Image Source: Wikipedia. ASCII chart circa. 1972.
For those of us who have had a computer for slightly too long ASCII is perhaps something of a childhood friend. In the days when computer graphics were somewhat basic, the standard ASCII character set was often used as a way to distract us from the lack of colours, resolution and quite often both. ASCII or American Standard Code for Information Interchange basically assigns a number to a specific character for example 53 is “S”. The ASCII character set was devised by the American Standards Association and not entirely unexpectedly it does not support many non-English characters. For that we now have Unicode. In addition to basic letters and numbers it also supports control characters in order to allow the easy sending and receiving of text. So on June 17th light a 67 65 78 68 76 69. Well you can do if you are from Big Bang Theory…..
More memorable moments from the history and use of ASCII are emoticons, those little charming things we use in emails etc and which I still manage to never quite get right or some stunning computer games (see below) and perhaps the saddest thing of all ASCII porn – I can’t even bring myself to Google it.
For more information please check out The Economist which has a longer article the exciting world of ASCII.