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Eighty-Column Mind

/ā-tē-kä-ləm mīnd/


n. The sort said to be possessed by persons for whom the transition from punched card to tape was traumatic (nobody has dared tell them about disks yet). It is said that these people, including (according to an old joke) the founder of IBM, will be buried 'face down, 9-edge first' (the 9-edge being the bottom of the card). This directive is inscribed on IBM's 1422 and 1602 card readers and is referenced in a famous bit of doggerel called "The Last Bug", the climactic lines of which are as follows:

 He died at the console
 Of hunger and thirst.
 Next day he was buried,
 Face down, 9-edge first.

The eighty-column mind is thought by most hackers to dominate IBM's customer base and its thinking.

See IBM, fear and loathing, card walloper.