Inventor of Cut, Copy and Paste Dies at 74

Have you ever imagined how hard your life will be without being able to CUT, COPY or PASTE? Well if you work on computers daily, you will know the amount of time saved by those simple commands. 

Larry Tesler is the man we have to thank; he is the genius that invented the computer concepts of cut, copy and paste. Born in Bronx, New York and a graduate of computer science from Stanford University, California, Tesler worked in the genetics and computer science department of the university before he became a research assistant at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Tesler joined Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in 1973, it was at this place that he developed the concept of CUT, COPY, and PASTE. These concepts were very instrumental in the development of text editors and computer operating systems in the early days. 

Asides creating the concept of cut, copy and paste, Tesler was also a big believer of ‘modeless computing’, he believed that computer programs should not have different modes. ‘Mode’ is a concept that allows end-users to switch between functions on an app or a piece of software.

In 1980, Tesler joined Apple and worked at the company until 1997 where he eventually rose to the role of Chief Scientist. During that time, he worked on several products including the Macintosh, QuickTime, Lisa, and even the Newton tablet. The Macintosh and Lisa were the first personal computers ever to include cut, copy and paste functionality as a result of Tesler’s involvement in their development.

After leaving Apple, he set up an education start-up and worked for brief periods at Amazon and Yahoo.

We will not forget Tesler’s contribution to the world of personal computers easily, the concept of cut, copy and paste invented now form the basis of how we interact with computers and smartphones nowadays. 

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