Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The witless on the pitiless

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  • David Hood,

    I worked document preparation support through the period before unicode became commonplace on webpages (I'd call it about 5 years ago you could rely on the right encodings being understood and the viewing machine having the right fonts). Prior to that the only real choices were "Try putting the characters on the page, but they may not have the fonts and it will look like garbage" "Use HTML entities and the style of font used for the character may not match the surrounding text" or "Make a pdf with embedded fonts".
    These days it is no longer a special effort to go to when you want to produce macrons. For example, set a Mac to use the Maori* (or on older machines the Hawaiian) keyboard and hit option-a, or the extended U.S. keyboard with option-a followed by a.
    Even setting keyboards is a comparatively easy task these days, I recently sent a "nontechnical user" a one paragraph description of how to make their computer type in Turkish, and they were quickly off exploring the world of unicode.
    *the keyboard name does not use the macron.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • R A Hurley,

    from Bomber's link:

    Who knew Russell Brown and Mr Smug over at the Fundy post were such sniveling apologists for Western foreign policy?

    Speaking of unwarranted dichotomies... here comes one now.

    Although I have to give it up for your description as a "middle class foghorn," Russell. So evocative!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to R A Hurley,

    Although I have to give it up for your description as a “middle class foghorn,” Russell. So evocative!

    The middle-class thing certainly seems to have taken hold, via The Standard et al. I'm just a bit puzzled as to when and where I've claimed to be otherwise.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to bomber,

    i’ve responded to your defamation here

    And I sincerely respect your right to do so. Cauldron of ideas and all that. Have at it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The middle-class thing certainly seems to have taken hold

    And I'm sure all the people using it have impeccable working-class cred themselves, you understand.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • R A Hurley, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The middle-class thing certainly seems to have taken hold, via The Standard et al. I'm just a bit puzzled as to when and where I've claimed to be otherwise.

    Also confusing is why that's supposed to be seen as an inherently bad thing. As if dropping the M-bomb automatically invalidates any argument you might make.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Danielle,

    And I’m sure all the people using it have impeccable working-class cred themselves, you understand.

    And strictly drink only instant coffee.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • bmk, in reply to Danielle,

    Except for the gay bits. Those, they really take a lot of notice of, for some reason.

    And the hitting kids bits.

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to bomber,

    i’ve responded to your defamation here

    Defamation? Martyn, darling, love you. Love your work. Harden the fuck up – because “defamation” is way too much WhaleOily Coddingswallop for one day. You think Russell has misrepresented your views, fair enough. Been there, done that, made a counter-argument with varying success and, usually, ended on a mutual agreement to disagree. But defamation -- nah.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    And Newt Gingrich has so much respect for the institution of marriage he's done it three or four times -- efficiently making sure he had the next one racked up before dumping the incumbent.

    That has little to do with his religious beliefs (IIRC, he became a Baptist in graduate school and converted to Catholicism in 2009) and everything to do with being a hypocritical douche-nozzle.

    And you can also add absentee fatherhood and chickenhawkery to the mix too.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan King, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Of course people can and do. Religious texts are used by many folks to guide and support them through life. The problem is not the texts themselves but the people who chose to use such writings to justify actions that are evil.

    I suggest the problems start when people believe these stories to be true!

    Since Sep 2010 • 185 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison, in reply to R A Hurley,

    Although I have to give it up for your description as a "middle class foghorn," Russell. So evocative!

    OK, now I can only think of Foghorn Leghorn. Russell, perhaps it would help your image if you were to start all posts with "Boy! Ah say, boy!" from now on...

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Since I really should be following Leviticus to the letter or be a hypocrite, right?

    In a way, Craig, yes.

    But the family that runs the dairy around the corner from are see themselves as good, observant Muslims too.

    And that's not unusual, but it does exclude the fact that they only do so in 2011 by discarding parts of the texts which are no longer deemed relevant. When religious leaders are pushed on the word the response is inevitably that we adapt it as time progresses.

    Uncomfortably, these adaptations have accelerated - quite dramatically - in recent times when less and less of what was accepted as the literal word is deemed acceptable. In other words, earlier believers were quite simply wrong on many things. It's a very short time back to when almost all educated Western Europeans believed that most of the bible was the direct word of god and the natural and moral worlds were subservient to him/her.

    Now, as it becomes uncomfortable, literal has mutated into allegory or discarded as ugly for our times. As we move through time, a large red pen is continually produced and large slabs are - continually - crossed out.

    In large parts of the Islamic (and indeed Christian) worlds believers have yet to make that jump - they treat the words in the books as the direct word of god. They may, as sects do, interpret, but they are still the word and that word has not changed at all since 632.

    Except for the gay bits. Those, they really take a lot of notice of, for some reason.

    Quite.

    Are they all evil? Maybe some of them are thoughtless. Or stupid.

    Or selective. The morality that some feel they derive from their religion is only achieved by sidestepping the bits that are no longer acceptable.

    Some unattractive family customs of, say, Pakistani immigrants in Britain are often attributed to Islam, when they're at least as much about the tribal culture they've brought with them.

    Islam is just that though, a reflection of tribal cultures and traditions, originally those of the desert Arabs. It has, across the world, as has Christianity, absorbed local culture - in Indonesia it is a large part Hindu and animist too - and it's hard to argue that 1100 years of Islam in Pakistan has not in some way morphed any line between pre-Islamic tribal culture and a faith which is taught as life itself.

    The dichotomy you're offering could only take place if religious texts were an all or nothing proposition.

