The point size argument is clearly wrong, as this sample from the early 19th century shows: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/45/A_Specim...
And yes, physical card quality was a big deal. The early feeding mechanisms relied too much on the card thickness and card edge properties. That lasted into the 1970s.
Then, near the end of the punched card era, Documation nailed it. They discovered that if you squirt air into the base of a card stack just right, you can make the cards separate themselves slightly. Then a vacuum picker can reliably pick them off one at a time. A neat little piece of machinery, far simpler than most earlier card readers.
> .. 80×25 just sneaks under that opulent 2k limit with 48 bytes to spare.
They also had shockingly bad protection on the serial port from induced surges, eventually we brought the full service manual so our in house electronics shop should could fix ours.
This is what I do every time I load more than a couple of sheets in my cheap old laser printer.
It's like how rack mounts are 19 inches wide because the Bell System made that the standard for its telephone relay racks 100 years ago. In the long run it's more important that there is a standard than what it is.
> At one point sales of punchcards and related tooling constituted a completely bonkers 30% of IBM’s annual profit margin, so you can understand that IBM had a lot invested in getting that consistently, precisely correct.
> At around this time John Logie Baird invented the first “mechanical television”; like punchcards, the first television cameras were hand-cranked devices...
It goes on to argue that the television standards influenced terminal dimensions, but there is no link (unless I missed something) between the banknote/punchcard discussion and that of the television - other than the fact that they used hand-cranked devices. No mention as to the punchcard's size/dimensions being carried over to television (and by extension, terminals) other than what appears to be a coincidence in the number of characters fitting on a line of a punchcard.
Looking at the origins of the television standards (at least for the number of terminal lines, since the number of characters per line seems to have been influenced by typewriters), one could trace it back to William Kennedy Dickson (created the 35mm standard by cutting 70mm roll film in half), or previously to Peter & David Houston and George Eastman for their creation/marketing of early roll film cameras.
The Datapoint 2200, evolving from an original idea about some data editing device to replace the IBM 029 keypunch, is missing in this account, though. Announced in 1970 (and shipping in 1971), it predates any of the terminals mentioned in the article. (BTW, the Datapoint 2200, which was also the ancestor of the Intel 8008 MPU and by this the ancestor of the modern PC, was an enormously influential device and is generally underrated for historical aspects.)
The link between columns on a punch card and typewriters is probably found in the need for some correspondence between typed tables and information punched on cards. The aspect ratio of silent film is probably more for esthetic reasons, since the technical aspect of the width of a frame could have been addressed by any kind of gearing. However, there's a link between the speed of the film moving through the camera, the number of exposures per second, the width of the image, the optical quality of the lens, the shutter construction and the sensitivity of the film, putting some constrains on the aspect ratio of choice. (Obviously, if the film is moving too fast and exposure becomes too short for the chosen material, the resulting image will be dim. The choice of film sensisitivity, on the other hand, is related to image contrast.)
There's also a missing logical connection in here. If sales of punchcards were 30% of IBM's revenue and profit margins were tiny, then it would be very important to get them right. 30 different things can each be 30% of the profit margin at the same time that all 30 are insignificant to the company.
More generally, how important it is to get the punch cards right depends on what your profit margin is on the punch cards, not on what the company's overall profits are.
Compare: Wood, Lamont. Datapoint: The Lost Story of the Texans Who Invented the Personal Computer. Hugo House Publishers, 2013.
See also, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datapoint_2200
Regarding the Datapoint 2260, there's prior art in form of the IBM 2260 Model 3 terminal (1964), featuring 80 characters in 12 rows as well, in direct correspondence to a punched card. (The Model 1 displayed 40 characters at 6 lines, while the Model 2 managed 40 characters at 12 lines, with only the top model of the family featuring this relation to punchcards, though. Bonus fact: the 2260s used a portrait raster tube turned on its side, resulting in vertical scan lines.)
> For flowing long blocks of text with fewer structural restrictions (docstrings or comments), the line length should be limited to 72 characters.
Older IBM machines could only read 72 columns of the 80 columns of data. The remaining 8 columns were used to store sorting information, eg, a line number so if the card deck was dropped it could be re-sorted using a mechanical sorter.
