Doug Engelbart, American inventor and computing legend, Dies at 88.

3 July, 2013

Sad news.  Most of the Smalltalk community knows all about Doug through stories shared by Alan.  Some of you have been lucky enough to have met him.  Much of what we know about computers was invented by some really terrific minds.  Today we lost one of the best.  It is amazing how far technology has progressed in such a short time.  We are lucky to live in a time that still has so many of the great inventors still alive.  It’s an amazing time to be standing the the shoulders of giants.  Alan Kay reminds us that all of the present is not made up of all of the past.  Only part of what was done back then survived and is in use today.  Some of our history is better than our present.  We should all take a moment and remember that past.

I couldn’t help but notice that Doug has three controls.  The Mouse the keyboard and what?  A function menu?  A view selector? Just what is that left hand doing?  I know I’ve tried to explain ctrl-c to people and even today many people have no idea that keyboard shortcuts exist.  Just a thought.

5 Responses to “Doug Engelbart, American inventor and computing legend, Dies at 88.”

  1. In part 4/9 (+00.01:00) he explains the left hand control. If I heard correctly (the audio is a bit wonky), the keys on the left side correspond to characters. Press one of the keys and get a character on the screen. Press two of the keys, get a different character. Moreover, pressing keys ‘1’ and ‘2’ gives you a different result than pressing keys ‘1’ and ‘3’. He said you can express up to 31 different characters this way. It’s a really neat idea – you can type and have your hand on the mouse at the same time.

    • Mark Miller Says:

      That was the idea. He wanted to avoid people having to move a lot between the keyboard and the mouse. My understanding is the key chord’s role was to issue commands to the system in coordination with the mouse, rather than use the keyboard with the mouse that much. The idea was you would spend time putting in your content, and then you’d shift to using the key chord and the mouse to adjust and rearrange it.

      • what a brilliant idea! I can’t tell you how often I’ve been annoyed by the fact that I’m constantly having to move my hands from one input device to another. It totally disrupts the flow between the system and I.

  2. Mark Miller Says:

    The key chord!

  3. LantzR Says:

    Cmd Opt Shift click

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