“Mouse man” Douglas Engelbart dies

If, like me, you, woke to hear that “mouse man” Doug [las] Engelbart had died on the 2nd July 2013 then you will probably have been reflecting on how far this technology has progress since it was first carved out of a block of wood; not least the decision to move the tail (now obsolete) to between the ears and so resembling a mouse that has lost it fight with a cat!

You will find the basics at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jul/04/doug-engelbart-computer-mouse-dies but the MIT has a wider ranging eulogy and a link to a famous 1968 conference presentation where he introduces hypertext (although not yet by name) and towards the end mentions the plans for ARPANET to go live the following years with 20 connected computers and their work with Herman Miller designing furniture to support the predicted new ways of working. Well worth watching but the non-programmers might want to skip the detail of their early object orientated programming language. http://www.technologyreview.com/view/516791/the-word-visionary-is-overused-but-it-really-applied-to-this-man/?utm_campaign=newsletters&utm_source=newsletter-daily-all&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20130704

Just a year after the video was made an enlighten mathematics teacher arranged for several of us “A” Level students to use a hand punch and create Fortran programmes on cards that would be taken by courier to the Council’s ICL computer and the line printed output returned the following week. The frustration of weeks when my programme that would find square roots failed to run was trivial once the elation arrived – the cards had produced results. That was the year that Armstrong walked on the moon and the year before Jimi Hendrix and four students died at Kent State University. Years that influenced me greatly – you will have similar moments and, in time, communicate them. Why? Because that is the way of those that desire to improve the world!

Another colossus and a friend, Professor John J Wilson also died on Tuesday – you might never have heard of him but be thankful for his life of scholarship it has been applied to made many differences to our world.

Enjoy the sun!

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