Google Groups no longer supports new Usenet posts or subscriptions. Historical content remains viewable.
Dismiss

Re: do some Americans write their 1's in this way ?

217 views
Skip to first unread message

Kerr-Mudd, John

unread,
Nov 6, 2022, 1:18:27 PM11/6/22
to
On Sun, 06 Nov 2022 11:12:52 -0700
Ken Blake <K...@invalid.news.com> wrote:

> On Sat, 5 Nov 2022 12:12:23 -0700 (PDT), David Kleinecke
> <dklei...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> >On Friday, November 4, 2022 at 10:08:06 AM UTC-7, Ken Blake wrote:
> >> On Fri, 4 Nov 2022 11:00:42 +0100, occam <oc...@nowhere.nix> wrote:
> >>
> >> >On 03/11/2022 17:17, Ken Blake wrote:
> >> >> On Thu, 3 Nov 2022 11:26:15 +0100, occam <oc...@nowhere.nix> wrote:
> >> >>
> >> >>> On 02/11/2022 18:21, Jerry Friedman wrote:
> >> >>>> On Wednesday, November 2, 2022 at 9:52:06 AM UTC-6, Garrett Wollman wrote:
> >> >>>>> In article <cd80f306-7e2c-4bb5...@googlegroups.com>,
> >> >>>>> henh...@gmail.com <henh...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >> >>>>>> do some Americans write their 1's in this way ?
> >> >>>>>>
> >> >>>>>> https://i.redd.it/phpsw48kjfx91.jpg
> >> >>>>>>
> >> >>>>>> The numerals look French to me.
> >> >>>>> I think many people who have lived in Europe will have picked up the
> >> >>>>> habit of crossing sevens to keep them from being interpreted as ones
> >> >>>>> -- and similarly z's and twos.
> >> >>>> ...
> >> >>>>
> >> >>>> I've never lived in Europe, but I always cross my z's (a habit that was
> >> >>>> necessary for me in math and physics) but not my 7's.
> >> >>>>
> >> >>>
> >> >>>
> >> >>> When I took my first programming course at university, in the days of
> >> >>> punch-cards and hand-written code, I was told to cross my zeros (with a
> >> >>> diagonal slash, Ø) in order to distinguish them from capital letter 'O's.
> >> >>
> >> >> There were no computer courses in college when I was a student (I
> >> >> graduated in 1959) but I started programming professionally in 1962,
> >> >> and that's what we did in those days, unless it was the letter that we
> >> >> slashed; I can't remember for sure which it was.
> >> >>
> >> >
> >> >When you say "when I started programming professionally", who did you
> >> >work for?
> >> Howard Clothes, which no longer exists. We had an IBM 1401 computer,
> >> which was about the size of a large refrigerator, had no disk space
> >> and no screen, and was much slower, much less powerful, and had much
> >> less memory than the smart phone I now have in my pocket.
> >>
> >> Add to its size its 1402 card reader/punch, its 1407 printer, and its
> >> four tape drives and it was bigger than the kitchen I now have.
> >>
> >> Its monthly rental cost was also much more than the purchase cost of
> >> my smart phone, powerful desktop computer with 5TB of disk space, 34"
> >> widescreen monitor, keyboard, mouse, scanner, printer, speakers,
> >> router, modem, and UPS all added together.
> >>
> >> I programmed in SPS and later in Autocoder, both roughly 1401
> >> equivalents of the later 360/370 Assembly Language.
> >>
> >> I worked there for four years before moving on to more responsible IT
> >> positions in other companies.
> >>
> >The IBM 1401 I remember was a wonderfully weird machine.
>
> Weird? In what way?
>
>
> > I used to
> >code ours in the 1401 machine code. It was lots of fun.
>
> The only time I used machine code was for patching object code to fix
> errors or make small requested changes. It was very difficult to get
> enough computer time to recompile a program.
>
>
> >But in the end
> >all the 1401 was used for was reading punched cards onto tapes and
> >tapes onto the printer. A line printer of course.

You need afc (if not already subscribed)

NB xpost!

--
Bah, and indeed Humbug.

Dan Espen

unread,
Nov 6, 2022, 5:10:11 PM11/6/22
to
The IBM 1407 was a console, it had a printer but you wouldn't use it
for volume printing. For that you'd use the 1403.

I knew about SPS but used Autocoder.

Many 1401s were used for a LOT more than card to tape.

It cost a lot to rent one of those things, but companies saved a fortune
using one.

--
Dan Espen

Dan Espen

unread,
Nov 6, 2022, 5:18:44 PM11/6/22
to
Oh yeah, a 1401 would be a LOT larger than a refrigerator. Just the
main cabinet would be at least 3 refrigerators.


--
Dan Espen

Scott Lurndal

unread,
Nov 6, 2022, 5:22:34 PM11/6/22
to
This one is still running at CHM:


http://ibm-1401.info/FullSizeRender-.jpg

lar3ryca

unread,
Nov 6, 2022, 11:32:54 PM11/6/22
to
I see a couple of 1403s in that shot. They were also used on the 360/370
series machines. I hated working on them.

--
A man, a plan, a canal. Suez!


Dan Espen

unread,
Nov 6, 2022, 11:46:56 PM11/6/22
to
sc...@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal) writes:

> This one is still running at CHM:
>
>
> http://ibm-1401.info/FullSizeRender-.jpg

That's 2 systems. Very cool.

My school had a simple 1401. My first job they had a maxed out 1401 and
a 1460. Jobs would run on either one. Second job, they had a 1440 and
I found the wonderful world of hard disks.

--
Dan Espen

Ken Blake

unread,
Nov 8, 2022, 4:42:46 PM11/8/22
to
On Sun, 06 Nov 2022 17:10:06 -0500, Dan Espen <dan1...@gmail.com>
wrote:
Yes, of course. I meant 1403. I have no idea why I remembered wrong
and wrote 1407. I'd like to claim it was a typo, but it wasn't. Thanks
for the correction.

I knew what the 1407 was, although I never worked anywhere that had
one. I think they were very uncommon.

>I knew about SPS but used Autocoder.
>
>Many 1401s were used for a LOT more than card to tape.
>
>It cost a lot to rent one of those things, but companies saved a fortune
>using one.


Yes.

Ken Blake

unread,
Nov 8, 2022, 4:52:43 PM11/8/22
to
On Sun, 06 Nov 2022 17:18:40 -0500, Dan Espen <dan1...@gmail.com>
wrote:
I was talking about the main cabinet. How big it was depended on how
much memory it had. The 1.4 KB model was about the size of a
refrigerator. The next memory size was 2KB, and I don't remember how
big it was. The 4KB, 8KB, 12KB, and 16KB models were bigger, but not
as big as three refrigerators. Yes, bigger than one, but I used the
phrase "about the size of a large refrigerator" only as an
approximation. It was the closest common thing I thought of with a
similar size.

We started with a 4KB model, which was upgraded to 8KB and then 12KB.
We never went to 16KB, at least not before I left.

Ken Blake

unread,
Nov 8, 2022, 5:03:22 PM11/8/22
to
On Sun, 06 Nov 2022 22:22:32 GMT, sc...@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal)
wrote:
What is CHM?


>http://ibm-1401.info/FullSizeRender-.jpg


I didn't know any 1401s still existed. That one has two 1403
printers-very unusual--and six tape drives--a lot.

For those here who don't recognize the devices, the printers are the
two on the left, the device on the right is a 1402 card-reader pinch.
the six devices against the wall in the back are tape drives. The 1401
is the device in the middle--wider than a refrigerator, but not as
tall as a big refrigerator today.

All those devices are connected to the 1401 by cables, but you can't
see them. They are sitting on a raised floor and the cables are under
that floor.

Charlie Gibbs

unread,
Nov 8, 2022, 5:42:32 PM11/8/22
to
On 2022-11-08, Ken Blake <K...@invalid.news.com> wrote:

> On Sun, 06 Nov 2022 22:22:32 GMT, sc...@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal)
> wrote:
>
>> This one is still running at CHM:
>
> What is CHM?

Computer History Museum

>> http://ibm-1401.info/FullSizeRender-.jpg

Nice photo.

> I didn't know any 1401s still existed. That one has two 1403
> printers-very unusual--and six tape drives--a lot.

Take a closer look in the background behind the leftmost 1403.
That looks like another processor cabinet. I suspect they have
two complete systems, each with a 1402, 1403, and three tape
drives. (Actually, the rightmost system has four tape drives -
the fourth is hiding behind someone but is just visible.)

--
/~\ Charlie Gibbs | Microsoft is a dictatorship.
\ / <cgi...@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.

Dan Espen

unread,
Nov 8, 2022, 10:35:14 PM11/8/22
to
I never saw one on a 1401. The first company I worked at had a 1460
with a console.

--
Dan Espen

Dan Espen

unread,
Nov 8, 2022, 10:44:21 PM11/8/22
to
Take another look at the picture.

1401s don't have bytes so it would be 4K, not 4KB.

It's been a REALLY long time, but all the models I remember had the same
size cabinet. I worked on the 1.4K model. If it had a smaller cabinet
I don't remember it.

--
Dan Espen

Dan Espen

unread,
Nov 8, 2022, 10:49:07 PM11/8/22
to
Charlie Gibbs <cgi...@kltpzyxm.invalid> writes:

> On 2022-11-08, Ken Blake <K...@invalid.news.com> wrote:
>
>> On Sun, 06 Nov 2022 22:22:32 GMT, sc...@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal)
>> wrote:
>>
>>> This one is still running at CHM:
>>
>> What is CHM?
>
> Computer History Museum
>
>>> http://ibm-1401.info/FullSizeRender-.jpg
>
> Nice photo.
>
>> I didn't know any 1401s still existed. That one has two 1403
>> printers-very unusual--and six tape drives--a lot.
>
> Take a closer look in the background behind the leftmost 1403.
> That looks like another processor cabinet. I suspect they have
> two complete systems, each with a 1402, 1403, and three tape
> drives. (Actually, the rightmost system has four tape drives -
> the fourth is hiding behind someone but is just visible.)

Agree, that picture shows 2 systems.

A single 1401 wouldn't have any way to use 2 printers.

