From: Hans Aberg (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Sep 28 2007 - 03:50:35 CDT
On 27 Sep 2007, at 16:38, Michael Maxwell wrote:
>> are considered separate letters since long, and have always
>> been encoded separately (except possibly in the early period
>> of telegraphs ...
> Actually, in the early 80s I worked at the University of Washington
> on a Cyber 170. This was a room-sized computer, originally
> developed for number crunching for the US Atomic Energy
> Commission. It had a 60-bit word, and a 6-bit character encoding,
> which allowed for only upper case characters. (I guess if you work
> around atomic bombs all day, you SHOUT a lot.)
> Since the UW didn't make a lot of bombs, they developed a way to
> represent text on this computer. (I guess CDC had donated it to
> the UW, in the hopes that people would be impressed or something.)
> Since one would like to have lower-case characters in plain text,
> the system programmers invented a way to represent lower-case
> (English!) letters by escaping the upper-case letters with a '\'.
> The result was that my name would be encoded 'M\i\k\e'.
> Fortunately, the editor hid this monstrosity, and only occasionally
> would something go wrong and let you see the internal representation.
I recall using a teletype with a minicomputer in the first half of
the 1970s, which looked like the ASR-33:
And it was uppercase only, I think. This article says that this
ASR-33 TTY was ubiquitous with minicomputers, so it is consistent
with my memory fragments. So even if case-sensitive ASCII may have
been around, it took a long time for it to come into general use in
computers. In some sense, that is similar to that of Unicode.
> I wrote my dissertation on this computer. When the time came to
> move a copy of my dissertation over to a "normal" computer, with
> ASCII characters, someone wrote me a C program to do the encoding
This is incidentally pertinent to the discussion here, because the
math typing issues has no been developed to the point that one can
develop a plain text only format for that. Instead, one will have to
develop different markups (technically: computer languages) on top of
the character set, and convert it, would be a plain text format would
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