Thursday, December 22, 2011

Loeb Classical Library Greek/Latin Texts Online

Anyone interested in finding downloadable copies of Loeb bilingual Greek/Latin classical texts, many of which are out of copyright, should check out this site.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Reading Non-Unicode Kurdish

I recently got a query from a user indicating that Kurdish in Windows docs was appearing on their Mac with various Arabic language letters where Kurdish characters should be.

I could not figure out how that would happen, until I stumbled across a wikipedia article telling how special "Ali" fonts had been devised to let Windows users who only had an Arabic keyboard layout could still create text that looked Kurdish. Luckily the same article provided the address of an online site which can translate the non-standard "Ali" encoding into real Kurdish Unicode.

The same site can be used to convert a number of other non-Unicode Kurdish font systems.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Internationalized Domain Names Revisited

Since my earlier article on this topic, updated specifications for Internationalized Domain Names (IDNA2008) have been published. As a result, users can probably expect to see a rapid increase in urls written in scripts other than Latin.

Because of security concerns about phishing and other possible misuse of IDN's, browser makers have adopted (differing) mechanisms to filter the way users see such urls in the address bar after they click on a link.

Safari will display urls in their Unicode form for any script on a well-hidden, user-editable "whitelist." Others are displayed in a Latin "punycode" version.

Chrome displays urls in their Unicode form as long as they contain characters from a single language among those on a list set by the user in the browser preferences and do not contain any "blacklisted" characters. Otherwise in punycode.

Firefox and Opera display urls in their Unicode form only if they are on a "whitelist" of approved domains maintained by Mozilla and do not contain any "blacklisted" characters. Otherwise in punycode.

I had a look at the Safari script whitelist and it seems to me that it could be a good deal longer without causing any additional problems. As a "script" can sometimes cover many languages, Apple's method seems rather less restrictive than those used by the other browsers. Whether that is better for the user I don't know.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Typing N'ko

The N'Ko (ߒߞߏ) script, used for writing a number of West African languages, was the topic of a NY Times article recently.

For those wishing to read/write N'ko on OS X, try the font and keyboard available here or the kit from XenoTypeTech.

For using N'Ko on iOS devices, get the Tw Tool N'ko app.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Classic Mongolian Script Input for iOS

Classic Mongolian Script is notoriously difficult to input and display on a computer -- OS X 10.7 still cannot handle it -- but there is now an app for this for iOS devices: Mongolian Type Writer. Emails, for example, include both a graphic in vertical format and a text file in horizontal format.