strathspey Archive: Computer 'Standards' and the effect on SCD

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Computer 'Standards' and the effect on SCD

Message 14954 · Alan Paterson · 7 Dec 1998 10:54:59 · Top

This morning I received, by e-mail, a text document containing the
instructions for a dance. This document was in the format Microsoft Word
6.0. While this is widely regarded as one of the worst word-processing
programs available, it is simultaneously one of the most commonly used
(if not THE most commonly used). The reason? Well, it's standard, isn't
it?

The author of this document has used special symbols in the diagrams to
represent the men and the women as they dance. I have no idea how these
symbols appear on the author's computer, but on mine, the man appears as
a little loudspeaker and the woman as the New York skyline.

I am searching for the meaning of this symbolism. Has anyone any
suggestions?

Alan

Computer 'Standards' and the effect on SCD

Message 14968 · D. Shaw · 7 Dec 1998 17:51:46 · Top

At 09:57 AM 07-12-98 +0100, Alan wrote:
> The author of this document has used special symbols in the diagrams to
represent the men and the women as they dance. I have no idea how these
symbols appear on the author's computer, but on mine, the man appears as a
little loudspeaker and the woman as the New York skyline. <
> I am searching for the meaning of this symbolism. Has anyone any
suggestions?

I confess that I am the author of that document. When it left my computer,
the "special" symbols were the standard circle-with-arrow-off-right for
male and circle-with-cross-below for female.

I suggest that Alan's computer believes that males make noise but don't
listen and that females are lovely in silhouette and strong in structure.
Alan, what did your computer make of the musicial note that I used to mark
the top of the set? And seriously, I am concerned that the arrows I used
for direction came through as meant.

Cheers,
Deborah

Computer 'Standards' and the effect on SCD

Message 14976 · Don MacQueen · 7 Dec 1998 20:20:21 · Top

While not being an expert, I will pretend to know a little bit about this...

It's probably not the software (Word) but the operating system.

Once you depart from the standard ascii characters (more or less, the
characters on a traditional typewriter keyboard), there are various
standards for the extended character definitions. Apple implemented
extended characters pretty much before anyone else did (I believe) and
therefore have their own standard (possibly inherited from or in
coordination with Adobe). Later, the international standards
organization(s) (ISO) set some different standards. Unix windowing systems
tend to follow these (Motif, X11, Openwindows). I have no idea what
Microsoft uses.

But, in any case, the source and target operating systems of Deborah and
Alan I would assume are different.

Someday, maybe, everybody will follow the same standards. But until then,
going outside the minimal ascii character set is asking for trouble.

-Don

p.s. Anyone feel free to make corrections to what I've said....

At 7:45 AM -0800 12/7/98, Deborah Shaw wrote:
>At 09:57 AM 07-12-98 +0100, Alan wrote:
>> The author of this document has used special symbols in the diagrams to
>represent the men and the women as they dance. I have no idea how these
>symbols appear on the author's computer, but on mine, the man appears as a
>little loudspeaker and the woman as the New York skyline. <
>> I am searching for the meaning of this symbolism. Has anyone any
>suggestions?
>
>I confess that I am the author of that document. When it left my computer,
>the "special" symbols were the standard circle-with-arrow-off-right for
>male and circle-with-cross-below for female.
>
>I suggest that Alan's computer believes that males make noise but don't
>listen and that females are lovely in silhouette and strong in structure.
>Alan, what did your computer make of the musicial note that I used to mark
>the top of the set? And seriously, I am concerned that the arrows I used
>for direction came through as meant.
>
>Cheers,
>Deborah
>
>--
>Deborah Shaw <shawd@mindspring.com>

-------------------------
Don MacQueen
macq@home.com
-------------------------

Computer 'Standards' and the effect on SCD

Message 14983 · John K. Andrews · 7 Dec 1998 22:55:08 · Top

Don,

You're basically correct, just substitute "font" for "operating system".

Regards,

Jay

Don MacQueen wrote:
>
> While not being an expert, I will pretend to know a little bit about this...
>
> It's probably not the software (Word) but the operating system.
>
> Once you depart from the standard ascii characters (more or less, the
> characters on a traditional typewriter keyboard), there are various
> standards for the extended character definitions. Apple implemented
> extended characters pretty much before anyone else did (I believe) and
> therefore have their own standard (possibly inherited from or in
> coordination with Adobe). Later, the international standards
> organization(s) (ISO) set some different standards. Unix windowing systems
> tend to follow these (Motif, X11, Openwindows). I have no idea what
> Microsoft uses.
>
> But, in any case, the source and target operating systems of Deborah and
> Alan I would assume are different.
>
> Someday, maybe, everybody will follow the same standards. But until then,
> going outside the minimal ascii character set is asking for trouble.
>
> -Don
>
> p.s. Anyone feel free to make corrections to what I've said....
>
> At 7:45 AM -0800 12/7/98, Deborah Shaw wrote:
> >At 09:57 AM 07-12-98 +0100, Alan wrote:
> >> The author of this document has used special symbols in the diagrams to
> >represent the men and the women as they dance. I have no idea how these
> >symbols appear on the author's computer, but on mine, the man appears as a
> >little loudspeaker and the woman as the New York skyline. <
> >> I am searching for the meaning of this symbolism. Has anyone any
> >suggestions?
> >
> >I confess that I am the author of that document. When it left my computer,
> >the "special" symbols were the standard circle-with-arrow-off-right for
> >male and circle-with-cross-below for female.
> >
> >I suggest that Alan's computer believes that males make noise but don't
> >listen and that females are lovely in silhouette and strong in structure.
> >Alan, what did your computer make of the musicial note that I used to mark
> >the top of the set? And seriously, I am concerned that the arrows I used
> >for direction came through as meant.
> >
> >Cheers,
> >Deborah
> >
> >--
> >Deborah Shaw <shawd@mindspring.com>
>
> -------------------------
> Don MacQueen
> macq@home.com
> -------------------------

