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August 31, 2015: The End of the Road for NovaNET

In a few hours, the NovaNET system will be shut down forever by its current owner, the Pearson corporation. It's the end of a very long journey -- and vision -- that began all the way back in 1960.

shutdown of NovaNET

Already, one of the last of the 's' system programmers has modified the TUTOR code to lesson "plato" (I love that NovaNET still uses lesson "plato"), so that no non-system-staff can sign in once the system shuts down tonight. The system will be up after that, but I'm told that tomorrow morning, the communications lines will be cut, so the axe really is coming down, and these are the final hours.

I can't help but be reminded of the scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey where Astronaut Dave goes into the inner sanctum of HAL and pulls out its memory banks one by one. Daisy, daisy, give me your answer do....

shutting down HAL

It's been a long journey. PLATO and NovaNET educated generations of people. NovaNET found a thriving market in the remedial and special-needs education segment. Unfortunately, it's not a very sexy market segment, and it hasn't been able to compete in recent years with web-based solutions. So it's going away. Along with it, hundreds (thousands?) of old notesfiles, many from the CERL PLATO days, along with many thousands of hours of lesson courseware and games, only some of which are on the cyber1 system. The rest, it appears, will be lost forever, unless someone, some thing, can convince Pearson to act. Good luck with that.

 

Learn more about the upcoming book:

The Friendly Orange Glow: The Story of the PLATO System and the Dawn of Cyberculture, by Brian Dear

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