Well, the final decision has been handed down and Pluto is no longer a planet to the chagrin of many and to the relief of others. It was an exciting several days in the world of anstronomy and science when we could have had as many as 12 planets, but in actuality ended up losing one of the 9 we've known for roughly the last century. It actually saddens me that the 12 planet resolution didn't pass, as it seemed to make the solar system a bit more interesting, but based on the science of it all, it's better to reclassify Pluto and its pivotal twin, Charon. Full story here. A rather agressive blog entry here (8/24/2006 entry).
This brings me back to Commodore's "Visible Solar System" (1982) cartridge for the Commodore 64 (C-64). This was one of my original cartridges after I got my C-64 and I still happen to have it. I believe a version for the Commodore Vic-20 was also released at the same time. This was one of the earliest attempts to make what amounts to a multimedia reference work, providing visuals and information on the then 9 known planets. You could also do simple action activities like fly throughs and star maps and what-not, but it was essentially a passive experience beyond directing the software what you wanted to see. Being as it was on cartridge, there was obviously no way to update it, and particularly in regards to things like Jovian and Saturian moons, it became out-of-date rather quickly. Nevertheless, it was an interesting attempt, and we wouldn't see pure reference works much again until the CD-ROM era, losing favor to more interactive educational software that featured quizzes and more hands-on activities, probably fitting the medium better. Certainly the Apple II was the leader in this regard, but the computer systems from Commodore, Atari and TI were no slouches with their masses of educational content either.
Finally, this brings me back to the point in the somewhat cheeky title of my blog entry, that it's fascinating to think how "old fashioned" physical reference works are, be they paper encyclopedias or on physical mediums like cartridges, disks or optical discs. They all have their place, but the beauty of references on a living medium like the Web is that we can update the entries immediately. That's amazing empowerment.