= E =
El Camino Bignum
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
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.
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.