and the displays of the existing code could not adapt very well. They tried another approach using the CPM operating system as its base for a microcomputer based solution.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by flydpnkrtn ( 114575 )

      Dude make friends with Wikipedia and Google... you guys should hang out

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Dude make friends with Wikipedia and Google... you guys should hang out

        I don't RTFA, so why on earth would I Wiki or Google it? Isn't that what the other slash-monkies are for? Eventually someone will post something informative or of value. ;-)

        • Eventually yes, but until then you're into the whole million monkeys with a million typewriters thing. You could be waiting be a while for something informative or of value here on /. :)

      • But Google will keep notes on everything you say and Wikipedia will correct you for using words that are "not notable"
      • by vanyel ( 28049 ) * on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @09:02PM (#32343774) Journal

        While you can find out what it is without too much trouble, that doesn't detract from the fact that the summary would be vastly improved if it had included that information in the first place.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dwarfsoft ( 461760 )
        I love Wikipedia and Google, but it is a Platonic love...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 )

        The availability of Google and Wikipedia doesn't excuse clumsy article summaries. If most of your audience doesn't know what X device is, taking a sentence to explain it makes it a much better article summary. I would say it is pretty fundamental to good writing. I would grant that Slashdot editors don't know much about good writing, but that's not a good excuse.

        Maybe PLATO was very important, but despite having actually read about computer technology history in the past, I don't remember ever having hea

        • by hedronist ( 233240 ) * on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @09:43PM (#32344012)

          PLATO was where I learned to program. Where I learned how to write a couple of lines of TUTOR (back before they even had an FM to R) and then hit Shift-EDIT. That sent me through the "compilor" (their word, not mine) and straight into execution. As soon as I liked/didn't like what I saw, I hit Shift-EDIT again and I was back in the editor exactly where I had been.

          This means that in 1973 I learned to work with an Edit-Compile-Execute-Edit cycle that was often measured in less than 10 seconds. It's a hell of a way to learn quickly.

          You use IM? I was using Talkomatic in 1973. You use forums? Try Notes (and I don't mean Lotus), again in 1973. MMO Games? Dogfight (1973) or even Nova (1974) (I was the coauthor with Al McNeil). Touch panel? Been there, got the T-shirt (and I still have this bee stuck to my finger (that's a deep, deep PLATO old-timer's joke.))

          Between PLATO in the early 70's, and Xerox in Palo Alto in the late 70's (where I was on the BravoX Project at ASD (think "Microsoft Word")), about 80%+ of the fundamental user interface and the foundations of networking (communications and social) were created. In some cases these functions not only haven't improved all that much, some of it is sliding back down hill.

          That doesn't mean you need to kiss our ass or anything, but some people around here really need to understand that the world did not start when they were born. It makes me cringe to even hear me say it, but sometimes the arrogance of the young—many of whom cannot be bothered to read even the history of their own industry—really wears thin.

          • Hello, fatankles. Good to hear from you. :-)

            I think I'm the one who taught you TUTOR.

            Do you think Slashdot would improve if they hired The Red Sweater as an editor?

            • The Red Sweater lived on my dorm floor. He was a fucking legend. One day someone took his sweater. He curled up in a fetal position on his bed in the corner of his room until someone got it back. That would have been in 1975-76.

              PLATO (and TUTOR) rocked. I had the green, paper-covered TUTOR manual on my bookshelf up until about two years ago, when I threw out a bunch of stuff. Had the paper notes of Kuck's book on parallel computation, too. I actually drug around a couple of the boards from the G-20

          • by flydpnkrtn ( 114575 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @10:32PM (#32344284)

            Cool posts and good stories like this are why I still read Slashot... thanks for the interesting writeup man

          • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

            That doesn't mean you need to kiss our ass or anything, but some people around here really need to understand that the world did not start when they were born.

            We so understand, dude. The sheer horror of seeding a torrent over those mythical 300 baud channels... that, and Hitler. I sure am glad I wasn't born back then, it must have been hell to live in. ~

          • notes is where Kapor got the idea for, um, Notes. Look it up.

            Not to mention a few multiplayer games, in virtually every genre, that would have been MMOs except for the problems of any lesson being massive. I saw 25 users in Avatar pretty regular, and once I think I saw 42, but that might have been my imagination. Gaming was bit on PLATO, especially in the UICU days. The times it reported to to be running 24.9 hours a day were fun times indeed.

            In 1973, I was learning digital logic, microprocessors, and m

          • PLATO not well known outside the US and SA? ...another US centric story then

            Roll on the anniversary of the BBC Micro - the foundation of the UK computing community .... and the making or Acorn/ARM which is still used in a *couple* of devices ....

          • >not only haven't improved all that much, some of it is sliding back down hill.

            sLIDING? Slid, sunk...

          • by npsimons ( 32752 ) *

            That doesn't mean you need to kiss our ass or anything, but some people around here really need to understand that the world did not start when they were born. It makes me cringe to even hear me say it, but sometimes the arrogance of the young--many of whom cannot be bothered to read even the history of their own industry--really wears thin.

            All due respect, but you might need to take some of your own medicine. Ever hear of The Mother of All Demos [wikipedia.org]? Sure, sure, it was "only" demoed in 1968, but it still giv

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        The post, and the links, fail to explain what PLATO is. If I have to go do research to figure out what exactly the subject matter is, then the article isn't ready to publish. Just to be a good sport, I'll actually post the pertinent Wikipedia link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PLATO_(computer_system) [wikipedia.org]

        Your welcome.

    • by __aasqbs9791 ( 1402899 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @09:11PM (#32343840)

      It wouldn't be the greatest untold story then, would it?

    • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @09:15PM (#32343874)

      In a nutshell: It was a preview of most of the features of the Internet (analogs of web 2.0, email, usenet, etc), except it was done on dumb terminals hooked to a central mainframe. Many PLATO systems were hosted on school campuses and used mainly for computer-based education.

      They somehow managed to support hundreds of simultaneous interactive user sessions hosted on a single CPU with horsepower comparable to that of an 80286. The graphics-capable terminals used a cool 500x500 plasma display that took advantage of the fact that a grid of plasma dots can act as a memory array, so no frame buffer was required.

      • I was a tender aged elementary school kid interested in computers in the late 70's and early 80's.
        Before my dad bought a trash 80, I would go to Lawrence Hall of Science and rent time by the
        hour on Commodore PET's and such. One day this all changed when a row of CDC Plato Terminals showed up.

        These things were awesome, they were networked, there were social aspects, they had touch sensitive screens,
        and I was just a kid, I wasn't even getting into the higher functions. This was years before wizardry, and ther

    • PLATO terminals were graphical orange-plasma-screen things, with the best interactive multiplayer Star Trek game *ever* (well, at least for 70s versions of "ever"), and an application called "notesfiles" that was a lot like Usenet or BBSs later became. My university had a few PLATO terminals, and I never had an "author account", so my access was read-only, but it was cool stuff.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) *

        I've got a better one:

        Where were you when Half-Life came out, and which classes did you miss because of it?

        I distinctly recall having a big file of undergrad papers to grade and saying "Fuck it. Not when there's a rent in the fabric of space and time".

    • It's blackboard, but without patent trolling and general suckage.
  • Um... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Codename Dutchess ( 1782238 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @08:45PM (#32343664)

    Where were you when PLATO _WAS BORN_?

    Then I read that PLATO was born 50 years ago.

    Then I read that someone put together a list of what people were doing in 1973.

    So, I'm to understand that 2010 - 1973 = 50.

    • So, I'm to understand that 2010 - 1973 = 50.

      Back in the early days of computing they had a little trouble "carrying the one" when doing subtraction ... and it looks like the the other 12, two ;-)

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        They were older than that, they got their start as a project with Control Data. They were originally used for flight simulator software for the military and ran off of an early mainframe. From there the company grew to support other training software and has very slowly evolved over time. The company really does go back that far, they were around before Microsoft, Apple or even Unix, they are that old.
      • and it looks like the the other 12 too ;-)

        I fixed that for you. That was just the wrong time to use a number incorrectly ;).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by FunPika ( 1551249 )
      No it was born in 1960....its just that nobody gave a damn about it until it was 13. Such a lonely childhood....
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dpreformer ( 32338 )

      PLATO was born in 1960. By 1973 it had grown to the point that it enabled social networking of sorts - online games as well as its ostensible purpose for computer aided instruction.

      I remember PLATO terminals in the university library when I was first using computers - they were big amber plasma screens that did pretty good graphics for the time. Beat punched cards and green bar paper as far as user interface hands down. It was a lot nicer than the dumb terminals that were starting to be available for coding

    • PLATO I was born 50 years ago and PLATO IV was the first version that had anything resembling "social networking" (although PLATO III running on Cray's first computer -- Cyber 1604 -- did have real time multiuser games).

