Engelbart – Point and Click


As usual at the moment, I have been quite transfixxed by the latest issue of http://www.wired.com/wired and in particular the article by Doug Engelbart (page 158, or viewable at http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.01/mouse_pr.html ) on creating interactive systems in the late 60s at Stanford Research Institute.

The article has interesting information on the first mouse: carved out of wood plus hyperlinks, videoconferencing, wordprocessing and network collaboration. In other words basically the technologies that we are now taking advantage of in our everyday lifes. I have recently been thinking about how much easier graphical interfaces had been in previous versions and particularly when I am using Mac OS 10.x I am thinking how easy would a novice find it to use. It is no easier than a Windows XP machine, it stores files in almost POSIX compliant file system, its networking is more diverse than just about any machine on the market yet it is still seen as the “center” of usability but I think that title was earned with System 7 and just sticks to the apple brand.

I do indeed like Mac OS 10.x and I like Apple but just looking back at those old screen shots shows how simple and effective the older machines where. Ok, they might have a hard job playing back an MP3 but that isn’t the point. Have we really evolved that far? In some cases I think that we have gone backwards.

wired mag

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