The Chinese New Year Parade is happening tomorrow Saturday, February
27 from 5:30 pm to 8 pm in downtown San Francisco. I'm going to take
some pictures, but this is typically the kind of event where the more
people cover it, the more chances we have of getting good shots. So if
you know a thing or two about photography, and you don't have any
plans for tomorrow late afternoon, feel free to grab your camera and
come. I'm sure it'll be worth it (and if it rains, well, it'll be
fun). It's the biggest Chinese new year parade outside China.
Map and additional information at
This sounds kind of amazing... and maybe relevant for thinking about
Wikimedia's future. In 41 years, will we have a Wikipedia@50
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brian Dear <brian(a)platohistory.org>
Date: Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 4:20 PM
Subject: [Air-L] Conference Announcement: 50th Anniv of PLATO System
(June 2-3, 2010)
[ Conference Announcement ]
"PLATO @ 50"
A 2-day Conference Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the PLATO
Computer System and its Online Community
Co-produced by the PLATO History Foundation and the Computer History
Museum, with major support from Microsoft Corporation.
WHERE AND WHEN:
Computer History Museum
Mountain View, California
June 2-3, 2010
--> This is a FREE conference and is open to the public. <--
HOW TO REGISTER (FREE):
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
ABOUT THIS CONFERENCE:
This once-in-a-lifetime conference focuses on the history and
significance of the PLATO computer system and online community. PLATO
began in 1960 as an experimental computer-based education system
running on the ILLIAC-1 computer at the University of Illinois.
During the 1960s the system expanded greatly and as early as 1963
PLATO offered college courses for credit. One of the pioneering
efforts of the 1960s became a true phenomenon by the 1970s, where the
PLATO IV system, funded by NSF and ARPA, supported 1000 simultaneous
users connected via gas-plasma flat-panel display terminals with
built-in touch screens (the gas-plasma flat-panel display was invented
for the PLATO system, decades before it would emerge as a television
technology for consumers). For nearly ten years, there were more
users connected to the various PLATO systems installed around the
world in the 1970s and early 80s than there were on all of ARPANET,
the major precursor to the Internet. This conference
is the first opportunity to discover an entire, amazingly rich and
vibrant history of computing, social media, and online community that
flourished long before many people would have thought it was possible
for such things to exist.
A HANDS-ON EVENT:
A number of fully-restored, functioning PLATO terminals will be
available during the conference for actual hands-on interacting with a
live PLATO system that includes thousands of courseware lessons on
subjects ranging from elementary math and reading to advanced
chemistry and calculus; games (Empire, Avatar, Moria, etc.); and
social media (TERM-talk, Talkomatic, Notes, Personal Notes, etc.)
WHO SHOULD ATTEND:
* Anyone interested in Social Media, Social Software, Blogs, Online
Newspapers, Digital Journalism, Online Communities: it all emerged on
PLATO years before anywhere else.
* Anyone interested in Internet Studies (come find out everything that
happened before the Internet took off) and the History of Technology
* Anyone interested in the history of online games, online virtual
goods and economies, multiplayer games, MUDs, sports games, card
games, simulations, and how PLATO influenced and continues to
influence and inspire game development today
* Anyone interested in the impact of computers on society,
cyberculture, online relationships, online addiction, privacy issues,
censorship, and the controversies of anonymous online postings.
* Anyone interested in computer-assisted instruction, e-Learning, CBT,
computer-based education, authoring systems, online testing and
administration. PLATO was the largest government-funded system in the
history of educational computing.
* Anyone who loves technology, computers, and the Internet, and wants
to learn what the Future looked like decades ago, at a time when
Google's founders were still in diapers, and Apple and Microsoft had
not yet been founded.
(NOTE: SUBJECT TO REVISION - follow the platohistory.org site for updates)
[----------- Wednesday June 2 -----------]
7pm: General Introductions, and an Overview of PLATO History
Featuring John Hollar, CEO of Computer History Museum, and Brian Dear,
PLATO History Foundation
7:20pm: Panel #1: SEEING THE FUTURE THROUGH THE PAST: A CONVERSATION
WITH DONALD BITZER AND RAY OZZIE
Featuring Dr. Donald Bitzer, Distinguished Research Professor and
creator of PLATO, and Ray Ozzie, Chief Software Architect, Microsoft
Corporation. Dr. Bitzer was only 26 when he began work on creating
the PLATO system in the summer of 1960. Ray Ozzie got his start as a
student programmer on PLATO at the University of Illinois in the
1970s, and the experience has guided and inspired his career (which
includes creating Lotus Notes, named after PLATO Notes) ever since.
