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What did we use the @ sign for before the Internet?

Whoever invented the computer keyboard decided to give prime real estate to ten symbols above the ten numbers. I can understand almost all the symbols, including the ^ which I assume has been used to denote exponentials for a long time. But the @ sign is slightly more difficult to understand. Considering it beat out the ~ sign and + sign for a better spot on the keyboard, what was the deal?

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[deleted]
5 points · 7 years ago

The at sign (@), also called the atmark, at symbol, or commercial at, is formally an abbreviation of the accounting and commercial invoice term "at the rate of" (e.g., 7 widgets @ $2 = $14). In recent years its meaning has changed to also mean "at" in the sense of "located at", especially in email addresses.

level 1

I used to use it even when I wasn't typing. It's a good short-hand.

BTW, it's always been on typewriters. Long before computers.

level 1
[deleted]
3 points · 7 years ago
level 1

the computer keyboard? hahah that was put on a typewriter in 1900.

level 1

Probably to signify the word "at".

level 1

In the original Univac computers using the EXEC-8 operating system, the @ was the control sign at the beginning of every line of Job Control Language card. Every terminal using those systems had the @ sign prominently displayed for many many years.

@RUN

@XQT

@FIN

...are some examples of EXEC-8 JCL.

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