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New xenophobic's probably the wrong word
having abnormal fear or hatred of the strange or foreign
I highly doubt they feared or hated people in other countries.

I bet it has more to do with the fact that people in the US don't often use other languages, so it wasn't anything they'd be concerned with when they designed ASCII - which of course stands for the American Standard Code for Information Interchange.
Darrell Spice, Jr.                      [link|http://spiceware.org/gallery/ArtisticOverpass|Artistic Overpass]\n[link|http://www.spiceware.org/|SpiceWare] - We don't do Windows, it's too much of a chore
New Yeah, you're right
ignorant would be a better word.

That said, they should've known better; as I said, a five minute discussion of this standard with any competent typographer would have let them know why it was broken.
--\n-------------------------------------------------------------------\n* Jack Troughton                            jake at consultron.ca *\n* [link|http://consultron.ca|http://consultron.ca]                   [link|irc://irc.ecomstation.ca|irc://irc.ecomstation.ca] *\n* Kingston Ontario Canada               [link|news://news.consultron.ca|news://news.consultron.ca] *\n-------------------------------------------------------------------
New How about "escessively humble"?
They used two digits for the year because they didn't think their code would still be in use that far in the future. They assumed that when someone 40 years in the future wanted to program a computer they'd write something for it.

They probably thought the same thing about language. At the time, they were writing for their specific piece of hardware. They assumed that when someone wanted to run their own new computer they'd write their own language and operating system to do it, just like everyone else always had.

Purveyor of Doc Hope's [link|http://DocHope.com|fresh-baked dog biscuits and pet treats].
New Look, the point about the two digits for a year is well
taken, but the point about ascii is not. It was supposed to be a standard that could be used by anybody, but ended up only being really usable by people who speak and use only English. The idea that they only expected americans to use it is easily debunked by reading any of the literature extant at the time... what they did expect is that only americans would program it.
--\n-------------------------------------------------------------------\n* Jack Troughton                            jake at consultron.ca *\n* [link|http://consultron.ca|http://consultron.ca]                   [link|irc://irc.ecomstation.ca|irc://irc.ecomstation.ca] *\n* Kingston Ontario Canada               [link|news://news.consultron.ca|news://news.consultron.ca] *\n-------------------------------------------------------------------
New Disagree
ASCII was supposed to be a standard for American Information Interchange (as pointed out above), hence the name. And being first it followed the now-increasingly-popular YAGNI rule.

Hey, I didn't notice that IBM (International Business Machines) fixed the problem with its highly vaunted and hopelessly idiotic EBCDIC, either.

When ASCII became problematic due to its limitations, it was extended (in the best style of Micros~1); now we have UNICODE, and a whole raft of ISO 8859's. And then there are the Asians: JIS, Shift-JIS, GB2232, GB18030, Big 5 et al. So now you can have your \ufffd in any one of several dozen encoding schemes. Ain't choice grand?
shrub\ufffdbish (Am., from shrub + rubbish, after the derisive name for America's 43 president; 2003) n. 1. a form of nonsensical political doubletalk wherein the speaker attempts to defend the indefensible by lying, obfuscation, or otherwise misstating the facts; GIBBERISH. 2. any of a collection of utterances from America's putative 43rd president. cf. BULLSHIT

New Maybe...
shortsighted [link|http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=ethnocentric|ethnocentrists].

After all Information Interchange implies you might want to exchange it with someone. Not those nobodies - only our kind of someones.

Whatever. Anyhow that collection of cheap hacks is way broken.

"Whenever you find you are on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect"   --Mark Twain

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."   --Albert Einstein

"This is still a dangerous world. It's a world of madmen and uncertainty and potential mental losses."   --George W. Bush
Expand Edited by tuberculosis Aug. 21, 2007, 06:31:43 AM EDT
New How about simply "provincial".
Solving their own problems and not the worlds.

Do you forget that 6 computers were going to satisfy all the computational needs of the world?

And no one has yet mentioned IBM's EBCDIC - Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code which came out in 1964 or so. These came in "national" flavors.

Hey, 2nd generation computers used 6-bit codes for characters (related to punch card codes) - uppercase letters, numbers, and a few punctuation marks. [link|http://www.cs.uiowa.edu/~jones/cards/codes.html|Link].

It's evolution, guys!

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. -- Bertrand Russell
New The people who coded for teletypes and green terminals
should have been asking "a typographer"? They had no idea that what they were doing will be used in "typography" one day. Remember, it was called a "computer" back then. You don't need too many symbols to "compute"

And what are we doing when the two most powerful nations on earth -- America and Israel -- stomp on the elementary rights of human beings?

