More email inbox commentary

Friday 9 March 2012, 4.38pm HKT


1pm local time / 16°C (60°F) drizzly

YES, YOU’VE NOTICED temperatures here have dropped (again) steadily from 25°C (77°F) on Monday.

It’s been an angry and upsetting week for me (if you’ve noticed at all from my scribbles this week).

Just got some email comments from real people who didn’t follow proper netiquette about leaving comments.

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The good ones (I think)

For the post “What’s it been? The Engine Room (Part 3)“:—

“These are in fact impressive ideas regarding blogging. You have touched some pleasant factors here. Anyway, keep up the writing.” — Maureen, received 09March 2012

Maureen dear, I think you’re commenting on the phat feature “You don’t blog?” because that post you were commenting on had nothing to do with blogging ideas.

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For the ever-popular post “How well do you know your guitars?“:—

“I have spent a bit of time going through your posts, more than I should have but I must say, it’s worth it!” — Rodea, 08 March

Thank you. It would’ve been even more worth it if you’d just leave your comment there at the post instead.

*

For the post “Objectivity: Just another $5 word for subjectivity“:—

“Squares don’t fit in tight circles.” — lauhon on 04 March 2012

True. But I advise you, off-post email comments don’t fit in on-site posts. Namsayin’?

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For the post “Notes: The Man Who Would Be Spy” about my late colleague:—

“I really appreciate this post. […] ‘All that is gold does not glitter, not all those that wander are lost’ by J.R.R. Tolkien.” — kozinski on 25 Feb 2012

Actually the phrase should be, “All that glitters is not gold. All that wanders is not lost.”

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And for no post in particular:—

“In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to begin my own blog now.” — anonymity requested, on 23 Feb 2012

This one clearly came after reading the super-longwinded mega-brain-damaged feature “You don’t blog?“. I thanked him (profusely) that my uncreative writing inabilities has managed to inspire someone, somewhere, out there.

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These were real messages from real people. I emailed them back and they actually replied.

Again, I asked these people why they didn’t put in their comments on the posts themselves. Nearly all replied that they preferred to remain anonymous. To which I told them the default commenting system is anonymity (notwithstanding their ‘handles’ and email address) and they could switch off their OpenID or whatever if they don’t want their gravatars shown.

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The clearly negative ones

Meanwhile I’ve gotten an earful (or eyeful, since they’re email) from some srsly hard-arsed people who hated and despised a couple of my posts recently.

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‘Not worth anything serious’

One commenter considered my “You don’t blog?” feature has been:—

“… not worth anything serious because there are people who may not wish to accept any of your recommendations for their blogs due to [sic: because of] their own requirements.” jjchan, on 23 Feb 2012 just after the last instalment of that feature

It’s fine by me if others don’t wish to accept. My recommendations are, believe it or not, suggestions. They’re not rules that one has to abide by. Never said as such. Derp.

Like I said in my posts, only you know what’s best for your blog. You don’t have to take in my stinkin’ input.

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‘Uncharitable’

One commenter pointedly told me about my downloadables:—

“It is very uncharitable of you to make your downloads not in MS Word format as I am unable to make changes to them.” koh29

Why the hell would you want to make changes to them?! If you wish to plagiarise them for homework, go ahead, plagiarise! Stop being a lazy f@#k and type the parts you need to plagiarise and do whatever the hell changes you want!

I’ve also explained to this personage that Microsoft Office documents contain macros (software input sequences) that some browsers and antivirus programs could interpret as being viruses. No, that didn’t gel with koh29. Your loss, not mine.

And, by the way, how is making PDF downloads “uncharitable”?

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‘Foolish things’

Another commenter really took it personally about “A little about linguanophiles“:—

“Dear Sir,

I have read your articles on your website regarding Linguists and I write to complain about your subjective bias about the discipline of Linguistics.

I do not agree with you due to [sic: because] your English is poor in grammar and spelling. Your perspective is subjective and your assessment of Linguistics is not correct because I do not believe you not [sic] studied Linguistics before and therefore you do not understand.

