Sunday, January 27, 2013

New Mac Font Editor


Type Light 3.2x, a new free font editor for OS X, has just been released, and a paid version with additional features is expected later this year.

Previously the only free app of this sort was FontForge, which is available here.  Other standard Mac font editors are FontLab, RoboFont,  and Glyphs.

Adding Dictionaries to Dictionary.app


As of OS X 10.8.2, Dictionary.app has modules for reference dictionaries in US English, British English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, and Simplified Chinese.  Some ways to add more are :

This site has German, Arabic, Latin, Chinese, Italian.

Etresoft has a dictionary for the Quran and two Bible dictionaries.


Others available are Italian, Norwegian, Catalan, and Romanian.

Plus Polish.

Another Arabic

A German Thesaurus.

Also check this site.

As of 10.11,  Apple has added Italian, Dutch, Korean, Korean/English, Chinese/English, Hindi, Norwegian, Swedish, French-English, German-English, Italian, Spanish-English, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, Thai, Japanese-English.

Here are instructions for getting and installing Apple's Dictionary Development Kit.

Here are some instructions for converting dictionaries from other sources to use with OS X.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

iOS Word Processor for Arabic/Hebrew


Because Pages for iOS has bugs which make it largely unsuitable for writing Arabic/Hebrew, I have been looking at other word processor apps to see if they could do things correctly. e.g. a) start the sentence at the right side of the page, b) normal cursor behavior,  and c) correct positioning of numbers, punctuation, and list headings -- while still having the the ability to produce rich text in various formats.

The best I have found so far is Textilus.   

But I am not much of an expert at Arabic/Hebrew.  If any readers know of shortcomings with Textilus or have other suggestions, please comment.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Secrets of Unicode Sorting


Recently a poster in the Apple Support Community pointed out some odd OS X sorting behavior for Latin accented characters, at least when "Standard" sorting is chosen in System Preferences > Language & Text > Language.  Indeed, the results seem counter-intuitive, with characters sorting differently depending on what characters follow them. Here is an example :

Single Character:          A  Á   À   Â   Å    Ä   Ã   Æ
Two Character String:  Ãb Äc Åd Âe Æa Àf Ág Ah

However strange it may appear, this is the correct result of the default Unicode sorting algorithm.  In that system every character is assigned 4 levels of "weights" and a particular formula is used to create sorting "keys" for character strings.  Certain groups of characters are considered essentially the same at the first level, so that the sorting order for a string can be determined by differences at the second level, which is potentially derived from the second character in the string.  To make sorting conform to the expectations of users of particular languages,  additional "tailoring" rules need to be set up to override the results of the Unicode default.

Readers wishing to explore further should see: