The Friendly Orange Glow: The Untold Story of the PLATO System and the Dawn of Cyberculture, by Brian Dear
At a time when Steve Jobs was only a teenager and Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t even born, a group of visionary engineers and designers in the late 1960s and 1970s created a computer system called PLATO, which was light-years ahead in experimenting with how people would learn, engage, communicate, and play through connected computers.
Not only did PLATO engineers make significant hardware breakthroughs with plasma displays and touch screens but PLATO programmers also came up with a long list of software innovations: chat rooms, instant messaging, message boards, screen savers, multiplayer games, online newspapers, interactive fiction, and emoticons.
PLATO was the foundational model for every online community that was to follow in its footsteps. The PLATO community were among the first to identify and also realize the potential and scope of the social interconnectivity of computers.
The Friendly Orange Glow recounts in fascinating detail the remarkable accomplishments and inspiring personal stories of the PLATO community. It reveals new perspectives on the origins of social computing and our internet-infatuated world.
“Dear’s sprawling re-creation conveys the excitement of technological innovation and the freewheeling eccentricity of this vibrant scene.” - Publishers Weekly