--
Dan Espen

lar3ryca

unread,
Nov 9, 2022, 12:21:55 AM11/9/22
to
On 2022-11-08 16:42, Charlie Gibbs wrote:
> On 2022-11-08, Ken Blake <K...@invalid.news.com> wrote:
>
>> On Sun, 06 Nov 2022 22:22:32 GMT, sc...@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal)
>> wrote:
>>
>>> This one is still running at CHM:
>>
>> What is CHM?
>
> Computer History Museum
>
>>> http://ibm-1401.info/FullSizeRender-.jpg
>
> Nice photo.
>
>> I didn't know any 1401s still existed. That one has two 1403
>> printers-very unusual--and six tape drives--a lot.
>
> Take a closer look in the background behind the leftmost 1403.
> That looks like another processor cabinet. I suspect they have
> two complete systems, each with a 1402, 1403, and three tape
> drives. (Actually, the rightmost system has four tape drives -
> the fourth is hiding behind someone but is just visible.)

Charlie Gibbs of Panorama fame?

--
I got tired of being accused of having no sense of direction,
so I packed up my things and right.

Peter Flass

unread,
Nov 9, 2022, 8:04:49 AM11/9/22
to
Dan Espen <dan1...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Ken Blake <K...@invalid.news.com> writes:
>
>> On Sun, 06 Nov 2022 17:18:40 -0500, Dan Espen <dan1...@gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> Oh yeah, a 1401 would be a LOT larger than a refrigerator. Just the
>>> main cabinet would be at least 3 refrigerators.
>>
>> I was talking about the main cabinet. How big it was depended on how
>> much memory it had. The 1.4 KB model was about the size of a
>> refrigerator. The next memory size was 2KB, and I don't remember how
>> big it was. The 4KB, 8KB, 12KB, and 16KB models were bigger, but not
>> as big as three refrigerators. Yes, bigger than one, but I used the
>> phrase "about the size of a large refrigerator" only as an
>> approximation. It was the closest common thing I thought of with a
>> similar size.
>>
>> We started with a 4KB model, which was upgraded to 8KB and then 12KB.
>> We never went to 16KB, at least not before I left.
>
> Take another look at the picture.
>
> 1401s don't have bytes so it would be 4K, not 4KB.

I think that the “K” there is decimal, i.e. 4,000 characters (4KC?) not
4,096 - or is that digits?

Actually, “byte” is really an unspecified number of bits, although nowadays
it’s conventionally 8. Normally a byte is a glob large enough to hold a
character, so six bits could be a byte.

>
> It's been a REALLY long time, but all the models I remember had the same
> size cabinet. I worked on the 1.4K model. If it had a smaller cabinet
> I don't remember it.
>



--
Pete

Dan Espen

unread,
Nov 9, 2022, 9:06:25 AM11/9/22
to
Peter Flass <peter...@yahoo.com> writes:

> Dan Espen <dan1...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Ken Blake <K...@invalid.news.com> writes:
>>
>>> On Sun, 06 Nov 2022 17:18:40 -0500, Dan Espen <dan1...@gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>> Oh yeah, a 1401 would be a LOT larger than a refrigerator. Just the
>>>> main cabinet would be at least 3 refrigerators.
>>>
>>> I was talking about the main cabinet. How big it was depended on how
>>> much memory it had. The 1.4 KB model was about the size of a
>>> refrigerator. The next memory size was 2KB, and I don't remember how
>>> big it was. The 4KB, 8KB, 12KB, and 16KB models were bigger, but not
>>> as big as three refrigerators. Yes, bigger than one, but I used the
>>> phrase "about the size of a large refrigerator" only as an
>>> approximation. It was the closest common thing I thought of with a
>>> similar size.
>>>
>>> We started with a 4KB model, which was upgraded to 8KB and then 12KB.
>>> We never went to 16KB, at least not before I left.
>>
>> Take another look at the picture.
>>
>> 1401s don't have bytes so it would be 4K, not 4KB.
>
> I think that the “K” there is decimal, i.e. 4,000 characters (4KC?) not
> 4,096 - or is that digits?

Yes, 4,000 characters.

> Actually, “byte” is really an unspecified number of bits, although nowadays
> it’s conventionally 8. Normally a byte is a glob large enough to hold a
> character, so six bits could be a byte.

Until S/360 was announced I never heard the term byte.

--
Dan Espen

Tak To

unread,
Nov 9, 2022, 1:11:41 PM11/9/22
to
And not until the PDP-11 did it cross the EBCDIC-Ascii or the
mainframe-mini boundary.

--
Tak
----------------------------------------------------------------+-----
Tak To ta...@alum.mit.eduxx
--------------------------------------------------------------------^^
[taode takto ~{LU5B~}] NB: trim the xx to get my real email addr



Charlie Gibbs

unread,
Nov 9, 2022, 1:36:24 PM11/9/22
to
On 2022-11-09, lar3ryca <la...@invalid.ca> wrote:

> On 2022-11-08 16:42, Charlie Gibbs wrote:
>
>> Take a closer look in the background behind the leftmost 1403.
>> That looks like another processor cabinet. I suspect they have
>> two complete systems, each with a 1402, 1403, and three tape
>> drives. (Actually, the rightmost system has four tape drives -
>> the fourth is hiding behind someone but is just visible.)
>
> Charlie Gibbs of Panorama fame?

Are you _that_ Larry?