I believe you must apologize for saying those foolish things about Linguistics and attempt to understand more about the discipline of Linguistics as I believe it will [sic: would] assist your [own] English fluency and overall academic standard of written work.

I have also read some [other] articles on your website and under my assessment you are a poor writer and [a] poor judge of character[,] and I belive [sic] you are making our [sic] Chinese people appear [sic: look] bad because you are not Chinese so you do not understand our Chinese way[s].”

I am thoroughly humbled by your staggering standard of English-language fluency and am deeply impressed by it. And your clear and present need for attitude adjustment.

A bias is already subjective, you idiot — is there even such a thing as an objective bias? Learn your education better.

My “assessment” (as you put it) is of course not correct. After all, it was only based on my two years’ worth of linguistics training at university level. My fault, I admit. I never said, insinuated, averred, pronounced, proclaimed — choose the words you like best — that it was better or more correct than anybody else’s. It’s just my own view — and many of my readers understand and appreciate that (except you). And, of course, my English is as poor as YOURS, twithead.

If you paid any attention at all, you sonofabitch bitch, you’d notice from my About and About me pages that YOU YOURSELF is a f@#king disgrace to the Chinese race. I’m embarrassed to have you as part of my race, you little odious c@nt.

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‘Audience is Chinese’

Yet another brain-damaged commenter had to put in this general comment:

“I just do not understand why you have never written any of your post in Chinese as you are living in Hong Kong and your audience is Chinese.”

O rly? Where did you get that phantasmagorical idea that I knew how to read and write Chinese and that my audience is necessarily Chinese, my furry little friend?

Actually, I’ve done some technical sleuthing about the issue. Your problem is your browser isn’t configured for the correct Chinese encoding. That’s why you’re unable to read posts in Chinese but in (poor) English. I think you need to reconfigure your encoding and delete that folder called SYSTEM32 that’s preventing this.

* * *

Ladies and gentlemen, if you don’t like the way I drive, then show me a road on which to drive that I could meet your standards and expectations to make my presence acceptable to your esteemed requirements.

—>> My email is thenakedlistener [aroba] gmail [punto] com. <<—

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© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012.

Images: ‘I have nothing to say’ via Cascade Webdev | Pyrite via Critical Crossroad | Don’t give a f@#k via Some eCards | You can’t write via Mauradat | Brains via c4c.

One lump or two, luv?

Friday 17 February 2012, 6.46pm HKT


THIS IS A SIDEBAR to the four-part ‘You don’t blog?’ mega-feature that’s published since 15 FEB 2012.

This sidebar chiefly relates to the copydesk advice mentioned in Part 4 of the series.

* * *

Do we use one or two character spaces
after the full stop (period)?

Ask a professional writer or a journalist (even better, a professional typesetter), and 99% of the time they’ll tell you it’s one character space.

Don’t take their word for it — take mine!

Actually, you shouldn’t have to ask. At your age, you should have been tee’d up on it already.

I happen to be a trained secretarial typist (85 wpm) and shorthand transcriber (25 wpm) as well as a trained typesetter (which is why I’m in the printing business and not practise law).

I can’t answer for earlier generations of typists, but Pitman’s Typewriting courses back in the 1970s taught two things:—

Two character spaces between sentences when using fixed-pitch founts (such as Courier and suchlike fount slugs on fixed-pitch typewriters)

One character space between sentences when using proportional founts (such as those in typesetting and on webpages, including proportional-pitch typewriters)

If two or three generations of professional typists since 40 years ago have learnt those two rules, you’ve got no excuse for not knowing!

“Every modern typographer agrees on the one-space rule. It’s one of the canonical rules of the profession, in the same way that waiters know that the salad fork goes to the left of the dinner fork and fashion designers know to put men’s shirt buttons on the right and women’s on the left.” — Farhad Manjoo (via turri design)

Never mind the bollocks.

Read this person’s article about why two spaces after the full stop is wrong, if you don’t trust what I tell you.

