RE: Hex-byte pictures (WAS: RE: Hexadecimal digits?)

From: Simon Butcher (
Date: Mon Nov 10 2003 - 04:19:40 EST

  • Next message: Simon Butcher: "RE: Hex-byte pictures (WAS: RE: Hexadecimal digits?)"

    Hi Philippe!

    > > When dealing with protocol specifications, there's often a need for
    > characters like these, too, since hex byte pictures are
    > unambiguous. I have
    > a DEC dumb terminal around here somewhere which also uses them when
    > debugging control characters.
    > >
    > > I suppose you could argue it's purely a formatting issue, though.
    > If you've got some technical documentation reference of this
    > terminal, it
    > would be worth to give it as it will be used in technical
    > documentations.

    It's a DEC VT320, and it's second hand like all of my dumb terminals, so I've never actually had the original manual. Upon closer inspection, it only appears to do hex-byte pictures for some C1 control pictures -- see <>.

    The VT220 did a similar thing, but more of it - no cuddly names for NEL and so on, plus some other chars have hex-byte pictures (probably as they were unassigned, but I am unsure) -- see <>.

    I'm pretty sure my Wyse WY60's (and probably my WY85's too) do the same thing, but they're so buried under junk it's probably not worth pulling them out to check.

    > What you suggest is something else: it's a proposal to encode
    > technical
    > characters similar to control images, or to glyphs of keys on
    > a keyboard. It
    > is not a script, but a handy collection of unique glyphs.

    I feel we're on the same wavelength now! :) Indeed, not a numeric system but technical symbols.

    > In a similar technical domain, I don't know if the technical
    > glyphs that are
    > (were?) used on terminals for IBM MVS systems, are all
    > encoded. I remember
    > there was a sort of zig-zag arrow pointing to bottom left, as
    > well as other
    > symbols denoting the current state of the terminal, and a few
    > others to
    > denote editing operations in a screen mode: one had to mark a
    > edited line
    > with a symbol, and the terminal took care of remember where
    > editing was
    > allowed and performed, and once you had created a modified
    > line, you pressed
    > a "Send" key to get the screen updated with the new text after editing
    > operations.

    Sounds very familiar :) Stuff like the stick figure (which on some terminals looked more like a cowboy), don't appear to be in unicode, but then again, were those characters ever actually a part of the IBM 3270 charsets, or were they simply internal only?

    > This was more or less working in a way similar to the "vi"
    > editor line-mode interface, except that it was screen-based
    > rather than
    > line-based.

    Looking at the original proposal by Frank da Cruz again after so long ( reveals it cites many documents. Have a look at <> (~2.7MiB).

    BTW, Frank also had other proposals which included the IBM 3270 characters I think you were referring to (poke around the directory at <>)..

    I like the hex byte pictures proposal, and I'm seeing more reason to like it, the more I look into it..


     - Simon

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