inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #76 of 134: David Woolley (drwool) Tue 17 Nov 09 14:56
    
Oh - and the chance to create a game on a very high-resolution (for
the time) graphical screen, with 250 millisecond or better response
time to keypresses, and a method for shared memory that made
multiplayer games relatively easy to implement, didn't hurt any.
  
inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #77 of 134: Brian Dear (brian) Tue 17 Nov 09 14:57
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inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #78 of 134: Brian Dear (brian) Tue 17 Nov 09 17:19
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inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #79 of 134: Ari Davidow (ari) Tue 17 Nov 09 18:48
    
This is great. So good to have both of you in storytelling mode. Thanks 
for stopping by, David.
  
inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #80 of 134: Gail (gail) Wed 18 Nov 09 11:54
    
When you guys talk about multiplayer games using PLATO -- how many
players are we talking about?  And how remote?
  
inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #81 of 134: David Woolley (drwool) Wed 18 Nov 09 16:06
    
How many players:  Well, Avatar racked up about 600,000 hours of use
between September 1978 and May 1985. If you do the math, that works out
to an average of 10.4 people playing Avatar at any given time of the
day or night during that 6 1/2 year period. Of course there were peak
times, probably in the evenings and into the wee hours of the morning,
when I imagine there'd be a several dozen players on. 

This is just for one of the many games on PLATO, and only for the CERL
PLATO system at the U of Illinois -- which probably accounted for
about a quarter of PLATO usage worldwide.

As for how remote, the bulk of the terminals connected to the CERL
system were at various locations around the U of Illinois campuses in
Champaign-Urbana and Chicago, but there were terminals connected to
that system scattered here and there in other places around the
country. I believe University of Delaware had some terminals connected
to CERL before they acquired their own PLATO system, for example.
  
inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #82 of 134: Brian Dear (brian) Wed 18 Nov 09 16:23
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inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #83 of 134: David Woolley (drwool) Wed 18 Nov 09 20:59
    
And over a third of the contact hours were in Notes, according to the
statistics I've got.
  
inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #84 of 134: David Woolley (drwool) Wed 18 Nov 09 21:04
    
The tragedy of it all - or the humorous irony, depending on how you
look at it - is that Control Data really didn't understand what it had
on its hands. PLATO was marketed as an educational system, and that's
all the executives could see. What it really wanted to be was a social
network and multiplayer gaming platform. Control Data could have ridden
that wave and had a 10-year jump on everyone else. Instead, they sank.
  
inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #85 of 134: David Brake (derb) Thu 19 Nov 09 05:24
    
You talk about "Dr Graper" and his having his own notesfile - I
realise these metaphors are difficult to transfer but is this in any
way analogous to his having a homepage or .plan file? And did this
predate the finger/.plan concept? If so could one say blogging started
with PLATO?
  
inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #86 of 134: Brian Dear (brian) Thu 19 Nov 09 08:11
    
(derb), excellent question.  

When one looks back now and studies the behaviors and activities of
the user community on PLATO, one can see many behaviors and activities
that people would exhibit later.

If the tools are there -- social media tools -- PLUS, there's an
appreciative audience for whatever you create with the tools, then
by golly you start using the tools to create interesting things, and
all kinds of interesting stuff happens as a result.

With Dave Graper, he had no big idea about Blogging or something like
that, he had an urge to write, found a place he could write, and then,
his writings got noticed by others, especially a guy named Bill Lynch,
who worked in the Music Building and had programmed a lot of the
amazing Delaware music lessons.  (Graper often hung out in the terminal
room at the Music Building, which, by the way, was where I first
discovered PLATO, wondering what was in this darkened room with 
people sitting in front of screens glowing orange).

Lynch started collecting Graper's writings and found a notesfile for
him and after that, Graper started posting everything in the notesfile
(though occasionall would post elsewhere, for example, =staffnotes=
and the UDDATA material).  

In the big picture, sure, if tools called "blogs" had been in existence,
what Graper was doing would absolutely have been called a blog.  And
it's too bad there wasn't a way to monetize back then, because he had
so many readers he would have made a tidy little sum.
  
inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #87 of 134: Brian Dear (brian) Thu 19 Nov 09 08:36
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inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #88 of 134: Brian Dear (brian) Thu 19 Nov 09 08:49
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inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #89 of 134: Jef Poskanzer (jef) Thu 19 Nov 09 09:00
    
Just ran across a paragraph on wikipedia that reminded me of
an aspect of PLATO culture that I had completely forgotten:
emoticons, in widespread use long before Scott Fahlman
invented :-).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emoticon#Pre-1980_emoticons

What made this work is that everyone on the system was using the
exact same output device, which supported backspacing and
character superposition.  Many users, including myself, had
our own personal character graphics that we used to sign our
notes.
  
inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #90 of 134: Brian Dear (brian) Thu 19 Nov 09 09:14
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permalink #91 of 134: Brian Dear (brian) Thu 19 Nov 09 09:16
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inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #92 of 134: David Woolley (drwool) Thu 19 Nov 09 10:29
    
And by the way, the Red Sweater has apparently adapted to 21st century
technology and is now blogging under the guise of Conservative Cat:
http://www.conservativecat.com
  
inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #93 of 134: Brian Dear (brian) Thu 19 Nov 09 10:40
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inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #94 of 134: Brian Dear (brian) Thu 19 Nov 09 12:02
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inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #95 of 134: Ari Davidow (ari) Thu 19 Nov 09 12:58
    
>It's an evolutionary tale I think even Darwin would have appreciated
>-- more complex creatures that thrived in one environment only to die 
>off in the long run, replaced by far simpler creatures that adapted to a 
>wider set of environments and thrives to this day.

Fascinating comment
  
inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #96 of 134: Ari Davidow (ari) Fri 20 Nov 09 13:46
    
I don't want to discourage further PLATO memories, but I also want to 
acknowledge where we are at present, as well. In a few days this 
discussion will wind down, so I want to make a brief leap to NOW during 
our remaining time.

Brian, you have had an interesting and varied career since your time 
working on PLATO, but the current company, which has been around for 
several years now, seems as nicely tied to where we are today, as PLATO to 
its time.

I'm talking about "Eventful", which I still think of as a "public 
calendar" service. Why did you start such a company at this time? Describe 
its successes and strengths and where its going.

(Welcome to all who are now reading along without logging in.  You're
invited to join us if you like, or you may simply email a question or
comment for Brian Dear, for posting here.  Send it to inkwell@well.com
-- please include "PLATO" in the subject line.)
  
inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #97 of 134: Brian Dear (brian) Fri 20 Nov 09 15:41
    <scribbled by brian Wed 20 Mar 13 18:18>
  
inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #98 of 134: Ari Davidow (ari) Sat 21 Nov 09 07:27
    
Does Eventful cover the entire wired world or just the US? One of the 
difficulties I have had with public calendaring on my website is that many 
of the events people tell me about happen in other countries (and need to 
be described--if to be attended by locals--in languages other than English 
or alphabets other than Latin)?
  
inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #99 of 134: Brian Dear (brian) Sat 21 Nov 09 08:44
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inkwell.vue.369 : Brian Dear, on PLATO, Eventful and further adventures
permalink #100 of 134: Ari Davidow (ari) Sat 21 Nov 09 13:56
    
Sounds like a good reason to use microformats for events - still limited, 
but moving in the right direction.

What is your user community like. 4-5 current events - posted by how many 
people? viewed by how many people?

Are you screen scraping from applications like MySpace and Facebook?
  

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