[----------- Thursday June 3 -----------]
8:30am Morning sessions
Panel #2: AN EARLY ONLINE COMMUNITY: PEOPLE PLUS COMPUTING GROWS COMMUNITES
Featuring Dave Woolley, Doug Brown, Kim Mast, and others. How PLATO's
online community emerged in 1972-73, including one of the first
conferencing/message-board systems (PLATO Notes), the first multi-user
chat room (Talk-o-matic), one of the first instant messaging
applications (TERM-talk), sophisticated remote-monitoring
functionality, live online consulting and help, PLATO's electronic
mail (Personal Notes), and more. Learn how the PLATO system provided
its thousands of users with one of the earliest glimpses of what would
be coming decades later with the Internet and Web.
Panel #3. PLATO GAMES: AN EARLY, ROBUST COMMUNITY OF MULTI-PLAYER, ONLINE GAMES
Featuring Brand Fortner, John Daleske, Andrew Shapira, and others.
PLATO's games are legendary and some of the earliest examples of
sophisticated multi-player games, including Empire (precursor of
NetTrek and dozens of others), Airfight (precursor of Microsoft Flight
Simulator), Avatar/Moria/Oubliette/DND (precursors of DOOM, EverQuest,
and World of Warcraft), and countless other games.
12:00pm LUNCH INCLUDED
1pm: Afternoon sessions
PANEL #4: PLATO SOFTWARE: DRIVEN BY A CLEAR, COMPELLING CHALLENGE
Featuring Bruce Sherwood, Michael Walker, Bob Rader, others. Learn
about how the PLATO system software evolved over the years, including
the powerful TUTOR authoring language, the powerful graphics editors,
sophisticated answer judging, and other tools and utilities.
PANEL #5: EARLY ON-LINE EDUCATION AND COURSEWARE: LESSONS LEARNED,
Featuring Dr. Ruth Chabay and others. Find out the lessons learned
from one of the earliest and most major courseware development
projects across all areas from elementary education to college-level
to industry and government. What can we learn from the evolution of
courseware from its designers and their subsequent careers?
PANEL #6: PLATO HARDWARE: MISSION-BASED DEVELOPMENTS LED OTHER PLACES
Featuring Donald Bitzer, Roger Johnson, Larry Weber, others. Learn
about the amazing innovations including the history of the gas-plasma
flat-panel display (which, in 1968, was a major inspiration for Alan
Kay and his "Dynabook" personal laptop computer), PLATO's touch panel,
the CYBER mainframes and custom peripheral systems, and other
PANEL #7: A CLOSE LOOK AT A CULTURE OF INNOVATION: WHAT DON BITZER
WROUGHT; WHAT CAN BE LEARNED FROM IT
Featuring Bob Sutton, CK Gunsalus, Bob Price (former CEO of Control
Data Corporation), David Frankel, and others. Learn about the culture
of the PLATO laboratory at the University of Illinois that enabled and
empowered bright people to excel. Also covered will be lessons
learned from Control Data Corporation's marketing and
commercialization of PLATO, its many years of interactions and
collaboration with the University of Illinois, and CDC's own PLATO
innovations in hardware, software, courseware, and addressing
society's major unmet needs.
5:30 (approx) Wrap-up and conference closing.
(Once again: times, speakers, etc. still subject to some revision and
This is not your average conference. It is going to be a major
historical event and one that offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
to hear and meet many of the original PLATO system creators, users,
and researchers. This free event is sure to fill up early, so
register early to make sure you can attend.
HOW TO REGISTER (FREE):
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
see the PLATO History Blog at http://platohistory.org
See you there!
PLATO History Foundation
La Jolla, California
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Hello San Francisco people!
I'm coming to visit the WMF office in SF and I'd love to meet some
non-staff SF Wikimedians while I'm there. I completely forgot about my
plan to contact you before I came, so this is rather short notice - I
get to SF tomorrow and leave on 3rd March. Is anyone available during
that period for some kind of mini-meetup?
PS I've subscribed to this list and will stay subscribed for the
duration of my visit, so you can just reply here.
Micha & all,
Is half a month away too early to ask people to list their preferred
dates and/or times on:
I tried to carry as much of the results forward from Meetup_11 as I
could. _13 is set for April 10th on Angel Island. The only non-active
part scheduled, is proofreading (or, finishing) stuff for Maker Faire
that didn't get finished online or at _12.
