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HorizonTek's Zammett, who prior to entering the IT market was an air traffic controller where he used roller balls to manage data, first used a mouse in the early 1990s.
"The first time I used a mouse, I was going to train myself on it," he said. "I decided to play [Microsoft] Solitaire. I believe Microsoft first put it in Windows to teach people how to use the mouse. When you called me just now, I was killing time waiting for a meeting by playing Solitaire. So I've been practicing using the mouse for over 20 years."
Zammett said the mouse is much better than the roller ball. "I didn't think so at the time, however," he said. "I could really sling that roller ball."
Engelbart's lifelong involvement with the development of ever-better ways for people to interact with computers started when he was a naval radar technician at the end of World War II.
While stationed in a native hut serving as a Red Cross library on a small South Pacific island, Engelbart read a magazine article written by mathematician Vannevar Bush that referred to a hypothetical machine called the "memex," which could extend human memory across multiple types of media.
After the war, Engelbart got his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering and was hired by Ames Laboratory.
He told CRN that he kept thinking about Bush's ideas, and then one day realized that computers could be programmed to generate images on a screen.
"I got a picture of interactivity," Engelbart said. In his vision, information was "portrayed symbolically" on terminals, and people sat at workstations accessing and sharing that symbolic information. "Within 20 minutes to a half-hour, the whole thing about computers and all the rest flooded in," he said.
After getting his doctorate in electrical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, Engelbart went to work at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, Calif., where he met strong resistance to his ideas.
However, a 1963 paper he wrote entitled "A Conceptual Framework for the Augmentation of Man's Intellect" caught the eye of scientists at the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), a Department of Defense office looking at how to connect computers over long distance to protect data should one of them be destroyed in a nuclear attack. He launched the Augmentation Research Center (ARC), which later became the Network Information Center for the ARPANET, the forerunner of the Internet.
Engelbart is survived by his wife, three daughters, a son, and nine grandchildren.
Tim Long contributed to this article.