ASCII is an acronym for the American Standard Code for Information Interchange. It is a standard seven-bit code that was first proposed by the American National Standards Institute or ANSI in 1963, and finalized in 1968 as ANSI Standard X3.4. The purpose of ASCII was to allow compatibility between different types of data processing equipment including computers and teletype machines.
According to Mary Brandel's Computer World article entitled "1963: ASCII Debuts":
Most sources credit Robert W. Bemer as being the "father" of ASCII. In May 1961, Bemer submitted a proposal for a common computer code to the ANSI and two years later ANSI agreed upon a common code similar to Bob Bemer's original proposal. Bob Bemer headed the team that created most of the ASCII code. Later ASCII standards included: ISO-14962-1997 and ANSI-X3.4-1986(R1997).
ASCII art can be defined as pictures made from text characters. Emoticons are simple forms of ascii art ;) A few of the more interesting ASCII Art pages:
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