To that end, should we try to do as much as the preparation on line
beforehand as possible? There are ideas for everyone. Some of them
are linked to completed projects, some of them are completely new,
some of them are in between, and some of them I don't really
Also, I tried to tweet you and Cary -- are we allowed to use the
Office again? Many of us didn't get to see the big conference room
which was reserved for the Board meeting during _11. As far as I can
remember, everyone behaved in an exemplary manner, so I hope so.
I think will be great to organize photo/video sessions in Commons
booth about how to create/fix/repair/disassemble things.
Such materials will be definitely useful for
Wikipedia/Wikibooks/WikiHow and it's will be well aligned with
MakerFair idea itself.
I am wondering about the timing of a 2012 bid. I have organized some
conferences before, and in my recollection, getting the timing right --
being able to sign the contracts at the right times, when one is able to
commit, but as early as possible -- is critical.
I am a little bit worried that a bid for 2012 is not going to happen until
February 2011, and that we are not going to hear back until (likely) April
2011. This means that from the time we hear, to the meet-up, there is
barely over one year. This is not much time for locking down space for 800
people. Especially, the earlier we are able to commit, the better
conditions we may be able to extract. For other conferences I am involved
in (academic-type conferences), the steering committees try to plan 2 years
in advance at least.
Concretely, I talked with UCSC, and they told me that they would have lots
of possibilities open for 2012, but time for 2011 is tighter; they would
have more constraints for space and time available. We are asking for a lot
of meet space (some place where to meet in 700 people or so, plus 8-10
separate break-out rooms for 80 people or so each, would be my guess), and a
lot of space for attendees. So now we are in an ideal position to enter a
committment for 2012, but if we wait until 2011... who knows?
Also, I am unsure about the logistics of a bid. We send a bid with what
kind of agreement with the venue?
- If we send it after signing an agreement, and the bid is rejected, we
are in trouble.
- If we send the bid without agreement, and in the time before we hear,
the space is sold to others, what do we do? We then retract the bid after
we hear back it is accepted?
- I am not sure if there are other options. We can maybe convince the
universities to keep the space reserved to us, but without a financial
commitment from our part, for the duration of the bid process. This would
be a huge favor to us -- normally, venues never commit space without some
down-payment or agreement -- and I suspect it would be much easier to ask
now, for 2012, than in 2011. When there is only one year going to the
meet-up, universities may be unwilling to reserve the space for us, unless
we are ready to commit.
Other thoughts? This timing issue is, in my opinion, one of the hardest...
When I organized my previous conference (hey, the site is still there:
http://concur05.soe.ucsc.edu/), I at least knew it would surely happen in
San Francisco, before I started signing contracts.
Just a quick heads-up to try and summarize what was discussed today. I
see someone also added stuff to the meetup page, but I'm lazy so I'll
just send a quick e-mail.
* Maker Faire:
** The next meet-up will be coordinated by Micah and may focus on
preparation for the Maker Faire. We will probably organize teams to
work on general marketing materials, maker faire-specific materials,
visualization, booth set-up, etc.
** I will help coordinate activities related to the marketing
marathon, printed documents, etc.
** It would be nice to have a specific booth for Commons, with a few
laptops featuring the new upload interface. We would show people how
to upload a few of their photos to Commons, so that they can try to
upload more photos when they're at home. We could tie this to
workshops on how to take pictures of such or such topic (portraits,
objects, etc.). Might be even more easier to attract people and
recruit new participants.
* Wikimania 2011
** Basically, won't happen here.
* Wikimania 2012
** There may be a bid, and it might happen here. If someone wants it to happen.
* Smaller regional conference
** Easier to organize than a Wikimania
** Would be a good opportunity to see what the BA community is capable of
** Mid/late Fall 2010 may be a good time
** It would make sense to organize this in coordination with the Media
participation campaign that we'd like to run about the same time (Fall
2010) to raise awareness about Commons.
I probably left out a lot of things since I focused on stuff that
interest me. Feel free to add to it, here or on
Does anybody interested in sharing ride/parking for this Saturday
meet-up? I'll drive to drive from San Jose, but stopping anywhere
between San Jose/San Francisco is fine (highways 101/280).
As you know we're planning a meetup for Feb. 6... however, someone
mentioned to me they thought the WMF offices would not be available
that day due to another meeting. Can someone from the office confirm
if the space is available or not?
If it's not, do ya'll want to ....
1) reschedule (back to) January 30 ?
2) meet somewhere else?