Understanding Data (and the Electronic Typewriter)

So we all accept using the qwerty keyboard (designed to make door to door sales of typewriters easy, and to prevent key lever jams) because..... well we just do.

And surely our data files are some mysterious fantastic technology that we could never hope to understand?  Well no.

If you look closely at an old typewriter you find the makings of a perfectly good data file generator.  You enter data on a qwerty keyboard, and at the end of each line there is a bell, and you sweep a lever across which winds on a new line and "returns the carriage" to the left hand side of the page.  And so we have a "Return" key on our computers, and sure enough, when you typing and hit the "Return" key it returns us to the left edge on the next line.

So our data files are simply a record of the actions we take, the characters we type and the new lines and carriage returns.  And therefore the data files (such as CSV files) contain NewLine and LineFeed characters (which do not show up in the word processor unless you use "reveal codes" - or whatever we call it these days).

So once you can recognise the NewLine and LineFeed characters, you can do anything you want with data files.  In APL they are "Quad tcNL" and "Quad tcLF" .  I have used capitals for NL and LF so it is easy to recognise the "ell".