  • Please explain... (Score:5, Informative)

    by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @08:45PM (#32343666)

    I know it's news for nerds... but I've never heard of this PLATO (other than the philosopher), and it would be nice to explain what it is in the summary or in an editor's sentence at the start.

    Ryan Fenton

  • by FunPika ( 1551249 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @08:46PM (#32343672) Journal
    ...because I wasn't born yet.
  • I was a four-year-old who had taken off the cover of the 26" TV console in the living room to poke around the glowing vacuum tubes. "Solid State" (TM) electronics was still a few years off. Surprisingly, I made it out of childhood without electrocuting myself too many times. Since then, I've been working my though every Fortune 500 company in Silicon Valley. Always arriving after some big name had left. Sad but true.
    • > "Solid State" (TM) electronics was still a few years off [in 1973].

      Not true.

      • Yes and no. I used "electronics" when I meant "TVs". My family didn't get a solid state TV until 1977 and the vacuum tube TVs we had back then weren't retired until the 1990s.
        • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

          We had transistor radios back in the 1950s ("Solid state" means "transistorized"). From wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

          Physicist Julius Edgar Lilienfeld filed the first patent for a transistor in Canada in 1925, describing a device similar to a Field Effect Transistor or "FET".[1] However, Lilienfeld did not publish any research articles about his devices,[citation needed] nor did his patent cite any examples of devices actually constructed. In 1934, German inventor Oskar Heil patented a similar device.[2]

          In 1947, John Bardeen

          • "Solid State" (TM) always struck me as a marketing term back then. I also thought "solid" meant you couldn't take the cover off to mess around inside the TV. If you can't look inside the box, who knows what was going on inside. I didn't pick up on electronic theory until I got into college. By the mid-1990s, DIY electronic repair was on the way out and the local community colleges in Silicon Valley cut their electronic programs to nothing.
            • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

              No, it was used as a marketing term but was actually an engineering term. Tubes have vacuum gaps between anode and cathode, while semiconductors have no mascroscopic gaps. That's where the term "solid state" came from.
              Oh, and "solid state" wasn't a trademark.

              And, you could still take the cover off of a solid state TV.

    • by mirix ( 1649853 )

      Solid state was already in high gear by '73, although I suppose most people still had older tube or hybrid sets at the time.

      PS - You can only electrocute yourself once. I've been shocked a few too many times though, myself :)

    • I was a four-year-old who had taken off the cover of the 26" TV console in the living room to poke around the glowing vacuum tubes.

      I'm not very far behind you.

      In 1973, I was three years old, my dad was a TV repairman who owned his own TV repair business, and I took apart every gadget I could get a screwdriver to.

      However, If I tried to remove the back panel of the living room TV set, I would've got my ass busted in a big way. Twice. First by my mom, then secondly by my dad when he got home at the end of the

  • From what I've read about PLATO (I was born quite a bit after PLATO's heyday) it seemed to be in stark contrast with today's methods of teaching computers. It seemed like PLATO actually encouraged students to explore computers. Today though, teachers are too paranoid, thinking that the command prompt will "break" the computer and other stupidities.

    And we wonder why America experienced a tech boom in the 70s-90s and its drying up. Between the changes in education, legislation designed to make it be even
    • The tech boom of the 70s-90s came about after the IBM priesthood for the mainframes died out by smaller computers that require less maintenance. As for why there's no more tech boom now, there's no money in computers anymore. College graduates for the last ten years have been chancing after health care to make the big bucks.
    • Re:Exploration (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @09:45PM (#32344026)

      From what I've read about PLATO (I was born quite a bit after PLATO's heyday) it seemed to be in stark contrast with today's methods of teaching computers. It seemed like PLATO actually encouraged students to explore computers. Today though, teachers are too paranoid, thinking that the command prompt will "break" the computer and other stupidities.

      When I was a student back in the days of PLATO, I had a part time job as the human tutor in one of the PLATO terminal rooms. I don't remember it being focused at all on exploring computers. The system was all about the pre-canned apps. In fact, my memory is a little rusty, but I don't recall that they really had a command prompt at all, at least as far as end users were concerned. I think it was all a hierarchical full screen menu-driven system. (I assume that some CS majors were taught how to write software for PLATO, but that would be a small minority of the users.)

      One problem with the course that I worked with was that the software was a bit too linear and inflexible. For example, students weren't allowed to go on to the next problem until they correctly answered the current one, and the range of acceptable answers was usually very constrained. The software basically kept repeating: "Wrong. Try again.", and you were stuck at a dead end.