I'm still living in the same place, but I'm running Linux now.
Although I still have four Amigas in storage...

lar3ryca

unread,
Nov 9, 2022, 2:06:23 PM11/9/22
to
On 2022-11-09 12:36, Charlie Gibbs wrote:
> On 2022-11-09, lar3ryca <la...@invalid.ca> wrote:
>
>> On 2022-11-08 16:42, Charlie Gibbs wrote:
>>
>>> Take a closer look in the background behind the leftmost 1403.
>>> That looks like another processor cabinet. I suspect they have
>>> two complete systems, each with a 1402, 1403, and three tape
>>> drives. (Actually, the rightmost system has four tape drives -
>>> the fourth is hiding behind someone but is just visible.)
>>
>> Charlie Gibbs of Panorama fame?
>
> Are you _that_ Larry?

Indeed. That be me.

> I'm still living in the same place, but I'm running Linux now.
> Although I still have four Amigas in storage...

Biggest mistake I ever made was to throw all my Amigas out.

I am also using Linux now.
I spent WAY too long running Windows for work, and finally got totally
fed up with it.

--
The best way to accelerate a Windows machine is at 32 ft/sec/sec.


greymaus

unread,
Nov 9, 2022, 2:50:01 PM11/9/22
to
On 2022-11-09, lar3ryca <la...@invalid.ca> wrote:
> On 2022-11-09 12:36, Charlie Gibbs wrote:
>> On 2022-11-09, lar3ryca <la...@invalid.ca> wrote:
>>
>>> On 2022-11-08 16:42, Charlie Gibbs wrote:
>>>
>>>> Take a closer look in the background behind the leftmost 1403.
>>>> That looks like another processor cabinet. I suspect they have
>>>> two complete systems, each with a 1402, 1403, and three tape
>>>> drives. (Actually, the rightmost system has four tape drives -
>>>> the fourth is hiding behind someone but is just visible.)
>>>
>>> Charlie Gibbs of Panorama fame?
>>
>> Are you _that_ Larry?
>
> Indeed. That be me.
>
>> I'm still living in the same place, but I'm running Linux now.
>> Although I still have four Amigas in storage...
>
> Biggest mistake I ever made was to throw all my Amigas out.
>
> I am also using Linux now.
> I spent WAY too long running Windows for work, and finally got totally
> fed up with it.
>

Present hate. Foss IRC was easy, and one could type while reading
earlier texts. Zoom reminds me of Goebbels screaming at a captive
audience.


--
grey...@mail.com

Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum, I smell the stench of an Influencer.
Where is our money gone, Dude?

Ken Blake

unread,
Nov 9, 2022, 3:46:34 PM11/9/22
to
On Tue, 08 Nov 2022 22:42:30 GMT, Charlie Gibbs
<cgi...@kltpzyxm.invalid> wrote:

>On 2022-11-08, Ken Blake <K...@invalid.news.com> wrote:
>
>> On Sun, 06 Nov 2022 22:22:32 GMT, sc...@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal)
>> wrote:
>>
>>> This one is still running at CHM:
>>
>> What is CHM?
>
>Computer History Museum


Thanks. I had never heard of it before.

>
>>> http://ibm-1401.info/FullSizeRender-.jpg
>
>Nice photo.


Yes.


>> I didn't know any 1401s still existed. That one has two 1403
>> printers-very unusual--and six tape drives--a lot.
>
>Take a closer look in the background behind the leftmost 1403.
>That looks like another processor cabinet.

Yes, that you mention it, I'm almost sure you're right. And I think
that's another 1402 in front of it.


>I suspect they have
>two complete systems, each with a 1402, 1403, and three tape
>drives.


Yes.


>(Actually, the rightmost system has four tape drives -
>the fourth is hiding behind someone but is just visible.)

Yes.

Ken Blake

unread,
Nov 9, 2022, 3:48:07 PM11/9/22
to
On Tue, 08 Nov 2022 22:49:03 -0500, Dan Espen <dan1...@gmail.com>
wrote:
I didn't give it any thought when I posted my previous message, but
now that you mention it, I'm sure you're right.

Ken Blake

unread,
Nov 9, 2022, 4:07:33 PM11/9/22
to
On Tue, 08 Nov 2022 22:44:17 -0500, Dan Espen <dan1...@gmail.com>
wrote:

>Ken Blake <K...@invalid.news.com> writes:
>
>> On Sun, 06 Nov 2022 17:18:40 -0500, Dan Espen <dan1...@gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>>Oh yeah, a 1401 would be a LOT larger than a refrigerator. Just the
>>>main cabinet would be at least 3 refrigerators.
>>
>> I was talking about the main cabinet. How big it was depended on how
>> much memory it had. The 1.4 KB model was about the size of a
>> refrigerator. The next memory size was 2KB, and I don't remember how
>> big it was. The 4KB, 8KB, 12KB, and 16KB models were bigger, but not
>> as big as three refrigerators. Yes, bigger than one, but I used the
>> phrase "about the size of a large refrigerator" only as an
>> approximation. It was the closest common thing I thought of with a
>> similar size.
>>
>> We started with a 4KB model, which was upgraded to 8KB and then 12KB.
>> We never went to 16KB, at least not before I left.
>
>Take another look at the picture.
>
>1401s don't have bytes so it would be 4K, not 4KB.


Right. Its characters weren't called bytes, and they had only six bits
(and a seventh bit called a word mark), so I suppose K is more
accurate than KB, but I just used the common abbreviation KB that I
thought most people would understand.

Also a 4K machine had only 4000 characters, not 4096. That 96
character difference sounds like very little, but with so little
memory, an extra 96 would have my life much easier.

>It's been a REALLY long time, but all the models I remember had the same
>size cabinet. I worked on the 1.4K model. If it had a smaller cabinet
>I don't remember it.


It's been a REALLY long time for me too--1966. I never worked on a
1.4K 1401 and I don't think I even ever saw one, but I saw pictures of
one, and I'm almost sure I remember correctly. Look at the vertical
line in the center of the 1401 in the middle of the picture. A 1.4K
1401 cabinet was like just what's on the left side of that line.

Ken Blake

unread,
Nov 9, 2022, 4:16:45 PM11/9/22
to
On Wed, 9 Nov 2022 06:04:46 -0700, Peter Flass <peter...@yahoo.com>
wrote:

>Dan Espen <dan1...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Ken Blake <K...@invalid.news.com> writes:
>>
>>> On Sun, 06 Nov 2022 17:18:40 -0500, Dan Espen <dan1...@gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>> Oh yeah, a 1401 would be a LOT larger than a refrigerator. Just the
>>>> main cabinet would be at least 3 refrigerators.
>>>
>>> I was talking about the main cabinet. How big it was depended on how
>>> much memory it had. The 1.4 KB model was about the size of a
>>> refrigerator. The next memory size was 2KB, and I don't remember how
>>> big it was. The 4KB, 8KB, 12KB, and 16KB models were bigger, but not
>>> as big as three refrigerators. Yes, bigger than one, but I used the
>>> phrase "about the size of a large refrigerator" only as an
>>> approximation. It was the closest common thing I thought of with a
>>> similar size.
>>>
>>> We started with a 4KB model, which was upgraded to 8KB and then 12KB.
>>> We never went to 16KB, at least not before I left.
>>
>> Take another look at the picture.
>>
>> 1401s don't have bytes so it would be 4K, not 4KB.
>
>I think that the “K” there is decimal, i.e. 4,000 characters

Yes.


>(4KC?)


I suppose that could have been the abbreviation, but it was never
used. At least I've never seen or heard it.


> not 4,096 -


Right.


>or is that digits?

Most (all?) people said characters. Since each could contain a
letter, a number, or a special character, "digit" isn't really an
appropriate name.


>Actually, “byte” is really an unspecified number of bits,


Is it? I'm not sure. I just did a web search. I found some sites that
said what you said, and some that said it's always 8, which is what I
would have said.

>although nowadays
>it’s conventionally 8.

In my experience it's always been 8.

Charlie Gibbs

unread,
Nov 9, 2022, 4:32:14 PM11/9/22
to
On 2022-11-09, lar3ryca <la...@invalid.ca> wrote:

> Biggest mistake I ever made was to throw all my Amigas out.

Would you like one or two?

> I am also using Linux now.
> I spent WAY too long running Windows for work, and finally got totally
> fed up with it.

I'm still at it. I like to say that my software doesn't so much run
under Windows as despite it. However, I also build Linux versions,
and we have a few Linux customers out there. Hopefully there will
be more.

To build and test my stuff, I run XP under VirtualBox. XP is the
last version of Windows that I can tolerate at all, and if my stuff
runs there it'll run under whatever newer version our customers are
afflicted with. The front-end stuff has been taken over by someone
else, so I don't need get into all that fluff - I just sit in the
background doing the heavy lifting, and communicate with the world
via sockets.

Ken Blake

unread,
Nov 9, 2022, 5:35:31 PM11/9/22
to
On Wed, 09 Nov 2022 09:06:21 -0500, Dan Espen <dan1...@gmail.com>
Nor had I.

lar3ryca

unread,
Nov 10, 2022, 12:14:29 AM11/10/22
to
On 2022-11-09 13:00, Stefan Ram wrote:
> Charlie Gibbs <cgi...@kltpzyxm.invalid> writes:
>> Are you _that_ Larry?
>> I'm still living in the same place, but I'm running Linux now.
>> Although I still have four Amigas in storage...
> There's a game by Garry Flynn for the Pet 2001 called "Titrate".
> When you're very good, it will PRINT "Is that you, Garry?".

I remember it well. The PET was my fourth computer. The first two, I
built with parts. The third was a COSMAC Elf.

--
I have a joke about UDP, but you might not get it.

lar3ryca

unread,
Nov 10, 2022, 12:29:38 AM11/10/22
to
On 2022-11-09 15:32, Charlie Gibbs wrote:
> On 2022-11-09, lar3ryca <la...@invalid.ca> wrote:
>
>> Biggest mistake I ever made was to throw all my Amigas out.
>
> Would you like one or two?

Gasp! Two, please.
What would you want for them?
And how should I contact you?

>> I am also using Linux now.
>> I spent WAY too long running Windows for work, and finally got totally
>> fed up with it.
>
> I'm still at it. I like to say that my software doesn't so much run
> under Windows as despite it. However, I also build Linux versions,
> and we have a few Linux customers out there. Hopefully there will
> be more.
>
> To build and test my stuff, I run XP under VirtualBox. XP is the
> last version of Windows that I can tolerate at all, and if my stuff
> runs there it'll run under whatever newer version our customers are
> afflicted with. The front-end stuff has been taken over by someone
> else, so I don't need get into all that fluff - I just sit in the
> background doing the heavy lifting, and communicate with the world
> via sockets.

Sounds like you're still having fun.

