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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
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character, humour The mnemonic of a mythical ASCII control
character (End Of User) that would make an ASR-33 Teletype
explode on receipt. This construction parodies the numerous
obscure delimiter and control characters left in ASCII from
the days when it was associated more with wire-service
teletypes than computers (e.g. FS, GS, RS, US, EM,
SUB, ETX, and especially EOT). It is worth remembering
that ASR-33s were big, noisy mechanical beasts with a lot of
clattering parts; the notion that one might explode was
nowhere near as ridiculous as it might seem to someone sitting
in front of a tube or flatscreen today.