In a previous Tech Talk Tuesday post, I mentioned that I would try to focus on concepts for my posts, and this week, I plan to deliver.
The American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) is a character encoding set created in the 1960s by the American Standards Association (ASA), which is now the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ASCII was one of the first character encoding sets to be created and used for computers, and quickly gained popularity when President Lyndon B. Johnson mandated that all federal government computers support ASCII.
ASCII, and almost any other character encoding scheme, works by assigning numbers to characters. Computers can easily store numbers in binary format, so when a character encoding scheme is chosen for display, those numbers are shown as human-readable characters. In this case, ASCII works specifically for American English.
To read more about ASCII and view the full ASCII table, see the tutorial below:
While there are plenty of ASCII tables on the 'net, I figured I could be slightly more useful by offering an image version of the table to do with as you please.
You can download black and white versions of the image in this ASCII table pack:
With these, you are welcome to print them out, frame them above your monitor, print them on a coffee mug to show your love of American computing history or, for a more useful approach, have it printed onto a custom mouse pad.
Final fun fact of the day: ASCII was the most popular character encoding for web pages until December 2007, when it was surpassed by UTF-8 which, interestingly enough, is backwards compatible with ASCII.