BATD

Message 14985 · Lara D. Friedman~Shedlov · 7 Dec 1998 23:59:28 · Top

Does anyone on the list know anything about BATD certification? BATD
(British Association of Teachers of Dance) apparently has a certification
process for Scottish country dance teachers, and I am curious to know
more about it.

Specifically:
--What are the requirements and process for certification
--How does the above differ from that of RSCDS
--Are there any SCD teachers on this list who are BATD certified?

Thanks,

Lara Friedman~Shedlov
Minneapolis, Minnesota

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If a rock falls on
an egg
Lara Friedman~Shedlov Too bad, too bad for the egg
laradf@mail.si.umich.edu If an egg falls on a rock
Too bad for the egg
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BATD

Message 14986 · Norah Link · 8 Dec 1998 00:24:10 · Top

>>> <strathspey-request@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de> 07/12/98 04:58 pm >>>
Does anyone on the list know anything about BATD certification?
<<<

Lara -

I'll see if I can get the info from my Highland teacher, who is BATD certified.
Or, you might try cross-posting this to the highland list, where I know there is
at least one BATD certified SCD teacher. I've had a brief glance at the syllabus
about a year ago - many of the dances are the same as for the RSCDS Prelim. I
don't remember if there was crossover with the RSCDS Full Certificate syllabus.
And I'm not sure how they run the exam. I've taken BATD theory exams in Highland,
but not any of the teachers exams (yet!).

Norah

Computer 'Standards' and the effect on SCD

Message 14987 · Bruce Hamilton · 8 Dec 1998 00:30:44 · Top

On Mon, 07 Dec 1998, Alan Paterson <alanp@paranor.ch> wrote:
>This morning I received, by e-mail, [...]. This document was in the
>format Microsoft Word 6.0. While this is widely regarded as one of
>the worst word-processing programs available, it is simultaneously
>one of the most commonly used (if not THE most commonly used).

Yes, Yes! Oh, ... YES!!
Pardon the outburst, but that statement (both halves) is true and a
frequent thorn in my side, and I need to scream about it now and then.
Thanks, Alan.

>The author of this document has used special symbols in the diagrams
>to represent the men and the women as they dance. I have no idea how
>these symbols appear on the author's computer, but on mine, the man
>appears as a little loudspeaker and the woman as the New York skyline.

For years I've been trying to figure out how to squeeze the following
into my signature:
* If you must send me a file, please don't assume I have the same
operating system that you do.
* If you must assume that, please don't assume I use the same
applications that you do.
* If you must assume that, please don't assume I have the same
version that you do.
* If you must assume that, please don't assume my monitor has the
same size and color depth that yours does.

Now Alan points out that I need also:
* If you must assume that, please don't assume I have the same fonts
that you do.

Speaking as an employee of a vendor of operating systems and
applications: Yes, it would be nice if all this stuff were
standardized. You can even claim it *ought* to be standardized. But
it *isn't* standardized, and the world is a big place. Please be
conservative when formatting stuff. Plain text is boring, but
currently it's the only format that everyone has.

Deborah Shaw <shawd@mindspring.com> replies to Alan:
>I confess that I am the author of that document. When it left my
>computer, the "special" symbols were the standard circle-with-
>arrow-off-right for male and circle-with-cross-below for female.
>
>I suggest that Alan's computer believes that males make noise but
>don't listen and that females are lovely in silhouette and strong in
>structure.
<symbol for figure standing with hat off, applauding>. My cheeks are
still sore. Brava!

Bruce Hamilton Hewlett-Packard Laboratories MS-4AD
Phone 650-857-2818 PO Box 10150, Palo Alto, CA 94303-0889
Fax 650-852-8092 bruce_hamilton@hpl.hp.com

Computer 'Standards' and the effect on SCD

Message 14992 · D. Shaw · 8 Dec 1998 02:29:58 · Top

At 02:30 PM 07-12-98 -0800, you wrote:
> * If you must assume that, please don't assume I have the same fonts that
you do.

