Ninteen ninety-four, Northern California. The Internet is just emerging from its origins in the military and university research labs. Groups of idealistic technologists, recognizing its potential as a tool for liberation and solidarity, are working feverishly to build the network. In the early chat rooms of one such gathering, soon-to-become-famous as The WELL, a Stanford futurist named Tom Mandel creates a new conference. In a topic headed "Local Bug Report", he asks for advice from fellow online participants about how he might shake off a persistent hacking cough.