The year is 1962. More than a decade will pass before personal computers emerge from the garages of Silicon Valley, and a full thirty years before the Internet explosion of the 1990s. The word computer still has an ominous tone, conjuring up the image of a huge, intimidating device hidden away in an overlit, air-conditioned basement, relentlessly processing punch cards for some large institution - them. Yet, sitting in a nondescript office in Robert McNamara's Pentagon, a quiet forty-seven-year-old civilian is already planning the revolution that will change forever the way computers are perceived. Somehow, the occupant of that office - a former MIT psychologist named J. C. R. Licklider - has seen a future in which computers will empower individuals, instead of forcing them into rigid conformity. He is almost alone in his conviction that computers can become not just superfast calculating machines but joyful machines - tools that will serve as new media of expression, inspirations to creativity, and gateways to a vast world of on line information. And now he is determined to use the Pentagon's money to make that vision a reality.