Discussion:
What ASCII Should Have Been
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Quadibloc
2020-06-02 02:25:10 UTC
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I know it's too late to change now.

The layout of the Model M keyboard finally got things right, with the two shift
keys in their proper places, the back space key nicely reachable, and the Enter
key reachable as well.

However, I still long for the double-height Enter (or carriage return) key of long
ago...

and on the page

http://www.quadibloc.com/comp/kyb0603.htm

if you scroll right to the bottom,

you will see what I think that ASCII should have been in order to avoid the need
for ASCII with lowercase to demand a keyboard with more keys on it than a normal
typewriter had.

And yet, I allow _more_ special characters, not _less_, than we have in regular
ASCII, by getting rid of all those control characters no one ever uses!

So instead one chooses two modes of operation... one can have the letter keys
shift from lower-case to upper-case, or one can have them shift from upper-case to
26 additional special symbols which use codes in the former control-character
area. The few control characters that are actually needed are, therefore, given
codes that don't correspond to letters.

Of course, Bob Bemer will hate me... I get rid of the backslash so that the 62
printables, excluding space, plus the 26 lower-case letters, will fit on a 44-key
keyboard... and I use that code for a 'printable character escape' that allows
text to be stored easily at 6 bits per character.

I also replaced [ and ] with | and the EBCDIC logical NOT so that ASCII would
get along better with EBCDIC.

John Savard
Andy Burns
2020-06-02 06:49:55 UTC
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Post by Quadibloc
I still long for the double-height Enter (or carriage return) key of long
ago...
Get a British keyboard then ...

You'll only have to contend with a few symbols moving around ...
Quadibloc
2020-06-02 07:26:23 UTC
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Post by Andy Burns
Post by Quadibloc
I still long for the double-height Enter (or carriage return) key of long
ago...
Get a British keyboard then ...
You'll only have to contend with a few symbols moving around ...
A British keyboard is worse, because the left-hand shift key is now in the wrong
place. The Model M is _almost_ right, and is the next best thing to a proper
keyboard. The international keyboard is further away. Also, while the Enter key
on an international keyboard is double-height, it is in the wrong place, one
whole key too far to the left.

John Savard
Quadibloc
2020-06-02 07:35:51 UTC
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Post by Quadibloc
Post by Andy Burns
Post by Quadibloc
I still long for the double-height Enter (or carriage return) key of long
ago...
Get a British keyboard then ...
You'll only have to contend with a few symbols moving around ...
A British keyboard is worse, because the left-hand shift key is now in the wrong
place. The Model M is _almost_ right, and is the next best thing to a proper
keyboard. The international keyboard is further away. Also, while the Enter key
on an international keyboard is double-height, it is in the wrong place, one
whole key too far to the left.
This proposed revision to ASCII is intended to encourage ASCII terminals to have
a keyboard which follows the design of the One True Keyboard. This is the
keyboard layout used on the Tandy Model 100 computer, for example, but is is
also the keyboard layout used on many electric typewriters, including the
original IBM Selectric typewriter, before the Selectric II added the Express
Backspace key.

On the One True Keyboard, there shall not be more than fourty-four (44) keys
with printable characters upon them, not counting the space bar, nor, if one is
present, the numeric keypad.

Nor shall there be less than 44 keys, because computers get confused if you try
to type a lower-case "l" where the numeral one (1) should be, and the key with
plus (+) and equals (=) upon it is important for a computer, as computers do
lots of arithmetic.

(Holy hand grenades, Batman!)

John Savard
Bob Eager
2020-06-02 08:18:55 UTC
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Post by Quadibloc
I know it's too late to change now.
The layout of the Model M keyboard finally got things right, with the
two shift keys in their proper places, the back space key nicely
reachable, and the Enter key reachable as well.
However, I still long for the double-height Enter (or carriage return)
key of long ago...
My Model M has a double height Enter key...UK 102 key version.
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
Quadibloc
2020-06-02 09:45:09 UTC
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Post by Bob Eager
My Model M has a double height Enter key...UK 102 key version.
But it's in the wrong place, and that's much worse than the single-height Enter
key of the U.S. 101-key keyboard. Also, the left-hand shift key is in the wrong
place as well.

And why am I so particular?

Well, when I start typing, I put the four fingers of my left hand on ASDF, and
the four fingers of the right hand on JKL; and then I don't want to have to
reach so far with either pinky that I have to actually look at my hands again to
put them back in the right place.

I don't know what proportion of PC users are touch-typists, but many computer
keyboards are ill-suited to touch-typing. The original 83-key PC keyboard was
very problematic, the 84-key keyboard of the IBM PC AT was better, but the
backspace key was hard to reach, and the 101-key U. S. version of the Model M
was finally satisfactory.

But if ASCII were restructured so that instead of tempting designers to go from
the 44-key keyboard (in the main area) to a 47-key or 48-key keyboard, it were
instead built around the 44-key keyboard, these problems *would never have
arisen*, and keyboards for ASCII terminals would have looked like keyboards for
EBCDIC terminals - they would have followed the electric typewriter, with no
need to add any extra keys that would cause trouble.

And by using 26 of the 32 control character positions for additional printable
characters, the number of printable characters goes up instead of down (from the
removal of the extra five printable characters that accompanied the lower-case
alphabet, and also the backslash)!

John Savard
Quadibloc
2020-06-02 09:57:35 UTC
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At least one good thing has come out of my fancy of what ASCII should have been.

Doing the artwork to show how this changed ASCII related to APL allowed me
easily to make code charts to add to the illustrations of the typewriter
pairing, bit pairing, and Model 38 APL/ASCKII keyboards on the page

http://www.quadibloc.com/comp/kybint.htm

Also, I am well aware of what a UK (or other international) keyboard looks like;
the illustration on

http://www.quadibloc.com/comp/scan.htm

shows clearly where the keys are (although the international keyboard is shown
with U.S. legends on the keys).

John Savard
Jorgen Grahn
2020-06-02 10:06:57 UTC
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Post by Quadibloc
Post by Bob Eager
My Model M has a double height Enter key...UK 102 key version.
But it's in the wrong place, and that's much worse than the
single-height Enter key of the U.S. 101-key keyboard. Also, the
left-hand shift key is in the wrong place as well.
And why am I so particular?
Well, when I start typing, I put the four fingers of my left hand on
ASDF, and the four fingers of the right hand on JKL; and then I
don't want to have to reach so far with either pinky that I have to
actually look at my hands again to put them back in the right place.
Ctrl-J often (in Unix anyway) does the same thing as Enter; I use that
a lot of the time and it helps somewhat.

/Jorgen
--
// Jorgen Grahn <grahn@ Oo o. . .
\X/ snipabacken.se> O o .
Bob Eager
2020-06-02 11:52:16 UTC
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Post by Quadibloc
But it's in the wrong place, and that's much worse than the
single-height Enter key of the U.S. 101-key keyboard. Also, the
left-hand shift key is in the wrong place as well.
And why am I so particular?
Well, when I start typing, I put the four fingers of my left hand on
ASDF,
and the four fingers of the right hand on JKL; and then I don't want to
have to reach so far with either pinky that I have to actually look at
my hands again to put them back in the right place.
I guess it doesn't bother me now, since I have been using a Model M
(three of them, in different locations) since 1989, and very little else!
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
songbird
2020-06-02 16:18:28 UTC
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Post by Quadibloc
Post by Bob Eager
My Model M has a double height Enter key...UK 102 key version.
But it's in the wrong place, and that's much worse than the single-height Enter
key of the U.S. 101-key keyboard. Also, the left-hand shift key is in the wrong
place as well.
And why am I so particular?
Well, when I start typing, I put the four fingers of my left hand on ASDF, and
the four fingers of the right hand on JKL; and then I don't want to have to
reach so far with either pinky that I have to actually look at my hands again to
put them back in the right place.
I don't know what proportion of PC users are touch-typists, but many computer
keyboards are ill-suited to touch-typing. The original 83-key PC keyboard was
very problematic, the 84-key keyboard of the IBM PC AT was better, but the
backspace key was hard to reach, and the 101-key U. S. version of the Model M
was finally satisfactory.
i failed my first typing class on manual typewriters.
it was a teacher and student issue more than anything.

once i got to college and was using all sorts of
keyboards (keypunch, hazeltine terminals and then the
u-100s and eventually the IBM PC and terminals in the
labs for the vaxes or pdps (i don't really remember
exactly what the labs ran at that time but the terminals
were vt100 compatible) oh, and then some of the IBM
terminals too that i used once in a while and the suns
and...)

so after a few years i was touch typing just out of sheer
need to survive how many hours i was stuck in front of
some form of computer or another.

my favorite keyboard was the model F that came with the
IBM PC. i regret that i gave it away with the machine
when i finally left the university.

i've had several types of keyboards since then. most
of them not worth mentioning, several died shortly after
their warranty periods passed, for feel the few unicomp
keyboards were better than most others but they were not
durable enough to survive longer than a year. i would
need someone willing to take the innards and put them on
a metal plate and to get them working again, but i've
kept them for now hoping someday someone will post a
video of how to put them back together again so i can
fix them.

in the meantime i'm using a somewhat stiff logitech
K840 which at least shows no signs of puking on me. as
it does have a base plate of metal stong enough to not
bend i hope it will last at least a few years past the
warranty date.


songbird
Theo
2020-06-02 10:31:46 UTC
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Post by Quadibloc
you will see what I think that ASCII should have been in order to avoid the need
for ASCII with lowercase to demand a keyboard with more keys on it than a normal
typewriter had.
I wonder if there was ever any pressure to keep the number of keys down for
cost reasons? After all, these keyboards used full mechanical switches and
they cost decent money.

Or was it that you were spending $5000 on a computer so the keyboard costs
didn't matter?

Sinclair famously went for a rubber keyboard, so evidently some people
cared.

Nowadays adding extra keys to a membrane keyboard is almost cost-free so
keys (and keyboards) are pretty disposable...

Theo
Quadibloc
2020-06-02 12:05:08 UTC
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Post by Theo
I wonder if there was ever any pressure to keep the number of keys down for
cost reasons? After all, these keyboards used full mechanical switches and
they cost decent money.
That is another issue entirely from the one I was considering.

Instead, I'm advocating that the number of keys in one part of a keyboard - if
the makers of the keyboard want to include a numeric keypad, lots of function
keys, and so on, all well and good - the central typing area, should be kept
down so as not to exceed the number of keys in the main typing area of a
traditional typewriter.

This is to do with ergonomics and the size of the human hand. It is, of course,
primarily relevant to touch-typists.

John Savard
Daphne Eftychia Arthur
2020-06-03 18:09:54 UTC
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Post by Quadibloc
Instead, I'm advocating that the number of keys in one part of a keyboard - if
the makers of the keyboard want to include a numeric keypad, lots of function
keys, and so on, all well and good - the central typing area, should be kept
down so as not to exceed the number of keys in the main typing area of a
traditional typewriter.
This is to do with ergonomics and the size of the human hand. It is, of course,
primarily relevant to touch-typists.
I'm a touch-typist and think you're full of it. I'm also a guitarist,
mind you, and playing guitar or piano might make a bigger difference
than actual hand size[*], when it comes to what's a comfortable reach
... though OTGH, touch-typing for long enough ought to give one the
stretch one needs over time as well.

I've used keyboards that felt a little big, and keyboards that felt too
small to be comfortable to type properly on (fortunately I can do a one
handed version of touch typing on the small ones) and except for the
occasional really oddly placed ESC key, it's always been the _scale_ of
the keyboard, not its _layout_ that matter most to how it feels. Except
...

... Except when I was using Word Perfect 4.3 a lot, and therefore using
function keys a lot. Having the function keys off to the left meant I
could just flick my pinky out to hit the Bold key, the Underline key,
the Italic key, etc. When those moved to above the top row, I started
having to move my hands out of home position to reach them, and that
slowed me way, way down. Fortunately, my period of heavy word processor
use ended not too long after that, and vi/vim doesn't need me to hit the
function keys.

I'm not sure which control keys you think we can do without. On various
systems in various decades I think I've needed nearly all of them.
Also, DEL (aka Rubout), which a lot of modern keyboards seem to treat as
equivalent to backspace. Backing the paper tape up twice to punch a
combination of characters that together added up to DEL would have
worked, I guess, but being able to punch a row of 1s in one keystroke
made correcting a typo smoother. Backspace, OTOH, could well be a
character I wanted explicitly on the tape. (For that matter, for a
while I used a Unix password that had backspace in it.)

I don't know Emacs (Emacs hates me so I stay out of its way) but doesn't
that use a lot of control keys as well?

Anyhow, I've far more been slowed down and frustrated by not having keys
I needed and having to sort out the workarounds for them (ISTR that
trying to enter C code on a TRS-80 Model III was a problem) than from
having too many keys or -- barring ESC and function keys -- a difficult
reach. (Come to think of it, a couple of older terminals put backspace
in a weird place as well, but I just ignored it and hit ^H in those
cases.) Heck, the feel of the switches is a bigger deal than layout. I
mean, even on the clunky ASR-33, the key layout wasn't what slowed me
down -- the lack of typeahead or rollover, forcing me to pace my fingers
at the fastest it could accept at 110 Baud, was what made the TeleType
difficult!

It did take me a while to get used to having Control in the bottom row
instead of next to Caps Lock, I admit. But I did get used to it
eventually. I make time to grumble about it once every year or so, but
that's only because I'm ornery.

Now if I were to sit down and design The Perfect Keyboard For Me And
Only Me (i.e. a _custom_ keyboard, rather than a "better" keyboard), I
might get as picky as you. I'd certainly have the numeric keypad
duplicated on the left (farther left than the function keys) since I do
number-pad entry more quickly with my left hand, and for a couple
decades my wish list included having that be a hexadecimal one instead
of decimal, because -- guess what! -- I was typing hex into things a lot
then. Oh yeah, the Perfect Keyboard For Me And Only Me would have to
change depending on what I was doing a lot of during different periods.
All in all, a few of the layouts of mass-produced keyboards have sucked
pretty badly, but most have been adequate, decent, or better, for a wide
range of tasks. (Note that choice of switches / mechanical design has
sucked on a lot more keyboards than layout has.)

(I still think about how nice it would have been to have a hex-pad on
the TRS-80 when I learned Z80 machine language. I mean sure, I
eventually got an assembler for it, but I keyed in a lot of machine code
first.[**])


As for what was wrong with _ASCII_ as opposed to what is wrong with some
keyboards, most of that has been fixed (I'll leave others to debate
whether fixed poorly or well) by Unicode. I'm remembering typing
non-English titles and authors into the old OCLC terminals, typing (and
displaying) accents and diaresis and cedilla next to the characters they
affected, instead of the way they'd eventually get printed out for the
card catalog. I also remember looking over my mother's shoulder after
she discovered email, and struggling to parse Greek written entirely in
ASCII, when my cousins wrote to her. The biggest flaw in ASCII was that
'A' at the front of the acronym. (And I say this as someone who types
American English most of the time when I'm not typing in a programming
language or ABC code.)



[*] Seriously, the number of times people have said to me, "I wish I
could learn to play guitar but my hands are too small," then been
surprised when I put my hand up against theirs to show them our hands
are the same size ... it's getting used to the reach, not starting out
with large hands, that matters. And for folks who _do_ have small
hands, there are 3/4-scale and 1/2-scale guitars. Similarly for
keyboards: most laptop keyboards and some UCB/Bluetooth keyboards are
small enough that it's faster for me to type one-handed than properly,
and those would probably suit somebody with smaller hands.

[**] That was why, when I got sent out to update some Pascal code on a
client's CP/M box and discovered I needed a snippet of inline assembly
code but I didn't know the Intel mnemonics, only the Zilog ones, I was
able to just stuff in the machine code in hex and stick the Z80 assembly
in comments for whoever came after me, without looking anything up.
Fortunately, like a lot of CP/M machines, it did have a Z80 inside,
because what I put in there used a block-move, but the assemble()
statement in that Pascal compiler was for 8080 since CP/M was specced
for 8080.
--
Daphne Eftychia Arthur ***@panix.com
Grandis vetus factio delenda est.
Everything is better with live music.
Quadibloc
2020-06-03 21:01:47 UTC
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Post by Daphne Eftychia Arthur
I'm a touch-typist and think you're full of it.
You're certainly entitled to your opinion.

My personal experience was this: I used both upper-case only ASCII terminals and
EBCDIC terminals like the IBM 2741 with no problem. (The 3277 display station had
the Enter key in an awkward place, where the right-hand Ctrl key is on a computer
keyboard today.)

Then ASCII with lower-case came along. Keyboards had carriage return and
backspace keys in all sorts of weird hard-to-reach positions on such terminals
as the Texas Instruments Silent 700 and the LA36 Decwriter. It wasn't until the
Model M keyboard for the IBM PC set the new standard, many years later, that a
lower-case ASCII keyboard had the shift, backspace, and Enter keys all in
appropriate places.

And so I proposed reducing the number of characters in ASCII with lower-case so
as to reduce the temptation to put extra keys in weird places.

But that's fewer characters, so I fixed that by adding 26 special characters
that get to be the shifts of the letters in caps mode.

Sure, it's too late to change now. So it isn't really a serious proposal. But
had ASCII been like that at the beginning, keyboards for computer terminals
would have been easier to use in so many cases. I've added another image to the
bottom of

http://www.quadibloc.com/comp/kyb0603.htm

so that people will have no problem seeing what kind of keyboard I'm talking
about.

John Savard
Quadibloc
2020-06-04 00:54:37 UTC
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Post by Daphne Eftychia Arthur
The biggest flaw in ASCII was that
'A' at the front of the acronym.
But that's fixed now. What we're using is ISO 8859-1, even if some people, out of
habit, incorrectly refer to it as "8-bit ASCII".

Even before the various flavors of ISO 8859, of which ISO 8859-1 is only one, came
to be, the 7-bit code could also be referred to either as ISO 7 or as
International Telegraph Alphabet #5.

John Savard
John Levine
2020-06-04 02:11:23 UTC
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Post by Quadibloc
Post by Daphne Eftychia Arthur
The biggest flaw in ASCII was that
'A' at the front of the acronym.
But that's fixed now. What we're using is ISO 8859-1, even if some people, out of
habit, incorrectly refer to it as "8-bit ASCII".
The IETF standard is still RFC 20 which is a copy of a very old
version of ANSI X3.4. The current version of ASCII is ANSI INCITS
4-1986 (R2017) which is what we use here in the U.S.

ISO 8859-1 is a superset of INCITS 4 with more characters in the 0x80
to 0xFF range.
--
Regards,
John Levine, ***@taugh.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. https://jl.ly
Daphne Eftychia Arthur
2020-06-04 03:05:31 UTC
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Post by Quadibloc
Post by Daphne Eftychia Arthur
The biggest flaw in ASCII was that
'A' at the front of the acronym.
But that's fixed now. What we're using is ISO 8859-1, even if some people, out of
habit, incorrectly refer to it as "8-bit ASCII".
Maybe you are, but most of the time I'm using UTF-8 except when dealing
with tools that aren't 8-bit clean, in which case I use ASCII. That's
why I can put my name as ΔαφΜη Ευτυχια ΑρΞοΞρος in my Twitter handle.
Does ISO 8859-1, ISO 8859-15, or the Windows/Mac near-equivalents
contain complete upper & lowercase Greek alphabets?

I did use 8859-1 (and at least one other ISO 8859 code page but I can't
recall which) for a few years before UTF-8 became ubiquitous, but oy! it
was such a pain figuring out how to get different tools to use the right
code page. Oh, and I used the upper 128 characters on the TRS-80 Models
I, III, & 4 sometimes -- I don't know whether that character set had a
formal name.

I do remember when I was working for the Army, on a visit to a
contractor I saw they were using the high-bit line-and-box drawing
characters in MS-DOS, and had to explain to them that the system wasn't
going to run on PC/XTs, it was going to run on a Xenix machine with a
bunch of dumb terminals attached (mostly Wyse-50 & Wyse-75). They were
rather confused. (They also didn't know about record-locking, because
the idea of a multiuser computer was foreign to them.)


FWIW, I've never encounted a version of ASCII that lacked lowercase
letters, making a few of your earlier statements a bit mysterious to me.
I've used uppercase-only _terminals_ (they handled receiving lowercase
letters by converting them to uppercase for display -- or printing, in
the case of the TeleType), but some of the ones that could only display
uppercase had ways to generate+send lowercase. Every ASCII chart I
looked at when I was learning about it, there was a section for
lowercase letters.
--
Daphne Eftychia Arthur ***@panix.com
Grandis vetus factio delenda est.
Everything is better with live music.
Quadibloc
2020-06-04 03:26:59 UTC
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Post by Daphne Eftychia Arthur
FWIW, I've never encounted a version of ASCII that lacked lowercase
letters, making a few of your earlier statements a bit mysterious to me.
I've used uppercase-only _terminals_ (they handled receiving lowercase
letters by converting them to uppercase for display -- or printing, in
the case of the TeleType), but some of the ones that could only display
uppercase had ways to generate+send lowercase. Every ASCII chart I
looked at when I was learning about it, there was a section for
lowercase letters.
It wasn't until 1968 that the version of ASCII with lower-case letters that
we're familiar with now was introduced.

In 1965, the first draft proposal for ASCII with lower-case letters was
advanced, but that was not in regular use, and it had several significant
differences with ASCII as we're familiar with it.

So from 1963 to 1968, ASCII was an upper-case only code, with the area from
X'60' to X'7B' undefined. The Escape (ESC) character was X'7E' instead of X'1B',
the Tab character was called Horizontal Tab, the caret (^) was an up-arrow, and
the underscore (_) was a back-arrow.

I actually have a chart illustrating the history of ASCII on my own web page, at

http://www.quadibloc.com/comp/cp02.htm

on a page about computer arithmetic.

John Savard
Peter Flass
2020-06-04 14:06:38 UTC
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Post by Quadibloc
Post by Daphne Eftychia Arthur
FWIW, I've never encounted a version of ASCII that lacked lowercase
letters, making a few of your earlier statements a bit mysterious to me.
I've used uppercase-only _terminals_ (they handled receiving lowercase
letters by converting them to uppercase for display -- or printing, in
the case of the TeleType), but some of the ones that could only display
uppercase had ways to generate+send lowercase. Every ASCII chart I
looked at when I was learning about it, there was a section for
lowercase letters.
It wasn't until 1968 that the version of ASCII with lower-case letters that
we're familiar with now was introduced.
In 1965, the first draft proposal for ASCII with lower-case letters was
advanced, but that was not in regular use, and it had several significant
differences with ASCII as we're familiar with it.
So from 1963 to 1968, ASCII was an upper-case only code, with the area from
X'60' to X'7B' undefined. The Escape (ESC) character was X'7E' instead of X'1B',
the Tab character was called Horizontal Tab
I thought it still was Horizontal Tab.
Post by Quadibloc
the caret (^) was an up-arrow, and
the underscore (_) was a back-arrow.
I actually have a chart illustrating the history of ASCII on my own web page, at
http://www.quadibloc.com/comp/cp02.htm
on a page about computer arithmetic.
John Savard
--
Pete
Daphne Eftychia Arthur
2020-06-04 03:27:09 UTC
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Post by Daphne Eftychia Arthur
FWIW, I've never encounted a version of ASCII that lacked lowercase
letters, making a few of your earlier statements a bit mysterious to me.
Never mind; I found it. From 1963 to 1965 ASCII lacked lowercase.
Something I had not known. I guess I haven't run into many systems
built during those particular years.
--
Daphne Eftychia Arthur ***@panix.com
Grandis vetus factio delenda est.
Everything is better with live music.
Quadibloc
2020-06-04 03:31:31 UTC
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Post by Daphne Eftychia Arthur
Never mind; I found it. From 1963 to 1965 ASCII lacked lowercase.
Something I had not known. I guess I haven't run into many systems
built during those particular years.
Actually, it lacked lower-case from 1963 to 1968. There was a draft proposal for
ASCII with lowercase in 1965, but it never saw actual use (as I note in my reply
to your earlier post).

I didn't start using computers until 1970 - but my first experience with a
computer was using BASIC in high school, on a PDP 8/e which was lent to it...
and there I used an ASR 33 Teletype, an upper-case only terminal. At University,
at first my contact with computers was through the IBM 29 card punch and the IBM
2741 terminal (built around a Selectric typewriter), but the mainframe (an IBM
360/67) had a PDP-11 front-end connected to it, and so I did have some
experience with ASCII terminals, some of which had lower-case.

John Savard
Quadibloc
2020-06-04 03:41:30 UTC
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Post by Quadibloc
I didn't start using computers until 1970 - but my first experience with a
computer was using BASIC in high school, on a PDP 8/e which was lent to it...
and there I used an ASR 33 Teletype, an upper-case only terminal. At University,
at first my contact with computers was through the IBM 29 card punch and the IBM
2741 terminal (built around a Selectric typewriter), but the mainframe (an IBM
360/67) had a PDP-11 front-end connected to it, and so I did have some
experience with ASCII terminals, some of which had lower-case.
If I'm going to go all autobiographical on everybody, I might as well mention
that, as a small child, I had a copy of the How and Why Wonder Book of Robots
and Electronic Brains, which had pictures of the Perceptron, the MOBOT, and an
IBM 1401 in it, and later on, I read the Life Science Library volume on
Mathematics, with its picture of an IBM 7030 (the computer of which the Los
Alamos STRETCH was the prototype) at the U. S. Weather Bureau. Both sources
probably also had pictures of an IBM 7090 in there somewhere, and I had also
seen pictures of the famous IBM 704 in various magazines and books, for example
because of its use in early investigations of getting a computer to play chess.

John Savard
Johann 'Myrkraverk' Oskarsson
2020-06-05 18:22:28 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Daphne Eftychia Arthur
Now if I were to sit down and design The Perfect Keyboard For Me And
Only Me (i.e. a_custom_ keyboard, rather than a "better" keyboard), I
might get as picky as you. I'd certainly have the numeric keypad
duplicated on the left (farther left than the function keys) since I do
number-pad entry more quickly with my left hand, and for a couple
decades my wish list included having that be a hexadecimal one instead
of decimal, because -- guess what! -- I was typing hex into things a lot
then. Oh yeah, the Perfect Keyboard For Me And Only Me would have to
change depending on what I was doing a lot of during different periods.
All in all, a few of the layouts of mass-produced keyboards have sucked
pretty badly, but most have been adequate, decent, or better, for a wide
range of tasks. (Note that choice of switches / mechanical design has
sucked on a lot more keyboards than layout has.)
Nowadays you can buy a separate number pad, and keep to the left of your
keyboard. Now whether that's something you'd find useful is a different
story. A hexadecimal number pad would equally be useful, and I wonder
idly if any custom keyboard people have done that before?

There is a thriving community of people who make their own custom
keyboards. So if you really, really want to make a keyboard for you
and only you, you'll find a lot of resources and communities online;
some I've been told, in Japanese.
--
Johann | email: invalid -> com | www.myrkraverk.com/blog/
I'm not from the Internet, I just work there. | twitter: @myrkraverk
Peter Flass
2020-06-05 18:33:00 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Johann 'Myrkraverk' Oskarsson
Post by Daphne Eftychia Arthur
Now if I were to sit down and design The Perfect Keyboard For Me And
Only Me (i.e. a_custom_ keyboard, rather than a "better" keyboard), I
might get as picky as you. I'd certainly have the numeric keypad
duplicated on the left (farther left than the function keys) since I do
number-pad entry more quickly with my left hand, and for a couple
decades my wish list included having that be a hexadecimal one instead
of decimal, because -- guess what! -- I was typing hex into things a lot
then. Oh yeah, the Perfect Keyboard For Me And Only Me would have to
change depending on what I was doing a lot of during different periods.
All in all, a few of the layouts of mass-produced keyboards have sucked
pretty badly, but most have been adequate, decent, or better, for a wide
range of tasks. (Note that choice of switches / mechanical design has
sucked on a lot more keyboards than layout has.)
Nowadays you can buy a separate number pad, and keep to the left of your
keyboard. Now whether that's something you'd find useful is a different
story. A hexadecimal number pad would equally be useful, and I wonder
idly if any custom keyboard people have done that before?
There is a thriving community of people who make their own custom
keyboards. So if you really, really want to make a keyboard for you
and only you, you'll find a lot of resources and communities online;
some I've been told, in Japanese.
My idea of a perfect keyboard is one with fewer keys rather than more. For
example, I’d have the numeric pad triple up as not only numeric and control
functions, as at present, but also as a pad of PF keys. This would
eliminate the top row of PF keys and shrink the keyboard vertically. Then
I’d get rid of that ***@mn “windows” key. (I have a special-order 101-key
keyboard without one)
--
Pete
Johann 'Myrkraverk' Oskarsson
2020-06-06 05:58:53 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Johann 'Myrkraverk' Oskarsson
Post by Daphne Eftychia Arthur
Now if I were to sit down and design The Perfect Keyboard For Me And
Only Me (i.e. a_custom_ keyboard, rather than a "better" keyboard), I
might get as picky as you. I'd certainly have the numeric keypad
duplicated on the left (farther left than the function keys) since I do
number-pad entry more quickly with my left hand, and for a couple
decades my wish list included having that be a hexadecimal one instead
of decimal, because -- guess what! -- I was typing hex into things a lot
then. Oh yeah, the Perfect Keyboard For Me And Only Me would have to
change depending on what I was doing a lot of during different periods.
All in all, a few of the layouts of mass-produced keyboards have sucked
pretty badly, but most have been adequate, decent, or better, for a wide
range of tasks. (Note that choice of switches / mechanical design has
sucked on a lot more keyboards than layout has.)
Nowadays you can buy a separate number pad, and keep to the left of your
keyboard. Now whether that's something you'd find useful is a different
story. A hexadecimal number pad would equally be useful, and I wonder
idly if any custom keyboard people have done that before?
There is a thriving community of people who make their own custom
keyboards. So if you really, really want to make a keyboard for you
and only you, you'll find a lot of resources and communities online;
some I've been told, in Japanese.
My idea of a perfect keyboard is one with fewer keys rather than more. For
example, I’d have the numeric pad triple up as not only numeric and control
functions, as at present, but also as a pad of PF keys. This would
eliminate the top row of PF keys and shrink the keyboard vertically. Then
keyboard without one)
Apart from the Japanese Discord community (I don't see a point to link
it here) there's also this, in English,

https://kb.ai03.me/

where you may find something you like, or look at the open source github
links or join the Discord server (in English).
--
Johann | email: invalid -> com | www.myrkraverk.com/blog/
I'm not from the Internet, I just work there. | twitter: @myrkraverk
Peter Flass
2020-06-06 18:10:26 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Johann 'Myrkraverk' Oskarsson
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Johann 'Myrkraverk' Oskarsson
Post by Daphne Eftychia Arthur
Now if I were to sit down and design The Perfect Keyboard For Me And
Only Me (i.e. a_custom_ keyboard, rather than a "better" keyboard), I
might get as picky as you. I'd certainly have the numeric keypad
duplicated on the left (farther left than the function keys) since I do
number-pad entry more quickly with my left hand, and for a couple
decades my wish list included having that be a hexadecimal one instead
of decimal, because -- guess what! -- I was typing hex into things a lot
then. Oh yeah, the Perfect Keyboard For Me And Only Me would have to
change depending on what I was doing a lot of during different periods.
All in all, a few of the layouts of mass-produced keyboards have sucked
pretty badly, but most have been adequate, decent, or better, for a wide
range of tasks. (Note that choice of switches / mechanical design has
sucked on a lot more keyboards than layout has.)
Nowadays you can buy a separate number pad, and keep to the left of your
keyboard. Now whether that's something you'd find useful is a different
story. A hexadecimal number pad would equally be useful, and I wonder
idly if any custom keyboard people have done that before?
There is a thriving community of people who make their own custom
keyboards. So if you really, really want to make a keyboard for you
and only you, you'll find a lot of resources and communities online;
some I've been told, in Japanese.
My idea of a perfect keyboard is one with fewer keys rather than more. For
example, I’d have the numeric pad triple up as not only numeric and control
functions, as at present, but also as a pad of PF keys. This would
eliminate the top row of PF keys and shrink the keyboard vertically. Then
keyboard without one)
Apart from the Japanese Discord community (I don't see a point to link
it here) there's also this, in English,
https://kb.ai03.me/
where you may find something you like, or look at the open source github
links or join the Discord server (in English).
Interesting. Everyone has an idea of what the perfect keyboard would look
like.
--
Pete
r***@gmail.com
2020-06-03 02:46:01 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
I know it's too late to change now.
The layout of the Model M keyboard finally got things right, with the two shift
keys in their proper places, the back space key nicely reachable, and the Enter
key reachable as well.
However, I still long for the double-height Enter (or carriage return) key of long
ago...
and on the page
http://www.quadibloc.com/comp/kyb0603.htm
if you scroll right to the bottom,
you will see what I think that ASCII should have been in order to avoid the need
for ASCII with lowercase to demand a keyboard with more keys on it than a normal
typewriter had.
What? ASCII with lower case does not require more keys than
a "normal" typewriter.

(And what is a "normal" typewriter anyway?
Does it mean one that uses small L for the digit 1,
etc.
Lower case ASCII requires only the use of a shift key,
just like an ordinary typewriter.
Post by Quadibloc
And yet, I allow _more_ special characters, not _less_, than we have in regular
ASCII, by getting rid of all those control characters no one ever uses!
ASCII NULL, CR, LF, FF etc are commonly used.
Post by Quadibloc
So instead one chooses two modes of operation... one can have the letter keys
shift from lower-case to upper-case, or one can have them shift from upper-case to
26 additional special symbols which use codes in the former control-character
area. The few control characters that are actually needed are, therefore, given
codes that don't correspond to letters.
Of course, Bob Bemer will hate me... I get rid of the backslash so that the 62
printables, excluding space, plus the 26 lower-case letters, will fit on a 44-key
keyboard... and I use that code for a 'printable character escape' that allows
text to be stored easily at 6 bits per character.
What? ASCII is 8 bits.
Post by Quadibloc
I also replaced [ and ] with | and the EBCDIC logical NOT so that ASCII would
get along better with EBCDIC.
[ and ] are used by ALGOL.
Quadibloc
2020-06-03 06:24:05 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by r***@gmail.com
Post by Quadibloc
you will see what I think that ASCII should have been in order to avoid the need
for ASCII with lowercase to demand a keyboard with more keys on it than a normal
typewriter had.
What? ASCII with lower case does not require more keys than
a "normal" typewriter.
(And what is a "normal" typewriter anyway?
Does it mean one that uses small L for the digit 1,
etc.
No. A "42-key" typewriter uses small L for the digit 1, and doesn't have a +/=
key. A "44-key" typewriter has both of those.

But for lower-case ASCII, you need at least a "47-key" keyboard; you have the
extra |\ key, the extra ~` key, and you have two keys {[ and }] instead of just
one, so that's three more keys in the primary typing area of the keyboard.
Post by r***@gmail.com
Lower case ASCII requires only the use of a shift key,
just like an ordinary typewriter.
Yes, I realize that.

John Savard
Quadibloc
2020-06-03 06:36:39 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by r***@gmail.com
Post by Quadibloc
you will see what I think that ASCII should have been in order to avoid the need
for ASCII with lowercase to demand a keyboard with more keys on it than a normal
typewriter had.
What? ASCII with lower case does not require more keys than
a "normal" typewriter.
(And what is a "normal" typewriter anyway?
Does it mean one that uses small L for the digit 1,
etc.
No. A "42-key" typewriter uses small L for the digit 1, and doesn't have a +/=
key. A "44-key" typewriter has both of those.
But for lower-case ASCII, you need at least a "47-key" keyboard; you have the
extra |\ key, the extra ~` key, and you have two keys {[ and }] instead of just
one, so that's three more keys in the primary typing area of the keyboard.
Another way to answer that question is to look at the page referenced,

http://www.quadibloc.com/comp/kyb0603.htm

and read from the top of the page, since it addresses that question first,
before then examining ways to design an ASCII keyboard with a primary printable
character key cluster approaching the behavior of one of 44 keys, before finally
at the bottom describing my "proposal" for a revised ASCII (which, as I've
noted, is much to late to make in real life, as it's far too late to change).
Post by Quadibloc
Post by r***@gmail.com
Lower case ASCII requires only the use of a shift key,
just like an ordinary typewriter.
Yes, I realize that.
John Savard
Charlie Gibbs
2020-06-03 17:22:49 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by r***@gmail.com
Post by Quadibloc
you will see what I think that ASCII should have been in order to avoid
the need for ASCII with lowercase to demand a keyboard with more keys
on it than a normal typewriter had.
What? ASCII with lower case does not require more keys than
a "normal" typewriter.
(And what is a "normal" typewriter anyway?
Does it mean one that uses small L for the digit 1,
etc.
No. A "42-key" typewriter uses small L for the digit 1, and doesn't
have a +/= key. A "44-key" typewriter has both of those.
But for lower-case ASCII, you need at least a "47-key" keyboard; you
have the extra |\ key, the extra ~` key, and you have two keys {[ and }]
instead of just one, so that's three more keys in the primary typing area
of the keyboard.
I still don't see anything wrong with a 47-key keyboard, like the one I'm
typing this on. I personally have no need for a double-height <enter>
key, so that leaves room for [{ ]} \| keys to the right of the P, and
the little-used `~ key fits next to the 1! key where it's out of the way
but easy enough to reach when I need it.

I just thank my lucky stars that the scourge of the original IBM PC keyboard
layout - and its misbegotten offspring - has finally been eradicated.
(Unless you're here in Canada trying to find a keyboard that doesn't
have that horrid French-Canadian layout...)
--
/~\ Charlie Gibbs | Microsoft is a dictatorship.
\ / <***@kltpzyxm.invalid> | Apple is a cult.
X I'm really at ac.dekanfrus | Linux is anarchy.
/ \ if you read it the right way. | Pick your poison.
Quadibloc
2020-06-03 17:33:53 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Charlie Gibbs
I just thank my lucky stars that the scourge of the original IBM PC keyboard
layout - and its misbegotten offspring - has finally been eradicated.
(Unless you're here in Canada trying to find a keyboard that doesn't
have that horrid French-Canadian layout...)
I am in Canada, and I know a lot of laptops only came in the French Canadian
layout, but I've had no trouble finding 101-key keyboards for my desktop
computers.

But then, I live in Alberta, not Quebec or even Ontario.

John Savard
Charlie Gibbs
2020-06-03 20:30:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Charlie Gibbs
I just thank my lucky stars that the scourge of the original IBM PC keyboard
layout - and its misbegotten offspring - has finally been eradicated.
(Unless you're here in Canada trying to find a keyboard that doesn't
have that horrid French-Canadian layout...)
I am in Canada, and I know a lot of laptops only came in the French Canadian
layout, but I've had no trouble finding 101-key keyboards for my desktop
computers.
Granted. But it pains me when I wander through Staples or Best Buy and
see how few laptops don't have that French-Canadian layout (Macbooks
excepted). One salesman even said that the government doesn't allow
laptops sold in Canada to have the standard US layout. Although this
brings to mind that old joke about computer salesmen [1], it isn't
entirely unbelievable, given our federal government's eagerness to
bend over backwards to appease Quebec in any way, shape, or form.

When I need a laptop I buy a refurbished Thinkpad from a laptop shop.
They have a good layout and a professional-grade feel that you're not
likely to find anywhere else.
Post by Quadibloc
But then, I live in Alberta, not Quebec or even Ontario.
I'm in B.C. myself.

[1] Q: What's the difference between a used car salesman
and a computer salesman?
A: The used car salesman knows when he's lying.
--
/~\ Charlie Gibbs | Microsoft is a dictatorship.
\ / <***@kltpzyxm.invalid> | Apple is a cult.
X I'm really at ac.dekanfrus | Linux is anarchy.
/ \ if you read it the right way. | Pick your poison.
Quadibloc
2020-06-03 20:40:56 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Charlie Gibbs
One salesman even said that the government doesn't allow
laptops sold in Canada to have the standard US layout.
I can tell you that isn't true. But some companies are too lazy to deal with the
extra SKU.

John Savard
Peter Flass
2020-06-04 14:06:35 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Charlie Gibbs
One salesman even said that the government doesn't allow
laptops sold in Canada to have the standard US layout.
I can tell you that isn't true. But some companies are too lazy to deal with the
extra SKU.
Oh, *laptop* ‘nother problem altogether. People do use USB keyboards on
laptops, but that seems self-defeating. So, could you order a laptop from
Amazon or somewhere?
--
Pete
Charlie Gibbs
2020-06-04 16:59:07 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Charlie Gibbs
One salesman even said that the government doesn't allow
laptops sold in Canada to have the standard US layout.
I can tell you that isn't true. But some companies are too lazy to
deal with the extra SKU.
Oh, *laptop* ‘nother problem altogether. People do use USB keyboards on
laptops, but that seems self-defeating. So, could you order a laptop from
Amazon or somewhere?
When I bought a laptop for my wife I was able to order one in
from a local supplier. The layout was what I was looking for,
but otherwise the keyboard was a piece of crap. It's hard to
make a good choice when you can't try before you buy.
--
/~\ Charlie Gibbs | Microsoft is a dictatorship.
\ / <***@kltpzyxm.invalid> | Apple is a cult.
X I'm really at ac.dekanfrus | Linux is anarchy.
/ \ if you read it the right way. | Pick your poison.
J. Clarke
2020-06-03 23:50:08 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Charlie Gibbs
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Charlie Gibbs
I just thank my lucky stars that the scourge of the original IBM PC keyboard
layout - and its misbegotten offspring - has finally been eradicated.
(Unless you're here in Canada trying to find a keyboard that doesn't
have that horrid French-Canadian layout...)
I am in Canada, and I know a lot of laptops only came in the French Canadian
layout, but I've had no trouble finding 101-key keyboards for my desktop
computers.
Granted. But it pains me when I wander through Staples or Best Buy and
see how few laptops don't have that French-Canadian layout (Macbooks
excepted). One salesman even said that the government doesn't allow
laptops sold in Canada to have the standard US layout. Although this
brings to mind that old joke about computer salesmen [1], it isn't
entirely unbelievable, given our federal government's eagerness to
bend over backwards to appease Quebec in any way, shape, or form.
When I need a laptop I buy a refurbished Thinkpad from a laptop shop.
They have a good layout and a professional-grade feel that you're not
likely to find anywhere else.
Post by Quadibloc
But then, I live in Alberta, not Quebec or even Ontario.
I'm in B.C. myself.
[1] Q: What's the difference between a used car salesman
and a computer salesman?
A: The used car salesman knows when he's lying.
Maybe you should let Quebec leave then conquer it and let it operate
as an occupied territory until it comes to its senses.
Quadibloc
2020-06-04 00:47:16 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
Maybe you should let Quebec leave then conquer it and let it operate
as an occupied territory until it comes to its senses.
That would be too much trouble, and could involve possible bloodshed. As well,
conquering a foreign coutnry constitutes aggression.

So instead one first, while Quebec is still a part of Canada, deprives it of
representation, changing its status to that of a territory. Then, after it comes
to its senses, let it leave. That way, Quebec could be made to come to its
senses, but it would be an internal Canadian matter rather than a flagrant
violation of the United Nations Charter.

John Savard
Peter Flass
2020-06-04 14:06:37 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Charlie Gibbs
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Charlie Gibbs
I just thank my lucky stars that the scourge of the original IBM PC keyboard
layout - and its misbegotten offspring - has finally been eradicated.
(Unless you're here in Canada trying to find a keyboard that doesn't
have that horrid French-Canadian layout...)
I am in Canada, and I know a lot of laptops only came in the French Canadian
layout, but I've had no trouble finding 101-key keyboards for my desktop
computers.
Granted. But it pains me when I wander through Staples or Best Buy and
see how few laptops don't have that French-Canadian layout (Macbooks
excepted). One salesman even said that the government doesn't allow
laptops sold in Canada to have the standard US layout. Although this
brings to mind that old joke about computer salesmen [1], it isn't
entirely unbelievable, given our federal government's eagerness to
bend over backwards to appease Quebec in any way, shape, or form.
When I need a laptop I buy a refurbished Thinkpad from a laptop shop.
They have a good layout and a professional-grade feel that you're not
likely to find anywhere else.
Post by Quadibloc
But then, I live in Alberta, not Quebec or even Ontario.
I'm in B.C. myself.
[1] Q: What's the difference between a used car salesman
and a computer salesman?
A: The used car salesman knows when he's lying.
Maybe you should let Quebec leave then conquer it and let it operate
as an occupied territory until it comes to its senses.
PLEASE! We have enough problems in the US, let’s not stir up trouble in the
Frozen North.
--
Pete
Mike Spencer
2020-06-03 23:53:20 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Charlie Gibbs
Granted. But it pains me when I wander through Staples or Best Buy and
see how few laptops don't have that French-Canadian layout (Macbooks
excepted). One salesman even said that the government doesn't allow
laptops sold in Canada to have the standard US layout.
Just curious: How would I know I have French-Canadian layout keyboard?

My ca. 5 y.o. Acer E17 (bought at Staples) has a typically annoying
keyboard (compared to a desktop kb) but has a nice two-row-high return
key.

Doesn't matter a great deal as I'm not a touch typist. I wisely
enrolled in typing class in high school when computers were still
remote & mystical objects but I owned a nice Hermes portable
typewriter. That was the same autumn that I less wisely implemented a
backyard rocket experiment the failure of which put a permanent end to
my touch typing even after several months in assorted splints and
casts. Also the reason I like the fat return key.

But I don't see aything explicitly French on the Acer. How do I tell?
--
Mike Spencer Nova Scotia, Canada
John Levine
2020-06-04 00:08:55 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Mike Spencer
Just curious: How would I know I have French-Canadian layout keyboard?
It would look something like this:

Loading Image...
--
Regards,
John Levine, ***@taugh.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. https://jl.ly
Gerard Schildberger
2020-06-04 00:10:08 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Mike Spencer
Post by Charlie Gibbs
Granted. But it pains me when I wander through Staples or Best Buy and
see how few laptops don't have that French-Canadian layout (Macbooks
excepted). One salesman even said that the government doesn't allow
laptops sold in Canada to have the standard US layout.
Just curious: How would I know I have French-Canadian layout keyboard?
My ca. 5 y.o. Acer E17 (bought at Staples) has a typically annoying
keyboard (compared to a desktop kb) but has a nice two-row-high return
key.
Doesn't matter a great deal as I'm not a touch typist. I wisely
enrolled in typing class in high school when computers were still
remote & mystical objects but I owned a nice Hermes portable
typewriter.
" That was the same autumn that I less wisely implemented a
" backyard rocket experiment the failure of which put a permanent end to
" my touch typing even after several months in assorted splints and
" casts. Also the reason I like the fat return key.
"

Ya left out the best parts: did the rocket get off the ground, and
how high? ______________________________________ Gerard Schildberger
Post by Mike Spencer
But I don't see aything explicitly French on the Acer. How do I tell?
--
Mike Spencer Nova Scotia, Canada
Quadibloc
2020-06-04 00:48:24 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Mike Spencer
Just curious: How would I know I have French-Canadian layout keyboard?
Like a United Kingdom keyboard, or, indeed, most international keyboards, there
would be an extra key between the key with the letter Z and the left-hand Shift
key.

John Savard
Mike Spencer
2020-06-04 06:11:42 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Mike Spencer
Just curious: How would I know I have French-Canadian layout keyboard?
Like a United Kingdom keyboard, or, indeed, most international
keyboards, there would be an extra key between the key with the
letter Z and the left-hand Shift key.
Ah-ha! It has that. The Acer kb has numerous, presumably
alternative, chars marked in green on some of the keys. I have no
idea how to access them with my vanilla Linux config (not that I've
had any occasion to use them.) Now that I'm looking more closely,
there are a couple of clues, e.g. Caps Lock marked Verr. Maj. in
green.
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Mike Spencer
That was the same autumn that I less wisely implemented a backyard
rocket experiment the failure of which put a permanent end to my
touch typing even after several months in assorted splints and
casts. Also the reason I like the fat return key.
Ya left out the best parts: did the rocket get off the ground, and
how high?
Mark I disappeared into the trees 100 yards away. Mark II, with
"improved" fuel and metal shell, vanished on the launching pad,
portions later removed from my hand and arm and from a nearby 16"
trailer tire. Teen-age Mad Scientists didn't have computers in them
days so we hadda content ourselves with huge capacitors, combustible
chemicals and such.
--
Mike Spencer Nova Scotia, Canada
Quadibloc
2020-06-04 08:18:10 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Mike Spencer
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Mike Spencer
Just curious: How would I know I have French-Canadian layout keyboard?
Like a United Kingdom keyboard, or, indeed, most international
keyboards, there would be an extra key between the key with the
letter Z and the left-hand Shift key.
Ah-ha! It has that. The Acer kb has numerous, presumably
alternative, chars marked in green on some of the keys. I have no
idea how to access them with my vanilla Linux config (not that I've
had any occasion to use them.) Now that I'm looking more closely,
there are a couple of clues, e.g. Caps Lock marked Verr. Maj. in
green.
Had your computer been running Microsoft Windows, and had it been set to use the
French-Canadian keyboard layout, the right-hand Alt key would now be the AltGr
key, and that would be used to access the alternate characters.

John Savard
Mike Spencer
2020-06-05 06:50:32 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Mike Spencer
Ah-ha! It has that. The Acer kb has numerous, presumably
alternative, chars marked in green on some of the keys. I have no
idea how to access them with my vanilla Linux config (not that I've
had any occasion to use them.) Now that I'm looking more closely,
there are a couple of clues, e.g. Caps Lock marked Verr. Maj. in
green.
Had your computer been running Microsoft Windows, and had it been
set to use the French-Canadian keyboard layout, the right-hand Alt
key would now be the AltGr key, and that would be used to access the
alternate characters.
I had surmised as much but Windoes went away on the first boot and
I've jiggered the kb a whole bunch with .Xmodmap.
--
Mike Spencer Nova Scotia, Canada
Peter Flass
2020-06-04 14:06:34 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Charlie Gibbs
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Charlie Gibbs
I just thank my lucky stars that the scourge of the original IBM PC keyboard
layout - and its misbegotten offspring - has finally been eradicated.
(Unless you're here in Canada trying to find a keyboard that doesn't
have that horrid French-Canadian layout...)
I am in Canada, and I know a lot of laptops only came in the French Canadian
layout, but I've had no trouble finding 101-key keyboards for my desktop
computers.
Granted. But it pains me when I wander through Staples or Best Buy and
see how few laptops don't have that French-Canadian layout (Macbooks
excepted). One salesman even said that the government doesn't allow
laptops sold in Canada to have the standard US layout. Although this
brings to mind that old joke about computer salesmen [1], it isn't
entirely unbelievable, given our federal government's eagerness to
bend over backwards to appease Quebec in any way, shape, or form.
When I need a laptop I buy a refurbished Thinkpad from a laptop shop.
They have a good layout and a professional-grade feel that you're not
likely to find anywhere else.
Post by Quadibloc
But then, I live in Alberta, not Quebec or even Ontario.
I'm in B.C. myself.
[1] Q: What's the difference between a used car salesman
and a computer salesman?
A: The used car salesman knows when he's lying.
Can you just order a keyboard from the US, or is that not allowed either?
(Wow, if so!) I replaced a cheap-o Dell keyboard with an IBM-101,
clicky-key version.
--
Pete
Quadibloc
2020-06-05 07:44:33 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Can you just order a keyboard from the US, or is that not allowed either?
(Wow, if so!)
If you live in Quebec, you may not be able to order a keyboard, or other product,
from the U.S. if the manufacturer doesn't include labelling and instructions in
French at least equally with English. Elsewhere in Canada, there is no problem;
Canadians are free to be customers of Unicomp, for example.

John Savard
Peter Flass
2020-06-05 14:53:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Peter Flass
Can you just order a keyboard from the US, or is that not allowed either?
(Wow, if so!)
If you live in Quebec, you may not be able to order a keyboard, or other product,
from the U.S. if the manufacturer doesn't include labelling and instructions in
French at least equally with English. Elsewhere in Canada, there is no problem;
Canadians are free to be customers of Unicomp, for example.
Seems like massive overreach to tell people what they can and can’t order (
except for health and safety, of course)
--
Pete
Quadibloc
2020-06-05 15:04:53 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Peter Flass
Can you just order a keyboard from the US, or is that not allowed either?
(Wow, if so!)
If you live in Quebec, you may not be able to order a keyboard, or other product,
from the U.S. if the manufacturer doesn't include labelling and instructions in
French at least equally with English. Elsewhere in Canada, there is no problem;
Canadians are free to be customers of Unicomp, for example.
Seems like massive overreach to tell people what they can and can’t order (
except for health and safety, of course)
This news item, from a British newspaper

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/28/justin-trudeau-canada-french-language-pandemic

should make it clear how bad the situation is.

John Savard
Peter Flass
2020-06-05 17:03:21 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Peter Flass
Can you just order a keyboard from the US, or is that not allowed either?
(Wow, if so!)
If you live in Quebec, you may not be able to order a keyboard, or other product,
from the U.S. if the manufacturer doesn't include labelling and instructions in
French at least equally with English. Elsewhere in Canada, there is no problem;
Canadians are free to be customers of Unicomp, for example.
Seems like massive overreach to tell people what they can and can’t order (
except for health and safety, of course)
This news item, from a British newspaper
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/28/justin-trudeau-canada-french-language-pandemic
should make it clear how bad the situation is.
You wouldn’t be French (-Canadian) if you weren’t outraged about something.
On the other hand, I’d rather have that than what we have in the US now.
--
Pete
JimP
2020-06-05 16:05:29 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Peter Flass
Can you just order a keyboard from the US, or is that not allowed either?
(Wow, if so!)
If you live in Quebec, you may not be able to order a keyboard, or other product,
from the U.S. if the manufacturer doesn't include labelling and instructions in
French at least equally with English. Elsewhere in Canada, there is no problem;
Canadians are free to be customers of Unicomp, for example.
Seems like massive overreach to tell people what they can and can’t order (
except for health and safety, of course)
I would call it asinine and childishly pathetic.
--
Jim
Quadibloc
2020-06-05 16:27:07 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by JimP
Post by Peter Flass
Seems like massive overreach to tell people what they can and can’t order (
except for health and safety, of course)
I would call it asinine and childishly pathetic.
Quebec language legislation goes back to Bill 22, introduced under the Bourassa
government.

Bill 22 had three main provisions.

One was legitimate enough: companies with over 50 employees would be required to
operate in the French language. This was a response to the fact that in Quebec,
their home province, unlingual French speakers faced limited employment
opportunities, with companies often preferring to operate in English and hire
from the English-speaking minority in Quebec.

However, even that was discriminatory, since the English-speaking minority was a
large enough community that businesses serving it would not necessarily be
small.

Another provision was that only children whose parents attended English-language
schools in Quebec could send their children to English-language schools.
Eventually, this was partly stricken down by the courts as it affected people
coming from other parts of Canada due to mobility rights (equivalent to the 14th
Amendment), but it still affects immigrants.

Also, stores had to have signs - not just outdoor signs, but also the ones in
the aisles for finding things - in which the French language predominated.
Outdoor signs could only be in French, but the courts overturned that in 1988.

This kind of legislation may well be incomprehensible to Americans, as it would
be un-Constitutional in several respects. Had there been a State in which the
majority of people spoke Spanish, and they were concerned that the Spanish
language was eroding because of the economic dominance of English, then the
United States might see similar issues, but no analogous situation exists.

John Savard
Dallas
2020-06-05 16:45:15 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by JimP
Post by Peter Flass
Seems like massive overreach to tell people what they can and can’t order (
except for health and safety, of course)
I would call it asinine and childishly pathetic.
Quebec language legislation goes back to Bill 22, introduced under the Bourassa
government.
Bill 22 had three main provisions.
One was legitimate enough: companies with over 50 employees would be required to
operate in the French language. This was a response to the fact that in Quebec,
their home province, unlingual French speakers faced limited employment
opportunities, with companies often preferring to operate in English and hire
from the English-speaking minority in Quebec.
However, even that was discriminatory, since the English-speaking minority was a
large enough community that businesses serving it would not necessarily be
small.
Another provision was that only children whose parents attended English-language
schools in Quebec could send their children to English-language schools.
Eventually, this was partly stricken down by the courts as it affected people
coming from other parts of Canada due to mobility rights (equivalent to the 14th
Amendment), but it still affects immigrants.
Also, stores had to have signs - not just outdoor signs, but also the ones in
the aisles for finding things - in which the French language predominated.
Outdoor signs could only be in French, but the courts overturned that in 1988.
This kind of legislation may well be incomprehensible to Americans, as it would
be un-Constitutional in several respects. Had there been a State in which the
majority of people spoke Spanish, and they were concerned that the Spanish
language was eroding because of the economic dominance of English, then the
United States might see similar issues, but no analogous situation exists.
John Savard
What is Canada's stance regarding programming languages that use English-only words like "if" and
"else" ?
Quadibloc
2020-06-05 16:55:08 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dallas
What is Canada's stance regarding programming languages that use English-only words like "if" and
"else" ?
So far, no real attempt has been made, even in Quebec, to offer French-language
versions of computer programming languages. I suppose linguistic nationalism had
to stop somewhere.

John Savard
Peter Flass
2020-06-05 17:16:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Dallas
What is Canada's stance regarding programming languages that use
English-only words like "if" and
"else" ?
So far, no real attempt has been made, even in Quebec, to offer French-language
versions of computer programming languages. I suppose linguistic nationalism had
to stop somewhere.
John Savard
Actually, should be fairly simple to do. Just plug in different keyword and
error message tables.
--
Pete
Ahem A Rivet's Shot
2020-06-05 17:23:18 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Fri, 5 Jun 2020 09:55:08 -0700 (PDT)
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Dallas
What is Canada's stance regarding programming languages that use
English-only words like "if" and "else" ?
So far, no real attempt has been made, even in Quebec, to offer
French-language versions of computer programming languages. I suppose
linguistic nationalism had to stop somewhere.
AFAIK the only French based programming language is LSE which I
think has been abandoned (by the French!). It only just got to structured
and never made it to OO.
--
Steve O'Hara-Smith | Directable Mirror Arrays
C:\>WIN | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins. | licences available see
You lose and Bill collects. | http://www.sohara.org/
Peter Flass
2020-06-05 17:03:23 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dallas
Post by Quadibloc
Post by JimP
Post by Peter Flass
Seems like massive overreach to tell people what they can and can’t order (
except for health and safety, of course)
I would call it asinine and childishly pathetic.
Quebec language legislation goes back to Bill 22, introduced under the Bourassa
government.
Bill 22 had three main provisions.
One was legitimate enough: companies with over 50 employees would be required to
operate in the French language. This was a response to the fact that in Quebec,
their home province, unlingual French speakers faced limited employment
opportunities, with companies often preferring to operate in English and hire
from the English-speaking minority in Quebec.
However, even that was discriminatory, since the English-speaking minority was a
large enough community that businesses serving it would not necessarily be
small.
Another provision was that only children whose parents attended English-language
schools in Quebec could send their children to English-language schools.
Eventually, this was partly stricken down by the courts as it affected people
coming from other parts of Canada due to mobility rights (equivalent to the 14th
Amendment), but it still affects immigrants.
Also, stores had to have signs - not just outdoor signs, but also the ones in
the aisles for finding things - in which the French language predominated.
Outdoor signs could only be in French, but the courts overturned that in 1988.
This kind of legislation may well be incomprehensible to Americans, as it would
be un-Constitutional in several respects. Had there been a State in which the
majority of people spoke Spanish, and they were concerned that the Spanish
language was eroding because of the economic dominance of English, then the
United States might see similar issues, but no analogous situation exists.
John Savard
What is Canada's stance regarding programming languages that use
English-only words like "if" and
"else" ?
Someone write an ALGOL compiler that used French keywords and French error
messages.
--
Pete
Charlie Gibbs
2020-06-05 17:31:27 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dallas
Post by Quadibloc
Post by JimP
Post by Peter Flass
Seems like massive overreach to tell people what they can and can’t
order (except for health and safety, of course)
I would call it asinine and childishly pathetic.
Welcome to Canadian politics. (But then, nearly all politics is
asinine and childishly pathetic.)
Post by Dallas
Post by Quadibloc
Quebec language legislation goes back to Bill 22, introduced under the
Bourassa government.
<snip>
Post by Dallas
Post by Quadibloc
Also, stores had to have signs - not just outdoor signs, but also the
ones in the aisles for finding things - in which the French language
predominated. Outdoor signs could only be in French, but the courts
overturned that in 1988.
This kind of legislation may well be incomprehensible to Americans,
as it would be un-Constitutional in several respects. Had there been
a State in which the majority of people spoke Spanish, and they were
concerned that the Spanish language was eroding because of the economic
dominance of English, then the United States might see similar issues,
but no analogous situation exists.
When we went to Ireland a few years ago, I found it a pleasant relief
to see how laid-back they are about bilingualism compared to Canada.
Post by Dallas
What is Canada's stance regarding programming languages that use
English-only words like "if" and "else" ?
Hmmm, good point.

And don't get me started about bilingual air traffic control.
--
/~\ Charlie Gibbs | Microsoft is a dictatorship.
\ / <***@kltpzyxm.invalid> | Apple is a cult.
X I'm really at ac.dekanfrus | Linux is anarchy.
/ \ if you read it the right way. | Pick your poison.
Peter Flass
2020-06-05 18:24:32 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Charlie Gibbs
Post by Dallas
Post by Quadibloc
Post by JimP
Post by Peter Flass
Seems like massive overreach to tell people what they can and can’t
order (except for health and safety, of course)
I would call it asinine and childishly pathetic.
Welcome to Canadian politics. (But then, nearly all politics is
asinine and childishly pathetic.)
Post by Dallas
Post by Quadibloc
Quebec language legislation goes back to Bill 22, introduced under the
Bourassa government.
<snip>
Post by Dallas
Post by Quadibloc
Also, stores had to have signs - not just outdoor signs, but also the
ones in the aisles for finding things - in which the French language
predominated. Outdoor signs could only be in French, but the courts
overturned that in 1988.
This kind of legislation may well be incomprehensible to Americans,
as it would be un-Constitutional in several respects. Had there been
a State in which the majority of people spoke Spanish, and they were
concerned that the Spanish language was eroding because of the economic
dominance of English, then the United States might see similar issues,
but no analogous situation exists.
When we went to Ireland a few years ago, I found it a pleasant relief
to see how laid-back they are about bilingualism compared to Canada.
Post by Dallas
What is Canada's stance regarding programming languages that use
English-only words like "if" and "else" ?
Hmmm, good point.
And don't get me started about bilingual air traffic control.
I thought English was the official language of ATC except for certain
domestic flights in
--
Pete
r***@gmail.com
2020-06-05 22:02:14 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dallas
What is Canada's stance regarding programming languages that use
English-only words like "if" and "else" ?
No problem with PL/I, for it's possible to substitute foreign-
language words for the keywords.
Dallas
2020-06-05 22:40:03 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by r***@gmail.com
Post by Dallas
What is Canada's stance regarding programming languages that use
English-only words like "if" and "else" ?
No problem with PL/I, for it's possible to substitute foreign-
language words for the keywords.
I'd have to inventory the syntax, but I wonder if it is always possible to find words that flow
naturally using non-English words. I don't think the adjective-noun order differences would come
into play, nor the article gender differences.

So, there might not be many irregularities.

Do you swap them wholesale from preexisting sets of words? Or can you get creative?
John Levine
2020-06-06 00:10:23 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dallas
What is Canada's stance regarding programming languages that use English-only words like "if" and
"else" ?
In my experience, programming languages are what they are and people
long ago realized that demanding mutant versions of languages with
localized keywords was just shooting yourself in the foot.

The documentation, of course, has to be in French.
--
Regards,
John Levine, ***@taugh.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. https://jl.ly
Dallas
2020-06-06 00:44:30 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Levine
Post by Dallas
What is Canada's stance regarding programming languages that use English-only words like "if" and
"else" ?
In my experience, programming languages are what they are and people
long ago realized that demanding mutant versions of languages with
localized keywords was just shooting yourself in the foot.
The documentation, of course, has to be in French.
Interesting ... so unless I have possession of some docs in French I can't use a computer language?

For example, no "Bash shell" and GNU utilities unless I have a French translation of all man pages
that accompany it?
John Levine
2020-06-06 01:54:52 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dallas
Post by John Levine
Post by Dallas
What is Canada's stance regarding programming languages that use English-only words like "if" and
"else" ?
In my experience, programming languages are what they are and people
long ago realized that demanding mutant versions of languages with
localized keywords was just shooting yourself in the foot.
The documentation, of course, has to be in French.
Interesting ... so unless I have possession of some docs in French I can't use a computer language?
No, of course not. If you want to sell them to the Quebec government,
you need to document stuff in French.
--
Regards,
John Levine, ***@taugh.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. https://jl.ly
Peter Flass
2020-06-05 17:03:22 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by JimP
Post by Peter Flass
Seems like massive overreach to tell people what they can and can’t order (
except for health and safety, of course)
I would call it asinine and childishly pathetic.
Quebec language legislation goes back to Bill 22, introduced under the Bourassa
government.
Bill 22 had three main provisions.
One was legitimate enough: companies with over 50 employees would be required to
operate in the French language. This was a response to the fact that in Quebec,
their home province, unlingual French speakers faced limited employment
opportunities, with companies often preferring to operate in English and hire
from the English-speaking minority in Quebec.
However, even that was discriminatory, since the English-speaking minority was a
large enough community that businesses serving it would not necessarily be
small.
Another provision was that only children whose parents attended English-language
schools in Quebec could send their children to English-language schools.
Eventually, this was partly stricken down by the courts as it affected people
coming from other parts of Canada due to mobility rights (equivalent to the 14th
Amendment), but it still affects immigrants.
Also, stores had to have signs - not just outdoor signs, but also the ones in
the aisles for finding things - in which the French language predominated.
I could see equal.
Post by Quadibloc
Outdoor signs could only be in French, but the courts overturned that in 1988.
This kind of legislation may well be incomprehensible to Americans, as it would
be un-Constitutional in several respects. Had there been a State in which the
majority of people spoke Spanish, and they were concerned that the Spanish
language was eroding because of the economic dominance of English, then the
United States might see similar issues, but no analogous situation exists.
We’re more concerned with the opposite, although businesses here usually do
business in both languages. You need to do what your customers want.
--
Pete
Quadibloc
2020-06-05 18:57:14 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
We’re more concerned with the opposite, although businesses here usually do
business in both languages. You need to do what your customers want.
And this is why the government is forced to intervene!

That the French speakers of Quebec see themselves as an aggrieved minority is
not something I'm going to say is wrong.

Attempting to address the issue by discriminating against English speakers,
while they're still living in a country where English speakers are the majority,
seems to me to be suicidal. But there are good historical reasons why they're
getting away with it for now.

It would be very easy for me as a Canadian to be smug and sanctimonious about
the current racial unrest in the United States. Despite the fact that we are far
from perfect ourselves.

But that is not my inclination. Canada does have problems with racism, but on
the other hand in some respects it has gone to far in the other direction: an
Ontario neighborhood by the name of Caledonia was terrorized by First Nations
occupiers for an extended period - and this was tolerated because the government
felt guilty about an earlier incident where the response to a protest by Natives
was excessive, resulting in deaths.

John Savard
JimP
2020-06-06 16:15:44 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by JimP
Seems like massive overreach to tell people what they can and can’t order (
except for health and safety, of course)
I would call it asinine and childishly pathetic.
Quebec language legislation goes back to Bill 22, introduced under the Bourassa
government.
Bill 22 had three main provisions.
One was legitimate enough: companies with over 50 employees would be required to
operate in the French language. This was a response to the fact that in Quebec,
their home province, unlingual French speakers faced limited employment
opportunities, with companies often preferring to operate in English and hire
from the English-speaking minority in Quebec.
However, even that was discriminatory, since the English-speaking minority was a
large enough community that businesses serving it would not necessarily be
small.
Another provision was that only children whose parents attended English-language
schools in Quebec could send their children to English-language schools.
Eventually, this was partly stricken down by the courts as it affected people
coming from other parts of Canada due to mobility rights (equivalent to the 14th
Amendment), but it still affects immigrants.
Also, stores had to have signs - not just outdoor signs, but also the ones in
the aisles for finding things - in which the French language predominated.
Outdoor signs could only be in French, but the courts overturned that in 1988.
This kind of legislation may well be incomprehensible to Americans, as it would
be un-Constitutional in several respects. Had there been a State in which the
majority of people spoke Spanish, and they were concerned that the Spanish
language was eroding because of the economic dominance of English, then the
United States might see similar issues, but no analogous situation exists.
John Savard
Well, there are places in the US where English isn't the dominant
language, and there are signs in those other languages. But I don't
know of any, although it might be possible, where such signs are
required.

Cajun French in Louisana, Spanish in the Southwest, and various Native
American areas where they are the larger population.

There is a history in the US where children were removed from Native
tribes and sent off to school. In those schools, run by people
claiming to be Christians, who beat the children for speaking their
tribe's language.

I know that in some parts of the US, people can get a voting ballot in
the language they grew up learning. When I graduated from high school
I had to take 4 years of Spanish or Latin. Latin class was reserved
for kids who had stated they were going to be doctors, lawyers, etc.

My grades, plus I came from the poor side of town, I was told,
prevented me from taking Latin. The Spanish taught was more of a
formal version, as I found out when my ship docked in Spain.
--
Jim
Peter Flass
2020-06-06 18:10:27 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by JimP
Post by Quadibloc
Post by JimP
Seems like massive overreach to tell people what they can and can’t order (
except for health and safety, of course)
I would call it asinine and childishly pathetic.
Quebec language legislation goes back to Bill 22, introduced under the Bourassa
government.
Bill 22 had three main provisions.
One was legitimate enough: companies with over 50 employees would be required to
operate in the French language. This was a response to the fact that in Quebec,
their home province, unlingual French speakers faced limited employment
opportunities, with companies often preferring to operate in English and hire
from the English-speaking minority in Quebec.
However, even that was discriminatory, since the English-speaking minority was a
large enough community that businesses serving it would not necessarily be
small.
Another provision was that only children whose parents attended English-language
schools in Quebec could send their children to English-language schools.
Eventually, this was partly stricken down by the courts as it affected people
coming from other parts of Canada due to mobility rights (equivalent to the 14th
Amendment), but it still affects immigrants.
Also, stores had to have signs - not just outdoor signs, but also the ones in
the aisles for finding things - in which the French language predominated.
Outdoor signs could only be in French, but the courts overturned that in 1988.
This kind of legislation may well be incomprehensible to Americans, as it would
be un-Constitutional in several respects. Had there been a State in which the
majority of people spoke Spanish, and they were concerned that the Spanish
language was eroding because of the economic dominance of English, then the
United States might see similar issues, but no analogous situation exists.
John Savard
Well, there are places in the US where English isn't the dominant
language, and there are signs in those other languages. But I don't
know of any, although it might be possible, where such signs are
required.
Cajun French in Louisana, Spanish in the Southwest, and various Native
American areas where they are the larger population.
Lots of languages. Vietnamese in California, and I expect Texas and
Louisiana, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, etc. No one tells shopowners what
language their signs must be in.
Post by JimP
There is a history in the US where children were removed from Native
tribes and sent off to school. In those schools, run by people
claiming to be Christians, who beat the children for speaking their
tribe's language.
I know that in some parts of the US, people can get a voting ballot in
the language they grew up learning. When I graduated from high school
I had to take 4 years of Spanish or Latin. Latin class was reserved
for kids who had stated they were going to be doctors, lawyers, etc.
I’ve seen official stuff published in more languages than I knew existed.
Post by JimP
My grades, plus I came from the poor side of town, I was told,
prevented me from taking Latin. The Spanish taught was more of a
formal version, as I found out when my ship docked in Spain.
Probably wouldn’t do too well in Mexico, either. Perhaps US schools should
teach Mexican Spanish.
--
Pete
Quadibloc
2020-06-03 06:25:00 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by r***@gmail.com
Post by Quadibloc
And yet, I allow _more_ special characters, not _less_, than we have in regular
ASCII, by getting rid of all those control characters no one ever uses!
ASCII NULL, CR, LF, FF etc are commonly used.
*Those* are control characters I kept.

John Savard
Quadibloc
2020-06-03 06:27:23 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by r***@gmail.com
Post by Quadibloc
Of course, Bob Bemer will hate me... I get rid of the backslash so that the 62
printables, excluding space, plus the 26 lower-case letters, will fit on a 44-key
keyboard... and I use that code for a 'printable character escape' that allows
text to be stored easily at 6 bits per character.
What? ASCII is 8 bits.
ASCII is 7 bits. ISO 8859-1 is 8 bits, which is probably what you're thinking
of.
Post by r***@gmail.com
Post by Quadibloc
I also replaced [ and ] with | and the EBCDIC logical NOT so that ASCII would
get along better with EBCDIC.
[ and ] are used by ALGOL.
That's true, but Algol uses a lot of other characters too which aren't found in
ASCII. While they're removed from the upper-case only subset, the square
brackets along with a lot of the other Algol characters are made available in
the alternate shifted letters set that occupies much of the control character
space.

John Savard
Andy Walker
2020-06-03 09:40:54 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by r***@gmail.com
[ and ] are used by ALGOL.
Yes, but at least [for the past 61 years anyway] it is not
necessary to use "[...]". You can use "(...)" anywhere that "[...]"
is expected [and also in place of "begin ... end", "case ... esac"
and "if ... fi"]. Other languages may not be so "lucky". OTOH,
as seen here, I like to use "[...]" for parenthetic remarks; easier
to reach and type on my keyboard.
--
Andy Walker,
Nottingham.
Andy Walker
2020-06-03 11:05:46 UTC
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    Yes, but at least [for the past 61 years anyway] [...]
Or even 51 years, he corrects himself hastily before anyone
notices.
--
Andy Walker,
Nottingham.
Bob Eager
2020-06-03 13:08:38 UTC
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Post by Andy Walker
Post by r***@gmail.com
[ and ] are used by ALGOL.
Yes, but at least [for the past 61 years anyway] it is not
necessary to use "[...]". You can use "(...)" anywhere that "[...]"
is expected [and also in place of "begin ... end", "case ... esac" and
"if ... fi"]. Other languages may not be so "lucky". OTOH,
as seen here, I like to use "[...]" for parenthetic remarks; easier to
reach and type on my keyboard.
But that is specifically ALGOL 68 - a very very different language.
--
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Andy Walker
2020-06-03 14:47:31 UTC
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Post by Bob Eager
But that is specifically ALGOL 68 - a very very different language.
??? Different from Algol 60, certainly; different from Algol?
Do you feel the need to say of modern C that it is very very different
from C, meaning that modern C is not the same as K&R C? Or that Fortran
is very very different from Fortran when referring to modern features?
--
Andy Walker,
Nottingham.
Bob Eager
2020-06-03 17:20:49 UTC
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Post by Andy Walker
Post by Bob Eager
But that is specifically ALGOL 68 - a very very different language.
??? Different from Algol 60, certainly; different from Algol?
Do you feel the need to say of modern C that it is very very different
from C, meaning that modern C is not the same as K&R C? Or that Fortran
is very very different from Fortran when referring to modern features?
ALGOL 68 bore very little relation to its predecessor. The same can not
be said of C.
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Thomas Koenig
2020-06-03 17:26:55 UTC
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Post by Bob Eager
Post by Andy Walker
Post by Bob Eager
But that is specifically ALGOL 68 - a very very different language.
??? Different from Algol 60, certainly; different from Algol?
Do you feel the need to say of modern C that it is very very different
from C, meaning that modern C is not the same as K&R C? Or that Fortran
is very very different from Fortran when referring to modern features?
ALGOL 68 bore very little relation to its predecessor. The same can not
be said of C.
I see a dangling else there...

Do you mean that C bears some resemblance to Algol 60, or to B?
Quadibloc
2020-06-03 17:35:22 UTC
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Post by Thomas Koenig
I see a dangling else there...
Do you mean that C bears some resemblance to Algol 60, or to B?
I think he means that C++ is closer to C than Algol 68 is to Algol 60. He just
expressed it wrong.

John Savard
Bob Eager
2020-06-03 18:03:54 UTC
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Post by Quadibloc
Post by Thomas Koenig
I see a dangling else there...
Do you mean that C bears some resemblance to Algol 60, or to B?
I think he means that C++ is closer to C than Algol 68 is to Algol 60.
He just expressed it wrong.
I never mentioned C++, and neither did Andy. He was comparing modern C to
K&R C.
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Andy Walker
2020-06-03 18:27:49 UTC
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Post by Bob Eager
Post by Andy Walker
Post by Bob Eager
But that is specifically ALGOL 68 - a very very different language.
??? Different from Algol 60, certainly; different from Algol?
[...]
ALGOL 68 bore very little relation to its predecessor. The same can not
be said of C.
Yes, but when someone says "Algol", do you automatically think
of A60 or A68, and if the former, then why? You don't automatically
[surely?] think of K&R C rather than C11 or C99 if someone mentions a
feature of recent C's? If someone talks about IBM computers, do you
complain if the topic doesn't apply to the 1620?
--
Andy Walker,
Nottingham.
Bob Eager
2020-06-03 18:38:00 UTC
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Post by Andy Walker
Post by Bob Eager
Post by Andy Walker
Post by Bob Eager
But that is specifically ALGOL 68 - a very very different language.
??? Different from Algol 60, certainly; different from Algol?
[...]
ALGOL 68 bore very little relation to its predecessor. The same can not
be said of C.
Yes, but when someone says "Algol", do you automatically think
of A60 or A68, and if the former, then why?
Because it was used far more, and implemented on more systems, than ALGOL
60 ever was. In my experience, anyway.
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Quadibloc
2020-06-03 20:41:45 UTC
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Post by Bob Eager
Because it was used far more, and implemented on more systems, than ALGOL
60 ever was. In my experience, anyway.
I think you mean "than Algol 68 ever was".

John Savard
Bob Eager
2020-06-03 21:15:09 UTC
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Post by Quadibloc
Post by Bob Eager
Because it was used far more, and implemented on more systems, than
ALGOL 60 ever was. In my experience, anyway.
I think you mean "than Algol 68 ever was".
I think I do! Oops.
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Andy Walker
2020-06-03 23:25:22 UTC
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On 03/06/2020 19:38, Bob Eager wrote:
[I wrote:]
Post by Bob Eager
Post by Andy Walker
Yes, but when someone says "Algol", do you automatically think
of A60 or A68, and if the former, then why?
Because it was used far more, and implemented on more systems, than ALGOL
60 ever was. In my experience, anyway.
Ah. Well, my experience corresponds to what you wrote rather than
what you intended to write! A60 was in substantial use over roughly a
decade, as was A68; but A68's decade was later, when there were far more
computers around, and when there were far more undergraduate CS courses.
There were [beyond reasonable doubt] more independent A60 implementations,
but many of those were for computers produced in penny packets rather than
the mass production of later years.
--
Andy Walker,
Nottingham.
Peter Flass
2020-06-04 14:06:36 UTC
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Post by Andy Walker
[I wrote:]
Post by Bob Eager
Post by Andy Walker
Yes, but when someone says "Algol", do you automatically think
of A60 or A68, and if the former, then why?
Because it was used far more, and implemented on more systems, than ALGOL
60 ever was. In my experience, anyway.
Ah. Well, my experience corresponds to what you wrote rather than
what you intended to write! A60 was in substantial use over roughly a
decade, as was A68; but A68's decade was later, when there were far more
computers around, and when there were far more undergraduate CS courses.
There were [beyond reasonable doubt] more independent A60 implementations,
but many of those were for computers produced in penny packets rather than
the mass production of later years.
In my (limited) experience, I saw ALGOL 60 a few times, and Algol 68 never.
I think it was more widely used in Rightpondia?
--
Pete
Peter Flass
2020-06-04 14:06:33 UTC
Reply
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Post by Andy Walker
Post by Bob Eager
But that is specifically ALGOL 68 - a very very different language.
??? Different from Algol 60, certainly; different from Algol?
Do you feel the need to say of modern C that it is very very different
from C, meaning that modern C is not the same as K&R C? Or that Fortran
is very very different from Fortran when referring to modern features?
Certainly FORTRAN seems to be a different language, from my perspective of
not knowing very much about it. OTOH perhaps the distinction should be
whether the current compiler can still compile old programs unchanged.
--
Pete
Thomas Koenig
2020-06-05 18:27:41 UTC
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Post by Peter Flass
Certainly FORTRAN seems to be a different language, from my perspective of
not knowing very much about it. OTOH perhaps the distinction should be
whether the current compiler can still compile old programs unchanged.
There were a few dodgy features that were indeed removed from the
Fortran standards, but most compilers retain them anyway. But
many people wrote illegal code in the day, and that can be aproblem.

Even today, you can catch flak for pointing out these errors to people.
I'm there, doing that.
Quadibloc
2020-06-05 19:00:19 UTC
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Post by Thomas Koenig
There were a few dodgy features that were indeed removed from the
Fortran standards, but most compilers retain them anyway. But
many people wrote illegal code in the day, and that can be aproblem.
Even today, you can catch flak for pointing out these errors to people.
I'm there, doing that.
I'm sorry, but usually what *counts* is getting existing programs to work with
the least amount of trouble. So anything less than strict upwards compatibility,
even with the quirks and undocumented features of earlier compilers, is a major
problem.

Often, the money just isn't there to re-write an old program to bring it up to
current standards.

John Savard
Bob Eager
2020-06-05 21:27:54 UTC
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Post by Thomas Koenig
There were a few dodgy features that were indeed removed from the
Fortran standards, but most compilers retain them anyway. But many
people wrote illegal code in the day, and that can be aproblem.
Indeed. There was once (actually, still is) a large multinational company
who invented a language for building applications on their system. Thew
compiler was written in COBOL. The run time system was written in COBOL
(using interpretive code). The core of the system was written in COBOL.

The whole thing was fast, except for the interpreted code. I was brought
in to write a native code compiler (in fact, I did it for two very
different machine architectures).

It all worked wel, except...the language was not defined by its manual,
but by what the compiler accepted. The original writer had no real idea
about parsing, and it accepted some very weird stuff - which people used.
It ended up that my compiler had to do the same, just because of the
large installed base.
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Dallas
2020-06-05 21:54:16 UTC
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Post by Bob Eager
Post by Thomas Koenig
There were a few dodgy features that were indeed removed from the
Fortran standards, but most compilers retain them anyway. But many
people wrote illegal code in the day, and that can be aproblem.
Indeed. There was once (actually, still is) a large multinational company
who invented a language for building applications on their system. Thew
compiler was written in COBOL. The run time system was written in COBOL
(using interpretive code). The core of the system was written in COBOL.
The whole thing was fast, except for the interpreted code. I was brought
in to write a native code compiler (in fact, I did it for two very
different machine architectures).
It all worked wel, except...the language was not defined by its manual,
but by what the compiler accepted. The original writer had no real idea
about parsing, and it accepted some very weird stuff - which people used.
It ended up that my compiler had to do the same, just because of the
large installed base.
I created a language once like that. It just grew organically to whatever suited me at the time.

No one used it but me, and the output was the same code in a different, but well-defined language.

I guess today we would call it a transpiler.

I took great pains to make sure all the "comments" in my language were preserved during the
translation and that the output was respectably formatted. I did archive the output code into
production.

The output code from my transpiler was the assembly language for the T.I 9900 CPU

The programs I wrote in it were device drivers. I just got bored of writing them in assembly, so I
invented my own language.

I even experimented with right-hand side from left-hand side assignment syntax like

1 + 2 => variable

as well as the more traditional

variable <= 1 + 2

I don't remember actually using the right-hand side assigned from left-hand side variation too
often though.
It was just something I wanted in my language.

I could just drop actual assembly code in anywhere if I did not have a high level way to express it
and the transpiler would just pass it through to the output.
Scott Lurndal
2020-06-05 22:44:30 UTC
Reply
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Post by Bob Eager
Post by Thomas Koenig
There were a few dodgy features that were indeed removed from the
Fortran standards, but most compilers retain them anyway. But many
people wrote illegal code in the day, and that can be aproblem.
Indeed. There was once (actually, still is) a large multinational company
who invented a language for building applications on their system. Thew
compiler was written in COBOL. The run time system was written in COBOL
(using interpretive code). The core of the system was written in COBOL.
Was it this?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LINC_4GL
Bob Eager
2020-06-05 23:18:20 UTC
Reply
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Post by Scott Lurndal
Post by Bob Eager
Post by Thomas Koenig
There were a few dodgy features that were indeed removed from the
Fortran standards, but most compilers retain them anyway. But many
people wrote illegal code in the day, and that can be aproblem.
Indeed. There was once (actually, still is) a large multinational
company who invented a language for building applications on their
system. Thew compiler was written in COBOL. The run time system was
written in COBOL (using interpretive code). The core of the system was
written in COBOL.
Was it this?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LINC_4GL
No. But contractually I cannot say what it was.
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r***@gmail.com
2020-06-03 23:37:37 UTC
Reply
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Post by Bob Eager
Post by Andy Walker
Post by r***@gmail.com
[ and ] are used by ALGOL.
Yes, but at least [for the past 61 years anyway] it is not
necessary to use "[...]". You can use "(...)" anywhere that "[...]"
is expected [and also in place of "begin ... end", "case ... esac" and
"if ... fi"]. Other languages may not be so "lucky". OTOH,
as seen here, I like to use "[...]" for parenthetic remarks; easier to
reach and type on my keyboard.
But that is specifically ALGOL 68 - a very very different language.
[ and ] have been used for ALGOL 60, and probably from Algol 58.
Bob Eager
2020-06-04 05:23:04 UTC
Reply
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Post by r***@gmail.com
Post by Bob Eager
Post by Andy Walker
Post by r***@gmail.com
[ and ] are used by ALGOL.
Yes, but at least [for the past 61 years anyway] it is not
necessary to use "[...]". You can use "(...)" anywhere that "[...]"
is expected [and also in place of "begin ... end", "case ... esac"
and "if ... fi"]. Other languages may not be so "lucky". OTOH,
as seen here, I like to use "[...]" for parenthetic remarks; easier
to reach and type on my keyboard.
But that is specifically ALGOL 68 - a very very different language.
[ and ] have been used for ALGOL 60, and probably from Algol 58.
Oh, I know. But not the rest of it.
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r***@gmail.com
2020-06-03 23:35:08 UTC
Reply
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Post by Andy Walker
Post by r***@gmail.com
[ and ] are used by ALGOL.
Yes, but at least [for the past 61 years anyway] it is not
necessary to use "[...]".
Yes it was and is.

ALGOL language requires them.
You cannot use ( ) instead.
Post by Andy Walker
You can use "(...)" anywhere that "[...]"
is expected [and also in place of "begin ... end", "case ... esac"
and "if ... fi"]. Other languages may not be so "lucky". OTOH,
as seen here, I like to use "[...]" for parenthetic remarks; easier
to reach and type on my keyboard.
Andy Walker
2020-06-04 10:31:28 UTC
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On 04/06/2020 00:35, ***@gmail.com wrote:
[Necessity for "[...]":]
Post by r***@gmail.com
ALGOL language requires them.
You cannot use ( ) instead.
$ a68g -p '( () INT a = (1,2,3);
a(2) | ~, "Yes you can; see RR 9.4." + whole(a(1),0) +
"d, ""style i sub symbol""", ~ )'
Yes you can; see RR 9.4.1d, "style i sub symbol"
--
Andy Walker,
Nottingham.
Quadibloc
2020-06-04 14:05:16 UTC
Reply
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Post by Andy Walker
[Necessity for "[...]":]
Post by r***@gmail.com
ALGOL language requires them.
You cannot use ( ) instead.
$ a68g -p '( () INT a = (1,2,3);
a(2) | ~, "Yes you can; see RR 9.4." + whole(a(1),0) +
"d, ""style i sub symbol""", ~ )'
Yes you can; see RR 9.4.1d, "style i sub symbol"
For one thing, the reference may have been to the language ALGOL 60 and not
Algol 68.

For another, implementations of Algol 60 varied widely in the character set they
used. Thus, in many implementations, keywords had to be in single quotes, like
'BEGIN' but in others this was not necessary. The Algol publication language
used a *lot* of special characters not found on most computers.

The card punches for an IBM computer didn't even _have_ square brackets on them,
so no doubt their implementations found a way to do without square brackets.
Since an ASR 33 did have square brackets, though, other computers may well have
made those characters required for their implementations of Algol 60.

John Savard
Peter Flass
2020-06-04 14:06:32 UTC
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Post by r***@gmail.com
Post by Quadibloc
I know it's too late to change now.
The layout of the Model M keyboard finally got things right, with the two shift
keys in their proper places, the back space key nicely reachable, and the Enter
key reachable as well.
However, I still long for the double-height Enter (or carriage return) key of long
ago...
and on the page
http://www.quadibloc.com/comp/kyb0603.htm
if you scroll right to the bottom,
you will see what I think that ASCII should have been in order to avoid the need
for ASCII with lowercase to demand a keyboard with more keys on it than a normal
typewriter had.
What? ASCII with lower case does not require more keys than
a "normal" typewriter.
(And what is a "normal" typewriter anyway?
Does it mean one that uses small L for the digit 1,
etc.
Lower case ASCII requires only the use of a shift key,
just like an ordinary typewriter.
Post by Quadibloc
And yet, I allow _more_ special characters, not _less_, than we have in regular
ASCII, by getting rid of all those control characters no one ever uses!
ASCII NULL, CR, LF, FF etc are commonly used.
But not usually typed.
--
Pete
Scott Lurndal
2020-06-04 15:23:02 UTC
Reply
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Post by Peter Flass
Post by r***@gmail.com
Post by Quadibloc
I know it's too late to change now.
The layout of the Model M keyboard finally got things right, with the two shift
keys in their proper places, the back space key nicely reachable, and the Enter
key reachable as well.
However, I still long for the double-height Enter (or carriage return) key of long
ago...
and on the page
http://www.quadibloc.com/comp/kyb0603.htm
if you scroll right to the bottom,
you will see what I think that ASCII should have been in order to avoid the need
for ASCII with lowercase to demand a keyboard with more keys on it than a normal
typewriter had.
What? ASCII with lower case does not require more keys than
a "normal" typewriter.
(And what is a "normal" typewriter anyway?
Does it mean one that uses small L for the digit 1,
etc.
Lower case ASCII requires only the use of a shift key,
just like an ordinary typewriter.
Post by Quadibloc
And yet, I allow _more_ special characters, not _less_, than we have in regular
ASCII, by getting rid of all those control characters no one ever uses!
ASCII NULL, CR, LF, FF etc are commonly used.
But not usually typed.
Unless you are a programmer. (e.g. \n, \r, \f \0 in C-like languages).
Quadibloc
2020-06-04 16:38:58 UTC
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Post by Scott Lurndal
Post by Peter Flass
Post by r***@gmail.com
ASCII NULL, CR, LF, FF etc are commonly used.
But not usually typed.
Unless you are a programmer. (e.g. \n, \r, \f \0 in C-like languages).
It's true that on an IBM PC, as opposed to when one is using a terminal to
communicate with a mainframe, pressing the backspace key is not the same as
sending a back space character, pressing the Tab key may not be the same as
sending a tab character (although if one is using Unix, at least, it will put a
tab character in a text file, because there they're used as white space), and
pressing Enter is not the same as sending a carriage return character (or line
feed, for Unix)...

but some control characters are sent by the user. I did include the most common
in the few control character positions left in my suggested revision to ASCII.

John Savard
Ahem A Rivet's Shot
2020-06-04 16:31:19 UTC
Reply
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On Thu, 4 Jun 2020 07:06:32 -0700
Post by Peter Flass
Post by r***@gmail.com
ASCII NULL, CR, LF, FF etc are commonly used.
But not usually typed.
I've typed CR, LF and FF quite often, the first two very often when
using an ASR-33, the last to paginate text files.
--
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