Cut…Copy…& Paste.., Larry Tesler Dies at 74

Sharyl Hudson Blog

“In human–computer interaction and user interface design, cut, copy and paste are related commands that offer an interprocess communication technique for transferring data through a computer’s user interface. The cut command removes the selected data from its original position, while the copy command creates a duplicate; in both cases the selected data is kept in temporary storage (the clipboard). The data from the clipboard is later inserted wherever a paste command is issued. The data remains available to any application supporting the feature, thus allowing easy data transfer between applications.” (Wikipedia)

The “cut and paste command” now applied universally as a method of editing with maximum ease and effectiveness, “was reportedly based on the old method of journalism in which layout was achieved through physical cutting and pasting.”

The inventor of the command that is used hundreds of times a day by every person who has ever touched a computer,(and was incidentally used by myself to cut, copy and paste the above paragraph from Wikipedia) passed away today at 74. An icon of early computing, Larry Tesler was the Computer Scientist behind cut, copy and paste.

Mr. Tesler was born in the Bronx, New York in 1945 and studied at Stanford University in California. He started working in Silicon Valley in 1960 “where Steve Jobs poached him for Apple, where he spent 17 years…as chief scientist.”

I have always admired the genius behind these “practical” inventors creating maximum impact in people’s everyday lives. It leads me to suspect that “the suspension of thought allows an intelligence beyond thought”….The inventor of the bar code, for instance,
Norman Joseph Woodland (September 6, 1921 – December 9, 2012) “was an American inventor, who received a patent for the bar code in October 1952.[1][2] Later, employed by IBM, he developed the format which became the Universal Product Code (UPC) of product labeling and check-out stands.” Today, self-checkouts are the background noise of everyday shopping. The universality of these practical inventions is simply mind boggling.

IN RESTORATION, we use bar coding to effectively and safely catalogue thousands of dollars worth of drying & cleaning equipment. Similarly, in our daily communications with major insurance companies, “cut, copy and paste” is as widely used as any digital command.

So here’s to Larry Tesler…thank you for your “counterculture vision” …your legacy lives on. We could copy and paste the words “revolutionary” and “innovative” but that couldn’t begin to describe the ubiquitous influence you have had on this planet, in our workplaces and our daily lives…