Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mouse Love

I wonder if Doug Engelbart could have imagined the way I so easily use the mouse?

I was just starting up iTunes and for some reason it made me think about the whole interface of using a mouse as if it were your finger as you click or drag on the screen. It has become an extension of my hand, a fact I become all the more aware of when I try to use the trackpad on a laptop. Now that's a poor substitute for my little plastic mousy friend.

Here's a video that recorded the first time a mouse was demonstrated by Engelbart and his team at Stanford in 1968. Note the odd keyboard; Engelbart had the idea that the mouse would be used with one hand and the keyboard with the other, so to make a keyboard usable with only five fingers, he designed a chord keyboard, kind of like the ones used by court reporters.

I also find it amusing that the mouse's cord runs out the bottom, beneath the user's wrist -- like a mouse tail. I wonder when that changed.

Here's even more info on the history of the mouse.

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