1994-04-26 - Re: Schneier’s source code

Header Data

From: “Mark W. Eichin” <eichin@paycheck.cygnus.com>
To: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
Message Hash: f3508e7de9e83546f3da1224c9dec1e65d243c0e291999de28357f07a0adf6b4
Message ID: <9404262213.AA05847@paycheck.cygnus.com>
Reply To: <199404262006.QAA22248@totalrecall.rs.itd.umich.edu>
UTC Datetime: 1994-04-26 22:31:53 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 26 Apr 94 15:31:53 PDT

Raw message

From: "Mark W. Eichin" <eichin@paycheck.cygnus.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Apr 94 15:31:53 PDT
To: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
Subject: Re: Schneier's source code
In-Reply-To: <199404262006.QAA22248@totalrecall.rs.itd.umich.edu>
Message-ID: <9404262213.AA05847@paycheck.cygnus.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Quoth michael.shipett@umich.edu:
>>   One of the computer magazines ("Compute"?) in the '80s used to
>> supply source in a bar code format which was readily scanned into

Actually, BYTE used to publish things in "BYTEcode", a simple barcode
system (narrow for 0, wide for 1, or something like that, no
modulation of the gap like you find in UPC) and they had articles
spread over several years on how to build simple readers, both
hardware side and software side. (One even involved wrapping the page
around a coffee can, placing it on a turntable, and then having a
latching device to move the wand "up" one "track" on signal from the
computer...  so it could automatically retry bad tracks...) If people
really care to resurrect it, I could go digging, email me if you'd
like me to try.

I don't think BYTE ever had any trouble with exporting it -- but then,
I don't recall ever seeing crypto software in that form. (Carl
Helmers, one of the founders of BYTE, is on the net these days, and
might have useful input...)

Quoth tcmay@netcom.com:
>> easily OCRable font---I think the suggestion was that OCR-A and OCR-B,
>> or somesuch, are optimized for this (one would think so from the
>> names, but I had thought they had something to do with the magnetic
>> ink printing on checks...).

Magnetic ink printing is done with MICR fonts (Magnetic Ink Character
Recognition, or something like that... Under version 10 of the X
Window System, there was a screen font based on MICR. Pretty ugly.)

The OCR fonts really are designed for OCR... I don't recall the
distinction between A and B, I think the latter actually has lower
case as well as upper case :-), but you can find an OCR font for
TeX/MetaFont in one of the standard places (archie CTAN if you don't
have a place to start from...) There are also print-wheels (remember
daisywheel printers?) for the font, and many of the Computer Output
Microfiche services from the 70's and 80's printed all microfiche in
one of the OCR fonts for easy future retrieval.

Anyone out there have experience with modern OCR systems (not the
highest tech Kurzweil units, but something your average hacker could
get cheap for his PC or Mac) and know if OCR fonts are even worth the
trouble these days? I'd guess that a good monospace Courier font would
be just as readable to modern scanners.

After all, Dr. Dobbs (April 1994) has listings for Blowfish encryption
code, in C, in about a 6pt Courier font; I note, however, that they
also have them up for ftp (ftp://ftp.mv.com/pub/ddj/1994.04/blowfish.asc)
so perhaps it doesn't matter how easy it is to scan.

				_Mark_ <eichin@paycheck.cygnus.com>
				... just me at home ...