One of the first computer-science books I had read not specific to a language or technology was about the history of computer science and included a story about Douglas Engelbart and the demo he gave on Dec 9 , 1968 (a great year) at the Fall Joint Computer Conference.
The demo featured the first computer mouse the public had ever seen, as well as introducing interactive text, video conferencing, teleconferencing, email, hypertext and a collaborative real-time editor. Later this demo was referred to as “the mother of all demos” in Steven Levy’s 1994 book, Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer That Changed Everything. This phrase would later be used to describe everything else but in computer science – “the mother of all demos” will always refer to his demo in 1968.
Yesterday was his 85th birthday, and I loved reading about Douglas as he is an intriguing individual – his pursuit of what can be rather than was just simply is was amazing – think what he would be working on today.
One of my favorite quotes is by Alan Kay – “the best way to predict the future is to invent it” – well, that’s exactly what Douglas’s team did – they helped invent the future
Yet another case where in a perfect world, there would be a beer named after this person as well – “bartender, another Engelbart please….” – I like the sound of that.
Think of the cool conversations a guy could have with an individual like Douglas – Happy Birthday Douglas – pretty cool legacy you had a hand in shaping.
And check out that original wooden box mouse he is holding in his left hand with a single button – cool.