Douglas EngelbartBack in 1963, the year JFK was assassinated and the Beatles released “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” a Berkeley electrical engineering alumnus named Douglas Engelbart invented what would become the computer mouse.

In December of 1968, he and his team (mainly from SRI International) presented, at the San Francisco Convention Center, what came to be called The Mother of All Demos. Actually titled “A research center for augmenting human intellect,” it was the public debut not only of the mouse, but also interactive text, video conferencing, email, hypertext, and a collaborative real-time editor. It was also like seeing desktop publishing and the Internet before such things existed.

Engelbart is now 85 and still going strong. To celebrate that reality, and in tribute to his accomplishments, the Tech Museum in San Jose held a birthday party in January. Among the throng were an entrepreneur from Dubai, who flew in on his private jet, and Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple Computer (and is also a Cal alum).


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