Questions tagged [text]

For questions regarding text - as opposed to graphics - processing and display.

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37 votes
7 answers
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Why did older computers and OSes use UPPER case instead of lower case?

Memory constraints in ye olden days meant that text-mode display adapters had room for either upper or lower case, but not both. Why was this universally uppercase and never lowercase? I remember ...
MonocleRB's user avatar
  • 481
10 votes
1 answer
536 views

How to decode mojibake in old Macintosh text files?

I hope this is an OK place to ask this question. The Internet Archive has a Macintosh floppy image containing presets for an old E-mu synthesizer module. The page is here Proteus Preset Libraries ...
aMike's user avatar
  • 251
24 votes
16 answers
5k views

What were the most popular text editors for MS-DOS in the 1980s? [closed]

Since versions 1-5 of MS-DOS only came with the Edlin line-based editor, but were released on the IBM PC and compatibles, which had screen-based user I/O, my feeling is that most users wouldn't have ...
Brian Reading's user avatar
3 votes
4 answers
1k views

What page layout parameters imitate a line printer?

If I want to imitate the (scaled) look, albeit not the feel, of a typical line printer printout on fan-fold paper, using Letter-, Legal- or A4-sized paper, what settings should be used to reproduce ...
Leo B.'s user avatar
  • 19.1k
8 votes
1 answer
321 views

Was ∆ used in APL as a substitute for space because ECMA-17/ISO 2047 specified △ as graphical representation for space?

Wikipedia on naming conventions in programming states (without source): In APL dialects, the delta (Δ) is used between words, e.g. PERFΔSQUARE (…) This is an unusual choice, but I notice that ECMA-...
Adám's user avatar
  • 669
10 votes
4 answers
2k views

Is there a common convention to describe the encoding of a legacy text file?

For the purpose of this question, a legacy textfile contains characters in the range 0x20 through 0x7e, with each line terminated by an OS-specific combination of 0x0d and/or 0x0a; it might be ...
Mark Morgan Lloyd's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
852 views

Which document format is this? (.MAN/.STR/.TAB/.IND)

I have these files, which were all in one .zip: DPMANUAL.MAN DPMANUAL.STR DPMANUAL.IND DPMANUAL.I01 DPMANUAL.I02 DPMANUAL.TAB DPMANUAL.TXX They are supposedly a manual (for DataPerfect). The file ...
Tomas By's user avatar
  • 2,082
7 votes
2 answers
329 views

Was there ever a monospace display system (eg terminal) that used a vertical cursor?

Related to my earlier question about IBM PC cursors, I am now wondering if there has ever been a monospaced character display system (such as a terminal) that would've implemented a vertical cursor in ...
tuomas's user avatar
  • 2,793
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

How was character data handled in Fortran IV/66?

One of the notable contributions in FORTRAN 77 was the CHARACTER data type, which made character processing quite usable. As I understand it, FORTRAN 66 (sometimes called FORTRAN IV, but they're not ...
Will Hartung's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
281 views

Were any form-based applications designed for more than 80 columns?

The traditional standard display for business computers was 80 column text (with either 24 or 25 rows). Business software, roughly speaking, falls into two categories: Horizontal applications like ...
rwallace's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
132 views

Which versions of TECO had merged G- and Q-registers?

In this answer to 'Why were TECO variables called Q-registers?' I reference documentation indicating that the original Q-registers were separate from the same-named G-registers. (I.e., X1 would store ...
cjs's user avatar
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11 votes
4 answers
7k views

Why did fonts in Windows 1.01's Write application look so poor?

In Windows 1.01 Write, the fonts were kind of blocky: Here's what the same text looked like in a modern word processor: Even the terminal had smoother text than Windows 1.01: Why did Windows 1.01 ...
no ai please's user avatar
  • 1,123
39 votes
11 answers
7k views

What's the origin of terminating strings by setting the high bit of the last character?

I was looking at a hex dump of the ROM BASIC from the original IBM PC and found some byte strings like this (ASCII dump is on the right): 50 52 49 4e d4 9d 4c 49 53 d4 9e 50 4f d3 1b 45 PRIN..LIS.....
user22483's user avatar
  • 383
12 votes
2 answers
876 views

How widely used were C1 control codes?

As ASCII is a 7-bit code set, and ISO 646 cannot satisfy needs of many languages, variable-length ISO 2022/EUC was developed, which introduced C1 control codes. However, C1 have hardly left any ...
Schezuk's user avatar
  • 3,752
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Were any decimal-based computers capable of handling text?

Many of the earliest computers stored and manipulated numbers in various decimal codings rather than in pure binary. Examples include the Mark I and ENIAC, as well as some UNIVAC and IBM models. ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 16k
42 votes
17 answers
9k views

Is there any text to speech program that will run on an 8- or 16-bit CPU?

I'm wondering if any of the ancient 1980's style text to speech algorithms were saved from oblivion and are still available. It might be nice to hear that vintage sound like what appeared in War Games....
wudude's user avatar
  • 521
16 votes
9 answers
2k views

Besides the VIC-20 did any other micros have fewer than 32 columns available for text mode?

On early microcomputers it was common to have 40 columns of text with the alternative usually being 32 or 64 for technical reasons as well as ambitious 80 column models that became more common as ...
David's user avatar
  • 2,121
2 votes
0 answers
187 views

Has anyone heard of SCHEMA page layout tool?

