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golf ball printer

<printer> The IBM 2741, a slow but letter-quality printing device and terminal based on the IBM Selectric typewriter. The "golf ball" was a little spherical frob bearing reversed embossed images of 88 different characters arranged on four parallels of latitude; one could change the font by swapping in a different golf ball.

This was the technology that enabled APL to use a non-EBCDIC, non-ASCII, and in fact completely non-standard character set. This put it 10 years ahead of its time - where it stayed, firmly rooted, for the next 20, until character displays gave way to programmable bit-mapped devices with the flexibility to support other character sets.

(1994-12-15)


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