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    • Join Date: Jan 2007
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    #1

    slot

    He was a round man with a red face and a whole box of tools with dials and wires. He smiled at her and gave her an apple, then took the teacher apart. Margie had hoped he wouldn't know how to put it together again, but he knew how all right and after an hour or so,there it was again, large and black and ugly with a big screen on which all the lessons were shown and the questions were asked. That wasn't so bad. The part she hated most was the slot where she had to put homework and test papers. She always had to write them out in a punch code they made her learn when she was six years old, and the mechanical teacher calculated the marks in no time.

    I know, (that wasn't so bad = That was not very bad) but I think, here, it expresses some other meaning. Could you tell me that?

    Also, please explain the meaning of (slot, punch code) in this context.
    Last edited by user_gary; 08-May-2007 at 06:52.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    • Join Date: Jul 2006
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    #2

    Re: slot

    Quote Originally Posted by user_gary View Post
    He was a round man with a red face and a whole box of tools with dials and wires. He smiled at her and gave her an apple, then took the teacher apart. Margie had hoped he wouldn't know how to put it together again, but he knew how all right and after an hour or so,there it was again, large and black and ugly with a big screen on which all the lessons were shown and the questions were asked. That wasn't so bad. The part she hated most was the slot where she had to put homework and test papers. She always had to write them out in a punch code they made her learn when she was six years old, and the mechanical teacher calculated the marks in no time.

    I know, (that wasn't so bad = That was not very bad) but I think, here, it expresses some other meaning. Could you tell me that?

    Also, please explain the meaning of (slot, punch code) in this context.
    A slot is a narrow gap, wider than a slit!

    When was this written? It's describing a future world, but in terms based on the computing techniques of the '50s (or earlier). Early computers had to be programmed not interactively, with graphical user interfaces (as today) but by means of punched cards or paper tape [cards/tape with holes made in them/it]*. A computer programmer would write out a program in pencil, and give it to an operator to make the right holes, using a 'punch code'.

    b

    *That is why FF in most hexadecimal codes means 'delete' - the only way to overwrite a mistake was to punch two holes (which represented, in binary, 11111111). Find out more here ASCII - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Hexadecimal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and EBCDIC - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, and follow related links to find out more than anyone could reasonably want to know about the history of computing!
    Last edited by BobK; 10-May-2007 at 09:38. Reason: Corrected: too many 1s (I originally made FF hex = 111111111)


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #3

    Re: slot

    "The Fun They Had" by Isaac Asimov - 1951 (I remember reading it about ten years after that!)

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