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And Now This... Tape Tech Rewind

Tape storage might not have the glamour it used to, but it’s still a force

1 min read
Photo of a March 1964 ad for analog data recorders.
Photo: Ben Alsop

For IEEE Spectrum’s 50th anniversary, the editors spent a lot of time over the past year combing through old issues for notable articles. But we often found ourselves distracted by the advertisements. The ads told a parallel story about the rise and fall of different technologies and how they were sold to engineers. So we are bringing you some of the gems we came across, starting with this March 1964 ad for analog data recorders.

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How the Graphical User Interface Was Invented

Three decades of UI research came together in the mice, windows, and icons used today

18 min read
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Stylized drawing of a desktop computer with mouse and keyboard, on the screen are windows, Icons, and menus
Getty Images/IEEE Spectrum
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Mice, windows, icons, and menus: these are the ingredients of computer interfaces designed to be easy to grasp, simplicity itself to use, and straightforward to describe. The mouse is a pointer. Windows divide up the screen. Icons symbolize application programs and data. Menus list choices of action.

But the development of today’s graphical user interface was anything but simple. It took some 30 years of effort by engineers and computer scientists in universities, government laboratories, and corporate research groups, piggybacking on each other’s work, trying new ideas, repeating each other’s mistakes.

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