Why is there no cent sign on computers?
May 8, 2002 2:12 PM   Subscribe

Why is there no cent sign on computers? I've always wondered why we had a dollar sign, but no sent sign. Now I know.
posted by fnirt (55 comments total)
 
Personally, I'm more inclined to add an http:// key.
posted by me3dia at 2:14 PM on May 8, 2002


Ever vigilant to make sure I didn't double post, I completely skipped the spelling error. Sorry! c/sent/cent
posted by fnirt at 2:17 PM on May 8, 2002


FYI: If you're on Windows just hold the ALT key down while you punch 0162 (make sure you hit the leading 0) and you'll get a ¢ sign.

I used to work in an office where the ¢ sign was used for delimiting. And I'm always using the ° sign (ALT-0176) for some reason.

Interesting link, thanks.
posted by perplexed at 2:24 PM on May 8, 2002


For what it's worth, &#162 = ¢.
posted by mrbula at 2:29 PM on May 8, 2002


Cool link. I especially love the part where he goes through the set complaining about all the characters that made the cut instead of the cent.

Oh yeah. option-4 on a mac.
posted by boaz at 2:33 PM on May 8, 2002


On a Mac it's option-4 (nicely logical, since shift-4 is $).
posted by Mo Nickels at 2:34 PM on May 8, 2002


Are there already keyboards that have an @ key (i.e. you can get @ without using the Shift key)? I always thought that that would be a useful key to have.

I like watching people fruitlessly look for a digit 1 key on some typewriters.

And hey, have you heard about option-4 on a mac?
posted by gluechunk at 2:37 PM on May 8, 2002


Great fun. You know boaz, I use 'keycaps' on my mac almost every day, comparing various fonts and the like, and I never looked for that. Did try it out instantly though in simpletext :)
posted by bittennails at 2:37 PM on May 8, 2002


Great post, fnirt.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 2:37 PM on May 8, 2002


Hrrm, under WinXp, you need to do the alt combo and hit the numbers on the keypad section. It doesn't seem to work on number row above qwerty.

Alt-0143 = 
Alt-0162 = ¢
Alt-0176 = °

Neat-o
posted by Argyle at 2:38 PM on May 8, 2002


Now thats what I call a great logo, imagine if it stayed.
posted by bittennails at 2:41 PM on May 8, 2002


Of course, if you need to use it often, you can always program in that shift-key combo as a macro, on say, MS Word, so that all you have to actually push is Alt-C for example.
posted by bingo at 2:53 PM on May 8, 2002


Alt-168 has always been my favorite.

¿Que?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:53 PM on May 8, 2002


Why do you call a hash ( # ) a pound sign? This is a pound sign: £

(My theory being that the two were/are in the other's places on Mac and PC keyboards - alt-3 on the Mac keyboard for the # and shift-3 for the £, somebody got confused and the name stuck)
posted by Grangousier at 3:04 PM on May 8, 2002


Grangousier: # indicates pounds of weight (lbs) where £ indicates currency (pounds sterling). It's mostly used in agriculture, as far as I know.
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:09 PM on May 8, 2002


# was previously used to indicate weight (lbs). The symbol also goes by the name octothorpe, but this really hasn't caught on.

Do Egyptian Pounds go by the same symbol? Guess it is time for some googling.
posted by birgitte at 3:14 PM on May 8, 2002


two ÷ zero.
posted by moz at 3:14 PM on May 8, 2002


you need to do the alt combo and hit the numbers on the keypad section

You need to do that in all versions of Windows (that I've ever seen). I don't know why. You just do.
posted by yerfatma at 3:29 PM on May 8, 2002


Is there a key on the Mac to print the option key symbol?
posted by vbfg at 3:34 PM on May 8, 2002


Is there a key on the Mac to print the option key symbol?

You mean the Apple key? (The option key doesn't have a symbol.) Try control+t . And then check out the Key Caps app under the Apple Menu for more fun (er, although I'm not sure if there's key caps in OSX...)
posted by gluechunk at 3:40 PM on May 8, 2002


Yes... assuming you have a font that prints it, it's CONTROL-OPTION-Q.

(Man, I love KeyCaps!)
posted by silusGROK at 3:44 PM on May 8, 2002


gluechunk: Are there already keyboards that have an @ key (i.e. you can get @ without using the Shift key)?

On a Japanese keyboard, the "@" symbol is right next to the "p" key, where an U.S. keyboard has "[". It's a straight shot, no shift key.

