Opinion – A little Mouse history as a device and why you need to learn #3D skills


A week ago I wrote a post where I mentioned my point of view about what you need in 2 or 3 years for software development

The skills we will need to create apps, will be mostly for 3D apps.

Obviously, this has different types of feedback and, I got the perfect excuse so get back to the blog a draft on something I wrote about the history of the Mouse.

Note: Every time to time I write and keep these paragraphs with the hope to use them in the future. Maybe in the Blog, a book or something similar.

Let’s start with a historical date 35 years ago: April 27, 1981. This is is the date in which Xerox launched its first mouse prototype. Douglas Engelbart is actually recognized  as the inventor of the mouse back in the year 1963. Ans it was Xerox where the prototype reached a particular level of maturity. A curious detail is that when the Mouse became ‘popular’, Engelbart patent had expired and he never received any royalties for his invention.

Let’s move on: everybody knows Xerox missed his chance with the mouse, and that it was Steve Jobs the one who began to take advantage of this device. Although the design it was a little rough and the size was too much bigger of what we know today, the main function of the mouse was the same: A device which provides the ability to control a virtual pointer in an OS with Graphical User Interface. 35 years later, and just like with cars, the basic concept not has changed.


In that time, year 1979, Steve Jobs had the luck of visit the offices of innovation of Xerox in Palo Alto: Xerox PARC (short for Palo Alto Research Center). That visit marked a change of direction for Apple: thereafter, Steve Jobs took the decision that their OS would be based on windows and menus, and of course, controlled with a mouse.

The legend said, when Steve Jobs came back from his visit to Xerox PARC, he joined with Dean Hovey, an industrial designer and told him that they had to have a mouse for Apple. Dean replied “What is a mouse?” and Jobs explained the concept. And also added what would be an of the foundations of Apple’s success in the following years


“[The Xerox mouse] is a mouse that cost three hundred dollars to build and it breaks within two weeks. Here’s your design spec: Our mouse needs to be manufacturered for less than fifteen bucks. It needs to not fail for a couple of years, and I want to be able to use it on Formica and my bluejeans.” (referencia The New Yorker)

There is the vision and the nerve of Steve Jobs, something that in the long run would make him triumphs and ensure that Apple is a world reference in the technology business.

Well, there is much more to tell about the history of computing, and the truth is that, at that time all the ideas were maturing to make way for what we know and use today: home and personal computers, graphical interfaces and abstractions of real applications and scenarios, handheld devices, and more ideas .

Today we have reached a point where again the conditions for a new paradigm shift, are here. Although in this case we won’t need to wait 15 years, I’m guessing that in 2 or 3 years we will see a big change.

For example, unless you need a type of special hardware, today most of the who need some type of digital support, they can work with a laptop. These devices are increasingly powerful, with an autonomy of several hours of usage, a relationship size / weight very good and several other options.


You can event add here an iPad Pro, although the base is still the same:

A Display where you can see and interact with applications and input data device, usually a keyboard.

We can optionally have a mouse, a headset for making calls, pencils for design, printers and more devices. All of this is reduced at input and output devices.

With the arrive of mixed and virtual worlds, a radical change is coming. In a few years, it is very likely we don’t travel with our laptop in Backpack. We can probably have a pair of glasses, not heavier than sunglasses. And they will provide us access to a virtual world where we “run our apps”. (I’m not still sure if “run an app” will be the correct sentence)

Imagine arriving to a coffee, and instead of opening your laptop, put on you your glasses. I’m 99% sure that, we will continue being tied to the email, so in a new virtual world we can launch an 2D app to check our email. Mail is still being mostly text, so there is no sense to change the dynamics of how we interact with an email app.

Bonus: If you open your mail app, or check it in a browser with glasses that show what you just in holograms for you, as privacy becomes much safer since content only the person wearing the glasses to see them.


As commented, email is still text, so perhaps now is the time to connect wireless keyboard and begin to answer our daily emails. Nowadays keyboards are smaller and more comfortable. They will be great devices for other collaboration apps like Yammer, Slack, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

At that moment, when you find yourself checking the feed of Yammer, you join a Skype conference. Maybe with a small gesture or voice command, we can accept the call and talk with our team which is spread all around the world. Maybe this is the point where we start to use some 3D apps for collaboration. For example, if we need to work in a Kanban board to performed a follow-up of the items on which the team is working.

With a simple gesture, we can create a virtual Board in front of us us and begin to drag and drop elements, in conjunction with our team. This Board is an element that is shared among all the participants of the call, so we can think of have different views of the same with different 3D pointers, those are the ones who accommodate the items. We have virtual notes in front of us at the table where we are and from there to accommodate them on the Board. And as we still have to share information with people who work with monitors, once finalized the work on the Kanban board, we can get a couple of snapshots of the same and paste them in a 2D PowerPoint slides to send them by mail.

During this process, we will have also a virtual representation of Cortana which may help us to accommodate the items on the Board. With some background Machine Learning processes, Cortana will analyze the contextual information of each item and will advice us about the pros and cons of them. In other words: Cortana can be one member of our team.


Note: Here I have 2 wishes: see something similar to a 3D PowerPoint and also hope that by 2020, my day to day is not “email driven” any more. Today I’m still tending much dependence on mail, and even if I don’t think it will disappear, I think the email will have the importance that it deserves, when we go back to use use it correctly.

Once the call is complete, we can pay our bill. We will open an 3D app in which we pay with a code only available for us. Gestures, voice authorization, and other elements will be th ones used to allow this transaction. Then all is so simple, as put back our keyboard in the backpack, change our glasses mode to “street walking, not advertising“, launch Spotify and walk towards the work while we hear music.

As well, this may seem a distant future, however if we now have someone who takes a device as Hololens and puts a goal similar to that of Jobs and the mouse, in a few years the worlds virtual and mixed reality will be something everyday.

That Yes, still there will be apps like Excel, Email, apps of business and others, but if we think about all the capabilities that we can provide a device as the glasses that I describe, continue creating apps like the previous will not have much sense. So, now is time to learn a bit of 3D skills!

Greetings @ Toronto

El Bruno



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