Word of the Week: 30 Nov 2020

:ASCII::[American Standard Code for Information Interchange]

/as’kee/ n. The predominant character set encoding of present-day computers. Uses 7 bits for each character, whereas most earlier codes (including an early version of ASCII) used fewer. This change allowed the inclusion of lowercase letters — a major {win} — but it did not provide for accented letters or any other letterforms not used in English (such as the German sharp-S and the ae-ligature which is a letter in, for example, Norwegian). It could be worse, though. It could be much worse. See {{EBCDIC}} to understand how.

Computers are much pickier and less flexible about spelling than humans; thus, hackers need to be very precise when talking about characters, and have developed a considerable amount of verbal shorthand for them. Every character has one or more names — some formal, some concise, some silly.

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