Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

You have posted an amazing and comprehensive comment.

> If you look at the symbol, it looks like a rectangle with a division symbol inside.

If you skip exactly 20 minutes into this video it IS EXACTLY a rectangle with a division symbol inside:


I don't know whether to think "thank goodness for unicode" or "unicode is an enabler of problematic practices"


I got started in the early '80's, 1982 if I remember correctly. I actually used a teletype for a (thankfully) very short period of time --just like what the presenter is using in this video. In the most primitive early days you had to type two characters, the rectangle and then go back and type the division symbol. Again, thankfully, that lasted a very short time for me.

What most people do not realize when they discuss APL today is that back in 1962 and going into the mid to late '80's APL was an incredibly advanced tool when compared to almost anything available at the time. I mean, people were programming in Fortran, Cobol, C, Forth, Lisp, Basic and a few other languages. They were incredibly primitive when compared to APL.

I was doing crazy multi-dimensional array work in physics that would have required massive amounts of C code to implement, not to mention that I could type a few lines of code that represented weeks of development in other languages.

It is easy to be critical of APL today and not realize that its creation back in the '60's and usage for the next 20 to 30 years was sheer genius.

Today most of these capabilities are not found as inherent parts of languages but as an array of domain specific libraries. The tool-set available to an APL programmer back around the time of this video and for the next decade (at least) was without comparison in the world of computing.

I am very glad to have been shoved into an APL class in college. It made a huge difference in my life and taught me to think about computing in a very different manner.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact