= G =
golf-ball printer n. obs.
The IBM 2741, a slow but
letter-quality printing device and terminal based on the IBM
Selectric typewriter. The `golf ball' was a little spherical
frob bearing reversed embossed images of 88 different characters
arranged on four parallels of latitude; one could change the font
by swapping in a different golf ball. The print element spun and
jerked alarmingly in action and when in motion was sometimes
described as an `infuriated golf ball'. This was the technology
that enabled APL to use a non-EBCDIC, non-ASCII, and in fact
completely non-standard character set. This put it 10 years ahead
of its time -- where it stayed, firmly rooted, for the next 20,
until character displays gave way to programmable bit-mapped
devices with the flexibility to support other character sets.
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.