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Douglas Engelbart
This nOde last updated April 11th, 2004 and is permanently morphing...
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1968
Douglas Carl Engelbart of Stanford Research Institute demonstrates his oNLine System (NLS) at the Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco. This system uses a bizarre pointing device he had devised--he calls it a mouse--along with a keyboard. During his 90-minute presentation, he manages three world debuts: the inaugural internal linkvoyage of the mouse, the first onscreen video teleconferencing, and the first use of hypermedia.

the first mouse

Doug Engelbart started thinking about building a thought-amplifying  device back when Harry Truman was President, and he has spent the  last thirty years stubbornly pursuing his original vision of building a   system for augmenting human intellect. At one point in the late 1960s,  Engelbart and his crew of infonauts demonstrated to the assembled  cream of computer scientists and engineers how the devices most  people then used for performing calculations or keeping track of   statistics could be used to enhance the most  creative human activities.

His former students have gone on to form a  disproportionate part of    the upper echelons of today's personal computer  designers. Partially   because of the myopia of his contemporaries, and  partially because of  his almost obsessive insistence on maintaining the purity of his original  vision, most of Engelbart's innovations have yet to be adapted by the  computer orthodoxy.

-_Tools For Thought_ by Howard Rheingold



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While Engelbart's name may be forever associated with a chunk of hardware, the panelists at the event made it clear that the scope of Engelbart's vision went beyond the mouse. His true legacy, said Stanford history professor Tim Lenoir, was in internal linkperceiving computers as facilitators for communication, rather than mere computation.

Lenoir quoted from a note that Engelbart had written to himself in 1964 after a brainstorming session for the internal linkARPAnet -- the government-funded precursor to the internal linkInternet -- that enthused that the advent of internal linknetwork computing was going to signify "a revolution like the development of writing and the printing press" combined. Under Engelbart's aegis, a computer at Stanford became the second machine patched into the embryonic Net.

The key to Engelbart's vision was the notion of internal linkbootstrapping: using computers and computer-assisted communication to "boost the collective IQ" and "get better at getting better."

the Internet the Network

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