Tech Visionary Englebart Dead at 88

Technology visionary Douglas Englebart has died.  Mashable notes that Englebart was known as the man behind the mouse, but his visions went well beyond pointing and clicking:

Engelbart gave the first demonstration of a computer mouse on December 9, 1968, which has since been dubbed the “Mother of All Demos.” In addition to the mouse, Engelbart showed many technologies now common in computing, including video conferencing, word processing, hypertext and collaborative editing… His research also pioneered the way for graphical user interfaces.

The idea of a computer in the 1960s or 1970s conjures up images of tractor-trailer-sized machines with reel-to-reel tapes, flashing lights, and all the intelligence of today’s pocket calculators, with programmers milling about in narrow black ties and short-sleeved white button-downs.  Englebart looked beyond that and saw the ideas that would become the Internet, video teleconferencing, and the icon-based desktops and screens we see today.

His famous demo is on YouTube.  It’s in multiple parts, so you’ll have to click through to see everything.  It’s a bit of an inconvenience, but imagine how hard it would be without a mouse.

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