I still have a Windows box, it's on the same LAN as one of my Linux
boxes. I need it for my call recording software and for Adobe Digital
Editions, neither of which have a Linux version

My other Linux machine is a Pi4 on my second IP address.

--
A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
A: Top-posting.
Q: What is the most annoying thing on usenet and in e-mail?

Peter Flass

unread,
Nov 10, 2022, 8:40:16 AM11/10/22
to
I’d have to look it up to see where it came from. I know the PDP-10 had the
ability to handle various byte sizes, and I think they used the term. I
think systems with 36-bit words that stored characters in 9 bits may have
called them bytes. “Characters” was the term of art earlier.

--
Pete

Peter Flass

unread,
Nov 10, 2022, 8:40:17 AM11/10/22
to
Charlie Gibbs <cgi...@kltpzyxm.invalid> wrote:
> On 2022-11-09, lar3ryca <la...@invalid.ca> wrote:
>
>> Biggest mistake I ever made was to throw all my Amigas out.
>
> Would you like one or two?
>
>> I am also using Linux now.
>> I spent WAY too long running Windows for work, and finally got totally
>> fed up with it.
>
> I'm still at it. I like to say that my software doesn't so much run
> under Windows as despite it. However, I also build Linux versions,
> and we have a few Linux customers out there. Hopefully there will
> be more.
>
> To build and test my stuff, I run XP under VirtualBox. XP is the
> last version of Windows that I can tolerate at all, and if my stuff
> runs there it'll run under whatever newer version our customers are
> afflicted with. The front-end stuff has been taken over by someone
> else, so I don't need get into all that fluff - I just sit in the
> background doing the heavy lifting, and communicate with the world
> via sockets.
>

XP wasn’t too bad. When I shared a machine with Spouse she needed to have
‘Doz, so I used that a bit. I have it now on VirtualBox because I
occasionally have to use Windows PL/I to see how something is supposed to
work. I had some games I used to play, some day I’ll install them on XP,
too.

--
Pete

D.J.

unread,
Nov 10, 2022, 11:57:39 AM11/10/22
to
There appears to be a Pi emulator for Amiga, along with an SD card
drive that can hold hundreds of programs. I wonder if my Fred Fish
floppies will fit ?
--
Jim

Tak To

unread,
Nov 10, 2022, 12:04:23 PM11/10/22
to
On 11/10/2022 8:40 AM, Peter Flass wrote:
> Dan Espen <dan1...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Peter Flass <peter...@yahoo.com> writes:
>>> [...]
>>> Actually, “byte” is really an unspecified number of bits, although nowadays
>>> it’s conventionally 8. Normally a byte is a glob large enough to hold a
>>> character, so six bits could be a byte.
>>
>> Until S/360 was announced I never heard the term byte.
>
> I’d have to look it up to see where it came from. I know the PDP-10 had the
> ability to handle various byte sizes, and I think they used the term.

Yes, but

- The PDP-10 came out a couple of years after the S/360.

- "Byte" for PDP-10 is not specifically intended for representing
characters. It is just any chunk that is smaller than a 36-bit
word.

- The PDP-10 can extract a byte (into a 36-bit register) with a
single instruction via a 36-bit pointer, but is not really
byte-addressable. I.e., the memory address lines are still
word granular.

whereas for the s/360

- byte is specifically for representing an EBCDIC character; or
two BCD (binary coded decimal) digits

- address lines are byte-granular (and thus the s/360 can have
variable length instructions, which is the real payout)

> think systems with 36-bit words that stored characters in 9 bits may have
> called them bytes. “Characters” was the term of art earlier.

The only system I know of that fits that description is Multics,
and I don't remember how those 9-bit entities were called.

Around MIT's ITS (PDP-10) environs, a 7-bit ASCII character was
simply an ASCII character. ASCII characters were generally
packed 5 to a 36-bit word.

Charlie Gibbs

unread,
Nov 10, 2022, 2:08:39 PM11/10/22
to
On 2022-11-10, lar3ryca <la...@invalid.ca> wrote:

> On 2022-11-09 15:32, Charlie Gibbs wrote:
>
>> On 2022-11-09, lar3ryca <la...@invalid.ca> wrote:
>>
>>> Biggest mistake I ever made was to throw all my Amigas out.
>>
>> Would you like one or two?
>
> Gasp! Two, please.
> What would you want for them?
> And how should I contact you?

E-mail me. See my .sig.

Vir Campestris

unread,
Nov 10, 2022, 4:10:01 PM11/10/22
to
PDP-10 is a long time ago, but I don't recall any byte type stuff.
Strings were as you say packed as 5x7-bit chars in a word. And there
were SIXBIT strings too - 6-bit characters, as used in filenames.

I can't recall anything that allowed you to pull parts of words out.

Andy

Anders D. Nygaard

unread,
Nov 10, 2022, 4:45:46 PM11/10/22
to
Den 10-11-2022 kl. 18:04 skrev Tak To:
> On 11/10/2022 8:40 AM, Peter Flass wrote:
>> [... I ...]
>> think systems with 36-bit words that stored characters in 9 bits may have
>> called them bytes. “Characters” was the term of art earlier.
>
> The only system I know of that fits that description is Multics,
> and I don't remember how those 9-bit entities were called.

My memory is *very* hazy, but the system I used in my first year
at university answers to that description.
I'm fairly sure it was a UNIVAC; probably a model 1100.

Since then, every byte I've come across has been 8 bits.

/Anders, Denmark

Bob Eager

unread,
Nov 10, 2022, 6:18:17 PM11/10/22
to
On Thu, 10 Nov 2022 21:09:59 +0000, Vir Campestris wrote:

> PDP-10 is a long time ago, but I don't recall any byte type stuff.
> Strings were as you say packed as 5x7-bit chars in a word. And there
> were SIXBIT strings too - 6-bit characters, as used in filenames.
>
> I can't recall anything that allowed you to pull parts of words out.

It had byte pointers which allowed such selection.

http://pdp10.nocrew.org/docs/instruction-set/Byte.html

It was also true on the PDP-6, and that came out the same year as the IBM
360 (1964).


--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org

Rich Alderson

unread,
Nov 10, 2022, 10:42:33 PM11/10/22
to
Tak To <ta...@alum.mit.eduxx> writes:

> On 11/10/2022 8:40 AM, Peter Flass wrote:
> > Dan Espen <dan1...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >> Peter Flass <peter...@yahoo.com> writes:
> >>> [...]
> >>> Actually, “byte” is really an unspecified number of bits, although nowadays
> >>> it’s conventionally 8. Normally a byte is a glob large enough to hold a
> >>> character, so six bits could be a byte.
> >>
> >> Until S/360 was announced I never heard the term byte.
> >
> > I’d have to look it up to see where it came from. I know the PDP-10 had the
> > ability to handle various byte sizes, and I think they used the term.
>
> Yes, but
>
> - The PDP-10 came out a couple of years after the S/360.

The PDP-6 is the origin of the architecture. It was announced in March 1964 in
Business Week, 3 weeks before the announcement of the IBM System/360 in April.

First customer ship of the PDP-6 was in June 1964; FCS of the System/360 was in
October 1965.

> - "Byte" for PDP-10 is not specifically intended for representing
> characters. It is just any chunk that is smaller than a 36-bit
> word.

The original definition of a byte, in signal processing, was "a collection of
bits", and had nothing to do with characters, or memory words.

The PDP-6 usage of the term is based on that original definition.

> - The PDP-10 can extract a byte (into a 36-bit register) with a
> single instruction via a 36-bit pointer, but is not really
> byte-addressable. I.e., the memory address lines are still
> word granular.

No one ever said that was addressable at the character level!

[ snip irrelevancies ]

> > think systems with 36-bit words that stored characters in 9 bits may have
> > called them bytes. “Characters” was the term of art earlier.

> The only system I know of that fits that description is Multics,
> and I don't remember how those 9-bit entities were called.

They were called "characters", as were 6 bit entities.

> Around MIT's ITS (PDP-10) environs, a 7-bit ASCII character was simply an
> ASCII character. ASCII characters were generally packed 5 to a 36-bit word.

That is also the format for ASCII text in the DEC operating systems for the
PDP-6 (on which ITS originally ran) and PDP-10. Nothing special about MIT
here.

And the 7 bit entities treated as ASCII characters are called "bytes" when
manipulating them with byte pointers in the relevant instructions.

--
Rich Alderson ne...@alderson.users.panix.com
Audendum est, et veritas investiganda; quam etiamsi non assequamur,
omnino tamen proprius, quam nunc sumus, ad eam perveniemus.
--Galen

Rich Alderson

unread,
Nov 10, 2022, 10:46:00 PM11/10/22
to
Vir Campestris <vir.cam...@invalid.invalid> writes:

> PDP-10 is a long time ago, but I don't recall any byte type stuff.
> Strings were as you say packed as 5x7-bit chars in a word. And there
> were SIXBIT strings too - 6-bit characters, as used in filenames.

> I can't recall anything that allowed you to pull parts of words out.

Then that's a function of your failing memory.

The PDP-6/10 instruction set includes LDB, DPB, ILDB, and IDPB: Load byte
pointed to by the byte pointer addressed in the instruction, deposit byte to
the addressed byte pointer, increment the byte pointer and load the noewly
addressed byte, increment the byte pointer and deposit into the newly addressed
byte location.

Bytes may be any size from 1 to 36 bits.

Rich Alderson

unread,
Nov 10, 2022, 10:47:19 PM11/10/22
to
Because the 400kg gorilla from Armonk changed the definition.

greymaus

unread,
Nov 11, 2022, 4:35:42 AM11/11/22
to
I remember the BBS's time, the communications program had to be set. I
remember that 8n1 was a good general setting. The local telecom called
bytes `octets'. what would develope into the internet was *very*
expensive. Many people had `blue-boxes'. I made one but never used it.

Douglas Wells

unread,
Nov 11, 2022, 11:38:17 AM11/11/22
to
In article <mddk042...@panix5.panix.com>,
Rich Alderson <ne...@alderson.users.panix.com> wrote:
>Tak To <ta...@alum.mit.eduxx> writes:

>> On 11/10/2022 8:40 AM, Peter Flass wrote:

> [ snip irrelevancies ]

>> > think systems with 36-bit words that stored characters in 9 bits may have
>> > called them bytes. 'Characters' was the term of art earlier.

>> The only system I know of that fits that description is Multics,
>> and I don't remember how those 9-bit entities were called.

>They were called "characters", as were 6 bit entities.

The PL/I language used the type identifier "character" (or "char"),
but at the Multics OS level they were often (perhaps even usually)
called "bytes". I remember having numerous discussions with external
people about bytes not being synonymous with 8-bit fields.

