Bruce Rosenblum switched on his Apple II, which rang out a high F note followed by the clatter of the floppy drive. After a string of thock thock keystrokes, the 12-inch Sanyo monitor began to phosphoresce. A green grid appeared, 16 units wide and 16 units tall. This was “Gridmaster,” a program Bruce had cooked up in the programming language BASIC to build one of the world’s first Chinese digital fonts. He was developing the font for an experimental machine called the Sinotype III, which was among the first personal computers to handle Chinese-language input and output.
At the time, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, there were no personal computers being built in China. So to make a “Chinese” PC, Rosenblum’s team was reprogramming an Apple II to operate in Chinese. His list of tasks was long. He had to program an operating system from scratch, since Apple … Read the restRead more