Display-less computing was Re: TOP POSTING

Fred Cisin cisin at xenosoft.com
Sat Dec 12 11:17:32 CST 2015

On Sat, 12 Dec 2015, Tulsamike3434 at gmail.com wrote:
> So did you have to learn how to read the punch hole cards also or did 
> the punch hole cards go into the computer and than printed out the data 
> on the fan fold paper also was it in code or just plane English?


If you dealt with the cards long enough, or consciously tried to, you 
learned the punch patterns.  They were not complicated.
you could make a printout
you could feed the cards through an INTERPRETER, which printed the card 
content on the card.  The usual INTERPRETER used a larger font, and only 
printed 60? of the columns.  If you had unusual needs for which columns to 
print, or wanted to rearrange, etc., then you could program it with a 
plug-board.  You kept some of those plug-boards around for specific tasks. 
For many years, I kept around a plug-board labelled "COBOL INTERPRETER", 
just to prove that a COBOL interpreter was possible :-)
There was also a sb-model of the 029 punch series that was a 
"punch/interpreter".  It could take a card, or a deck thereof, and print 
the content of the card along the top.  It had a significant advantage 
over the INTERPRETER in that it printed 80 columns, aligned with the 
columns of punches in the card.

On "normal" cards (not round-hole, system3, film-window, etc.), there were 
80 columns (numbered 1-80), and 12 rows (X,Y,and 0 through 9).
[When I die, bury my remains face down, 9 edge first]
Text was encoded with a punch in Y, X, or 0 plus a punch in 1 through 9.
Special characters and punctuation were other combinations.  Lower case 
was generally not used.
Other punch combinations were possible, and occasionally used, such as raw 
binary codes.  Punching out all punches in a column or columns created a 
"lace card", which wasn't liked by the reader.
"/*" in the first two columns had special meaning for 360 JCL, which 
required some extra care when attempting C compilers.

> on the fan fold paper also was it in code or just plane English?
Only in the aerospace industry would you find people who spoke in plane 
english.  Everybody else preferred it "plain".

Grumpy Ol' Fred     		cisin at xenosoft.com

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