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Re: Word Wrap
- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU
- Subject: Re: Word Wrap
- From: Richard Minsky <minsky@MINSKY.COM>
- Date: Mon, 4 Aug 1997 19:06:42 -0400
- Message-Id: <199708042306.QAA30320@SUL-Server-2.Stanford.EDU>
- Sender: "The Book Arts: binding, typography, collecting" <BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
For the convenience of individuals whose programs won't wrap I will push the
word wrap button for my postings to this list (please forgive me if I
Please also accept my apologies, as before this thread I was unaware that so
many people were having problems with my messages.
Mr. Seaver's post informs me that *I* have been negligent in *my*
responsibilities, and am discourteous.
All along I thought I was exercising my responsibility and being
considerate, not understanding that it took so much effort to make the words
wrap on receipt. My mail program (eudora) does it automatically. My own
preference has always been to receive mail unwrapped, so it will format to
my chosen window size. I often have several programs running simultaneously,
and at those times have a fairly narrow mail window. In this format mail
which arrives "pre-wrapped" is annoyingly difficult to look at, like this:
> There are numerous mail readers which cannot wrap your
>long lines for
>you -- that is something that *you* are supposed to take
>care of at your
>end. Sure, using Netscape, as I do, I can, if I choose,
>mouse up to the
>top, click on the "view", mouse down to "wrap long lines"
>and click on
>that -- but why should I?
I figure one just does that just one time, when installing the mail program,
and it works all the time. If I elected _not_ to wrap on receipt, I would be
forced to resize my window for Mr, Seaver's posting, obscuring other active
windows, so that I would have to resize down again to resume my other work.
Thus the pre-wrapped method causes me to have to choose between reading
long-line posts such as the above with an unsatisfactory line breakup, or
constantly resizing my windows.
If I receive mail that is not pre-wrapped, it looks like this:
> What I usually do is just delete any message with long >lines. It's
easier, and I figure that if the writer really >wanted people to read it,
he'd do them the courtesy of >either using an editor that did word wrap
properly (and >some don't) or entering the carriage returns manually at
>the prescribed 65-70 characters.
> Going thru over 100 messages a day (not counting >newsgroups) takes
enough time -- doing the "wrap long >lines" thing for those too contrary to
do the word wrap on >their end just takes too much effort.
>Harmon Seaver firstname.lastname@example.org >http://www.dibbs.net/~hseaver
I find that much easier to read than the pre-wrapped message, so I have up
until now sent my mail unwrapped, so people could format it as they prefer,
rather than inflict my window size on them. Until Mr. Seaver's message came,
I was unaware that I was to resize my window to 65-70 characters. Now that I
know that, I just tried it. I'm afraid that size doesn't work well for me.
It's too many characters on a line, and slows down my reading. My eye takes
too long at that line length finding the beginning of the next line. Maybe
it's because the prescription in my eyeglasses is so strong that it bends
the field of view at the edges. That's why I had to stop playing baseball--
as the ball moves in from the edge of the eyeglass frame it isn't where it
appears to be, because the lens bends the image so much. Before that I was
an ok outfielder, and could hit well too. By the time contact lenses came
along I was already out of it. Maybe if I put on contact lenses I could deal
with a 70 character line. This is about 60 characters to a line, and that's
I don't know whose prescription 70 characters is prescribed for. Probably
people with better eyesight than mine.
If anyone has made it this far through my message, you may be wondering what
this has to do with _book arts_. It seems to me that the issue is one of
typography. This is a book. Everyone is choosing what typeface to read.
Right now I'm using Courier to write this, and view messages. But sometimes
I get tired of it, switch the background color from white to cream or light
blue, and switch the font to Bembo or Centaur. Of course, with a
proportional font I miss some folks' ascii art, but that's the tradeoff. I
can always switch back if I think it's worth it.
I like having control of my viewing options, and I suspect some others do as
well. That gets us back to whether the sender should inflict line length or
allow the receiver to set it into the desired window size. Perhaps it's a
handicapped rights issue as well as an aesthetic issue.