The name Larry Tesler, maybe not as big as Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. But his contribution made computers and mobile devices easier to use surfacing after the death of the American computer scientist on Monday, February 17, 2020.
Tesler was born in 1945 in New York. He studied computer science at Stanford University and after graduating worked in artificial intelligence research.
In 1973 Tesler took a job at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) where he worked until 1980. Xerox PARC was famous for developing the first word processing with a graphical interface. Tesler called it Gypsy, which was famous for coining the terms “cut,” “copy,” and “paste”, namely the command to delete, duplicate, or position a piece of text.
Xerox PARC did not make use of innovative research done in personal computing, so in 1980 Tesler jumped into Apple Computer where he worked until 1997. Several years he held various positions, including AppleNet Vice President, even Apple’s Chief Scientist – a position he once held Steve Wozniak, before finally leaving the company.
In addition to its contribution to some Apple hardware, Tesler is also known for its efforts to make the software and user interface more accessible. In addition to the ubiquitous “cut,” “copy,” and “paste” term, Tesler is also a supporter of the modeless computation design approach, which is reflected in his personal website.
Tesler ensures that user actions remain consistent across various operating system functions and applications. When they have opened the word processor, for example, users now automatically assume that pressing one of the alphanumeric keys on their keyboard will produce characters that appear on the screen at the point where the cursor is inserted.
However, there are times when word processors can switch between modes where typing on the keyboard will add characters to a document or alternately allow functional commands to be entered.
There are still many software applications where tools and functions change depending on their mode (complex applications such as Photoshop, for example, where various tools behave differently and perform different functions). But for most modern operating systems like Apple macOS and Microsoft Windows have embraced user friendliness through a modeless approach that is not too complicated.
After leaving Apple in 1997, Tesler founded a technology startup called Stagecast Software. He developed applications that made it more accessible for children to learn programming concepts. In 2001 he joined Amazon and eventually became Vice President of Shopping Experience there.
In 2005, Tesler switched to Yahoo where he headed the user experience and the company’s design group, then in 2008 he became a product partner at 23andMe. In his CV, Larry Tesler left 23andMe in 2009 and since then most of the focus has been on consulting work.
Although there is no doubt about it, another contribution made by Tesler to modern computing as part of his work at Xerox and Apple that may never have been revealed, the contributions he knew were enormous. Tesler is one of the main reasons computers move from research centers and into homes.
GIZMODO | NEWSWEEK