VisiCalc Anniversary 2017

On January 2nd, Mitch Kapor (Lotus) tweeted that VisiCalc’s company, Software Arts, had been incorporated on that day, 38 years ago. An interesting series of tweets followed. See the tweets below, and links to related background material.

VisiCalc Anniversary Tweet

Here is the first tweet, from Mitch Kapor. He is the founder of Lotus, and certainly knows a thing or 1-2-3 about spreadsheets! He mentioned VisiCalc, and a couple of notable computer people.

VisiCalc History

One of VisiCalc’s creators, Dan Bricklin, mentions the January 2, 1979 incorporation date for Software Arts on his web site’s History page.

And, of course, the first copy of VisiCalc was shipped on October 17, 1979, so that’s why Spreadsheet Day is celebrated on that date each year.

There’s more VisiCalc history on co-creator Bob Franckston’s web site.

Dan Bricklin Replied

In reply to Mitch Kapor’s tweet, Dan Bricklin graciously thanked him.

Doug Englebart

In Kapor’s tweet, Doug Engelbart was mentioned – an Internet pioneer and inventor of the computer mouse. You can read more about him on his Doug Engelbart Institute website.

The Stanford University website has a video of the first public demonstration of the mouse. You can watch a few clips or the complete demo, which runs 100 minutes. (The full demo video is at the bottom of the page)

Spreadsheets and the Mouse

There is a spreadsheet connection to the mouse too – the zoom wheel was inspired by watching people use Excel.

Inventor Eric Michelman, who was an Excel Program Manager at Microsoft, gives a full account of the development of the scroll wheel

Ted Nelson

Mitch Kapor also mentioned Ted Nelson in his tweet – another computer pioneer. Nelson coined the terms Hypertext and Hypermedia in 1963, and was the first to use the term virtuality.

Learn more about his work on the Ted Nelson Homepage. It has links to his book, films, articles and videos. There is a Ted Nelson YouTube channel too, with many interviews and presentations.

VisiCalc Story 1984

Journalist Steven Levy replied to a related tweet from Mark Cuban, and shared a link to an article that he wrote about VisiCalc in 1984.

Interview With VisiCalc Creators

In this interview from 2015, Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston talk about VisiCalc.

Video – Before Excel there was VisiCalc: An interview with its creators

 

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