[development] _drupal_wrap_mail_line()

nan wich nan_wich at bellsouth.net
Sat Oct 9 13:11:46 UTC 2010

Yes, I am close to "retirement age" and had my 61st birthday yesterday. I am not 
planning on retiring any time soon.

Yes, I did actually use punch cards. When I started in "Data Processing" there 
were no CRTs; electronically modified typewriters were state of the art. The few 
disk drives had platters that measured in feet with heads that were as big as 
your fist - oh, and held an incredible 5 mega bytes of data! And if you wanted 
your program to run fast, you wrote in assembler language because compilers 
(forget interpreted languages) produced pretty poor code.

And you just filled in a mystery for me. Most computer languages only used the 
first 72 characters of the card, leaving the last 8 for a sequence number so you 
could put the cards into a mechanical sorter if you ever dropped them. I always 
wondered where the 72 came from.

Minor correction though: IBM's first CRT was the 2260, which had 12 lines of 40 
characters. It was a big improvement when the 3270 came out with 24 lines of 80 
characters. They later produced a version that would display up to 132 
characters (printer width).

Yes, I had a Vic-20 with it's casette tape storage. I quickly upgraded to the 
Commodore 64. Before the Vic-20, I used a Radio Shack TRS-80 to produce at-home 
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. -- Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.


From: Earl Miles
On 10/8/2010 11:47 AM, nan wich wrote:
> @Gerhard: 80 lines was how long a punch card was. What a ridiculous
> reason to use 80 any more. Are you even old enough to have ever seen a
> punch card?  I almost forgot, the original IBM System/3 had punch cards

Yes, Nancy, there are actually a few adults on this list. Though I doubt
many of us are old enough to have actually USED a punch card, since
people who did work on punch cards should be pretty close to retirement
age by now.

80 characters was the common width of monitors, which descended from
punch cards, but is also pretty close to the 72 character width of the
common typewriter (pica, if I remember right) with standard margins. RFC
2822 imposed the limit (as a SHOULD not MUST) because many terminals
failed to wrap on their own, and terminals often had 80 CPL in order to
be standard. Though many terminals also had 132 or, if you were
unfortunate enough to use a VIC-20 (and maybe a PET, I forget) you could
get 40 CPL.

Also, RFC2822 is still in effect; if an email message is in text/plain,
it is polite to go ahead and wrap at 78 per the spec. If your message is
text/html then wrapping is pointless.
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