Engelbart, inventor of computer mouse, dies at 88
SAN FRANCISCO — Doug Engelbart, the inventor of the computer mouse and developer of early incarnations of email, word processing programs and the Internet, has died at the age of 88.
The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., where Engelbart had been a fellow since 2005, said Wednesday that it was notified of the death in an email from his daughter, Christina. The cause of death wasn’t immediately known.
Back in the 1950s and 1960s, Engelbart already was envisioning a world in which people used computers to share ideas about solving problems. He said his work was all about “augmenting human intellect,” but it boiled down to making computers user-friendly. One of the biggest advances was the mouse, which he developed in the 1960s and patented in 1970. At the time, it was a wooden shell covering two metal wheels: an “X-Y position indicator for a display system.”
The notion of operating the inside of a computer with a tool on the outside was way ahead of its time. The mouse wasn’t commercially available until 1984, with Apple’s new Macintosh.
Rate on 30-year loan retreats slightly
WASHINGTON — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week after last week’s surge. The declines could prompt homebuyers to act quickly before rates rise further.
Freddie Mac said Wednesday that the average on the 30-year loan dropped to 4.29 percent. That’s down from 4.46 percent last week, the highest in two years and a full point more than a month ago. The average on the 15-year mortgage fell to 3.39 percent, down from 3.50 percent last week — the highest since August 2011.
Mortgage rates jumped last week after the Federal Reserve signaled it could slow its monthly bond purchases later this year if the economy keeps improving. The bond purchases have kept long-term interest rates down, making mortgages and other consumer loans cheaper. A pullback by the Fed would likely send rates higher.
Boeing out-delivers Airbus in 1st half of 2013
Boeing delivered more planes than Airbus during the first half of this year.
Boeing has delivered 306 jetliners so far, including 17 787s. Boeing is playing catch-up with those deliveries because of the problems with the 787’s battery earlier this year. Boeing is aiming to deliver 60 of those planes this year.
Airbus has delivered 295 civilian planes this year. It delivered more of its smaller A320 family of planes than the comparable Boeing jets. Airbus handed over 233 of its A320 family of planes, compared to Boeing’s deliveries of 218 of its 737s.
Chicago-based Boeing Co. and Europe-based Airbus are the main two makers of large commercial airliners.
Greece confident of deal to get next bailout funds
ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s deputy prime minister says he’s confident the country will complete tough new negotiations with rescue creditors and avoid a delay in upcoming loan payouts worth 8.1 billion euros ($10.6 billion).
Evangelos Venizelos made the remarks late Wednesday after talks with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. Talks continued in Athens between the government and representatives of the “troika” of the European Union, European central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The troika is seeking faster implementation of Greek commitments to reduce the size of its bloated public sector and deal with mounting public health care debts.