Okay, guys. I've been working on this, for weeks, and now it's time to open the doors. The PLATO system that I’ve 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? It’s 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, it’s 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
IRATA.Online’s scared shitless leader.