The mother of all demos

This isn’t exactly news, but it may interest some of you. First, a bit of computer history. In 1968, Doug Englebart gave a ninety-minute demonstration of NLS at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco. NLS, the oNLine System, had been under development by the Augmentation Research Center at Stanford since 1962, and had a number of features which we now consider commonplace: the mouse, outline lists, hypertext links, and so on.

The demo was filmed at the time, and there have been copies and fragments of varying quality floating around ever since. Some enterprising soul has now uploaded the full film to Google Video; the text isn’t particularly clear, and there are some audio artifacts, but it’s still an intriguing glimpse of how the present day used to look when it was still the future.

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