    For many that is exactly the case, surely. And we only move beyond it by discarding that proposition. Some totally, and some selectively as the times suit. Some not at all - Osama was one.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3284 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    In large parts of the Islamic (and indeed Christian) worlds believers have yet to make that jump – they treat the words in the books as the direct word of god. They may, as sects do, interpret, but they are still the word and that word has not changed at all since 632.

    Actually, the Pew poll in Egypt I mentioned in an earlier thread was alarming in that respect: among other things, it showed strong support for sharia law, cutting off the hands of thieves, etc. And that was in groovy, secular, freshly-democratic Egypt. Yikes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to recordari,

    The steps to adding the Māori keyboard (soon to have screenshots!): – Click on the Apple in the top left and open System Preferences. – Open Language & Text.

    Would that be a "Magic" Laptop? can't find an Apple on mine.
    With regard to Osama, I thought the whole bollocks over the death certificate had been sorted, oh, hang on, it gets so confusing.
    Anyroad up. Looks like the good Ol' Team America has shifted from world cop to global assassin

    Early Tuesday, NATO warplanes launched their most intense bombardment of Tripoli in weeks. They blasted at least four targets, including the sprawling compound that houses the Gaddafi family

    Do these American thugs have no shame, don't bother to answer, it is self evident.
    Meanwhile their unquenchable thirst for power is Poisoning the Well Literally.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • R A Hurley, in reply to Josh Addison,

    OK, now I can only think of Foghorn Leghorn. Russell, perhaps it would help your image if you were to start all posts with "Boy! Ah say, boy!" from now on...

    Russell, I really think you ought to consider this. Foghorn Leghorn has, if nothing else, excellent Southern Good Ol' Boy cracker credentials. Might help you shed some of the Middle Class stink. Just something to think about......

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And nary a word is heard in Indonesia from the MUI (the dominant Islamic guiding body) about the bombing of Churches, imams marrying 12 year old girls, attacks on sects which vary the word, and the FPI (the radical arm) assaults on anything they consider breaks the word as written.

    They did however, a short while back, issue a fatwa on women riding alone in cabs - apparently the male drivers might be tempted to stray. It was, however, up to the woman to curb the desires by obeying the ruling.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3284 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    Or selective. The morality that some feel they derive from their religion is only achieved by sidestepping the bits that are no longer acceptable.

    That isn't necessarily a bad thing.

    Since for many people their religion is a major source of their happiness then that's fine by me. It may be inconsistent and illogical, I may find it ludicrous to take moral guidance in any way from those texts but that doesn't stop the vast majority of religious folk from leading decent moral lives based (selectively) on those texts.

    The idea that by following the text you are automatically moral is the real problem. Because that is demonstrably wrong and in many cases falls into the category of "evil". Danielle is going to draw us a Venn diagram.

    But the fact that some of the texts are wrong doesn't stop many people relying on some of the texts to help them be good. For them they don't have to accept or reject the whole text, they can set aside some parts and use the rest for their own benefit.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And I'm sure all the people using it have impeccable working-class cred themselves, you understand.

    I'm often amazed by how much more actual manual labor I've done than many a person who has called me bourgeois. But that is evidence in itself of my middle-classness.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    can’t find an Apple on mine.

    Well, the Windows 7 instructions are pretty easy as well. XP is harder (but it is a 2001 operating system). Linux is about what you would expect.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Tom Beard,

    Or, to be fair, that they can’t find it in the Character Map application or don’t know that it’s ā in HTML. Or that it gets mangled by your braindead word processor or CMS. It may be much easier in many workplaces than it was when I was at TPK 5 years ago, when even for an organisation with a Māori kaupapa it was a nightmare trying to get consistency

    One of the reasons people think any diacritical is sufficient for te Reo is the font butchery that Reddfish did in the 90's, hacking the glyphs of letters with the trema (which most people call an umlaut or diaerisis) to extend a line between the dots. Of course, that was only the visual representation and only worked for printed documents. Most people don't realise that computers recognise the code that creates the letter, not the glyph itself (except in OCR terms, and then the computer is recognising the glyph in order to turn it into code - just wanted to note that before someone called me on it). So all those words with macrons in printed government papers regularly became metal band names when they hit the web, and a different display mechanism recognised the code.

    The solution to this is Unicode fonts everywhere, but they're still disseminating (meh, it's only been 12 years...)

    </fontgeek>

    As to non-use, I put that down mostly to ignorance and laziness, with emphasis on the ignorance. Once you know, there really is no valid excuse for not using the macron.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2937 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    yeah but the reason why it’s hard for you is because the americans who made your computer don’t much care about te reo

    No, but they should care about Hawaiian

    ETA What David Hood said.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2937 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Yep, takata = tangata. Pora, however, means 'ship' - o, and white turnip (which was
    from the ships, in the South.) No, we wouldnt be so unkind as to link the 2 meanings, and have a quiet little giggle every so often...I mean, we never played with words eh?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    They did however, a short while back, issue a fatwa on women riding alone in cabs – apparently the male drivers might be tempted to stray. It was, however, up to the woman to curb the desires by obeying the ruling.

    I propose sending over Emma Hart to knock some heads together.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Oddly enough, I did look at it yesterday, and the instructions didn’t work for a modern Apple keyboard – no alt key. So it’s the backtick then retype the vowel …

    If you're under Mac OS X, with the Maori keyboard chosen, I think they key command is `-a ("back apostrophe"-a). I'm currently on an iMac booted into Windows, so I can't test it.

    i’ve responded to your defamation here

    You don't want to spell his name consistently right or wrong?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

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