“Mother of All Demos”


Bill English preparing for the 1968 Demo.

“In the America of 1968, computers weren’t at all personal. They were refrigerator-sized behemoths that hummed and blinked, calculating everything from consumer habits to missile trajectories, cloistered deep within corporate offices, government agencies and university labs. Their secrets were accessible only via punch card and teletype terminals. On December 9, 1968, Doug Engelbart and his Augmentation Research Center (ARC) at SRI staged a 90-minute public multimedia demonstration which presaged many of the technologies we use today. The demonstration is hailed as one of the most significant technological presentations in history, showcasing technologies that have become what we now know as modern computing. He gave the first public demonstration of a computer mouse, a graphical user interface, windowed computing, hypertext, word processing, video conferencing, and much more. During the presentation, Engelbart used his mouse prototype to move around the screen, highlight text, and resize windows. This was the first time that an integrated system for manipulating text onscreen was presented publicly. Engelbart would simultaneously appear on a portion of the projected screen, along with the computer’s output and then demonstrated collaborative editing and teleconferencing. At separate times, his Augment associates Jeff Rulifson and Bill Paxton appeared in another portion of the screen to help edit the text remotely from ARC. While they were editing they could see each other’s screen, talk and see each other as well. He further demonstrated that clicking on underlined text would then link to another page of information, demonstrating the concept of hypertext. When he finished the demonstration, the audience gave him a standing ovation. To further demonstrate the system, a separate room was set aside so that attendees could take a closer look at the NLS workstations and ask Engelbart questions. One last notion is that of Engelbart’s NLS system. …”
In 1968, Computers Got Personal: How Douglas Engelbart’s “Mother of All Demos” Changed Personal Technology Forever
W – The Mother of All Demos
The Engelbart Archive (Video)
WIRED: How Doug Engelbart Pulled off the Mother of All Demos
Computer Mouse
YouTube: Doug Engelbart – A New Paradigm for Humanity’s Collective IQ


One of Doug Engelbart’s early sketches of a computer mouse.

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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