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The Almighty Buck Technology

Ted Nelson's Passionate Eulogy for Douglas Engelbart 110

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the only-good-ideas-die-young dept.
theodp writes "Speaking at a memorial event for the legendary Douglas Engelbart at the Computer History Museum, Ted Nelson was pissed-with-a-capital-P. Nelson in effect gave two powerful eulogies — one for his friend Dr. Engelbart, who left this Earth in July, and a second for Engelbart's career, which essentially began 'dying' four decades earlier due to short-sighted organizations' failure to fund the brilliant guy who gave the world The Mother of All Demos in 1968. 'Let us never forget that Doug Engelbart was dumped by ARPA,' Nelson laments. 'Doug Engelbart was dumped by SRI, Doug Engelbart was snubbed by Xerox PARC, and for the rest of his working life he had no chance to take us further...Just as we can only guess what John Kennedy might have done, we can only guess what Doug Engelbart might have done had he not been cut down in his prime.' It's a very moving and passionate speech (despite some oddly inappropriate audience laughter). And, alas, a very sad one in a world that throws $4 billion at the likes of Snapchat and Pinterest."

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Ted Nelson's Passionate Eulogy for Douglas Engelbart

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  • by N3tRunner (164483) * on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @10:27AM (#45725497)
    Engelbart created a lot of the things that we associate with modern PCs, such as the mouse, graphical word processing, and hypertext links, but from what I've read it seemed like he was running out of steam and having trouble managing his projects by the time the funding dropped away from him. He had a great chance to contribute to the history of computing, and he definitely exceeded all expectations. I guess we'll never know what else he would have come up with if given another 40 years to work, or if he had already run out of ideas.
  • by doom (14564) <doom@kzsu.stanford.edu> on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @12:12PM (#45726595) Homepage Journal

    Which was hyperbolic even by the standards of such occasions (Englebart was JFK, Shakespeare, Alfred Hitchcock and Icarus rolled up into one)

    I see you're unfamiliar with Englebart. At a time when most of us were doing batch processing on punch cards, at a time when the real digital elite was obsessed with the idea of "artificial intelligence" (hoping to get the computer to do more without submitting another damn deck of punch cards), Englebart came of with a vision of computers as interactive devices, partners that would amplify intelligence, and allow remote collaborative efforts between groups of people.

    In other words, the world we're living in, except for that bit about "amplified intelligence".

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