Name that late-'60s programming language or data representation format!
July 13, 2014 11:00 AM Subscribe
Yesterday I picked up a piece of ceramic bric-à-brac promoting RCA's Electronic Data Processing division (active mid-1950s to 1971). It features ten different ways to represent data or algorithms, of which I recognize many, but not all. Can you name the rest? Bonus: Can you decode the ones with actual data?
posted by Lazlo Nibble to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
a zoomed-in image of the whole thing; warning, it's big!
From the outside to the inside, with "mysteries" bolded:
- Blue: Say hello to our old friend News Gothic!
- Red 1: Bitstream. Potentially decodable if it represents character data in ASCII or EBCDIC.
- Red 2: Stream of 8-bit bytes (probably EBCDIC), which looks like it repeats every 80 characters or so. Almost certainly decodable.
- Orange 1: Undetermined language. No luck googling the statements. The trailing-paren delimiter on the numeric values is probably key here.
- Orange 2: Undetermined variable-width data representation format, which uses zeroes/blocks and tiny little numbers as placeholders. Very interested to know more about this one.
- Yellow: 7-bit ASCII(?) paper tape format; also likely decodable.
- Green 1: MICR E-13B characters.
- Green 2: Looks like a sine function, in an undetermined language, represented as slanted characters in little cells over a horizontal line. The itself code is pretty generic but the representation may be typical of a specific language.
- Green 3: Digits in OCR-A, which incidentally date this item to 1968-1971.
- Blue 1: Undetermined language, with each character in a full-height cell.
- Blue 2: Undetermined language, possibly assembly code?
I'm assuming that the item was meant for clients or an internal audience, and that therefore rather than being random junk that just looks like it came from a computer, the stuff on it consists of real-world examples that someone working in the field at the time would have recognized.