Talking about dot-matrix printers, a childhood memory of war (against the computer) comes back to me…
The year was when I was going to 7th grade (I’m 27 now, so calculate it yourself). A teacher wanted an assignment to be handed in computer-typed. No problem, I thought, I have WordStar and a printer.
At home, I booted up my DOS PC, put in the WordStar disk (5.25 inch!), and typed “ws.exe”. Bzzt, bzzt, I was back in DOS. Damnit, the program was infected with a virus!
With the assignment due the next day, I was desperate.
“I know, I’ll use Quick Basic’s features to control the printer, and make it print what I want”. All my program did: wait for input, and print it out. But the variable to hold the input can have a maximum of 255 characters!
“No problem, I’ll just stop after typing 3 full lines with 80 characters each, and press Enter. Put the whole thing in a while loop.”.
So that’s what I did, the printer screeching every time I hit Enter. One time I hit Enter too soon, leaving, aieieie, a big nasty gap in the middle of the page, catastrophe! (Was it in the middle of a word too? Can’t recall).
I was quite proud handing in that piece of paper with unformatted lines filling it. I tried to explain to my physics teacher why there was a gap in the middle, but looking back at it, I don’t think he cared…