To verify my memory I just grepped about a dozen Multics manuals for
"byte". I got 600+ matches, of which about a tenth were the set
phrase "9-bit byte". For instance, in the Multics Reference Guide
(AG91, Dec 1975), there are lines such as:

An unstructured file contains a sequence of 9-bit bytes.

A character string (packed or unpacked) whose length is n
occupies n consecutive 9-bit bytes. Each byte contains a
single 7-bit ASCII character right justified within the byte.

The Multics hardware supported 6-bit fields (indeed called
characters), but I can't think of any aspect of the Multics OS
architecture that used 6-bit fields.

>> Around MIT's ITS (PDP-10) environs, a 7-bit ASCII character was simply an
>> ASCII character. ASCII characters were generally packed 5 to a 36-bit word.

>That is also the format for ASCII text in the DEC operating systems for the
>PDP-6 (on which ITS originally ran) and PDP-10. Nothing special about MIT
>here.

>And the 7 bit entities treated as ASCII characters are called "bytes" when
>manipulating them with byte pointers in the relevant instructions.

To the best of my memory the use of "byte" in Multics preceded my
acquaintance with it, but there were enough PDP-10s (and a PDP-6)
around that it was difficult to move without tripping over one. This
probably helped with the insertion of the term "byte" into Multics
terminology.

Also, I will add that at least the KCC C compiler on the PDP-10 also
stored characters in the same form of 7-bit ASCII right justified in a
9-bit byte field. (The "extra" bit at the end of normal PDP-10 ASCII
(5*7+1) isn't allowed for "char" types in the C language.)

- dmw
--
. Douglas Wells . nr20...@gmail.com .

Peter Flass

unread,
Nov 11, 2022, 12:11:40 PM11/11/22
to
Anders D. Nygaard <news2...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Den 10-11-2022 kl. 18:04 skrev Tak To:
>> On 11/10/2022 8:40 AM, Peter Flass wrote:
>>> [... I ...]
>>> think systems with 36-bit words that stored characters in 9 bits may have
>>> called them bytes. “Characters” was the term of art earlier.
>>
>> The only system I know of that fits that description is Multics,
>> and I don't remember how those 9-bit entities were called.
>
> My memory is *very* hazy, but the system I used in my first year
> at university answers to that description.
> I'm fairly sure it was a UNIVAC; probably a model 1100.
>

Yes, I think that one too. IIRC 110x used both 6 and 9 bit characters.

> Since then, every byte I've come across has been 8 bits.
>
> /Anders, Denmark
>



--
Pete

Vir Campestris

unread,
Nov 11, 2022, 4:30:35 PM11/11/22
to
On 11/11/2022 03:45, Rich Alderson wrote:
> Then that's a function of your failing memory.

Agreed. Thank you, and also Bob for the doc link.

I really liked the PDP-10 instruction set. OTOH, it was my first!

Andy

Bob Eager

unread,
Nov 11, 2022, 5:47:30 PM11/11/22
to
It was about my fourth. My first was the Elliott/ICL 4100 series, which
is rarely mentioned.

The PDP-10's instruction set was so orthogonal that there was a complete
set of conditional jumps and skips. For example, JUMP was a no-op. JUMPA
was an unconditional jump. (but JRST was reputedly faster)

Tak To

unread,
Nov 11, 2022, 7:52:10 PM11/11/22
to
On 11/11/2022 5:47 PM, Bob Eager wrote:
> On Fri, 11 Nov 2022 21:30:33 +0000, Vir Campestris wrote:
>
>> On 11/11/2022 03:45, Rich Alderson wrote:
>>> Then that's a function of your failing memory.
>>
>> Agreed. Thank you, and also Bob for the doc link.
>>
>> I really liked the PDP-10 instruction set. OTOH, it was my first!
>
> It was about my fourth. My first was the Elliott/ICL 4100 series, which
> is rarely mentioned.
>
> The PDP-10's instruction set was so orthogonal that there was a complete
> set of conditional jumps and skips. For example, JUMP was a no-op. JUMPA
> was an unconditional jump. (but JRST was reputedly faster)

Yes. And the fastest no-op is JFCL.

Tak To

unread,
Nov 11, 2022, 8:03:59 PM11/11/22
to
I was pointing out a related fact -- byte was a more tangible concept
when memory was organized by bytes.

> [ snip irrelevancies ]
>
>>> think systems with 36-bit words that stored characters in 9 bits may have
>>> called them bytes. “Characters” was the term of art earlier.
>
>> The only system I know of that fits that description is Multics,
>> and I don't remember how those 9-bit entities were called.
>
> They were called "characters", as were 6 bit entities.
>
>> Around MIT's ITS (PDP-10) environs, a 7-bit ASCII character was simply an
>> ASCII character. ASCII characters were generally packed 5 to a 36-bit word.
>
> That is also the format for ASCII text in the DEC operating systems for the
> PDP-6 (on which ITS originally ran) and PDP-10. Nothing special about MIT
> here.

No one ever said ITS was unique. I just have no idea how other
PDP-10 OS works.

> And the 7 bit entities treated as ASCII characters are called "bytes" when
> manipulating them with byte pointers in the relevant instructions.

No one ever said otherwise.

Peter Flass

unread,
Nov 11, 2022, 8:16:37 PM11/11/22