July 07, 2013

More Than 20 Years Ahead of His Time

We're over two decades behind where we ought to be.

Doug Englebert died last Tuesday and it is a testament to how screwed up our media is that I learned of his passing from XKCD.

Englebert was one of the greatest computer pioneers of all time.
After returning from service in the Philippine theater of operations in WW2 he studied electrical engineering and worked for NACA. He then worked on computers at Ames, and with Hewlett Crane developing magnetic core memory. In 1962 he put together a hand picked team of researchers at Stanford's Augmentation Reasearch Center.

Between 1962 and 1968, he and his 17 person team developed, amongst other things, the computer mouse, cursor (which he called a "bug") hypertext, instant messaging, video instant messaging, audio files, dynamic file linking, keyword searching, modern computer word processing and the hyperlink.

Here follow this "hyperlink" to the video of his 1968 demo of the fruits of their labors at the 1968 joint computer conference. watch the whole thing. It's 90 minutes that changed the world...just a bit slower than it ought to have.

It was all there...all of it was demonstrated except cat videos and pr0n and it was demonstrated in 1968.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 10:38 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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1 While the devil is in the details and we should always remember to credit the engineers who build things as well as those who design them, it's hard to overstate the significance of that demo.  As you say, it changed the world.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Mon Jul 8 08:48:28 2013 (PiXy!)

2 In fact, the world changed twice the year I was two: First on the day Doug Engelbart presented his demo, then later when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the Moon.  I know I watched the latter event live, though I have no recollection of it, but I didn't know of the Engelbart demo until a good couple of decades later.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Mon Jul 8 08:52:34 2013 (PiXy!)

3 It is my understanding that his team did in fact have numerous cat videos on file back in 1968, but it was decided that "the world is not yet ready" for such concentrated cuteness...

Posted by: Siergen at Mon Jul 8 12:21:51 2013 (Ao4Kw)

4 In fact, the world changed twice the year I was two:

Three times.  That was the year Wonderduck was unleashed on an unsuspecting world.

Posted by: Wonderduck at Mon Jul 8 19:07:14 2013 (aZ8MF)

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