I've found a text formatting tool, under the name of SCHEMA, which would accept an input language like *RED *0STA*NN*RG*1RL*0MCS1 20 *3/ *MDLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, *MDconsectetur adipiscing elit, *...
Leo B.'s user avatar
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13 votes
4 answers
4k views

Which are the earliest real-time text editors?

A real-time text editor is a program which facilitates editing text. In the process, the text is displayed on a screen, and the displayed text is updated after each key press. A commonly cited ...
Lars Brinkhoff's user avatar
21 votes
2 answers
588 views

Is the "IBM standard character set manual" around?

From Wikipedia's code page article: Originally, the code page numbers referred to the page numbers in the IBM standard character set manual Is any version of this publication available? I'd be ...
Adám's user avatar
  • 669
2 votes
1 answer
265 views

Printing on the graphics screen with lowercase/uppercase letters using CHAR command in Commodore BASIC 7.0

The CHAR command in Commodore BASIC 7.0 on the Commodore 128 allows printing a text at a given position on the screen. Other than the PRINT command, CHAR also works in Hires graphics mode. Since the ...
Peter B.'s user avatar
  • 4,447
2 votes
2 answers
495 views

What early computers were only able to print numbers?

According to this paper (translation), one of the early soviet machines, M-1, was only able to print decimal, and not alphabetical numbers. Which other early electronic stored program computers (i.e. ...
lvd's user avatar
  • 10.4k
5 votes
2 answers
456 views

Looking for an IBM multimedia demo from the 80s/90s about "Ulysses"

I am trying to identify / find an online copy of a multimedia technology demonstration video. Timeframe: late 1980s / early 90s? Source: IBM. Format: VHS. The content of this video was a computer ...
StayOnTarget's user avatar
  • 3,856
19 votes
2 answers
725 views

Why were TECO variables called Q-registers?

The TECO editor, (originally Tape Editor and COrrector, later Text Editor...) found in some form on just about every computer and operating system DEC ever made, provides variables in which you can ...
dave's user avatar
  • 35.6k
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

How was text handled on the Amstrad CPC 464?

The three official video modes described on the CPC wiki are all bitmap modes, and this page mentions that the "screen is bitmapped. You must draw/erase your own sprites and text." So what was the ...
cjs's user avatar
  • 25.9k
11 votes
1 answer
3k views

Understanding C64 Character Memory

I'm trying to understand how video memory worked on the Commodore64 in text mode. I see that the VIC-II has a memory setup register (at $D018) that keeps track of some of this information along with ...
user1118321's user avatar
24 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why did the original Apple //e have two sets of inverse video characters?

According to Apple II Technical notes Mouse #6, updated January 1989, In unenhanced Apple IIe computers, the alternate character set contained two sets of inverse uppercase characters. In the ...
Robert Columbia's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
523 views

How did overstriking on printer terminals work?

The technique of creating special characters by overstriking i.e. superimposing two characters on top of each other was common on typewriters. This was carried over to printer terminals and was used ...
nadder's user avatar
  • 175
29 votes
8 answers
3k views

Proportional fonts on 8-bit computers

Many 8-bit computers had video systems that provided tiles, and when these were available, they were the obvious ways to display text. However, some 8-bit computers such as the ZX Spectrum and ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 61k
10 votes
4 answers
2k views

What are the rules for Applesoft BASIC formatting for code?

What are the rules for Applesoft BASIC formatting for code? I've been doing some BASIC coding and noticed that: 10 input "some question?"; name$ Will be reformatted as: 10 INPUT "some question?";...
Michael Shopsin's user avatar
29 votes
6 answers
4k views

History behind the text column restriction

In the old days, I remember we were told to never go beyond the 70'th column in the text editor (the actual value was usually something above 70, but less than 80). Further, at least in the program I ...
Burhan Khalid's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
435 views

With better character handling capability, why didn't PC-98 system succeed in rest of East Asia?

From my understanding, an important advantage PC-98 have over IBM compatible PC was that it is better at handling ideograph based characters which are common in East Asian countries. Why didn't other ...
user930067's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
873 views

Retrieving text documents from a 2.0 MB/2.0 HD floppy disk?

I'm attempting to retrieve text documents from a floppy disk that is a 2.0 MB DS HD floppy similar to: The only thing he knows is that the documents were created on a Mac around 1996. What are some ...
Babiker's user avatar
  • 141
45 votes
8 answers
5k views

Executable ASCII files before x86?

I've known about a technique allowing to bootstrap arbitrary 16-bit x86 code from a subset of instructions representable as printable ASCII bytes since the early 1990s. The first example of an ASCII ...
Leo B.'s user avatar
  • 19.1k
9 votes
2 answers
760 views

How do I troubleshoot an 80 column card on an Apple //e?

I have a IIe (boots as enhanced: Apple //e), motherboard 607-0187-A, and 80 column text card 607-0103-J. They came together and I think they're compatible, but not sure. When I boot to DOS 3.3 then ...
snyderj's user avatar
  • 245
25 votes
2 answers
10k views

Why are the | and ¦ keys labelled the wrong way around?

Note to close-voters: There is a meta question concerning the on-topicness of this question. Please provide an answer or comment. A comment from downvoters wouldn't hurt either. The UK QWERTY ...
wizzwizz4's user avatar
  • 18.6k