Nov 15 | 2023

Punch cards – or “We have it so easy now!”

by Dave Robertson
punch card close up

I came across an interesting article on my travels, and as I type this blog post on a tiny, ultra portable laptop in a cafe, thought about just how hard HCI (human-computer interaction) used to be. Nowadays, we have mature and flexible interfaces, and crucially, forgiving inputs which are happy to take data that isn’t 100% correct, and sometimes suggest corrections. But the 1970s, things were primitive and unforgiving. The author mentions that they once spent 6 hours debugging code only to notice that the number 1 and capital letter I had been confused. It’s a long but interesting read on how things used to be: Computational Complexity article on Punch Cards

Article image by Marcin Wichary – Flickr: Punched cards, CC BY 2.0,

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