Monday, February 24, 2003

This looks interesting: Textism: A Humane Web Text Generator

What Textile Does

* Replace single and double primes (' and ") used as quotation marks with HTML entities for opening and closing quotation marks (‘’ and “”) in readable text, while leaving untouched the primes required within HTML tags.
* Replaced double hyphens (--) with an em-dash (—) entity.
* Replace single hyphens surrounded by spaces with an en-dash (–) entity.
* Replace triplets of periods (...) with an ellipsis (…) entity.
* Convert many nonstandard characters (ŸúߊπŒ) to browser-safe entities corresponding to keyboard input.
* Apply block- and phrase-level structural tags automatically and at the discretion of the writer via quick tags.
* Create hyperlinks and insert images via quick tags.
* Define acronyms via quick tags
* Wrap an tag around runs of three or more capital letters automatically.
* Convert (TM), (R), and (C) to ™, ®, and ©
* Convert the letter x to a dimension sign: 2x4 to 2×4 and 8 x 10 to 8×10
* Find the first person who broke your heart and report back on how devoid of joy their current life is.


Via Kieran Healey's blog:

All of which is great fun for a type-freak such as myself who wants to see the text available online take advantage of the hundreds of years of experience that typographers and book-designers have accumulated in making stuff easy and pleasurable to read. If you really don’t care about type or design then of course all of this will just be boring. But it’s my view that if you really don’t care about type or design then you are a philistine.

Another historian with a blog: Easily Distracted

Great sections on "Should You Go to Grad School" (Graduate school is cotillion for eggheads.......Take time away from college. That will tell you how much you want to be back in this life. Love your subject well before you ever start, because that passion will be tested mightily.) and "From ABD to the Job Market: Advice for the Grad School Endgame"

Here are a few excerpts:

Do not be a perfectionist with your dissertation. Write the sucker and damn the torpedoes. Just make sure it's good enough for your committee. If you *can* write it in such a way that it will require little work to make into a publishable book, do it. For example, make the opening and inevitable "literature review" as modular as possible and plan to just rip the entire thing out of the book manuscript. If you embed your review of the relevant scholarship inside your analysis, that may be more artful for the dissertation, but it's more of a pain in the context of the manuscript, unless it’s really artful and worth keeping even in the book.

(I can empathize.........mine sat with a publisher over 2 years who wouldn't publish it but wouldn't release it......lost all my still trying ten years after graduation...........will give it one more shot and then I have to MOVE ON.................I was on the press board for the first press since it's the state university system press - that also published in my field .....I'm not sure if that had anything to do with it or not. But it's a cold cruel world out there. I watched them hold graduate students' hands almost literally as reviewers rewrote a text and I received a nice 2-pager with no other guidance. Politics, politics, politics. Academic culture makes you feel like a failure without "the book"............but I've found my time better spent in the digital world and can make much more of an impact on that world than on beating my head against the wall in the traditional monograph world. Several times I asked for the editor to just give it back and he just put me off, later claiming to be embarrassed. But the damage was done. ..........Anyway, I finally had to think about two things..........1. Is my priority in life to write a book that only a few specialists will read or to create work -- although some consider it sub-par -- that tens of thousands or even more will use in their classrooms and actually read; I can communicate between some groups to the benefit of both and why not play to my the rest of the world teaches you to do instead of continually pointing out your weaknesses like academics do.........and 2. I went back to graduate school after teaching junior high and high school because I wanted to teach college........not because I wanted to publish "the book" - as one of my colleagues said, my tombstone isn't going to say "but she didn't get that first book done...." )

Back to Easily Distracted:

On the other hand, give up all hope that you will be able to live in a community or place that you have a preference for. Your life is now a complete crapshoot as far as that goes. When a decent job comes up, it doesn't matter if it's in Alabama or Alaska, Newark or Tuscaloosa: you have to apply for it and take it if you get it. If you have a significant other, be sure they understand this. If you have a significant other who is also an academic, get ready for some serious pain in the next six to seven years: the likelihood is that one of the two of you is going to find your career on the backburner. In this one case, you may want to limit yourselves (both of you) to applying for jobs in areas that are dense in colleges and universities.

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