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Jef Raskin's Canon Cat and its Humane Interface

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A large number of documents relating to the Canon Cat "work processor" have turned up on YCombinator's Hacker News; including hardware schematics, instruction manuals, advertisements, and personal correspondence from Jef Raskin, developer of the Cat's interface, and the man behind the original Macintosh.


Why should we have to spend so much time dealing with our computer’s interface? Jef Raskin, the man behind the original Macintosh and author of The Humane Interface often wondered the same thing, and his desire for a forgiving, document-based UI led Canon to create its Cat "work processor," a re-imagining of what office computing should be like. A number of documents from Raskin's company related to the Cat, including hardware schematics, advertisements, and personal correspondence, just turned up on YCombinator's Hacker News, and they're definitely worth thumbing through.

The Cat resembled an electronic typewriter, but its Leap interface (enabled by a pair of dedicated keys under the space bar) promised to make office workers less frustrated and more productive, allowing them to easily locate and open documents without the need for file names, jump wherever they wanted within a document without a mouse or cursor keys, and even autosave and resume — in 1987.