HyperScope Live Concept Demo


Doug Engelbart invented hypertext, though he did not refer to it as hypertext, windows, groupware, though again, he didn't use that term. Doug Engelbart is the inventor of most of the human-computer-interfaces we use to interact with our information through our computers today. Oh, did I forget to mention the mouse? That's his as well.


Ironically, though he had one of the first two computers connected to the Internet (ARPANET) much of what he has invented has disappeared into obscurity. His Augment (NLS) system, which was the original environment for much of his contributions to our information environments, has been largely forgotten as the Internet and the World Wide Web has just taken over the world. Augment will not run on a modern PC out of the box. It is not Web compatible even, it uses pre-Web protocols.

Doug's great demo day in 1968 is the day which has gone down in computing history as the day the world saw most of his innovations for the first time. That was over thirty years ago and he's not been sleeping since- he has continued to innovate though his ideas are still decades ahead of their time so few understand him and think him cranky for complaining that more of his visions have not become part and parcel of daily knowledge work. "Doug they say, you invented the mouse, you're famous though certainly not as rich as you deserve to be, relax, be happy!" Yea right, we should have stopped innovating and making better information environments in the sixties when a word processor seemed like science fiction: "You mean use a whole computer for just one person to write a document on?! I don't thinkso"

It's really a simple equation though, the rest of us will have to strain to look another 20-30 years into the future to see what he's going on about today. Since the sixties computers have become almost un-imaginably faster than they are today. In 1985 Pixar's classic short animation "Luxo Jr." was rendered using a Cray super computers. It took the Cray 75 hours to render one second of animation. Today you can do the same animation on the consumer priced 3D gaming card Nvidia GeForce 3, in how long? LIVE! The damn thing can do it live! It can do 800 billion operations per second!

And we have largely ignored Doug's vision and inventions in twice that time period. Can you name any significant human-computer-interface elements since the sixties? No, Javascript roll-overs do not count :-)

It's time to listen up. Moore's Law continues unabated. Every 18 months data processing capacity doubles. Computer games are looking better all the time. Doug, we are ready to listen. What do you want us to do?

Doug Engelbart is mostly given credit for two things, the mouse and ease of use. That is not how he views his contribution. He feels he has created an environment for augmenting the human intellect, of which the mouse and windows are but enabling parts. It's not about ease, it's about control.

This demo is live for a select number of Augment exported HTML documents, though unfortunately not all as they were not all exported with the same formatting.




This concept demo features





It works like this

The HyperScope lives at:
This by itself doesn't do anything. You need to feed it the URL of an article...

...like this one:

Put them together and you get:

try it below! You'll see the regular article with a new frame underneath it, the viewspec frame and the article itself now has paragraph level addressability.




Articles which work include (NOTE: not all work with all the features):

Intellectual Implications of Multi-Access Computer Networks. 1970.

Coordinated Information Services for a Discipline- or Mission-Oriented Community. 1972.

The Augmented Knowledge Workshop. 1973.

NLS Teleconferencing Features: The Journal and Shared-Screen Telephoning. 1975.

User Interface Design Issues for a Large Interactive System. 1976.

A Software Engineering Environment. 1977.

Evolving the Organization of the Future: A Point of View. 1980.

Toward High-Performance Knowledge Workers. 1982.

Collaboration Support Provisions in Augment. 1984.

Authorship Provisions in Augment. Describes many of the features of Augment. 1984.

Workstation History and The Augmented Knowledge Workshop. 1988.

Knowledge-Domain Interoperability and an Open Hyperdocument System. 1990.

Toward High-Performance Organizations: A Strategic Role for Groupware. 1992.





The Viewspec controls

You can control the Viewspec through the frame at the bottom of the screen:

 First sentence per paragraph          Highlight:   Gray others 

Checking "First sentence per paragraph" truncates the text to show an outlines, highlighting makes any word entered show up in red and graying others grays every word not highlighted. You have to click 'Refresh' to implement any changes.




The reality

The reality is that this is a very limited demo which only works on documents which have a consistent formatting. It took Jan Ploski, head programmer here at the Liquid Information company, six hours to do this. It will not be hard to implement different filters for different formats, but this is just a simple demo, a live mock-up if you will and it's all we could afford to put together. But it shows the concept.

You think this is cool? You think this is useful and amazing? It's just a shadow of what Augment could do to give the user control of their documents. And that's 20 years ago. Imagine what an OHS HyperScope would allow you to do. Feel constrained by Word & Explorer yet?




To learn more

Have a look at the official Engelbart page: http://www.bootstrap.org/chronicle/curatorial/story/story-p1.html#5

Doug Engelbarts organization, The Bootstrap Institute is at: www.bootstrap.org

You can listen to Doug Engelbart right here on www.liquid.org/glossary

An introduction to OHS is also right here at www.liquid.org/ohs


Copyright 2002 Doug Engelbart & Frode Hegland