My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Surfin': Hats off to ALL CAPS!

  surfin' surfin648
The U.S. Navy has decided to stop using all capital letters ("all caps," for short) in its official communications, according to this story from the Wall Street Journal. U.S. Army personnel hope that the Army will do the same.

I was very active on RTTY during the 1970s and quickly got used to the all caps communications afforded by my Teleptype Model 28 ASR.

What a behemoth! Getting the 28 up one flight of stairs to my bedroom ham shack in my parent's cape was a major achievement. When it was printing full speed ahead, it seemed to shake the whole house.

My first computer was a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 1.

I vividly remember buying the TRS-80 in 1978.  I was the very first computer customer at the Radio Shack store where I purchased it. The Shack salesman could not fathom why anyone would want to buy a computer, but he was happy to sell me one. And the TRS-80 was all caps out of the box.

"In order to display lower case, one had to add an eighth memory chip. This modification became a popular third-party add-on, along with a character chip with descenders for the lowercase letters. Later models came with the hardware for lowercase character set to be displayed with descenders." (Source: Wikipedia)."

Radio Shack offered to install an upgrade kit for a nominal price and that is the route I took to unstuck all caps.

Coming full circle, I traded in my all caps Model 28 ASR for a Model 33 ASR because the 33 did ASCII and was a perfect printer for my upper and lower case enabled TRS-80.

Thank you Norman Wald, W9VQ, for passing along the Navy story.

Until next time, keep on surfin'!

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