Brain-damaged Terminal Contest

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Larry Lippman

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Nov 18, 1986, 1:16:56 PM11/18/86
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I was doing some housecleaning in a storeroom the other day, and
came across a Hazeltine 1400 video display terminal - complete with manual.
I looked in the manual, and came to the conclusion that this has to be
the most brain-damaged terminal I have ever seen!
I thought it might be an amusing aside to see if anyone knows of
a terminal dumber that this one. I nominate this terminal for the All Time
Most Brain-damaged Terminal Award because:

1. It has no bell. Neither audible nor visible.

2. It displays upper-case only and has NO video attributes.

3. While it displays lower-case, it does so by mapping to upper-case -
which in itself is not uncommon for older terminal. But get this:
it generates lower-case characters by _weird_ key mappings; i.e.,
`a' is CTRL-SHIFT-1, `b' is CTRL-SHIFT-2, `j' is CTRL-SHIFT-:,
`k' is CTRL-SHIFT-;, `p' is CTRL-0, `q' is CTRL-1, etc. That's real
intuitive, huh?

4. It has `cursor down', `cursor right' and `cursor left'. It has
NO `cursor up'. These are _commands_; it has no cursor keys.

5. CTRL-S is `display test pattern' and CTRL-Q is `address cursor'.
Real nice x-on/x-off handling...

Can any terminal be dumber than this one???

<> Larry Lippman @ Recognition Research Corp., Clarence, New York
<> UUCP: {allegra|bbncca|decvax|nike|rocksanne|watmath}!sunybcs!kitty!larry
<> VOICE: 716/688-1231 {hplabs|ihnp4|mtune|seismo|utzoo}!/
<> FAX: 716/741-9635 {G1,G2,G3 modes} "Have you hugged your cat today?"

Mark Fohl

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Nov 18, 1986, 7:06:50 PM11/18/86
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In article <14...@kitty.UUCP>, la...@kitty.UUCP (Larry Lippman) writes:
>
> I was doing some housecleaning in a storeroom the other day, and
> came across a Hazeltine 1400 video display terminal - complete with manual.
> I looked in the manual, and came to the conclusion that this has to be
> the most brain-damaged terminal I have ever seen!
>
> Can any terminal be dumber than this one???

How old are you, Sonny? You been spoon fed all your life? Used to be this
was a dandy relief from the ASR-33. Guess some people are just plain spoiled.

Fohlski the Oldie

Freddie Way whacks off
with a punched card!

Scott Dorsey

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Nov 19, 1986, 8:47:09 PM11/19/86
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In article <14...@kitty.UUCP> la...@kitty.UUCP (Larry Lippman) writes:
> I was doing some housecleaning in a storeroom the other day, and
>came across a Hazeltine 1400 video display terminal - complete with manual.
>I looked in the manual, and came to the conclusion that this has to be
>the most brain-damaged terminal I have ever seen!
> I thought it might be an amusing aside to see if anyone knows of

[ reasons follow ]

If this is anything like the old 2000 I was once forced to use, the
tilde is used to signal the beginning of an 'escape' code. Any program
that produced or required tildes was in serious trouble.

--
Scott Dorsey
ICS Programming Lab (Where old terminals go to die), Rich 110,
Georgia Institute of Technology, Box 36681, Atlanta, Georgia 30332
...!{akgua,allegra,amd,hplabs,ihnp4,seismo,ut-ngp}!gatech!gitpyr!kludge

Larry Lippman

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Nov 19, 1986, 9:45:09 PM11/19/86
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In article <30...@cbosgd.ATT.COM>, fo...@cbosgd.ATT.COM (Mark Fohl) writes:
> > I was doing some housecleaning in a storeroom the other day, and
> > came across a Hazeltine 1400 video display terminal - complete with manual.
> > I looked in the manual, and came to the conclusion that this has to be
> > the most brain-damaged terminal I have ever seen!
> > Can any terminal be dumber than this one???
>
> How old are you, Sonny? You been spoon fed all your life? Used to be this
> was a dandy relief from the ASR-33. Guess some people are just plain spoiled.
> Fohlski the Oldie

Wellll, Grampa, I am old enough that once upon a time I interfaced
a Cubic Corp. _electromechanical_ digital voltmeter to a 28-RO page printer
by using an arrangement of 22-position stepping relays to actually generate
the necessary Baudot codes for the 28-RO. The Cubic Corp. voltmeter didn't
even have a BCD output - it had contact-closure Gray Code. It worked as an
effective data logger with a _truly_ impressive amount of sound effects every
ten seconds when it printed a value!

I don't consider the 33-ASR to be brain-damaged, and there will
always be a fond place for it in my heart. Consider these 33-ASR features:

1. It had a _real_ bell!

2. It could tell its name (^E) as stored in a 22-byte DROM (that's
Drum Read Only Memory :-).

3. It had _unlimited_ sequential-access read/write memory (paper tape);
this memory was also non-volatile!

4. It could run in character mode or "block mode".

5. It supported x-on/x-off protocol.

6. It could perform combinatorial logic and control external devices
(using a stunt box).

7. It sounded impressive when operating.

Furthermore, I used to use the 33-ASR as a _standalone_ WORD PROCESSOR
back in the days before the term "word processor" even existed! It was quite
handy for generating personalized form letters. In a lab I had a sprocket-feed
33-ASR with form-feed option; I would make a paper tape in an endless loop
with the body of a letter that had embedded control characters to stop the
tape reader for manual entry of personalized data.
In fact, about 20 years ago when I was in college I used this very
technique to generate "personal telegrams from Santa Claus" which I sold
for 50 cents each...

Tom Gross

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Nov 20, 1986, 9:41:14 AM11/20/86
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>
> I was doing some housecleaning in a storeroom the other day, and
> came across a Hazeltine 1400 video display terminal - complete with manual.
> I looked in the manual, and came to the conclusion that this has to be
> the most brain-damaged terminal I have ever seen!
>
> Can any terminal be dumber than this one???

I dunno. How many different types of paper can it use?

V...@psuvma.bitnet

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Nov 20, 1986, 10:59:13 AM11/20/86
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Is this supposed to be funny?

David Lesher

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Nov 20, 1986, 4:32:57 PM11/20/86
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> Article <30...@cbosgd.ATT.COM> From: fo...@cbosgd.ATT.COM (Mark Fohl)

| In article <14...@kitty.UUCP>, la...@kitty.UUCP (Larry Lippman) writes:
| >
| > Can any terminal be dumber than this one???
|
| How old are you, Sonny? You been spoon fed all your life? Used to be this
| was a dandy relief from the ASR-33. Guess some people are just plain spoiled.

Listen, REAL programmers use a Flexwriter, and keep all source code
on that neat paper tape. I remember fixing errors with patches, and
I do not mean software patches. Besides, it was easy to compare files
--just hold them both it up to the light.

--

decvax!cwruecmp!ncoast!wb8foz
ncoast!wb8...@case.csnet
(ncoast!wb8foz%case....@csnet-relay.ARPA)

"SERIOUS?
Bones, it could upset the entire percentage!"

la...@kitty.uucp

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Nov 22, 1986, 10:07:08 AM11/22/86
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In article <17...@ncoast.UUCP>, wb8...@ncoast.UUCP (David Lesher) writes:
> Listen, REAL programmers use a Flexwriter, and keep all source code
> on that neat paper tape. I remember fixing errors with patches, and
> I do not mean software patches. Besides, it was easy to compare files
> --just hold them both it up to the light.

Didn't some of the Friden Flexowriters use a paper tape code that
was NOT ASCII?
I remember once seeing a Flexowriter "computer" (I am serious).
This consisted of a Flexowriter sitting on top of a cabinet approximately
24" wide by 24" deep by 30" high. Inside the base cabinet was the guts
of a mechanical calculator (probably also a Friden) which had a zillion
solenoids and contact switches, in addition to a number of relays. This
device apparently interfaced the calculator to the Flexowriter, and was
definitely a mass-produced product.

br...@kontron.uucp

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Nov 22, 1986, 11:35:43 PM11/22/86
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The most brain-damaged terminal of my experience was IBM's 1407 console
typewriter for 1401 systems. The printer had a 2-color ribbon that sort
of drifted randomly between black and red. The keyboard was totally
unreliable, and would generate parity errors on perhaps 1 out of every
200 keystrokes when freshly tweaked by a CE, and on 1 out of every 20
keystrokes after a week's use. The parity errors were deposited into
memory, bringing up a spectacular (by the 1401's modest standards) display
of red error lights, completely nuking the job in progress. (And with
a memory cycle of around 10-11us, and _hydraulic_ seek actuators on those
wonderful 2Mb 1311 disk drives, progress was sloooooooow.)

Let's be fair to the Hazelturkey terminals. They were among the first
affordable terminals. By today's standards, they are completely brain-damaged,
but we were damned glad to have them at the time. On the other hand, they
were terribly unreliable (exceeded in flakiness only, perhaps, by LSI
ADM-1's).

