I was born in the 1940s, long before the Internet came into being to supply information. For someone like me, who loved to read and wanted information about everything, there was a means. Door-to-door salesmen walked the neighborhoods, selling encyclopedias: Britannica, Compton’s, World Book, Funk & Wagnalls. I was lucky enough that my parents wanted me to have access to information and bought a set of Compton’s, which I assume was the cheapest since my parents were cotton-mill workers. Oh, the wonderful hours I spent poring over every volume in that set. I still like to learn about new things. Today I use the World Wide Web over the Internet. Specifically, I use the web site Wikipedia. Continue reading
After almost 30 years using Windows PCs exclusively, I recently bought a MacBook Pro. Why? Well, it all started with an iPhone. Before the iPhone, I had a Motorola Droid4 Android phone. It never seemed smooth and responsive to me and its battery life was terrible. I played around with my wife’s iPhone and liked it. So when the Droid died, I decided to try an iPhone. Loved it. Continue reading
The Internet pervades our lives. There is almost no one whose life is not touched by of it. For many of us, the Internet seems like a necessity. We do our banking using it. We get our news from it. We keep up with family and friends over it. We use it for our entertainment. How did it come to be? Who invented the Internet? (Hint: It was not Al Gore, although he did play an important role as a government leader in supporting its creation.) Continue reading
In 1981, when Microsoft provided the operating system for the original IBM Personal Computer (PC), it retained the right to sell that operating system to other computer manufacturers. Thus was born the PC clone market. Many manufacturers entered the market and by the mid-1980s, inexpensive PC clones dominated the hardware side of the market. Microsoft dominated the software side. That basic fact—that Microsoft is a software company and Apple is a hardware company—accounts for the basic differences between PCs and Macs. Continue reading
This article says no, plain text is a lie. I don’t see it that way. The article is really talking about making sure you have your encoding correct and it does a great job of explaining why. To me, however, plain text in English is ASCII. It’s been around for over 50 years. It will render correctly in all cases. I recognize that the Internet has made it necessary to provide for other languages and that is where Unicode comes in. For that, you definitely have to make sure you announce your encoding, as the article says. The article also recommends that you read Spolsky’s article about encoding. I second that recommendation.
I have a post about Markdown. It’s about 15 or 20 screens of information with a comfortable layout with lots of whitespace. I thought it was a relatively complete description of Markdown. Now I find a McSparky book on Markdown that has 130 pages and 27 screencasts to discuss Markdown and how to use it. How do you write that much about a tool as simple and straight forward as Markdown? I don’t know yet and haven’t decided if I’ll spend the $10 to find out. But it comes highly recommended. My curiosity may get the best of me.
Not entirely about plain text, but one of the writers at ProfHacker put together a summary of their reviews and comments about tools they use. Here is the lead:
Here’s a collection of posts from the archives that focus on the use of plain text editors and alternative word processors.