(Not really sure what other name to give this.) The point of many of today’s apps is that they do not exist on a computer in isolation, but are designed to work in hand with each other. So you can copy and paste data from one record into a record created by another app, depending on the best one for the job. I can create a .bmp screengrab, trim it in MS Photo Editor, decide to do finer tweaking in Adobe Photoshop, paste it into a Word document, save it as a PDF and so on. Everything uses the same clipboard protocols.

But these protocols might have changed by 2057. Our emulator is running Word 97 but we won’t be able to copy any data out of the app because the main PC doesn’t understand how to get at the data. This (I think) is what has happened with the old spreadsheet program.

(Later) actually you can paste raw data from VisiCalc ok into Excel 2000. But can you paste formulas? No! For a start the formulas are different. ie SUM=(A1:A3) in Excel is @SUM(A1…A3) in VisiCalc which won’t copy across.

(Later still) it also raises the question of what actually is the original application. I might screengrab an image for intended use in a Word document. So, is the creating application Word (the intention) or the screengrab software (which actually did the creating)? Do I emulate Word, or do I emulate the screengrab software? – I don’t think at this stage we should emulate at all.

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