      Unfortunately, back in those days this was often the first exposure the users had to a computer system of any kind. They had never experienced anything as exacting and unforgiving as a computer, and it didn't help to heap that on top of the inherent stress of a "weed-out" engineering class. That's why they needed me to be in there as a backup; I think that some of the people would have eventually gone postal on the terminals if they didn't have access to someone who could see how and why they were stuck, and dole out helpful hints.

      • You had "Wrong. Try Again". The luxury! In Physics 107 at UofI we got the most basic prompt "No"

      • You obviously didn't work in the language lab.

        The drill and practice engine driving the vocabulary lessons of virtually all language courses was built around a model of short term vs long term memory where an erroneous answer would provide the negative feedback along with the correct answer and then almost immediately re-present the vocabulary term but a series of correct answers would shift that term further and further back in the queue so that the next time it appeared would help drive it into long term

  • Old company (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I used to work for them many years back and it was the most archaic company I have ever worked for. Far older than Microsoft or Apple or most other traditional technology companies. Your talking about a company that was old enough to have one of the original licenses for commercial Unix from the early 70's (it was considered an asset of some value at the time even though they no longer produced it). They had technology in use at that time that was 15-20 years old at and still actively supported.

    I learned a

  • While some folks were connected enough to play with PLATO, I was trying some then-new calculator "games", where the pseudo text answers to your arithmetic questions appeared when the display was turned upside down. My device also did square roots! To prove my semi-geek cred, I've still got it (a Kingspoint), functional in all its VFD glory.

  • I wonder how many people we're going to make feel old with this one.
  • i was swallowing pills when dana plato was born. waaa choo talkin bout?
  • I have fond memories of taking Physics quizzes and exercises on the PLATO machines at Loomis Laboratory while an undergraduate engineering student at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in the early 90s. The plasma monitors with their orange glow were cool for such "old" technology.

    • by zaft ( 597194 )
      OMG I worked on the Physics 2 series in 1984-85ish... good times. I was at U of Arizona.
    • I was there 86 - 90 and remember both the old plasma screens and newer green-screen CRT displays. A lot of the plasma terminals didn't work very well so everyone preferred the CRT ones.

      I hated using PLATO for physics class because the software was so picky about the answer, giving an "incorrect" for things a human probably would have marked as correct.

      As I recall I actually used the PLATO terminals in the basement of the Foreign Language Building more than the ones at Loomis just because they were closer to

      • by lemonk ( 220326 )

        Yea now that I think back I do recall the software being very exacting at times. I lived just down the street from Loomis but I do recall visiting the lab at FLB a few times.

  • Our I.T. administrators at SDSU were soon calling the one demonstration terminal we had for a few weeks the PLAY-DOH system. Who could ever forget playing Moonwar on it. Great fun for its time.
  • In the early '80's I made good money from CDC for a few years by converting PLATO ed games to every micro under the sun - Atari 800, TRS-80, Apple II, C-64. My partner Mike Johnston and I bankrolled development of our game ChipWits with money we saved from those contracts. The games we ported were pretty dry - Decimal Darts and such.
    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *

      How on earth did you ever manage to make money in an environment devoid of copy protection technology and with everyone copying floppy disks like mad?

      Never mind, it's a rhetorical question.

  • In regards to the question that is asked here the answer for simple for me.

    I was nowhere, as I did not yet exist and I where therefore not yet born.

  • No Plato users here? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AstroWeenie ( 937631 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @09:48PM (#32344042)

    Jeez, I can't believe I'm the first actual Plato user to post. I played lots of games on Plato in the middle of the night while I was writing my thesis in 1977-1978. It was amazing at the time -- an online system where you could play real-time networked games with people across the country built around a plasma bit-mapped "high resolution" display (probably 512x512 pixels). There was even a quasi-three-dimensional game called dnd where you explored dungeons with a party of other players. ("Quasi 3-D" because all it could do was draw the lines indicating the corners of walls, ceilings, floors.)

    Anyway, I think it was way ahead of its time. I don't know how successful it was as an educational system, but it ought to be legendary as a network gaming system.

