The inventor of the computer mouse, Doug Engelbart, has died aged 88.
Engelbart developed the tool in the 1960s as a wooden shell covering two
metal wheels, patenting it long before the mouse's
widespread use. He also worked on early incarnations of email, word processing
and video teleconferences at a California research institute.
The state's Computer History Museum was notified of his death by his
daughter, Christina, in an email.
Her father had been in poor health and died peacefully on Tuesday night in
his sleep, she said.
Engelbart was born on 30 January 1925 in Portland, Oregon, to a radio
repairman father and a housewife mother.
'Mother of all demos'
He studied electrical engineering at Oregon State University and served as a
radar technician during World War II.
He then worked at Nasa's predecessor, Naca, as an electrical engineer, but
soon left to pursue a doctorate at University of California, Berkeley.
His interest in how computers could be used to aid human cognition
eventually led him to Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and then his own
laboratory, the Augmentation Research Center.
His laboratory helped develop ARPANet, the government research network that
led to the internet.
Engelbart's ideas were way ahead of their time in an era when computers took
up entire rooms and data was fed into the hulking machines on punch cards.
At a now legendary presentation that became known as the "mother of all
demos" in San Francisco in 1968, he made the first public demonstration of
At the same event, he held the first video teleconference and explained his
theory of text-based links, which would form the architecture of the internet.
He did not make much money from the mouse
because its patent ran out in 1987, before the device became widely used.
SRI licensed the technology in 1983 for $40,000 (£26,000) to Apple.
At least one billion computer mice have been sold.
Engelbart had considered other designs for his most famous invention, including
a device that could be fixed underneath a table and operated by the knee.
He was said to have been driven by the belief that computers could be used
to augment human intellect.
Engelbart was awarded the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT prize in 1997 and the National
Medal of Technology for "creating the foundations of personal
computing" in 2000.
Since 2005, he had been a fellow at the Computer History Museum in Mountain
He is survived by his second wife, Karen O'Leary Engelbart, and four children.
Friday, July 12, 2013
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Kenya’s omission from President Obama’s Africa itinerary does not signify a downgrading of Washington’s relationship with Nairobi, a White House official said on Friday.
President Obama is due to visit Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania next week in an Africa tour that will bypass Kenya, his ancestral homeland.
“The Kenyan people just hold a very special place in the president’s heart,” declared Ben Rhodes, spokesman for the US National Security Council.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Let's face it: Most of us don't e-mail, tweet, text or post anything worthy of clandestine scrutiny.
It's easy to forget that we're volunteering basic information about ourselves in return for free e-mail, social networking and other digital services. And let's remember that third parties -- from government agencies to cybercriminals -- can get their hands on even more personal stuff if they're actively trying.
So, whether it's due to a vague fear of Big Brother or a more specific desire to keep your bank information out of the hands of thieves, you might be considering ways to keep your communication more secure.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
America’s largest Internet companies are tripping over themselves to bolster their public image following blockbuster disclosures about their role in the U.S. government’s controversial data-gathering program. Ever since news reports suggested that major tech firms — including Apple, Google, Facebook and Yahoo — provide the National Security Agency (NSA) with unfettered or “direct” access to their servers, the companies have been waging an aggressive campaign to demonstrate that they’re not government stooges.
Now, several of the top Silicon Valley firms are engaged in a game of one-upmanship to show that they are the most transparent Internet company on the block.