Monthly Archives: February 2012

Snags

Just as I had written a wonderful blog post about how to explain how complex and captivating technology and the Internet is, I experienced a snag. A simple message popping up on my computer saying “error” when I tried to publish. I immediately felt that disheartening feeling of hard work going to waste because I didn’t hit the “save draft” button. Ugh computer problems. Why do these messages always occur at the worst possible moment?

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“Demo or Die”

” In 20 or 30 years, you’ll be able to hold in your hand as much computing knowledge as exists now in the whole city, or even the whole world.”

– Doug Engelbart

Doug Engelbart and his invention - The Mouse

Demonstrations have become a more and more common way to show an idea or new invention. They give evidence that something is real and really works. They are proof how easy/complicated something is to the public eye. According to businessweek.com, customers like to see a product’s capabilities and understand how the product is used.

Doug Engelbart, an individual whom I mentioned in my last posting, is said to have had the “Mother of all Demos” back in 1968. In one demonstration that he worked on with Bill English, he revolutionized technology. They demonstrated how computing could be interactive – with a “mouse,” word processing, file linking, and other things like bootstrapping and edits. Would his ideas and intellect really stuck in the audience’s mind if he hadn’t have had a demonstration? I think not. I believe that the demonstration was a key marketing technique that Engelbart used to really show the audience that these things, his ideas, were possible – and could be the future.

Check out the Doug Engelbart Institute to watch the Mother of all Demos!!

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What a guy…

For the past couple of days, I have been working on reading and re-readingDouglas Engelbart’s Essay of “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework.” ┬áThe depth of the essay and intelligence within it make it extremely difficult, but interesting to read and (try) to understand. I find it an incredibly challenging peice of work, as Engelbart continuously complicates things within the essay. As soon as I think I am finally grasping the content, he makes it more complex. It’s like he writes, “..the complexity of his problems grows still faster…” The title itself is incredibly complex. Why does he explain things in such a complicated way?

After I asked myself this question, I decided to “Google” him. I immediately went to the first hit – a wikipedia page about him. Here’s the link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Engelbart

It is a pretty in-depth look at Doug Engelbart’s life and the incredible things he discovered and realized througout his life. It seems like his essay on human intellect is revolutionary.

As I have been reading, I have discovered many interesting and unique things that Engelbart mentioned (or at least what I think he was mentioning..) but the reading also made me wonder about things. Does our technology give humans an endless intelligence? Does everyone constantly work to “improve our human intellect” or is that only certain individuals? Is technology the prime tool we use to manipulate information?

 

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