Saturday, July 6, 2013

Doug Engelbart, RIP

John Markoff:

In a single stroke he had what might be safely called a complete vision of the information age.

The epiphany spoke to him of technology’s potential to expand human intelligence, and from it he spun out a career that indeed had lasting impact. It led to a host of inventions that became the basis for the Internet and the modern personal computer.

Bret Victor:

Technology writers, in particular, tend to miss the point miserably, because they see everything as a technology problem. Engelbart devoted his life to a human problem, with technology falling out as part of a solution. When I read tech writers’ interviews with Engelbart, I imagine these writers interviewing George Orwell, asking in-depth probing questions about his typewriter.

Dave Winer:

It’s hard to fight a wave of technology. People who do it, almost always end up sidelined, unless they give in and go with the new wave. I’ve had to make the kinds of decisions Engelbart faced, quite a few times. Sometimes I fought the change, only to lose, and other times I embraced the need to start over and give up on your total vision and settle for part of it.

Update (2013-07-07): Ehud Lamm:

To commemorate this famous event, commonly known as the mother of all demos, SRI held a 40th anniversary celebration at Stanford today. As a small tribute to the innovative ideas that made up the demo, it is befitting to mention some of the programming languages that were used by Engelbart’s team. A few were mentioned in passing in the event today, making me realize that they are not that widely known.

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