The Null Device

An interestingly geeky piece from USENET about those video screens at Melbourne railway stations, and how they were designed back in the late 70s/early 80s. Turns out that they displays are driven by custom 8080-based microcomputers, and that the font rendering was all put together by hand:
The characters were not scanned, they were made by choosing the largest available Letraset, sticking each character on a piece of graph paper, tracing the outline, ruling lines every eight columns, getting a secretary to type the resulting 0's and 1's into the source file as data statements. Then an architect... flew up from Melbourne and told GEC to add or remove bits until the letters looked just right to him. Perhaps it really was worth all the fuss if people still think that they look good.

They just don't do things that way anymore...

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