Peter De Zutter

The origin of 202

Blog Post created by Peter De Zutter Employee on Nov 17, 2017

For those of you who are following me, you might have noticed that I've started posting knowledge documents using the number 202 in the title. That number carries a history for me which starts in 1986. I've haven't noticed, the background picture for this post was chosen on purpose. Many of you might be aware of a very old data carrier called punch paper but there was a lesser know version called punch tape. Same principle, same material. 


Back in those days I was attending pre-high school, at a school which was famous for its graphic/printing education. At first the lab classes were nothing more then learning how to use a keyboard blind, a feature I'm still using every day and really a time save if you happen to have to write big documents. Until we have other ways of interacting with a machine, our keyboard is going to the main input (A brain machine interface now please).


So after those awful classes we were finally presented with the real work in our lab class, learning how to create stunning documents using a Linotronic 202. In short that machine uses an exposure of a CRT on photosensitive paper and it uses a markup language which is very similar to html (I never had to learn html that similar).


But you've might have guessed it, paper tape breaks very very easily and one mistake in the markup language and your stunning document was either a big mess or was missing parts of the text. And not to forget, the used display when typing, had a resolution of 8 light bulbs. 


Normally one learns best by failing but in case of photosensitive paper, that was a very expensive matter. Especially for a school which had to be creative with the budget each year. So we were only allowed to 'print' our document if we were 100% sure it would not waste meters and meters of photosensitive paper. Lucky we did had a machine which could read our paper tape and display all the punch holes on a screen. Think of it as a list of punch holes with their translate character next to it. Not readable at all but it was our only to correct mistakes or fix a broken tape.


I still hate paper tape and but the number 202, that is one to remember. As a group we quickly found several tricks out and we did have one rule in our group, all tricks were to be shared. Somehow my brain hard wired knowledge sharing to the number 202, which is why I'm using it.