Scott Dorsey

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Nov 23, 1986, 11:28:09 PM11/23/86
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In article <14...@kitty.UUCP> la...@kitty.UUCP (Larry Lippman) writes:
> Didn't some of the Friden Flexowriters use a paper tape code that
>was NOT ASCII?

It was Baudot. 5-channel tty code.

" When they put the Apostle's Creed in
It was soon replaced by Friden
Saint Peter has the system well in hand.
There's a nametape sent from hell
In the ATR as well
Sending letters of condolence to the damned."
-- S. Kelly-Bootle


The Friden CREED papertape handling system was one of the most advanced
papertape systems of its time. It used 5-channel Baudot tape, still in
use over teletype lines today.
--
Scott Dorsey Kaptain_Kludge

Robert Firth

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Nov 24, 1986, 9:21:17 AM11/24/86
to
>
> I was doing some housecleaning in a storeroom the other day, and
> came across a Hazeltine 1400 video display terminal - complete with manual.
> I looked in the manual, and came to the conclusion that this has to be
> the most brain-damaged terminal I have ever seen!
>
> Can any terminal be dumber than this one???

Well, I nominate the terminal I'm now using. This started life
as a standard DEC terminal, until the hackers got hold of it

. The Tilde key generates a funny escape code. The key
called 'hold screen' generates a tilde

. The 'set up' key generates an escape code. There is NO
way to change the terminal characteristics - not even to
get reverse video - without invoking a huge and totally
undocumented window manager

. The numeric pad is mapped to escape codes. You guessed it -
no way to remap any key

And the ULTIMATE prize for total lunacy: the 'Do' key breaks into
the Unixoid kernel of your workstation and you're at adb command
level. Can you say user-surly? I thought you could.

Eugene Kwiecinski

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Nov 24, 1986, 1:31:47 PM11/24/86
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One terminal which I would NOT like to write a 'terminfo' entry for is
the venerable Datapoint 3600.

In its defense, I would like to say that is well built. From the power
supply to the main board to the chassis, this sucker's built like a tank.
Rarely before have I seen such a well put together piece of equipment.

Still, when I was trying to interface this with a homebuilt computer,
I had nothing but trouble. Without a manual, I had enough trouble. Add
that to funny escape codes for cursor positioning, etc, I was about to
scream and just give up.

The fact that this terminal is a dinosaur among terminals gives rise to
the fact that a whole board of TTLs could be replaced with just one or
two LSI chips. Anyway, it DIDN'T have automatic wraparound, or even a
basic scrolling! Write to the end of the screen and it would just keep
overwriting the last line! Yecch! I, for one, did not want to keep track
of the current line, etc, just to have a normal scrolling.

The shift-lock was just that (as opposed to a caps-lock). Hit the S-L,
type '12345', and you would get '!"#$%'. Pretty awful if you're not used
to old style typewriters.

If they (Datapoint) would have fixed these bugs, and given me some sort
of clue on how to use the terminal escape sequences, that wouldn't have
been such a bad machine. But the facts speak for themselves. My home-
built doesn't have 'terminfo' or anything even approaching that. I have
used mapping to get the right output codes, so I'm stuck...

Bye,
Gene


Usenet (UUCP) Address:
cucard\
psuvax!cmcl2\
{psuvax1!princeton, ucbvax!ulysses}!allegra>!phri!cooper!gene
columbia/
{decwrl!ihnp4, harvard!seismo, decvax}!philabs/


(Whew!)

PS: If anyone happens to have a 'terminfo' entry for one of these little
beasties, PLEASE beam me over a copy. Please?
Thanx in advance.

mike knudsen

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Nov 26, 1986, 6:06:58 PM11/26/86
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> I don't consider the 33-ASR to be brain-damaged, and there will
> always be a fond place for it in my heart. Consider these 33-ASR features:
> [deleted]

> <> Larry Lippman @ Recognition Research Corp., Clarence, New York

You left out one of the 33's best features -- you could
touch-type programming expressions on it, since such
left-field (nowadays) chars as \, [, ], ^ were just
shifts of N, L, K, etc.

Today this would be called a "chord keyboard."
Instead, you have to look at the keyboard constantly while
entering a C program.

Of course, the 33 didn't even have {}~, so you didn't have
to worry about them -- but then C didn't exist either!

--
Mike J Knudsen ...ihnp4!ihwpt!knudsen
Bell Labs (AT&T) (312)-979-4132 (work)
You think AT&T cares about CoCos, music, or Star Trek?
No? Then, these opinions must be all mine!

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