Happy Birthday to the mouse

Today is the 40th anniversary of the humble computer mouse. It was originally invented by Douglas Engelbart as part of a larger project on Augmenting Human Intellect. As with most of these things it was not being designed with its current mass market use in mind but if we look at the statistics, it has come a long way in terms of "units shipped".
Thinking about this technology brings me on to other interfaces we use in day to day life. The keyboard for example was designed to slow us down (to stop typewriter key arms jamming) and has never changed since. The effect here is down to people getting used to what they are given and what becomes universally accepted. We obviously still use keyboards and mice as they are what we see as our normal input devices, there are devices out there that can compete on all levels (that's a different conversation) but to get them taken on as the norm, they have to ship a lot of devices to get recognition. Another factor about these devices is their ease of use, if you could get a device that could help you input to a computer 5 times faster but took 1 week to be fully trained on, would you go for it???

The point I am trying to get to here is that something is deemed the norm when it is used by a mass market, this does not necessarily make it the best at achieving that task. I am not here to judge technology against similar products but I will pose a few questions.

  • Is Windows the best OS?
  • Has a TFT screen got a better picture that a CRT? (or is space more important)
  • Is processing power better on the desk in front of you or out in the cloud?
  • Will the mouse and keyboard ever be replaced en mass?

Just on a final point. The mouse got its name obviously due to its shape and likeness to a rodent in shape and size especially as the cord used to come from the back to fit the description representing the tail.