Monday, 10 December 2018

Creating a Christmas card on an IBM 1401

Back in the days of "old iron", when computers filled large rooms and printers were huge noisy affairs... creating novelty calenders and cards was quite the thing. The Snoopy calender from 1969 was something every "real programmer" had apparently. But how about using an IBM 1401 mainframe (and a 1403 printer) to create a greeting card for Christmas?

Ken Shirriff (who's blog is one of the best out there) took up the challenge. It's not quite as simple as it sounds as the card needs to be folded and so normal printed text would be sideways. Here is how to do it using BDCDIC characters. The code is provided in case you have a handy IBM 1401 yourself (unfortunately I don't). Or just watch the video below.