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Silicon Valley inventor of ‘cut, copy and paste’ dies

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A graduate of Stanford University, Tesler specialised in human–computer interaction, employing his skills at Amazon, Apple, Yahoo, and the Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre. WIKIMEDIA/CC-BY-2.0

Silicon Valley inventor of ‘cut, copy and paste’ dies

Silicon Valley on Wednesday was mourning a pioneering computer scientist whose accomplishments included inventing the widely relied on “cut, copy and paste” command.

Bronx-born Lawrence “Larry” Tesler died this week at age 74, according to Xerox, where he spent part of his career.

“The inventor of cut/copy & paste, find & replace, and more was former Xerox researcher Larry Tesler,” the company tweeted.

“Your workday is easier thanks to his revolutionary ideas. Larry passed away on Monday, so please join us in celebrating him.”

A graduate of Stanford University, Tesler specialised in human–computer interaction, employing his skills at Amazon, Apple, Yahoo, and the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).

The cut and paste command was reportedly inspired by old time editing that involved actually cutting portions of printed text and affixing them elsewhere with adhesive.

“Tesler created the idea of ‘cut, copy, & paste’ and combined computer science training with a counterculture vision that computers should be for everyone,” the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley tweeted on Wednesday.

The command was made popular by Apple after being incorporated in software on the Lisa computer in 1983 and the original Macintosh that debuted the next year.

Tesler worked for Apple in 1980 after being recruited away from Xerox by late co-founder Steve Jobs.

Tesler spent 17 years at Apple, rising to chief scientist.

He went on to establish an education startup and do stints in user-experience technology at Amazon and Yahoo.

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