Another writer tells us HTML coding automatically ignores and corrects the two-space usage.

Truth to told, most blogging services won’t correct. They’ll just let it run. That’s because there are still numerous battalions of doublespaceheads out there, and these doublespaceheads will surely go ballistic at the mere possibility of being ‘corrected’ by some disembodied HTML coding autopilot and relocate their blogs elsewhere.

Not always a good business tactic to correct others, it seems, particularly via autopilot.

Never mind the bollocks.

Since the appearance of the electronic typewriter with proportional spacing in the 1970s (like the IBM Selectric ‘Golfballs’), there’s no need to put in two spaces. Read the full 2011 article in Slate magazine, which is seriously on the button.

(I had a green-coloured IBM Selectric II typewriter, made in 1974 and weighed a ton, that I used to bash on constantly until overuse completely totalled it.)

Predictably, there’s always one singular individual who takes the opposite view in a rather elegantly reasoned monograph, and used double spacing throughout his text. His reasoning may intellectually elegant, but he’s still wrong.

(Off-topic here a bit: Indeed, zeroing in on the minutiae of details and reasoning things out according to some predetermined set of ‘logical’ steps don’t necessarily make your conclusions right. You’re just ‘making things fit.’ A lot of intellectuals and academicians are operate like that, to be honest.)

Never mind the bollocks.

Let’s look at the the other side of ‘facts’:—

FACT: Xerox Corp. started the DTP (desktop publishing) craze around 1977 (Star Wars era) by developing hardware and software that use typesetting-like elements for typography.

FACT: Then came a DTP typesetting program called TeX (pronounced ‘tek’) in 1979, which was extended by LaTeK (‘laytek’) in the 1980s — both of which used true proportional founts.

FACT: Then DTP hit mainstream paydirt when the Apple Macintosh 128K computer hit the markets in 1984. What was used in the Mac quickly got taken up by Windluzer 1.0 in 1987 (in MS Write) through to Windoze 3.1 in 1992.

In other words, fully 28 years of using proportional founts on PCs and there’s a sea of morons out there who still haven’t gotten the hang of it.

Dead slow children!

FACT

All webpages (and your blog is a series of webpages) use proportional founts (unless you customise it to a fixed-pitch fount like Courier or Lucida Console — then you really are brain-damaged). Two character spaces between sentences cause your text to run with ungainly rivers of white space.

Please grow up and keep up with the times! You’re living in the 21st century now. Read my post on draft vs. manuscript.

Some philistines hard up on the brain department say they find it more readable with two character spaces — the “wider space” between sentences in printed matter.

The “wider space” ISN’T made up of two character spaces, numbskull. That’s actually an en-and-quarter space (sometimes an em space). That’s handsetting, idiot.

At the very least, these otherwise blameless individuals clearly are reading for sentence separation rather than actual content — the ‘message’ behind the sentences. This, I’ve noticed in some people for a demoralisingly long time.

Modern typesetting output machines — since the likes of the Linotype Model 6 molten-lead linecaster (1965) and the Linotronic 202N imagesetter (1972: the one I was trained on) — make automatic intersentential space adjustments according to the fount used (unless the automatic setting is overridden for some special typographical effect).

Don’t bother rationalising your preference for two character spaces with me — you don’t know enough about this than I do.

This is how I roll:—

On a computer or a compositor (and anything else that uses proportional fount), I automatically, unconsciously, conditional-behavourially, operant-conditioningly type one space after the full stop.

On a typewriter (or anything else that uses fixed-pitch fount), I automatically, unconsciously, etc, type two spaces after the full stop — even when thoroughly distracted by high-octane, high-penetration porn.

Why can’t YOU do that?

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. Updated 18 May 2013 (updated tags)

Images: Manual typewriter keyboard via Online Business Blogger | Two-space ban via Doobybrain | Ascii art chick via PingMag | Scribus desktop publishing via Nyutech | Fount spacings via Tom Sarazac | Books by Ian Britton via freefoto.

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