Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I had an Apple ][+ for several years. Then, briefly, I had a ][e before ascending to the IBM 8088 XT I have today. [Ed. I have since acquired a 486, so I'm not quite as pathetic as this seems.]

The only word-processor I had on the Apple was a program called AppleWriter. It had some interesting features. For instance, since the ][+ was a monocase machine, AppleWriter represented lower-case letters by normal caps on the screen, and upper-case letters by inverted caps.

(On the Apple ][e, which had upper- and lowercase, it turned out that the lowercase character set mapped to AppleWriter's codes for punctuation etc., so that periods, for instance were lowercase n's, commas lowercase m's, etc. Or something like that. Unless you shifted them to "uppercase". Even spaces were represented by the ` character.)

But that wasn't what I wanted to talk about.

AppleWriter had a buffer that automatically stored deleted characters. This was so one could do something approximating "cut and paste"(though I had not yet encountered those terms)by deleting and then using the right-arrow to bring them out of the buffer. If you just wanted to delete them, though, they just sat there in the buffer.

I don't know--perhaps I felt sorry for them, or I just thought it was silly to waste them by leaving them in the buffer. But I reused those letters. If the next letter in the delete buffer was an n, then I would try to remember to use it next time I needed an n. And so on. Sometimes, if there were a bunch of unusable characters in the buffer, I would rearrange them so that usable characters came first.

At one point, I believe I even had a file wherein I stored "extra" deleted characters. Sorted, so that I could know approximately how many of each character I had deleted. When I was getting rid of an entire file, I'd put its contents into the "scrap" file.

I've always missed that delete buffer. Vi's just isn't the same. If I ever write my own editor, I'm going to put a buffer in there. And I'll start up that scrap file again. You betcha.

Back to my talk.bizarre page...

The Den of Ubiquity/ Aaron V. Humphrey / alfvaen@gmail.com