December 09, 2008
Happy Mouse Day
NPR is noting that today (9 Dec) is the 40th birthday of the unveiling of the computer mouse. The mouse was invented by Douglas Engelbart, who is sort of personally responsible for -- or at least who envisioned -- the PC as we know it today. His prototype was made of wood:
I'm not 100% sure of the chronology of the mouse -- Engelbart applied for the patent in 1967 -- but it was on December 9, 1968 that Engelbart gave a lecture in which he demonstrated not only his proto-mouse, but the PC, hypertext, networking, and other stuff. The video isn't great, but it's an amazing glimpse into history being made. This demo might not look revolutionary today, but this was still the era of mainframes and punchcards, and it's hard to imagine just how radical this must have looked.
Here's a cite from that lecture that indicates just how forward-thinking Engelbart was:
If in your office you as an intellectual worker were supplied with a computer display backed up by a computer that was alive for you all day and was instantly responsive to every action you had, how much value could you derive from that?
-- Douglas Engelbart (December 9, 1968)