eighty-column mind

Slang Dictionary

eighty-column mind

n. [IBM] The sort said to be possessed by persons for whom the transition from punched card to tape was traumatic (nobody has dared tell them about disks yet). It is said that these people, including (according to an old joke) the founder of IBM, will be buried `face down, 9-edge first' (the 9-edge being the bottom of the card). This directive is inscribed on IBM's 1402 and 1622 card readers and is referenced in a famous bit of doggerel called "The Last Bug", the climactic lines of which are as follows:

He died at the console Of hunger and thirst. Next day he was buried, Face down, 9-edge first. The eighty-column mind was thought by most hackers to dominate IBM's customer base and its thinking. This only began to change in the mid-1990s when IBM began to reinvent itself after the triumph of the killer micro. See IBM, fear and loathing, card walloper. A copy of "The Last Bug" lives on the the GNU site at `http://www.gnu.org/fun/jokes/last.bug.html'.
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Computing Dictionary

eighty-column mind definition

abuse
The sort said to be possessed by persons for whom the transition from punched card to paper tape was traumatic (nobody has dared tell them about disks yet). It is said that these people, including (according to an old joke) the founder of IBM, will be buried "face down, 9-edge first" (the 9-edge being the bottom of the card). This directive is inscribed on IBM's 1402 and 1622 card readers and is referenced in a famous bit of doggerel called "The Last Bug", the climactic lines of which are as follows:
He died at the console Of hunger and thirst. Next day he was buried, Face down, 9-edge first.
The eighty-column mind is thought by most hackers to dominate IBM's customer base and its thinking.
See fear and loathing, card walloper.
[Jargon File]
(1996-08-16)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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