Thursday, 29 August 2013

The Mother of All Demos~Douglas Carl Engelbart

If you are in a certain age group you will remember what it was like before Bill Gates and Steve Jobs came out of their backyard garages. Many can't remember that far back, or for that matter "believe" that there was a "before"  and that there were "others". In the movie Pirates of Silicone Valley the plot is about~and concentrates on~Gates and Jobs as they battle for supremacy.

One of the key scenes is when Gates sees a demo of a working "mouse" at Apple headquarters. Dramatic, but neither of the pair were the true founders of the mouse. 

That honour goes to a man who was among the first to make inroads into computers and communications (and who is almost unknown) Douglas Carl Engelbart (30 January 1925 to  02 July 2013)

He is not only responsible for the first computer mouse, but many of the concepts that make up our current technological society. You can learn about this amazing man, his inventions and how his legacy continues at the Doug Engelbart Institute.

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) funded the development of the Douglas Engelbart's NLS (oN Line System) computer system and The Mother of All Demos.

On 09 December 1968 Douglas Engelbart gave his "demo" in San Francisco, that is now known as The Mother of All Demos. The presentation ran for almost two hours. During that time he introduced experimental computer technologies that are now considered commonplace, but at the time were amazing.

It was a "live" demonstration that featured the introduction of the computer mouse, video conferencing, teleconferencing, hypertext, word processing, hypermedia, object addressing and dynamic file linking, bootstrapping, and a collaborative real-time editor.

It is almost impossible to grasp the enormity of the headway that one man,  Douglas Engelbart made so many years ago. Working with his teams, he was able to see the future possibilities of technology, imagine how they would work, and actually build and put them to use. Here are a few items that came out of his labs...
Below is the full demo, and yes, the first minutes are slow and there are parts that some may not be able to understand. You can watch an annotated version in thirty-five clips, with pictures at the Stanford Mouse Site. For those of us who started out before Windows and Apple, and the plethora of systems programs now available, this is not only nostalgic, but remains amazing! A man far ahead of his time, Engelbart believed the future lay in collaborative, networked, timeshare (client-server) computers. Incredibly, the younger, up and coming programmers rejected his ideas in favor of the personal computer! The brilliant mind of Douglas Engelbart has left us many great things and his institute continues in his footsteps...

 The Mother of All Demos~Douglas Carl Engelbart (30 January 1925 to 02 July 2013)

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