Documentation for the AT&T Sceptre Videotex terminal

der Mouse mouse at Rodents.Montreal.QC.CA
Wed Nov 21 20:22:21 CST 2007


> But having a shift key doesn't mean the keyboard will send lower-case
> letters.  The shift key might be used only to get things like the
> symbols over the digit keys, and letter keys may be sent in upper
> case whether the shift key is pressed or not.

Mmm, true.  But then, many - probably most - keyboards don't send
letters at all; they send scancodes of some sort.  As far back as early
Suns, at least, and probably farther, keyboards were sending small
integer keycodes bearing no particular relationship to the values of
the key-top characters in any character set, even if you consider just
the character-generating keys.

And of course there are things like electromech teletypes where the
boundaries between the keyboard and the rest of the device are not
nearly as well-defined as they are with a peecee - or a Sun-3 or a
VT-100, which for these (very restricted) purposes are the same as a
modern peecee.  (Does a purely mechanical typewriter - remember them? -
have a keyboard that sends letters?  Or does it "send" an index value
into the (mechanically stored) array of glyphs in the printing part of
the mechanism?  Is it fair to consider that index an encoded letter?
Some interesting philosophical questions lurking.)

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