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Re: if vs. when vs. and: style question

From: Emanuel Berg
Subject: Re: if vs. when vs. and: style question
Date: Fri, 27 Mar 2015 04:54:05 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.4 (gnu/linux)

It is not a big deal to insert Unicode chars compared
to doing things in general, like carving a mud cake
out the rear wheel of a bike. But compared to just
hitting the familiar keys on the keyboard to insert
the familiar ASCII, it is very slow. Which is even
more frustrating because doing so doesn't
add anything.

Again, it is just like the way natural writing
evolved. The first humans who wrote did a small
picture of a house, i.e. a house icon, to signify
a house. This practice was gradually abandoned because
it lacked flexibility, convenience, and speed.

Instead mankind went for the phonetic system were
letters indicate sounds, then you combine them
into words.

However, after spending a lifetime reading and
writing, to us it has come to full circle and the
phonetic letter/sound system of word formation has
come back to the iconic state. We don't *read*
"house", we see it. Compared to seeing a picture of
a house, it might be 50/50 which faster does
communicate the meaning. But let's say: "The big house
is green." How do you do that with images? Do you put
the image for "big" - do you draw that? -
besides the house icon, and then add a green box?
Or do you draw one big, green house? How do you know
you are not supposed to look at the blue sky and white
clouds behind it?

It is exactly the same way with ASCII. We have had
hundreds and thousands of hours reading and writing
it. It doesn't matter some Unicode chars are clearer
if compared to the ASCII combination in isolation.
They are not clearer to the people who have never used
them, and aren't about to start, either.

Just as in the discussion (1+ data) vs. (+ 1 data) the
context - which here is: history, custom, and
experience - and not the properties of the things
compared, is the answer. With computers it is ASCII.
On university whiteboards anyone can draw whatever
chars anyone likes. I'm not saying, "Stop doing that,
use ASCII instead", am I? So the university people
should perhaps stick to their whiteboards as well!

underground experts united

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