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> Maybe if IBM had something like UTF-8 as far back as the 1930s, AT&T needing backward compatibility with their teleprinters might not have been as big of a deal

I think this points to why the science fiction scenario really is a science fiction scenario -- I think decoding and interpreting UTF-8, using it to control, say, a teleprompter, is probably significantly enough more expensive than ASCII that it would have been a no go, too hard/expensive or entirely implausible to implement in a teleprompter using even 1960s digital technology.

Yeah, and I was thinking about it this morning the reliance of FF-FD for surrogate pairs would shred punch cards (too many holes) and probably be a big reason for IBM to dismiss it when they were hugely punch card dependent and hadn't made advances like the smaller square hole punches that could pack holes more densely and with better surrounding integrity.

"Sigh, another swiss cheese card jammed the reader from all these emojis."

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