Display-less computing

Fred Cisin cisin at xenosoft.com
Tue Dec 15 11:11:57 CST 2015

>>> I've only ever seen them called "12" and "11" for the top and next
>>> rows respectively.  For example, the card code listing on the IBM 360
>>> "green card" shows them that way (e.g., A is 12-1).
>> Same here.  But it's not outside the range of possibility that *someone*
>> called them X and Y, although I don't know who did.  Doug Jones doesn't
>> mention it.

On Tue, 15 Dec 2015, Dave Wade wrote:
> I have seen ICT punches labelled this way. There is one here where "X" and
> "Y" have been manually added.
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keypunch#/media/File:Hand-operated_Card_Punch-
> 2.jpg
> I think the one I own is labelled....

In my experience, they were called 'X'/'Y', or "12"/"11", but there were 
occasional other names, even "high"/"low".   Since the cards were not 
marked, people could come up with all sorts of other cockamamie choices.

> > Let's not forget the System/3 96-column cards.  BA8421 (sort of like 
> > 7-track mag tape), with a really wacky way to combine the columns to 
> > make 8-bit bytes.
> > Univac, of course, had their own system with their double-45 column 
> > system, round holes and all.

There were "window" cards that carried a piece of micro-fiche.  Were the 
makers of those aware of Gldberg's "Rapid-Selector" and/or Vannevar Bush's 
Memex?  (Both of which were motion picture film based microfilm with 
optical reading of dot patterns for selection)

There were even punched cards that also carried a mag-stripe (a 
transitional device?)
I even saw some crude attempts to implement McBee edge sort - set of holes 
around the perimeter that were linked or not linked with a slot to the 
edge; poke a knitting needle through the hole(s) and see which ones shook 
out.   Some also carried "normal" punched card data punched on them.
Only once did I see a "multi-value" system - multiple holes punched in a 
column, and edge slot going varying number of holes deep - "I want a value 
of greater than or equal 3": poke the needle through 3, and 3, 2, and 1 
would all shake out.

My father claimed that the use of round holes on divergent cards was due 
to an attempt by IBM to patent the shape of the hole in the cards.  He 
also thought that the development of optical card readers was 
significantly boosted along by an IBM attempt to patent use of a brass 

For "The National Driving Test" (CBS 1966?), he had a sample MAIL back 
port-a-punch (pre-perfed alternate columns) cards!
IBM succeeded in reading them!  But, IBM's statistical programming 
resulted in our whole family starting to learn FORTRAN the next day.

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