17.383 anti-Irish et al. computing

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Wed Nov 05 2003 - 03:02:24 EST

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 383.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

       [1] From: François Crompton-Roberts (11)
             Subject: Re: 17.380 anti-Irish computing

       [2] From: "Jim Marchand" <marchand@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu> (18)
             Subject: anti-Irish computing

             Date: Wed, 05 Nov 2003 07:45:09 +0000
             From: François Crompton-Roberts
             Subject: Re: 17.380 anti-Irish computing

    The inanities of the automatic processing of personal information are,
    thankfully, too numerous and varied to list exhaustively. My favourite I
    encountered at a conference on electronic typesetting in the 1980s. One
    of the participants, the MD of a printing firm here in the UK, had
    filled-in the registration form with his name "Sir Peter whatever" (I
    forget the surname). The organisers had produced a lapel badge from this
    information with software which did know about Doctors and Professors
    but didn't know about knighthoods. So he went proudly about with a badge
    that read "Call me Sir"! Could we say this was being anti-British?

    François (the cedilla often causes problems) Crompton-Roberts (so does
    the hyphen on occasion).

             Date: Wed, 05 Nov 2003 07:45:51 +0000
             From: "Jim Marchand" <marchand@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
             Subject: anti-Irish computing

    I know what JO'D means. Being half-Irish and half-French, I get a
    double whammy of incompatibles. As Pogo says, however, the enemy
    is us. Many people seem to think that whatever they see on their
    screens is what their correspondents will see on theirs. I get
    messages with exclamation points for all extended ASCIIs, with =E1
    (equal cap E, 1) for a acute, szet for a acute, etc. etc. At
    present there is little one can do, other than use SGML codes (e.g.
    &aumlaut;) and hope your correspondents can global. The answer, it
    seems to me, is that offered by several people: Everybody (every
    program and every operating system) should go to Unicode, which
    intends to enable all writing systems. You remember that Microsoft
    tried that with WindowsNT. Of course, that will work only if we
    all adopt it. If somebody sends you a message in Japanese and you
    do not have Unicode, it looks like one big cussword. As Willard
    says, it looks like those big companies would get it right, but
    they have no way of determining what mail-program you are using or
    what systems the mail may have gone through before it got to you.
    Nemo sine crimine, no matter where you find him.

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