Thursday, July 4, 2013

Douglas C. Engelbart, inventor of the computer mouse, dies

The New York Times has reported that a true pioneer of computing has died, Doug Englebart, who is credited with inventing the computer mouse and the graphical user interface that we still all use to this day has died aged 88. In the 1960s he had a vision of computers that could be networked together and used intuitively by pointing and clicking at icons on a screen. On December 9 1968, Doug Engelbart and his group of 17 researchers from the Augmentation Research Center at Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, CA, presented a 90-minute live public demonstration of the online system, NLS, they had been working on since 1962. The presentation has become a legend and is now called "The Mother of All Demos" - the public presentation was a session in the of the Fall Joint Computer Conference held at the Convention Center in San Francisco, and it was attended by about 1,000 computer professionals. This was the public debut of the computer mouse. But the mouse was only one of many innovations demonstrated that day, including hypertext, object addressing and dynamic file linking, as well as shared-screen collaboration involving two persons at different sites communicating over a network with audio and video interface. These breakthrough ideas were subsequently taken up by Xerox at their Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and then commercialised by Apple with the Mac.

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