-- letter to the editor from W. Ostermeier, Liechtenstein

New Yes, a typographer
text layout on a green screen is still text layout. Hence the comment about "ignorant outside their area of specialty".

Another word that one might use could be uncultured. And, if they'd been a little less ignorant or a little more cultured then the current internationalisation mess (and it is a mess) could have been very easily avoided.
--\n-------------------------------------------------------------------\n* Jack Troughton                            jake at consultron.ca *\n* [link|http://consultron.ca|http://consultron.ca]                   [link|irc://irc.ecomstation.ca|irc://irc.ecomstation.ca] *\n* Kingston Ontario Canada               [link|news://news.consultron.ca|news://news.consultron.ca] *\n-------------------------------------------------------------------
New Internationalization would not have been so easy
A lot of people wrote a lot of programs that were a lot simpler and more compact because they were able to assume that, for instance, one byte was one character. Back in the 70s it made little sense to waste precious time and space in processing text to take into account issues that would become critical decades later.

Furthermore you're acting as if i18n issues are something that are easily dealt with if you've chose to deal with them. This seems to me to be absurdly wrong.

Getting i18n right takes a lot of knowledge, and speaking to a random competent typographer wouldn't magically solve the problem. Oh, it might solve your problem, sorta. You could just add some extra characters for some European languages. But you quickly get to too many characters for one byte, and don't handle people who use different alphabets. You've also made life harder for whoever wanted to solve the problem for real later. (Something like UTF-8 would have been impossible.) You could take a few to use for combining characters (letting people say something like `e and have it be one character), but you'd probably miss the issue of multiple combining characters. You could try to create an extensible system, and invariably you'd overdesign.

In fact this is an example where I'd accuse Todd of setting impossible standards for others. Suppose that they did try to solve i18n back in the 70's. Inevitably it would have caused computers to waste memory and run more slowly, and the design would have sucked (without experience trying to solve the problem, you're unlikely to come up with the right abstraction). The alternative is to try to solve the problem incrementally - solve the problem that you have now, now, in a way that can be extended later when you have a better idea how to do it. Normally Todd would be all over that approach, but not in this case. Because many different people tried to improve the system independently, each of them solved their own problem, and their solutions conflict.

So if they overabstracted then he'd blast them for overabstracting and coming up with a bad solution, while what they did gets them accused of being xenophobic and causing a long-term mess. Neither way could they win.

If you think that my summary is wrong, tell me what you think should have been done, within the needs and limitations of 70's technology, to solve i18n. Or did you only care about them finding a practical solution to your problems, leaving other people in the cold? (In which case you're no better than they were...)

I have come to believe that idealism without discipline is a quick road to disaster, while discipline without idealism is pointless. -- Aaron Ward (my brother)
New Text layout in 80 by 24 grid of monspaced font?
Gimme a break. Anyone involved in typesetting would laugh the questioner out of the door.

And what are we doing when the two most powerful nations on earth -- America and Israel -- stomp on the elementary rights of human beings?

-- letter to the editor from W. Ostermeier, Liechtenstein

New Phone books back then
were pretty much like that... and they used typesetters to figure out the best way to lay them out so they'd be easy to read and easy to use.

Well designed text layouts and badly designed text layouts for that sort of screen were prevalent, and were looked at as a design problem. That's about putting text into a space, and that is typesetting. Given the parameters of a problem, a competent typesetter would most definitely not laugh them out of the room... unless of course they'd been expected to work for free.
--\n-------------------------------------------------------------------\n* Jack Troughton                            jake at consultron.ca *\n* [link|http://consultron.ca|http://consultron.ca]                   [link|irc://irc.ecomstation.ca|irc://irc.ecomstation.ca] *\n* Kingston Ontario Canada               [link|news://news.consultron.ca|news://news.consultron.ca] *\n-------------------------------------------------------------------
New Please don't use the letter "e" in your code.
After all, you don't need many symbols to compute.

That's what 7-bit ASCII does to the French language.

[link|http://www.ubuntulinux.org|Ubuntu Linux]
[link|http://www.kuro5hin.org|There is no K5 Cabal]
Use P2P for legitimate purposes!
New I certainly used to do without "e"
"E" works just fine, thank you very much. ANother case in point: on Russian version of VT52 we had a button: you had a choice of capital/small english vs. capital English/capital Russian. That's the kind of resources people used to work with.

And what are we doing when the two most powerful nations on earth -- America and Israel -- stomp on the elementary rights of human beings?

-- letter to the editor from W. Ostermeier, Liechtenstein

New I couldn't use "e" either ...
That's what 7-bit ASCII does to the French language.

