RE: [unrev-II] The Economist's software survey

From: Dennis E. Hamilton (
Date: Wed Apr 25 2001 - 23:32:59 PDT

  • Next message: Jack Park: "[unrev-II] Fwd: Argumentation Mapping Update 2001.2"

    The fellow I was thinking of is Ron (Ronald E.) Rider. He started at the
    Xerox PARC System Sciences Laboratory in 1972. Ron, still based at PARC, is
    now a Corporate Vice President and the VP of the Digital Imaging Technology

    I always assumed that the gravity mouse is the mouse design that Microsoft
    uses, with the free-rolling ball that uses gravity and friction (plus two
    internal rollers) to do the job. I should ask Ron what it was specifically.

    The first mice that Xerox put on their commercial workstation models were
    optical, and we had special mouse pads that you could make on a copier.
    There was a grid pattern that the mouse used to detect movement. They
    worked well but you could only operate them on the special pad -- basically
    a sheet of paper with the printed grid the optical system used.

    I saw chord keyboards on the experimental Alto and I believe they were also
    used with the early Smalltalk implementations. I never used one myself. The
    funniest "chord" system I ever saw was when the inventor of Forth would
    attach spst switches to his fingertips and type in ASCII on any surface. I
    am into minimalism too, but not quite that committed!

    -- Dennis

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Henry van Eyken []
    Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2001 19:45
    Subject: Re: [unrev-II] The Economist's software survey

    [ ... ]

    Re Xerox Park, they said:
    The PCs so-called WIMP (windows, icons, menus, pointer) interface was
    invented in the early 1970s at Xerox Parc,
    Doug, however, worked with menus before Xerox Park, notably the help menu.
    But I understand that he found keying with chord faster.
    P.S. Dennis, what is a gravity mouse?

    "Dennis E. Hamilton" wrote:
    Oddly enough, the patent on the "gravity mouse" is held by Xerox. (I am
    embarrassed that I don't remember the name of the inventor, who led Xerox
    Corporate System Architecture around 1988-1993.)
    And yes of course, the mouse itself was not invented at Xerox.
    -- Dennis

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