Friday, September 14, 2012

Electronic Display Organization History Including Scrolling and Other Things

Douglas Engelbart, the man who invented the mouse, got nothing, while billions of dollars are being gifted to some company for banal bounce-back scrolling having next to nothing to do with the basic functions of a gadget and you wonder if the patent system is broken????

The History of Electronic Display Organization Including Scrolling

The Engadget article by Benjamin Weiss at Xerox Alto-Spot von 1972: "It's okay, we're only human" has an accompanying Xerox Parc video [embedded below], where the user at the start of the video scrolls his emails using an arrow cursor. It is very clear that Apple did not invent scrolling or anything else you see in that video. How much does that leave for Apple to invent that is not "obvious" or anticipated by "prior art"?

Steve Wozniak talks about Pirates of Silicon Valley
("truthful", with added drama, he says)

Jobs was a monopolist and worried about competition,
Woz said you won by better technology
see Woz at 7:17

see Woz at 7:17

Jobs envisioned the commercial future of personal computers,
but he was a tweaker, not an inventor.
Jobs saw where money was to be made
and hired the right people to tweak already existing inventions.

From the Wikipedia, we repeat below the largely undisputed facts -- materials in brackets added by LawPundit:

Apple Lisa
"[Starting in 1973 and][s]everal years prior to [Apple (founded in 1976) and the Apple Lisa 1978], research had been going on at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center to create a new way to organize everything on the screen, today known as the desktop. Steve Jobs visited Xerox PARC in 1979. He was excited by the revolutionary mouse-driven GUI of the Xerox Alto and was keen to use these ideas back at Apple. By late 1979, Jobs successfully negotiated with Xerox for his Lisa team to receive two demonstrations of ongoing research projects at Xerox PARC; when the Apple team saw the demonstration of the Alto computer they were able to see in action the basic elements of what constituted a workable GUI. A great deal of work was put into making the graphical interface into a mainstream commercial product by the Lisa team."
Xerox Alto
"The Xerox Alto was one of the first computers designed for individual use (though not as a home computer), making it arguably what is now called a personal computer. It was developed at Xerox PARC in 1973. It was the first computer to use the desktop metaphor and mouse-driven graphical user interface (GUI)."

EVERYTHING you see there was NOT invented by Apple. It is all PRIOR ART.

Take a look at the discussion about Apple scrolling at, especially the contributions of Larry Tessler, where he starts out as follows:
"The original Lisa and Mac vertical scroll arrows were at the top and bottom of the vertical scroll bar, and the up-pointing arrow moved the content down. I ran a user study in the early days of Lisa development that informed that design."
The entire discussion there shows that the details of "scrolling" were decisions based on how users wanted or would want scrolling to function. It was a user preference question. There was nothing there about patenting some sort of non-obvious patentable "invention" not anticipated by prior art, and the same is true for the current rubber-band scrolling bounce-back of text from the edge of a display. That kind of thing is nothing more than a child's play gimmick, having next to nothing to do with the basic functioning of any gadget.

Postscript to the above: Prior Art in Infinity One

As an AMATEUR programmer, in the role-playing game Infinity One, which I first programmed as a hobby in my spare time using STOS for Atari, a game which I subsequently converted to Microsoft Windows and put on the market in 1993, whenever a character tried to go through a wall as the "limit" of the player's progress on the game screen cut-out, I programmed the wall to "shake", accompanied by a "boing" sound.

That was not only easy child's play programming but also served as prior art for similar ideas on handling any limit of space on a display. The idea that doing virtually the same thing with a text list today brings a company billions of dollars in windfall profits is simply unfathomable to any sane individual.

Infinity One was registered as a Windows-Compatible program with Microsoft, who should thus have the source code in its archives. I can not imagine the source code of Apple being much different. It is simply animation in principle, moving bitmaps or other information data around. There are surely many games that did this before me, i.e. doing some kind of a bounce upon reaching limits of a predefined display section. Nothing new under the sun.

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