Seventeen years ago, the computer interface technology we take for granted today was new and strange, difficult even to describe. These quotes from a 1981 Xerox Star brochure show how people were fumbling for words to describe the new computer desktop technology: "Objects displayed on the Xerox 8010 screen are freely movable using the hand-held pointer, or 'mouse' ... this unique digital pointer ... will also initiate sequences for the relocation, copying, and deletion of material, and the retrieval and transmission of documents."
"The iconographic symbols ... bear labels which identify them as folders, in- and out-baskets, file drawers, and other accessories comprising what amounts to an 'electronic desk top'."
"Abstractly speaking, the spreadsheet expresses variable dependencies over time. It is basically an electronic matrix with a full menu of matrix manipulation tools."
Mice, folders, and spreadsheets were all new and strange to the marketplace. Even who exactly was going to use the computer wasn't always clear. This talk will feature a Star running, with commentary. The display will be shown on a wide video screen for the entire audience. Eleven other Stars behind the scenes are being used for parts to keep this one machine running, and this could be the last occasion ever to see a Star run.
David Liddle directed the Star development effort, and will provide an overview. David Curbow and David Smith will do a demonstration of the user interface, and then Robert Belleville and Robert Garner will discuss the Star hardware---which was also innovative.
Xerox Palo Alto Research Center
3333 Coyote Hill Road
Palo Alto, CA,