Curly-quotes are the bane of my blogging existence, like a never-ending supply of pubes caught between my blog-teeth. Why? Because if I blog your story and paste in an excerpt with a curly-quote, or an em-dash, or an accent character, or any other non-ASCII characters, the RSS feed for Boing Boing breaks, and then I get tons of cranky email from people who want it fixed. Then I have to haul out the XML validator and slowly open, edit and save the offending post(s), until all the non-ASCII characters are g0nezored. I blame Robin Williams, the designer whose "Non-Designer's Design Handbook" convinced a generation of geeks that their type would look suave if it came with em-dashes and curly-quotes, and caused us all to suffer through email, Usenet posts, and blog-entries where strange dipthongs are inserted in place of honest inch- and foot-marks, rendering the text unreadable except in whatever proprietary tool it was created in. It's bad enough that we have three mutually exclusive line-break conventions, do we really need to migrate a bunch of centuries-old typesetters' conventions into our ASCII paradise?
Sure, there are some good reasons to go non-ASCII (for example, if you're writing in Hebrew, or even French), but the tools just aren't there yet, especially as applied to curly-quotes and em-dashes and all of Ms. Williams's precious non-ASCII punctuation.
I've been hashing this out with Nelson Minar, and he's posted a pretty good counterpoint to this on his blog.
Graham Clark, the 17-year-old Florida boy accused of pulling off the big Twitter hack, pled not guilty to charges on Tuesday. During the security breach, top accounts including Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk were taken over to push a bitcoin scam.
In this footage, a supercomputer’s CPU cores — nearly 900 of them — are neatly lined up in the Task Manager. The Doom logo appears, generated by code that targets each core. Then Doom itself plays, each “pixel” generated by thrashing a core with just the right amount of busy work. Max Holt: Finally got […]
The UK government today ordered domestic companies to stop buying equipment from Chinese vendor Huawei and to stop using its kit entirely by 2027. Huawei is suspected to be an arm of the Chinese government, breaking into western markets (and maybe its networks) by selling impossibly cheap equipment. The UK only recently approved more Huawei […]
After years of hearing a steady drumbeat about the necessity of surfing the web under the protection of a VPN, even the most technophobic among us are starting to come around. But even knowing the dangers one can face from cybercrooks phishing for information from unsuspecting victims online, those last holdouts still have some fears. […]
You may not realize it, but some of the biggest films in movie history have been edited using the same tools some of you use to cut your video of vacationing at Disney World. Giant movies from Oscar favorites The Social Network and Gone Girl to blockbusters like Avatar, Deadpool, and last year’s Terminator: Dark […]
Now that the initial furor and shortages have subsided, it’s probably not a bad time to start considering your long-term cleaning and disinfecting plans. Sure, that might seem anywhere from overly cautious to outright ridiculous, but the threat of COVID-19 appears poised to be present for a while and the need for quick travel clean-up […]