I recently stumbled across an old copy of the Demoroniser (which my American-trained sense of spelling keeps trying to spell as demoronizer), a script designed to correct some of the, well, moronic HTML generated by Microsoft Office. Aside from flat-out coding errors, Office would use non-standard characters for things such as curly quotes or em-dashes that would only show up on Windows computers. If you viewed these sites on a Mac, a Linux box, a Palm, etc., they would seem to be missing punctuation everywhere. His solution was to convert these to their plain-ASCII equivalents.

Over the last year or so, WordPress and A List Apart have converted me from “stick with the lowest common denominator” to “let’s show real typography.” Since the days of the Demoroniser, Unicode has become a standard part of HTML, so modern browsers* can either display a full range of characters or convert them to something they can display. You probably won’t be able to see Chinese text in Lynx, but a properly encoded curly quote—“ or ”—will show up as a plain old ".

For one thing, real typography looks much nicer. Continue reading

Some random links I’ve come across today

Peter David has gotten an ElfQuest tattoo to raise money for the CBLDF. He follows up: “What have you done for the CBLDF lately?” Well, I’ve plugged it on my website and bought a T-shirt… (Edit: It seems Neil Gaiman just missed this by not answering his phone.)

Pir(l)ouettes – a commentary on Adobe’s history of the ampersand.

ACLU – Pizza – a funny/chilling animation of what might go on if a pizza place could cross-reference your health, library, and banking records while you were on the phone.