You had seven bits to work with? I was working with 6 bit CDC display code. You couldn't even do the letter "e" on that machine, you had to be content with "E". That's ok, we didn't have any printers that could print lower case anyways. (Hmmm ... I recall some terminals that didn't do lower case either).

On the other hand, the other machine I worked on encoded file names in RAD50 (Radix 50). 50 octal is 40 decimal. 40**3 = 64000 which is less that 2**16. Encoding characters in RAD50 meant that you could get 3 (yes, 3!) characters in a 16 bit word. A file name (6 character basename and 3 character extension) all fit into 3 words.

I remember spec'ing out an early system that was going to use ASCII to represent the data. It was a big deal. One of the users of the system pulled me aside one day and wondered what all the fuss was with this "ASK TWO" stuff.

To go from fighting propriety character encodings to a standard that could talk to the computer across the room was a big step forward. That they couldn't talk to computers across the ocean yet was not really on the horizon.
-- Jim Weirich jim@weirichhouse.org [link|http://onestepback.org|http://onestepback.org]
"Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct,
not tried it." -- Donald Knuth (in a memo to Peter van Emde Boas)
     What the heck is text? - (systems) - (56)
         It depends on the context. - (Another Scott) - (2)
             Unicode and ASCII - (StevenYap) - (1)
                 Re: Unicode and ASCII - Nitpick II - (jb4)
         you are confusing text with display - (boxley) - (12)
             Uhhh..Not quite, Bill - (jb4) - (11)
                 And that is one thing that sucks about Unicode - (ben_tilly) - (9)
                     At least they're consistent - (jb4) - (8)
                         But it is a problem - (ben_tilly)
                         Except for that full width/half width ascii thing - (tuberculosis) - (5)
                             I dunno... - (jb4)
                             My personal take on it - (jake123) - (3)
                                 Perhaps, but it makes searching tricky - (tuberculosis) - (2)
                                     Well, if it was an easy problem - (jake123)
                                     ICLRPD (new thread) - (jb4)
                         Have you all seen the HUGE unicode poster? - (FuManChu)
                 close enough to debug a table entry :-) - (boxley)
         Text is not as simple as it seems - (ben_tilly)
         This is one thing that Java handles pretty well - (bluke)
         Rule #1 - Everything you think you know is wrong - (tuberculosis) - (29)
             Why xenophobic? - (drewk) - (28)
                 Because they didn't think... - (pwhysall)
                 Because if they had spent any time at all - (tuberculosis) - (25)
                     Now how about addressing my example - (drewk) - (17)
                         The best explanation that I've seen of why 2 digits... - (ben_tilly)
                         No, but they were xenophobic etc - (jake123) - (15)
                             xenophobic's probably the wrong word - (SpiceWare) - (14)
                                 Yeah, you're right - (jake123) - (13)
                                     How about "escessively humble"? - (drewk) - (4)
                                         Look, the point about the two digits for a year is well - (jake123) - (1)
                                             Disagree - (jb4)
                                         Maybe... - (tuberculosis) - (1)
                                             How about simply "provincial". - (a6l6e6x)
                                     The people who coded for teletypes and green terminals - (Arkadiy) - (7)
                                         Yes, a typographer - (jake123) - (3)
                                             Internationalization would not have been so easy - (ben_tilly)
                                             Text layout in 80 by 24 grid of monspaced font? - (Arkadiy) - (1)
                                                 Phone books back then - (jake123)
                                         Please don't use the letter "e" in your code. - (pwhysall) - (2)
                                             I certainly used to do without "e" - (Arkadiy)
                                             I couldn't use "e" either ... - (JimWeirich)
                     Oh, come ON already - (jb4) - (6)
                         The C++ standard i18n library is awful - (tuberculosis) - (5)
                             Dont know ICU - (jb4) - (4)
                                 ICLRPD (new thread) - (drewk)
                                 You can find it here - (tuberculosis) - (2)
                                     Time line? - (jb4) - (1)
                                         Released in 1988 - (tuberculosis)
                 Actually, Algol 68 was designed from the ground up - (Arkadiy)
         Re: What the heck is text? - (JayMehaffey) - (3)
             I must correct you - ASCII is a 7-bit encoding - (tuberculosis)
             Whoa, there. - (ubernostrum) - (1)
                 Your right mostly - (JayMehaffey)
         Using a pencil, it's unambiguous. -NT - (mmoffitt) - (3)
             You haven't seen my handwriting.... -NT - (Another Scott) - (2)
                 Uh-oh. I wouldn't confess that ;0) - (mmoffitt) - (1)
                     My father's handwriting was so bad... - (broomberg)

My other car is a mini Volkswagon.
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