Our data-soaked, gadgetized world instills in us a sensation of forward movement, of evolution. But, really, that feeling derives largely from marketing: The next big chipset, the next graphics card, the next smartphone seem to represent advancement, but mostly they are refinements of a constricted, highly lucrative road map.
It's useful to remind ourselves every once in a while that we might have arrived here, near here or someplace better via other paths -- trails blazed by philosophy, or marked by scientific study of human-computer interaction. Such approaches have played a role, certainly, and an important one, but so, too, have floundering and flailing, throwing this or that against the wall and seeing if it sticks.
Engelbart and pioneers like him remind us of the transformative power of vision. Is his achievable? Years ago, I might have said no. But, if the apps, shareware and freeware available on the Web, or the open source, crowdsource and copyleft movements have taught me anything, it's that if there's a good idea, someone out there will try it, even at the risk of potential profits. The cream, or something like it, will rise to the top.
- Douglas Engelbart: The Computer Mouse [VIDEO]
- How Computer Mice Work
- How do optical mice work?
- How does the Internet work?
- How Home Networking Works
- How Web Pages Work
- Alexander, Howard. "Behold the Lowly Mouse: Clever Technology Close at Hand." The New York Times. Oct. 1, 1998. (Sept. 18, 2012) http://www.nytimes.com/1998/10/01/technology/behold-the-lowly-mouse-clever-technology-close-at-hand.html
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- Computer History Museum (CHM). "Production-run Three-Button Mouse, Serial Number 001." (Sept. 17, 2012) http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/input-output/14/350/1656
- Computer History Museum (CHM). "Prototype Engelbart mouse (replica)." (Sept. 14, 2012) http://www.computerhistory.org/revolution/input-output/14/350/1546
- Computer History Museum (CHM). "Timeline of Computer History: 1964." (Sept. 18, 2012) http://www.computerhistory.org/timeline/?year=1964
- Computer History Museum (CHM). "Timeline of Computer History: Components." (Sept. 17, 2012) http://www.computerhistory.org/timeline/?category=cmpnt
- Doug Engelbart Institute (Sept. 14, 2012) http://dougengelbart.org/
- Doug Engelbart Institute. "Doug's 1968 Demo." (Sept. 18, 2012) http://www.dougengelbart.org/firsts/dougs-1968-demo.html
- Doug Engelbart Institute. "Father of the Mouse." (Sept. 17, 2012) http://www.dougengelbart.org/firsts/mouse.html
- Doug Engelbart Institute. "A Lifetime Pursuit." (Sept. 18, 2012) http://www.dougengelbart.org/history/engelbart.html
- Encyclopedia Britannica. "Douglas Engelbart." (Sept. 17, 2012) http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/187881/Douglas-Engelbart
- EteRNA. (Sept. 14, 2012) http://eterna.cs.cmu.edu/
- Flynn, Laurie. "Sound Bytes; 'Bootstrapping' to the Future." The New York Times. Dec. 18, 1994. (Sept. 17, 2012) http://www.nytimes.com/1994/12/18/business/sound-bytes-bootstrapping-to-the-future.html
- Foldit (Sept. 14, 2012) http://fold.it/portal/
- Galaxy Zoo (Sept. 14, 2012) http://www.galaxyzoo.org/
- Markoff, John. "A Fight to Win the Future: Computers vs. Humans." The New York Times. Feb. 14, 2011. (Sept. 17, 2012) http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/15/science/15essay.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
- Markoff, John. "Apple Offers a Mouse to Counteract the One-Button Blues." The New York Times. Aug. 3, 2005. (Sept. 18, 2012) http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20817FE345B0C708CDDA10894DD404482
- Markoff, John. "How Digital Pioneers Put the 'Personal' in PC's." The New York Times. April 3, 2003. (Sept. 17, 2012) http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/03/technology/how-digital-pioneers-put-the-personal-in-pc-s.html
- Markoff, John. "It's Moore's Law, but Another Had the Idea First." The New York Times. April 18, 2005. (Sept. 17, 2012) http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/18/technology/18moore.html
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Inventor of the Week Archive: The Computer Mouse." January 2003. (Sept. 18, 2012) http://web.mit.edu/invent/iow/engelbart.html
- Stanford University MouseSite. "The Demo." (Sept. 14, 2012) http://sloan.stanford.edu/mousesite/1968Demo.html
- University of California, Berkeley. "1963: Douglas Engelbart Invents the Mouse." (Sept. 17, 2012) http://coe.berkeley.edu/about/history-and-traditions/1963-douglas-engelbart.html