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"One of the things we're going to have to do in this interactive world is to find more effective ways to tell the computer what objects on the screen that you want to work on. Hey, what a great idea!"
Early ARC workstation and pointing device

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Click to play video About the early NLS workstation


Early Workstation and Pointing Device <1963>

Somehow you connect basic human mental kinesthetic capabilities and sensory capabilities together in something that you doubt if we were designed for doing that sort of thing or it fit into our evolutionary pattern, but it was some technology that, when you mastered it, gave you a real new level like that.

So what else could we think of like that? Who would have thought of that? That's coupling humans to another control mechanisms to make use of some environment to give you a capability that you could never have dreamed about before. So what are we looking for downstream? In here, you know, when you really are working with knowledge and start really working, that's the field you have.

And I decided to follow this fancy idea about starting to learn how to work interactively – that we need a display. I made explicit strategic decision to bypass the online typewriter and go directly to display workstations. In spite of most other online developers working with typewriters, I felt that the much higher "augmentation potential" of displays warranted early pursuit, and figured that cost would surely come down in a few years. Keep in mind that CRT workstations were very expensive then – they weren't a consumer product by any means.