    • Claim to Fame: Not much
      Name: Gary Dunn
      Age in 1973: 23
      Doing: Graduate school, University of Illinois, Master of Music in Composition

      I would walk past this big building every day and see kids working at computer terminals. They seemed strangely engaged, as if in a trance. At the same time my friend John Van der Slice was learning FORTRAN in order to use a music composition program. He used to carry around long boxes of punch cards. I thought computer programming was the nerdiest thing possible, as lame as pla

  • Not even yet a tickle in my father's pants.
  • I attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the early 1980s and I flunked out of college in part because of spending too much time playing games on PLATO, particularly a MMO dungeon game called Avatar. The way things worked, the "free" (i.e. not connected to coursework) account I had could only be used at night. As a result, I and similar Avatar addicts would gather in the basement computer lab on Friday night and play until around 5AM or so, when the system went offline for maintenance. At that point we would go to IHOP for breakfast, then return at 6AM to play another couple of hours, until our accounts were booted off at 8AM.

    Strangely enough, this was not conducive to good study habits! Luckily, after I flunked out, I managed to get accepted into another university which did NOT use PLATO! :-)

    You can install software that emulates a PLATO terminal, allowing you to connect to a PLATO host (Cyber1.org).

    Here's a video introduction to cyber1.org: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgMG9NCWoaU [youtube.com]
    And here's a video showing a battle in Empire (a Star Trek space battle game): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMPC1eG5cko [youtube.com]

    You'll need to view these videos large to really see what's happening.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mombass ( 1819630 )
      I was at U of Illinois 69-74, and one of the things I DO remember was working with PLATO. It was all very "futuristic" to do a course on a COMPUTER!! Not terribly easy, but fun in a geeky way. Times being what they were, I don't remember the course.
    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      No you didn't. You flunked out of college because you lacked maturity and self-control.

  • Fifty years ago next week
    Screens alit with amber glow
    Press the NEXT key to begin
    Name/group and shift-STOP make it go

    AUTHOR MODE choose an option
    Pad, avatar, wasted, or empire kills?
    But DATA leads to one concoction
    That's fun to play and builds your skills


  • I really didn't understand it, but it was new and I could get to some documents. Never knew how to use any chat function, but I do remember that I used a terminal, a breath of fresh air after punching Hollerith cards. A friend wrote a program to draw images on it. Little did I know.
  • As a kid. I don't remember exactly what the circumstances were, or how old I was (possibly middle school), but it was probably because the school thought I was smarter or stupider than the other students (it was often unclear which it was).

    The school district had like one PLATO terminal in the district office locked up in a small room as I recall. I had no idea what the system was about, or what it's scope was, and as I recall I spent the time looking at a few of the games available on the system (probably

  • by theodp ( 442580 ) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @02:22AM (#32345428)

    Brian Dear, on PLATO: [well.com] One of the most interesting little-known aspects of Xerox PARC has to do with its relationship to PLATO. What people don't realize is that Kay attended a 1968 symposium sponsored by ARPA, at the Univ of Illinois. Among the presenters was Don Bitzer and company, and what did they present? A 1-inch-by 1-inch prototype of a gas plasma flat-panel display. This was a major "aha" moment for Kay, who told me it was his "big whammy" epiphany. It suddenly occurred to him that computers of the future were not going to have big, bulky CRT screens, but rather, flat-panel displays. It is directly because of his seeing the demo of the PLATO plasma prototype that he got the idea for the Dynabook.

  • For those interested: PLATO was actually created around 1960 as an electronic instruction platform. But it wasn't until around 1973 that things really started to take off for PLATO. That's because the system had developed features like talking to others across a distance via terminals, graphics displays, etc. that wouldn't hit mainstream for a few years.

    My Mom worked for CDC PLATO in the late '70s (or was it early '80s?) working in a group that provided English as a Second Language programs. I got my exposu

  • The PLATO system was created in 1960 at the University of Illinois. Initially it ran as a one-terminal system connected to the ILLIAC computer. By 1963, the system was running on a CDC 1604 with multiple simultaneous users. By 1972, the system had expanded to run a thousand simultaneous users on a CDC CYBER mainframe. Control Data Corporation began marketing PLATO commercially in 1976, resulting in PLATO system installations in dozens of cities around the world. Many of these systems were interconnected, en

  • I used Plato as a cartridge on the TI-994/A...it was a math instruction course if I recall. I know the original Plato was an online system, and our TI-994/A was definitely *not* online, so it always confused me to hear about Plato as this enormous ecosystem, when all I thought of it was a boring program that kept me from playing "King Tut".

    The only thing I do definitely remember about the program was that it was white text on a blue background, and the copyright included the University of Illinois, which be

  • Remember Aristotle, Plato, Socrates?


"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN