The mother of all demos…


This demonstration, given by Douglas Engelbart on December 9, 1968, is now often referred to as “the mother of all demos.” And for good reason.  That’s exactly what it is.

I had never seen it myself and I’m not at all overstating it to say I was astonished.

If you have a geeky bone in your body (and perhaps even if you don’t) it’s well worth your time to watch the whole thing. As you watch keep in mind that this was at a time that computers elsewhere were still using punchcards.

This is quite simply the birth of just about everything about computers, software, hardware etc..that we take for granted today. You’ll see the first ever revealed to the public mouse, interactive text, videoconferencing (!), teleconferencing, email (!), hypertext (!), and collaborative real-time editing (!). Remember this was 1968.

What I was struck with while watching was how much of it was so familiar. The jargon we use today was born here….file, link, hidden link, hardware, software, mouse, tree structure, code, languages, user, commands, delete, copy, edit, search, filter, meta language, online etc…

Grab some popcorn kids, settle in, and watch the beginning of it all (click on full screen 🙂 )….

PS – The bearded programmer guy, Bill Paxton, that looks like he’d be at home here in 2010 IS. He has a website here.