Mouse inventor sighted at Macworld Expo

One of the legends of Silicon Valley and a hero to many early Macintosh users is the inventor and techno-philosopher Douglas Engelbart. He invented the computer mouse back in 1967 and this year, attended the Macworld Expo.

Mouse inventor sighted at Macworld Expo
One of the legends of Silicon Valley and a hero to many early Macintosh users is the inventor and techno-philosopher Douglas Engelbart. He invented the computer mouse back in 1967 and this year, attended the Macworld Expo. (In case you're wondering, that's him on the left.)

The original SRI mouse patent called it an"X-Y position indicator for a display system." According to the Wikipedia article, his engineering group "also called it a 'bug,' but this term was not widely adopted." Certainly, mice are cuter than bugs and besides, that term had already been attributed to "Amazing" Grace Hopper for another purpose.

Of course, the buzz this week over input was all about the expansion of multi-touch implemented in the MacBook Air. The machine supports 10 gestures that use one, two or three fingers. You can see them in action on this page listing some of the features of the new notebook.

I spent some time looking at the preferences for the gesture-based input at the Apple booth. The control panel includes movies that will help users decide which gestures they want to have active as well as teaching how to perform. I liked the click-drag-lock combination.

The new trackpad area of the MacBook Air appears larger than my MacBook Pro, and the button is shorter. This may take some getting used to if you're moving from a previous MacBook model.

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