Before you run out and buy a Japanese keyboard, though, let me inform you that the quotation mark takes over @'s position at shift-2, and : is where you expect to find ", and the worst thing is that the apostrophe is relegated to shift-7.

And there's more, although the letters are all where you expect them. This will explain why I am typing this on my US keyboard iBook instead of my J keyboard iMac.
posted by planetkyoto at 3:50 PM on May 8, 2002


sorry to derail this thread further, but as far as I know, Egyptians use the arabic character for 'G' to refer to an egyptian pound (since in arabic, they call them gineeh)
posted by jnthnjng at 3:52 PM on May 8, 2002


# is called an octothorpe.
posted by jozxyqk at 4:02 PM on May 8, 2002


planetkyoto: That Japanese keyboard sounds remarkably like my old C-64.
posted by Tarrant at 4:10 PM on May 8, 2002


Is there a key on the Mac to print the option key symbol?

I don't think there is a symbol for the "option" key...there is one for the "command" key though which looks sort of like a four leaf clover. It is sometimes referred to as a "splat" key because it may also look like you smashed a bug under your finger!

Of course there are also the long missing "open apple" and "closed apple" keys - I've got a few of those ancient keyboards laying around...
posted by RevGreg at 4:11 PM on May 8, 2002


The real question is "Where the Hell is the interrobang?!"
posted by NortonDC at 4:12 PM on May 8, 2002


What is it with pronouncable characters, i.e.

# == pound
! == bang
@ == at
| == pipe

Any other obscure ones out there?
posted by patrickje at 4:20 PM on May 8, 2002


You know, no one here has mentioned the umlaut, which if you're writing in German or adopting the New Yorker's style can be a real pain in the ass with your standard QWERTY keyboard, unless of course you're accustomed to the German keyboard in which the Y and Z are reversed, but alas, you have umlauts.
posted by ed at 4:30 PM on May 8, 2002


~ == twidle
posted by Captain Ligntning at 4:36 PM on May 8, 2002


Fun, though he's clueless on the <> characters. They were never intended as parentheticals. They were just for math, and so it makes sense that the order would be <>.
posted by Captain Ligntning at 4:38 PM on May 8, 2002


Make that < ,=,>.
posted by Captain Ligntning at 4:38 PM on May 8, 2002


~ == tilde
` == back tick
{} == curly brace
^ == carat
<> == angle bracket
[] == bracket

anybody have other names for these?

>
posted by hob at 4:39 PM on May 8, 2002


That was fun...thank you very much¿
posted by Mack Twain at 4:52 PM on May 8, 2002


I hate the tilde. Not because there's anything wrong with it, but because I had to try and direct clueless people to it when I did tech support.

Me: "Now, type h-t-t-p-colon-slash-slash-w-w-w-dot-f-o-o-dot-c-o-m-slash-tilde-username"

Customer: "What was that you said?"

Me: "Tilde."

Customer "What's that?"

Me: "It's that squiggly thing up there next to the number one. You have to use shift to type it."

Customer: "Ohhhhh...I always wondered what that was!"

Me: "Sigh."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:56 PM on May 8, 2002


you need to do the alt combo and hit the numbers on the keypad section

You need to do that in all versions of Windows (that I've ever seen). I don't know why. You just do.


Isn't this just a direct way to access specific characters within the character map, and the number combination is like a pointer to a specific cell in a specific character set?
posted by bobadoci at 5:00 PM on May 8, 2002


If I'm helping somebody and they're unfamiliar with computers I always start with "squiggly thing" and try "tilde" as a last resort. It saves time.
posted by frenetic at 5:04 PM on May 8, 2002


'Ass-key'. *giggle*
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:35 PM on May 8, 2002


Are you the gatekeeper?
posted by hob at 5:42 PM on May 8, 2002


Here's my two ¢'s worth--it's a sad day when I have to go to WebMonkey to put that in this comment. But thanks for the post--I was just wondering what the story was on the ¢ sign only last week.
posted by y2karl at 5:43 PM on May 8, 2002


brackets '[]' are sometimes called 'sub' (mainly by me) due to the programming connotation that a[i] = ai. % is often referred to as 'mod' (short for modulo) by programmers.
posted by moz at 5:51 PM on May 8, 2002


One quick thing on the ^ symbol: it also means "to the power of" in math-speak, so it's inclusion by a bunch of engineers is not surprising.
posted by sauril at 5:54 PM on May 8, 2002


Are you the gatekeeper?

Yes! Actually I'm a friend of his, he asked me to meet him here.

Gozer the Traveler! He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zools knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:58 PM on May 8, 2002


I like "Nathan Hale" for asterisk... as in "I have but one * for my country"
posted by kurumi at 6:21 PM on May 8, 2002


For those of you who don't know there are 256 'slots' in ascii (2^8), but only 128 were used initialy because the last bit was designed to be used as 'parity' to check to make sure that no data has been destroyed in transimission or something.
posted by delmoi at 7:01 PM on May 8, 2002


When it comes to names for characters, look here!!. All the names are there, from common to obscure.

This is apparently the online version of The Hacker's Dictionary, which entertained me in the 80's by telling me how computer folk at Caltech etc. talked about everything from their take-out food to ASCII characters.

For some reason, concepts such as
* = splat
really stuck in my head.
posted by Zurishaddai at 8:37 PM on May 8, 2002


Ed, under Windows, the umlaut codes are:

ALT+

129 ü
132 ä
148 ö

153 Ö
154 Ü
142 Ä

I used to switch between two software keyboard maps, one US, one German, but once you remember the codes, they're faster to use. I don't know where the 'sz' is since the Rechtschreibreform essentially made it obselete.
posted by muckster at 8:50 PM on May 8, 2002


¢ Whee! It worked!
posted by davidmsc at 9:15 PM on May 8, 2002


I've heard the combination of !# (used in shell scripting, perl etc.) called "shebang". Also, at a conference I was at the presenter referred to a forward slash as "whack". It made URLs quite fun to say: H-T-T-P colon whack whack. It reminded me of playing the whack-a-mole game at Chuck-e-cheese.
posted by jaden at 10:52 PM on May 8, 2002


I think it's funny that there's not even an official sign for the Eurocent, so there's no other way to write, for example, € 0.02.

To the people complaining about the location of @ - on German keyboards it's AltGr+Q (which by the way is the cause of great fun for German Windows users trying to send email on a Mac, where the right Apple key is at the spot where we expect the AltGr.. and Apple+Q does not have the desired effect! [for non-Mac-users: it's like Alt+F4 on Win]).
The Euro symbol is AltGr+E (the $ at Shift-4) and the backslash AltGr+ß.
! ? " and ' are all on Shift, while ä ö ü ß are regular keys (and ß is far from obsolete despite the reform: Straße, gießen, heiß, außerdem etc.).
posted by c3o at 3:04 AM on May 9, 2002


I think it's funny that there's not even an official sign for the Eurocent

How about this:


posted by piskycritter at 4:34 AM on May 9, 2002


unless of course you're accustomed to the German keyboard in which the Y and Z are reversed

There's no way to customise your own keyboard layout, is there? I frequently have occasion to switch to the Croatian keyboard layout to get to its five extra letters, but it's based on the German so that whenever I hit what I think is Z (which must be the third or fourth most common letter) the sodding Y comes up. Would there be any fix that would swap the Y and the Z?
posted by CatherineB at 4:39 AM on May 9, 2002


I used to switch between two software keyboard maps, one US, one German, but once you remember the codes, they're faster to use. I don't know where the 'sz' is since the Rechtschreibreform essentially made it obselete.

Except that now the Rechtschreibreform is hotly debated (one of my coworkers had to write a program to translate his wife's recently published book from Rechtschreibreform style to classic style when the publisher changed his requirements after the book was already completed), and ß (Scharfes 'S' - which is actually 'SS', as opposed to 'SZ,' I believe) is still quite common.

A google search on the German word for "fun" in Rechtschreibreform style (Spass) returns 1,370,000 matches. The same search using the Scharfes S (Spaß) returns 1,420,000 matches.

On my German keyboard (as on all German keyboards) there is an Alt Gr key in place of the American right Alt key. Alt Gr basically mimics Alt + Ctl in one key.

@ = Alt Gr + q
€ = Alt Gr + e
Ö is to the right of L
Ä is to the right of Ö
Ü is to the right of P
ß is to the right of 0 (the last 4 are accessed with one key each - no key combination needed).

Ich wunsche euch viel Spaß!
posted by syzygy at 6:43 AM on May 9, 2002


CatherineB: these creators of a Hawaiian keyboard for Windows have links to keyboard generation and keyboard switching programs.
posted by dhartung at 11:41 AM on May 9, 2002


jaden:

actually, the symbol used for perl and other such programs is "#!", not "!#".
posted by moz at 1:14 PM on May 10, 2002


« Older I Am a Racially Profiling Doctor   |   Helder admits to mailbox bombings: Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments