Computers store every piece of text using a “character encoding,” which gives a number to each character. For example, the byte 61 stands for ‘a’ and 62 stands for ‘b’ in the ASCII encoding, which was launched in 1963. Before the web, computer systems were siloed, and there were hundreds of different encodings. Depending on the encoding, C1 could mean any of ¡, Ё, Ą, Ħ, ‘, ”, or parts of thousands of characters, from æ to 品. If you brought a file from one computer to another, it could come out as gobbledygook.