What is the at sign in computer science, programming and computing? – Web signs and symbols

It is evident that cyberspace has evolved in an abysmal way and, to understand it, it is necessary know the signs and symbols that are handled within it, since they will be useful when immersing ourselves in the web. One of these symbols is the at sign and in this article we will show you many interesting facts about it.

Over time this symbol gained popularity with technology. Therefore, we see present in all electronic device keyboardsuch as computers, tablets, mobile devices and others. We use it both in emails and in social networks when tagging on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Next you will notice that the symbol “at” It is not only used in the programming language or as a separator in email, but also as a unit of measure in some countries. Let’s get started!

Meaning of an arroba on the internet and computing

On the web we will find different concepts related to the definition of at, since we can interpret it in various ways, taking into account that has multiple uses.

The at is a character formed by a kind of letter lowercase ‘a’ surrounded by a spiral circle. However, outside the internet, the arroba is a unit of measurement of mass and capacity. Therefore, it is possible to say that it has taken root in our daily life in different ways:

  • From the point of view computer we use it in the emails as a kind of separation between our username and the server we use, be it gmail, hotmail, etc.
  • At present its most popular use is achieved in the social networks like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. We can get it in various programming languages ​​as well.
  • In various countries they used it as a representation of a unit of mass.

The at sign was first used in emails in 1971, by computer engineer Ray Tomlinson.

In social networks we use it as prefix to refer to or mention a person by their username. For example, when we want mention someone In an Instagram post we add the at sign before the user ID:

What is an at sign in email?

The computer engineer Ray Tomlinson looked for a symbol that would separate the username from the identification and the server through which we would send the messages. Currently, we consider the at sign as a fundamental component of all directions of emails.

In this aspect the ‘@’ is nothing more than a separator symbol which helps us split our unique id from the type of mail we have.

The at sign is essential when creating an account of e-mail.

How is the at sign interpreted?

The symbol at, at present, is of great importance for the computer world. Although originated in the Middle Ages within the Arabic language, and we can certainly say that it is a not so modern symbol, it is still valid today.

This was part of the keyboards of typewriters and was also equivalent to a unit of measurement. It should be noted that when interpreting it as a measure of weight, it was equivalent to a quarter of a quintal, that is, approximately 25 Spanish pounds or 11,502 Kg.

The scribes gave it another type of use because they used to save time, paper and inkso that they joined the letters ‘ad‘ in order to form a graphical representation. Hence its lowercase ‘a’ shape with the surrounding circle that we mentioned earlier.

What computer key to use to put the at sign?

If we want to use this symbol on the computer, it is important to take into account that the way to place it will vary, since there are differences in keyboard compatibility.

Also influences the operating system that you have installed on your computer, be it Windows, MAC or any other available. Here are several options for writing the at sign:

  1. If you use a Spanish keyboard press the buttons that are commonly used: Alt Gr + Qin order to obtain the at sign.
  2. if you have a numeric keyboard press the keys Alt + 6 and 4.
  3. If the ‘@’ symbol appears in the number 2 on the keyboard you use, then press the combination Alt Gr + 2.
  4. if you have one macOS uses Alt / Options Right + Number 2.
  5. You can press the keys Ctrl + Alt + 2 or Alt + 64 on a laptop with a numeric keypad.
  6. All the smart phones and the tablets They have a numerical keyboard available where the at sign is already incorporated, making it much easier to use.

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