form feed tapes on printers (was Re: Mona Lisa)

Chuck Guzis cclist at
Wed Oct 8 23:59:23 CDT 2008

On 9 Oct 2008 at 0:24, Dennis Boone wrote:

> MSU's SCOPE/HUSTLER installation assigned some channel, I don't recall
> which, to land just above the end of the page.  They then used this to
> set up the lines of *** that were characteristic of banner pages, so
> that they spanned across the perf, making it easier for Ops to burst the
> listings.  For some reason, the ** characters on their print chains were
> always mushy. :)

Standard for SCOPE (at least at CDC) was usually "M" or "=" (may have 
been channel 9 on the tape, but I'm not certain), but I'm sure it 
could be changed by the installation.  Better to use an alpha 
character, though--there were more of them on the print train than 
the special characters.  On the CDC in-house systems, it was the "0" 
that got fuzzy fastest, but then we were always printing dumps.  You 
got so you could hear the distinctive pattern of the burst pages 
almost subconsciously--the job ahead of you could be printing a box-
length job and you could be on the other side of the room talking to 
someone and still know that a new output job had started--even with 
the printer cover closed.  The 512 train printer sounded like a 
screaming mimi; the 501 drum printers sounded like a muffled machine 

Computer rooms could be very noisy places.

Some funny words just came into my head in connection with printers:  
SPIM, SKIP, SKAP, SPAP.  Can't remember the system or language they 
were associated with--although I'm certain it wasn't CDC.


More information about the cctech mailing list