Sunday, November 14, 2010

on latex notation, text editors and keyboard design

D: I was impressed by how Latex allows IPA characters.
Those are some sensible keyboard shortcuts for IPA.

D: Look at a typical text editor interface.
The options available are not reflected on a standard qwerty keyboard.
The keyboard has many obscure and largely unused symbols hogging space.

(I'll look at keybaord layouts another day.)

Anyway, my Google blog has bold - italic.
My Google e-mail has bold-italic-underline- size -font- colour - highlight colour.
Hmm, it seems to get confused if I change text size after picking colours.
Which is a neat artistic result.

My point? We should have the reverse of mouse gestures.
Do with a button on the keyboard what we now need a mouse to do.
A keyboard should have those text options readily available.
It would be brilliant for math and science notation.
It would be compatible with a standard online text editor, as well as word processors.
A similar process with diacrtics would help with a generic universal Romance-language modified ROman alphabet system.

French accents:
Hmm turns out French has 5 accents.
I never did figure out what they meant.
That might explain why I nearly failed French after taking it 8 years.
I still cannot speak it.

I did memorize alt-0233 for the word resumé. I was tired of typing the verb ree-zoom.

Anyway, capital letters leave space for accents. Nor do small letters that have some upright element.
All in all, pretty poor design.

A qwerty keyboard cannot easily be reduced to half the characters.
Sure, voiced/voiceless pairs such as BP are natural candidates.
But this relationship is pretty opaque with Roman letters to most laypeople.

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