Monday, November 26, 2007

OS X 10.5 Leopard: Fixing the Russian PC Keyboard

Somehow Apple forgot to include the character ё (U+0451) in the Russian PC keyboard layout, at least as far as the ANSI physical keyboards are concerned (whether it shows up on the extra key on an ISO keyboard I don't know). If you need a replacement, you can download the RussianPC or RussianPC2 layouts from my iDisk.

The Russian and Russian Phonetic layouts do not have this problem.

Friday, November 23, 2007

OS X 10.5 Leopard: Fix for Missing Keyboard Viewer and Character Palette

Some users of Leopard have reported not having any Keyboard Viewer or Character Palette entry in System Preferences/International/Input Menu, so they cannot activate and use these functions. A possible fix has been posted in the Apple Forums here.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

OS X 10.5 Leopard: Fixing Thai

In Leopard Apple decided to switch the default Thai font from Lucida Grande to Thonburi, making the Thai characters in the former inaccessible. This causes problems because a) the Thonburi Bold font is non-functioning for some reason and b) Thonburi's spacing is botched for mixed Thai/Latin text.

Pending Apple's fixing these issues, one idea is to replace Thonburi in System/Library/Fonts with a different Thai font. I downloaded the Garuda set described at this site and used FontForge to rename them Thonburi. After making backup copies of Apple's Thonburi, I replaced it with the renamed Garuda, and this seems to work. A copy of the renamed set can be gotten from my iDisk (the folder Garudathonburi). Feedback on whether this solution is helpful would be welcome.

Another fix would be to replace the Lucida Grande in Leopard with the same font from Tiger. I have seen reports that this does not seem to cause any problems.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Firefox 3 Fixes Language Problems

I've always kept FireFox on my Mac as an alternative to Safari, but its value has been limited because of FireFox's inability to recognize certain Apple fonts that are required for the correct display of Devanagari and similar scripts. This has now been fixed in FireFox 3, a beta version of which has just become available. Using this test page, you should see that Hindi, Tamil, and Tibetan all look right (Tibetan requires 10.5). Bugs in some earlier versions related to Thai and Cyrillic also seem fixed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

OS X 10.5 Leopard: Fix for Missing Input Menu Setting

For some reason, Leopard no longer has the setting previously found in OS X in System Preferences/International/Input Menu for "Allow a different input source for each document." This is badly missed by many who need to have different keyboards active in different apps and don't want to constantly have to switch the layout. A possible fix is the app InputSwitcher. Instructions are in the ReadMe contained in the download.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Translation/Localization Tools Update

Earlier this year I did a short article on tools for translation and localization using a Mac. Recently I've become aware of a blog by Jean-Christophe Helary which I highly recommend to anyone involved in this field:

Mac For Translators

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fix for Leopard Chinese Input Bug

10.5's Traditional Chinese Input Method for Hanin/YiTian has a faulty keyboard mapping which results in incorrect output and missing characters. A possible fix for this is described here.

Friday, November 9, 2007

OS X 10.5 Leopard: New Vietnamese IM Includes Han Nom

Leopard adds a new set of Vietnamese keyboards which implement the most common ASCII systems for inputting this language -- Telex, VNI, and VIQR.

More interesting is that when one of these is selected you get a new item in the "flag" menu, "Convert to Hán-Nôm," which lets you convert selected modern Vietnamese Latin script into the Nom or Chinese characters used in ancient Vietnamese.

iPhone Language Capabilities Expanded

Firmware update 1.1.2 of Nov. 9, 2007 reportedly adds French, German, and Italian user interfaces plus UK, French, German, and Italian keyboards/predictive typing. There is an "Asian Fonts" setting for Chinese or Japanese, the purpose of which is unclear, since it apparently does not enable input for those languages. The latest iPhone User Guide on Apple's site (p. 19) indicates this device has the same language capabilities as the iPod Touch, but that is not yet accurate as far as I can tell.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

New Cuneiform Font Available

A new font, CuneiformComposite.ttf, which corresponds to the full Sumero-Akkadian section of Unicode 5.0, can now be downloaded from this page. For more general info on this script, see my earlier article.

With the new custom input method generator included in Leopard, it should be fairly easy to build a way to input Cuneiform directly from the keyboard on the basis of sign names or a word dictionary.

OS X 10.5 Leopard: New Custom Input Method Generator

While previous versions of OS X included a way to make custom input methods, it was only good for Chinese and had other limitations. Leopard comes with a generic system for creating input methods that should work with any Unicode font, and thus open new options for typing scripts that don't lend themselves to the usual alphabetic keyboard layout. Essentially all you have to do is produce a tabbed file equating ascii strings to the output you wish to appear, put it into the proper format, and install it in Home/Library/Input Methods. Details can be found here.

Note that the Apple article example is only for the .inputplugin format. For the .cin format, see this page.