sketchpad

i recently read ivan sutherland's thesis on sketchpad, one of the most influential computer programs ever written by an individual. the following paragraph stood out to me:

It was implicit in the research nature of the work that simple new facilities should be discovered which, when implemented, should be useful in a wide range of applications, preferably including some unforseen ones. It has turned out that the properties of a computer drawing are entirely different from a paper drawing not only because of the accuracy, ease of drawing, and speed of erasing provided by the computer, but also primarily because of the ability to move drawing parts around on a computer drawing without the need to erase them. Had a working system not been developed, our thinking would have been too strongly influenced by a lifetime of drawing on paper to discover many of the useful services that the computer can provide.

this idea, the idea that the computer is a new medium, that we have to come up with new ways to interact with our machines, that old patterns of thought are not enough, is a very old one. in this case 1963 to be precise.