That applied to the early scientific line, the 70x series, as a side effect of their 36-bit word size — they read each card row into two words. Fortran gave them lasting influence.
(Their earliest commercial computer, the IBM 650, could read 50 columns — any 50, determined by wiring a plugboard, as on pre-computer card processing equipment.)
Many people talk about the 80 column rule as reflecting some technical limitation due to the antiquated punch cards — but they could certainly have made wider punchcards if they wanted to.
Remington-Rand released a 90-column punched cards, for example, two years after the famous 80-column IBM card. But IBM equipment dominated the market, and their cards became "standard." https://historyofpunchcards.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/rivalry...
Eg, Univac used the 90-column format. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punched_card#Powers/Remington_...
FWIW, the recommendation of 72 characters seems much more a programming standard than a general readability standard. For example, quoting from https://www.viget.com/articles/the-line-length-misconception... quoting from "Bringhurst's authoritative The Elements of Typographic Style".
> Anything from 45 to 75 characters is widely-regarded as a satisfactory length of line for a single-column page set in a serifed text face in a text size. The 66-character line (counting both letters and spaces) is widely regarded as ideal
I do understand, though, that it's dumb, and wouldn't force it on others.
I'd advocate every developer conforms to PEP-8 rules (80-char, nesting limits, etc), at least for a 3-12 month period. They'll be a better developer for it.
An 80+ character line is also a code smell for me; if a statement is so complex that it pushes past the 80 character mark and it can't be split into smaller chunks on their own lines, then I know for sure that something needs refactored (whether it be the statement itself or the nested control structures around it).
Since you're into dead tree editions, here's a fun fact you may not know: The fibers in newsprint are aligned vertically so that you can easily tear out an article vertically along its column. Tearing horizontally cleanly is significantly more difficult.
Source: Worked for two major newspaper companies.
Humidity enlarges the fibres, but doesn't get them longer.
In a humid environment a book grows wider but not taller.
If the paper is oriented the other way, the paper would grow taller and the spine of the book, which is stitched and glued, would force the paper to warp and became ondulated.
If there's anything wrong with it, it's that it's too big!
Ideally we might have settled on something like newspaper column widths for readability - which are way less than 80.
Tools -> Options -> Text Editor -> All Lnaguages. Select word wrap and Show Visual Glyphs.
This is indeed the complaint. Apologies it wasn't clearer.
MODE CON LINES=50
MODE CO80 was for 80-column colour. ``MODE MONO'' switched to MDA/monochrome VGA mode (if you hadn't used &b700-b7ff for a UMB.)
MODE CO40 for the 40-column mode intended for the original IBM PC when used with an analogue TV set as its display.
>As a personal aside, my two great frustrations with doing any kind of historical CS research remain the incalculable damage that academic paywalls have done to the historical record, and the relentless insistence this industry has on justifying rather than interrogating the status quo. This is how you end up on Stack Overflow spouting unresearched nonsense about how “4 pixel wide fonts are untidy-looking”. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: whatever we think about ourselves as programmers and these towering logic-engines we’ve erected, we’re a lot more superstitious than we realize, and by telling and retelling these unsourced, inaccurate just-so stories without ever doing the work of finding the real truth, we’re betraying ourselves, our history and our future. But it’s pretty goddamned difficult to convince people that they should actually look things up instead of making up nonsense when actually looking things up, even for a seemingly simple question like this one, can cost somebody on the outside edge of an academic paywall hundreds or thousands of dollars.
But the IBM 2260, their first character display, had 40 or 80 columns by 6 or 12 lines, depending on how much you spent on the controller, which stored a cluster of terminals' displays on acoustic delay lines.
(The character matrix in ROM is just 8 x 10, but pixels are stretched horizontally before being displayed. The limiting factor here isn't resolution, but the signal response of the screen phosphor and the circuits involved in its activation. Therefor the horizontal pixel stretch in order to allow the phosphor to reach its maximum activation level. In fact, a monochrome CRT has just an even phosphor coating and there isn't such a thing as hardware pixels or a native resolution. However, if activation phases are too short to allow the phosphor to gain a suitable activation, the display will be dim in those regions and overall unbalanced in brightness.)
The implicit claim is that somehow the machines for manufacturing punch cards were reused for computer output and that is what terminals were trying to emulate. But surely there were more displays and non-card-sized printers?
There certainly were non card size printers - but they scaled linearly with technology
But no we didn't repurpose card punches to be terminals, but we did need terminals to edit card images (fortran was 72 characters plus 8 digits of sequence numbers)
A CRT doesn't have to have resolution in the sense of pixels per inch (although many of them do). However "resolution" is a more general limit on how far away two distinct points can be.
A discrete grid of pixels imposes one kind of limit. But another kind of limit is that two slightly fuzzy dots will become indistinguishable if they blur into one another sufficiently.
It was readable, but not something for your default setting - 10 mins was more than enough!
You find that mentioned in Brooks's Mythical Man-month book: everyone working on OS/360 got a box of microfiche representing the current state of the OS, each morning. Without a terminal, how else would you look up what a system call actually did? Printing one copy of all the source, and then optically reproducing it to more acetate, was obviously more efficient than printing it hundreds of times.
The old listings would be burnt to recover the silver.
I think the author read "microfilm" and instead of hearing a synonym for the thing car parts are listed on, I'd bet the immediate thought was little micro spy cameras to put your microfilm in.
> Fascinatingly, the early versions of the ECMA-48 standard specify that this standard isn’t solely meant for displays, specifying that “examples of devices conforming to this concept are: an alpha-numeric display device, a printer or a microfilm output device.”
TFA should know that terminals evolved to be a keyboard + printer before they evolved to be a keyboard + CRT. I'm not sure that there's any link between paper size and CRT size. Most likely the only connection would be number of columns (of fixed-width text), but not lines.
My guess is that in the end there's no connection between punch cards and terminals being 80x25, much less between Civil War Demand Notes and terminals being 80x25. 80x25 was just convenient for all the independent reasons TFA lists. Any similarity to punch cards was almost certainly coincidental, and perhaps convenient.
I haven't got a solid answer here, but I do know from experience that your average typewriter does about 80 characters across a page once you account for margins.
Now clearly that'd not be much of an argument if margins are arbitrary but I don't think they are. On a typewriter your can more or less freely choose the top, left, and right margin. The bottom margin is however limited by the mechanism: by the time the bottom of the page is under the striking area the paper is flopping in the breeze since the roller isn't holding it anymore. If you set the left and the right margins (and the top margin) to the same size as the minimum workable bottom margin you end up with roughly 80 characters across the page.
Seems as likely a link as any: typing out tabular data from a punch card would be limited to the same width as common on typewriters.
As monitors that could display more scan lines became available, people instantly used them to display more rows.
> Then in 1983 the Apple IIe was introduced, the first Apple computer to natively support an 80×24 text display, doubling the 40×24 default of their earlier hardware.
My family had an Apple IIe in 1984. It only showed 40 columns until my fater went out and bought an "80 column card" to upgrade it. He also sprang for a second floppy drive. So "natively" is a bit of a stretch there.
Terminal is 80x25 because that's how big terminals were back in the day (for very long ago values of back in the day and for purely bandwidth driven reasons).
Pre-Mac (technically pre-Lisa) Black and White CRT displays which were made using then-current CRT TV technology which had just enough analog bandwidth to show 80 columns of 5 pixel by 7 pixel characters, with one pixel separation (480 pixels horizontally [edit added: those are US numbers, European TV's had slightly higher bandwidth but that's a different topic]) and most could only show 24 such characters vertically due to the 4x3 aspect ratio used in essentially all CRTs of the day. 24x80 was the industry standard for a screen of text for purely CRT bandwidth reasons. So why 25 lines? Because a few super cool terminals allowed you one extra line for showing status below a conventional 24x80 layout, hence 25x80 (vertical squeeze didn't pose bandwidth or pixel separation problems on black and white displays of that era). Terminal naturally went with the cool kid size of 25x80. No civil war bank notes involved, just the bandwidth of then-current generation TV display technology and a fortuitous coincidence that punch cards had 80 columns.
[edit added] Apple][ and other similar era devices had even lower character counts because they hooked up to color TV's which had roughly similar bandwidth but needed to spread that bandwidth across three phosphors per pixel so far fewer pixels available on screen.
The phrase "Then in 1983 the Apple IIe was introduced, the first Apple computer to natively support an 80×24 text display, doubling 40×24 of previous Macs" is rather cringeworthy and shows a misunderstanding of the time
(first of all Macs were introduced in '84 .... Mac and AppleIIs were competing architectures from Apple)
>Then in 1983 the Apple IIe was introduced, the first Apple computer to natively support an 80×24 text display, doubling 40×24 of previous Macs.
As they say, correlation does not imply causation. It's a coincidence that Black and White tv screens from long ago had just enough pixels to display 80 columns of text.
This isn't lost-clay-tablet stuff. There are manuals and schematics online.
Perhaps different phosphors, sure.
The RF modulator needed by Apple/C64/etc did perhaps limit it to 80...it wasn't the tube.
Here's the (pretty pedestrian and likely not different from a b/w tv) diagram of the horizontal driver for a vt220: https://imgur.com/a/xvq1ukV
The shown MC1391P is, in fact, called a "horizontal TV processor" by Motorola.
I'm sure there's other stuff that made them expensive (CPU, memory, video logic, etc).
Edit: Lol at imgur for marking my screenshot as "erotic" and NSFW.
(Which Imgur also finds erotic and NSFW. Odd)
> It’s difficult to research anything about the early days of American currency on Wikipedia these days; that space has been thoroughly colonized by the goldbug/sovcit cranks. You wouldn’t notice it from a casual examination, which is of course the plan; that festering rathole is tucked away down in the references, where articles will fold a seemingly innocuous line somewhere into the middle, tagged with an exceptionally dodgy reference. You’ll learn that “the shift from demand notes to treasury notes meant they could no longer be redeemed for gold coins” – which is strictly true! – but if you chase down that footnote you wind up somewhere with a name like “Lincoln’s Treason – Fiat Currency, Maritime Law And The U.S. Treasury’s Conspiracy To Enslave America”, which I promise I am only barely exaggerating about.
Starting with spurious political generalizations isn't great set-up for readers. Especially if the author wants their historical theory given a fair shake by a wide audience.
Meanwhile, it benefits the recipients of that wealth and power to remain silent and mock their adversaries, because they can only stand to lose their privilege.
Look at this nonsense:
>I am an initiate of the A.'.A.'. and the Golden Dawn. If anyone would like to challenge the factual basis of my claim that the System of the A.'.A.'. is based on the Merkabah Seven Palaces rather than the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, then please provide your reasons for doing so before demanding book citations be produced for initiated and previously secret knowledge. Prove the A.'.A.'. is based on the Tree of Life or be Silent.
>The registered trademark should remain on the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega entry in the contemporary orders section, as they own the HOGD trademark in Europe and Canada. Recently the HOG/A+O settled litigation victoriously preserving their perpetual and irrevocable right to use the name of their outer order, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, without interference in the USA. The registered trademark rightly and properly distinguishes the HOG/A+O from the exorbitant number of -unlicensed Golden Dawn based study groups and should NOT be removed. The registered trademark is a distinguishing character integral to the association of, and a privilege entitled by law reserved exclusively for the HOGD/A+O as the owners of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in the European Union and Canada as aforementioned. It is certainly improper and somewhat unlawful to deprive the HOGD/A+O of using that privilege of the registered trademark they reserve the right to fully represent themselves therewith. Please do not remove the trademarks from the HOGD/A+O entry again.
>Furthermore, as the A+O’s outer order is named the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and they reserve all rights to that mark in the European Union and Canada. It should be correctly stated in the contemporary orders section that the HOGD/A+O is: “a modern order headquartered in the European Union using the same name being also the outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega®. This is paramount, as it distinguishes the HOGD/A+O as a completely separate entity from the independent organisation which is the HOGD, Inc. who are a modern independent order of the same name.
I must say it is great that they are confined to rather obscure parts of the wikipedia whereas they could be on pages about much more important or current events.
And I must say, HOGD is a page where I would expect a lot of contradictory information. It would take several courageous scholars to put some order in the various versions of the various ego-maniacal members it had. I would argue that this is a subject that has relatively little importance, given the small amount of people involved and the general irrelevance of their actions but for some reasons, this order became pretty popular in magic folklore...
Is this the kind of tinfoil hattery that is acceptable now?