Okay, now I feel obliged to state that Alan *asked* for the Word document.
I have 97 (only -- I've lost 6.0), but saved it as a 6.0 file. I used the
common symbol sets in Insert Symbol that are supposed to be standard with
Word. And as far as I can tell, it travelled just fine to different
continents last year when 6.0 was all I had, complete with male and female
symbols.

Obviously, Microsoft moved the symbols around. I hate when they move
things. Worse, that annoying paperclip creature recently turned himself
back on after I went to much trouble to kill him, I thought forever.

I do wish I had a font set with loudspeakers and skylines to use for men
and women.

Cheers,
Deborah

Computer 'Standards' and the effect on SCD

Message 14998 · John Chambers · 8 Dec 1998 04:53:50 · Top

| On Mon, 07 Dec 1998, Alan Paterson <alanp@paranor.ch> wrote:
| >This morning I received, by e-mail, [...]. This document was in the
| >format Microsoft Word 6.0. While this is widely regarded as one of
| >the worst word-processing programs available, it is simultaneously
| >one of the most commonly used (if not THE most commonly used).

In another forum, I learned a lot about the problems caused by MSWord
documents by (innocently ;-) asking about the availability of Unix
software that could decode MSWord email messages. It may be commonly
used by MS customers, but the file format is a trade secret, and not
even the linux hackers have managed to do a good job of cracking it.

It might be some consolation to know that it causes nearly as much
problem for MS users as for the rest of us. MSWord documents often
can't be decoded sanely by a different release (or the same release
with fonts installed in a different order) on Windoze systems. This
is used as the usual sort of arm twisting to persuade people to pay
to upgrade to the latest release, and then they find that it makes
hash out of some of their older documents.

| Speaking as an employee of a vendor of operating systems and
| applications: Yes, it would be nice if all this stuff were
| standardized. You can even claim it *ought* to be standardized. But
| it *isn't* standardized, and the world is a big place. Please be
| conservative when formatting stuff. Plain text is boring, but
| currently it's the only format that everyone has.

On the contrary, there are lots of standards for document formats.
For instance, 8859-1 (Latin-1) is a very well-defined standard. So is
HTML (three standard versions by now), and lots of software uses it.
Postscript and PDF are well-defined, published standards that can do
rather arbitrary pretty pictures embedded in text. And so on. Lack of
standards is no excuse at all. The problem is the MS attitude. They
have no intention of making it easy for their users to communicate
with people who use competitors' products.

It's fun to think what English spelling would be like if printers and
typewriter manufacturers had taken this attitude in previous
centuries. Every printer would have had their own character set. We'd
have English documents written in Greek and Hebrew and Arabic and
Sanskrit fonts and we'd all be expected to read them all.

OTOH, maybe we'd also have a standard character set that includes all
the Pilling symbols ...

Computer 'Standards' and the effect on SCD

Message 15003 · cnordj · 8 Dec 1998 08:24:18 · Top

So Alan Paterson and Bruce Hamilton (and others?) don't like Word 6.0. Hm, I use Word 7.0 now, and I think it is fine. Well, except that its documents do not export well. I find it best to SAVE AS a rich text or Word Perfect file for exporting such as attaching to email. Just trying to help...
Cheers, Carol Johnson, Manhattan Beach, So. Calif.

Computer 'Standards' and the effect on SCD

Message 15012 · Bruce Hamilton · 8 Dec 1998 19:58:31 · Top

On Mon, 7 Dec 1998, John Chambers <jc@minya.ne.mediaone.net> wrote:
[here I am quoting him out of order]
>Lack of standards is no excuse at all... On the contrary, there are
>lots of standards for document formats.
On this, John and I are in perfect agreement :-)

And Deborah, I certainly didn't mean to pick on you -- mostly I wanted
to point out how many places you can go wrong when trying to create a
file on one computer and read it on another.

Bruce Hamilton Hewlett-Packard Laboratories MS-4AD
Phone 650-857-2818 PO Box 10150, Palo Alto, CA 94303-0889
Fax 650-852-8092 bruce_hamilton@hpl.hp.com

Computer 'Standards' and the effect on SCD

Message 15051 · Michael Hanson · 10 Dec 1998 23:22:41 · Top

>Don MacQueen <macq@home.com> wrote:
>... Apple implemented
>extended characters pretty much before anyone else did (I believe) and

Apple was by no means the first with an extended character set.
The Apple II didn't even have a shift key to start with - you typed
all upper case. I know the shift key was an ad-on, think lower case
character set may have been a ROM upgrade. The Commodore Pet,
introduced at the same show as the Apple II had an extended character
set using various graphics and symbols. The TRS-80, of similar
vintage, also defined its own extended character set.
A few years later, IBM defined another extended character set with
their PC. All of this was a few years before the Mac or Windows
(and none of it compatible with the standards defined for extended
ASCII, etc.)
Ah for the glory days of personal computing.

Michael Hanson
Seattle, WA

"The nice thing about standards is that
you have so many to choose from;
furthermore, if you do not like any of them,
you can just wait for next year's model."
-Tanenbaum

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