Your work day is a little easier because of him. You might not know his name but his revolutionary ideas have stuck around for decades – pardon the pun – and don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, no matter how much technology advances.
The “cut, copy and paste” command was developed by pioneering US computer scientist Larry Tesler, who died on Monday at the age of 74. Tesler was a graduate of Stanford University and specialised in human-computer interactivity and user-interface design. He employed his skills at blue chip companies such as Xerox, Yahoo, and Apple – where he worked for 17 years and rose through the ranks to become their head scientist.
During the genesis stage of computers in the 1960’s, Tesler worked to make them more intuitive and accessible. His cut and paste feature was in fact inspired by old-fashioned print-editing, where portions of printed text were physically cut out and affixed elsewhere with adhesive.
The command was made popular by Apple when it was incorporated into the software of their Lisa computer in 1983 and then the original Macintosh that same year. In addition, Tesler introduced the concept of a “mouse”, where instead of typing a command into a keyboard to direct a computer, he just clicked on one of the icons on the screen with one swift movement – much to the excitement of Steve Jobs. He also pioneered the scroll bar on the Macintosh computer.
Tesler “combined computer science training with a counterculture vision that computers should be for everyone”, Tweeted Silicon Valley’s Computer History Museum on Monday.