Feeds

Programming pioneer Bob Bemer dies at 84

ASCII, ESC, /, COBOL, Y2K, RIP

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Bob Bemer - the man who helped bring ASCII, the ESCape and backslash keys, and Y2K warnings to the world - died this week at his home on Possum Kingdom Lake in Texas.

Bemer, 84, died as a result of cancer, his stepson told the AP.

During his storied career, Bemer worked at RAND Corp. Marquardt, Lockheed, IBM, Univac, Bull, General Electric and Honeywell. He is perhaps best known for playing a role in the development of the ASCII code for representing English characters as numbers. Reg readers no doubt know ASCII well.

Bemer also laid claim to the creation of COBOL, the ESC key, the backslash key and the 8-bit per byte standard. Last year, Bemer received the IEEE's Computer Pioneer Award, and his many achievements can be found here.

The programmer also gave early warnings in 1971 and 1979 about upcoming Y2K problems.

You might get a kick out of Bemer's "Yes, I am the father of ASCII" license plate seen here. His wife Bettie drives a Mercedes with an "ESC KEY" plate.

Bemer was born on Feb. 8, 1920 in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. He left some amazing writings on computing history here. ®

ASCII picture of tombstone

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Thirteen Astonishing True Facts You Never Knew About SCREWS
Threaderick the Great! And YES, we asked the Arapaho
NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'
Spooks ask Dabbsy to suggest a nice hotel with pool
Russia sends SEX-CRAZED GECKOS to SPAAAAACE!
In space... no one can hear you're green...
Indian techies-in-training face down MAN-EATING LEOPARD - and WIN
Big cat causes big trouble at Mumbai college
Too rich for an iPhone 6? How about a gold-plated Brikk?
Not lobbed at your head, silly – a bling phone
Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!
If you're reading this email, I am no longer alive
Plucky Rockall podule man back on (proper) dry land
Bold, barmy Brit adventurer Nick Hancock escapes North Atlantic islet
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.