Thoughts on the Past and Future
with computer pioneer  Bob Bemer

Welcome to my home and office on Possum Kingdom Lake, 120 miles west of Dallas. Over
60 miles long, it was formed in the 1940's by damming the meandering Brazos River in the Palo Pinto mountains. "los Brazos de Dios" is the long name -- "the arms of God".

Overlooking PK Lake
Overlooking the Lake
Don Smith / News of Texas TV

From PK Lake
From the Lake

So just who is Bob Bemer?    Edmund Arranga of the COBOL Report says:

"Mr. Bemer's accomplishments resonate so deeply one almost assumes they have been with us always, snatched out of the ether by a collective consciousness, instead of having been the creation of one man. A short list includes:

  • helped create COBOL (as in "Grandfather of" [1])
  • coined the words COBOL [2] and CODASYL [3]
  • invented the ESCape sequence
  • created the PICTURE clause
  • helped create and standardize the ASCII character set (as in "Father of" [4])
  • put the backslash into the ASCII set
  • helped create the 8-bit per byte standard"
  1) With some pride, we describe the IEEE Computer Society's   Computer Pioneer Award.
  2) Click below on "cast of characters" to go directly to the vignette they appear in.  

Where do you want to go? (this is the site map)
Site Goals and Rules Contact Bob Quotes and Credits Keynote - Dept. of Defense Luncheon Get a Spare Text Editor Latest Vignettes!
Documents of Interest
Computer Pioneer Award Resume Published Papers Published Papers - ASCII only Media Events How ASCII Came About
Current Projects
Time Engine & Bibliography Software Forensics Software Factory This Site's Cast of Characters Aid This Site Bob Bemer's ASCII Characters

And of course our Pièce de Résistance --
Interesting Computer History as seen (sometimes made) by the site proprietor, with a trip log for reference Interesting Computer History -- Pointers
to Other Computer History Sites
Our Site Goals and Rules

  • We hope to educate and still be amusing.
  • This site, not fancy now, will be better. We care more about getting destinations in shape than the signposts (this file) and cosmetics.
  • Some people without superfast connections may be those we want most to reach and interest. So for lots of pictures, go to a movie or rent a cassette.
  • You may expect and demand correct English and spelling.
  • You'll also get some pretty plain pages. We have too many other things to bring you to waste time on difficult graphics.
  • Our pages will be prechecked for size, so that on a medium font setting you won't print a last page with little or nothing on it.
  • We answer complaints and rational e-mail.
  • We accept suggestions for other topics we could treat well and authoritatively.

  • Everyone should know some earlier history of computers, but that is hard to come by without direction. So our history will be rather like a guided tour.
  • We will surely lecture everyone on the way we think the computer field must go. It has some mighty shortcomings. Many of you have not even seen really good practice.
  • We will arouse and admonish the so-called "computer scientists", trying to persuade them that they have a very civic duty to mankind, because computer software is now, undeniably, running the world for us.
  • Our tone will be generally informal, even chatty, for a good defense against an increasingly complex life.
  • Some pompous people may get offended, but we will not libel anyone.

Bob Bemer
Scripps Howard
News Service

If the Web, the Internet,
ASCII, and laser printers
printers are very useful
to you --
click here  

Bob's ASCII license

License plate of Bob Bemer's Ford Expedition
Steve Hebert / Abilene Reporter-News

Computer Software Consultant, Futurist and Raconteur:
Specialties: Standards, history, alternative methods and inventive solutions
Key responsibilities: Architectural & visionary lead consultant for major software
and marketing development projects.
Motto (original) for a Half-Century:    ((((DO SOMETHING!) SMALL) USEFUL) NOW!)

Contact Information - Bob & Bettie Bemer:   is our preferred e-mail address
      Home Phone: 940-779-4016      Fax: 940-779-2296

Note 1: According to Admiral Grace Hopper, who called herself "Grandmother of"
Note 2: According to Admiral Grace Hopper, told at COBOL Pioneers Day, 1979
Note 3: According to the Annals of the History of Computing
Note 4: According to Interface Age Magazine, 1978                
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