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IRATA.ONLINE - A new PLATO system for retro computing fans!

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    IRATA.ONLINE - A new PLATO system for retro computing fans!

    Okay, guys. I've been working on this, for weeks, and now it's time to open the doors. The PLATO system that Iíve been putting together for Atari (and other retro-computing users) is now open for testing. Yes, things will be broken, yes, things will be weird, but I will help work through them, and I urge those interested in digging deep into the system to contact me about getting sign-ons in the staff group to help manage this thing.

    This system is a public utility, that I am paying for, out of my own pocket, my own electricity, and internet connection, as well as DNS registration, but I will NEVER ask for subscription or access fees. This is a free service, and I am providing it to provide something truly unique to the retro-computing community.

    This system stands alongside Cyber1 dot org as another PLATO system that users with PLATO terminal software can connect to. This includes, and was ultimately designed for Atari 8-bit users who have access to a flash cartridge (or an emulator) to run The Learning Phone cartridge which is used to access the service.

    What is PLATO? Itís a long story, but imagine finding deep in the jungle, a village of people who were building jet engines decades before the Wright brothers flew their first airplane. It was a system for education, for social use, for playing games. It was multi-user, graphical, interactive, touch screen oriented, and presented an integrated usage and development environment the likes of which you rarely see, even today.

    This whole project was literally possible, because the good folks at Cyber1 dot org spent years finding a completed copy of the PLATO software, and acquired permission by the current copyright holder to release it for non commercial use. I stand on the shoulders of their efforts.

    This system was borne from both a need to provide a customized service for interested Atari users who wanted a PLATO experience, and because I wanted to provide a more user friendly experience than what is currently provided by cyber1 dot org out of the box.

    As of now, itís in alpha, early beta. Things will be wonky, things will be weird. Bear with me as I try to come to grips with running a massive time sharing system that traditionally was run on massive supercomputers from Control Data Corporation.

    The web site is here: http://www.irata.online/ and has everything you need to get started.

    Please let me know what you think,

    Sincerely,
    -Thomas Cherryhomes Ė IRATA.Onlineís scared shitless leader.

    #2
    I've still got the Plato terminal software for the PC.

    I mostly remember it from days at SVLOPs when the plasma screens were current. I remember wandering among the vendors at NCC and going into the CDC display, where they had a PLATO terminal--people were just wandering through, not paying much attention. I asked the woman who seemed to be in charge if she'd mind if I played a bit on the terminal. She asked if I'd ever used one, and I said "yes".

    I brought up AIRFIGHT and immediately attracted a considerable audience. This was maybe 1976 or so. Everyone by that time had seen home video and arcade games, but the prospect of playing a game with other humans located far away grabbed the imagination.

    Those were the days...

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      #3
      I've been wanting to bring this experience to the retro-computing community, ever since cyber1.org did the CYBIS release.

      What I want, are interested people, not just to use the system, but to help out in any way they can, especially as authors and systems staff. But I also want to foster the development for terminal programs for various retro computing systems. I've been writing an Android terminal, and have become very familiar with the protocol, and can help anyone who wants to bring terminals to Apple 2 (only because PAD is hard to find these days), Commodore 64/128, Amiga, etc.

      -Thom

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        #4
        I'm trying to bring that particular experience to a generation of retro computing enthusiasts, who have either only peripherally heard of PLATO, maybe seen it, or not at all.

        There is one other system currently running, cyber1.org, and you can get sign-on's there too. It's a straight up CERL experience, and all the sign-ons are author sign-ons. I wanted to provide a more user friendly experience, so I took the cybis distribution that had been bundled up since the middle of last year, and set to customize it, and am still extensively customizing it.

        I have the following goals:

        * Show people how cool PLATO was and is.
        * Get people interested to make new programs for the system, as authors
        * Get people interested in helping run the system as staff.
        * Help foster and implement PLATO terminal implementations for retro computers. Right now we have an Atari implementation, and you can use pterm for mac and pc and linux.. I am working on an Android terminal, and a colleague is working on an iOS implementation for Apple devices.

        -Thom

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          #5
          I am hosting a google meet today, (and will be scheduling more of these meets going forward) to show off the system, to explain WHY this system is relevant, and what we all can do as users, authors, artists, and systems staff to make a truly unique experience for the retro-computing community.

          Details are on the irata.online website, at the top, but the skinny is, the next meet is at 4p to 6p today (Sunday)

          -Thom

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