----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Richter" <[log in to unmask]>
> ASCII is unwise. Diacriticals are necessary in my opinion and since only
> the lower 128 characters are common to ANSI and ASCII, translation becomes
> necessary even for modern platforms. I use HTML 1.0 for all such work; it
> can be tedious, but it is a format which is unlikely to die and which is
> fully cross-platform today.
> Of course, in practice HTML is ASCII - it is written in only those lower
> 128 characters - but it does require interpretation. Fortunately, the
> interpreter to any other language is straightforward. Note that there are
> still painful restrictions since HTML 1.0 does not have all the
> diacriticals in common use in languages of interest. The $#nnn; structure
> does depend on the user's language.
A little explanation here...my comment was originally in regard to program-
specific formats (the worst example is MS Access, which breaks data into
2K pages including previous entries if not compacted). For example, the
Abrams C8T format, which is text based random access, will produce a
legible (if difficult to read) format on just about anything from a
teletype terminal forward.
The problem with including high-order characters (necessary, as MR notes,
if diacriticals are to be used) is that the meanings of bytes 128-255 are
by no means standard! DOS uses various code pages, Windows various character
sets and the like, each one may have a different meaning for given
bytes. Since we have no absolute guarantee of the viability of different
operating systems over a very-long-term span...and since recreating any
128-character system requires only that the English language as we know it
survives in some form, since it becomes a sort of "cryptogram"...we can be
reasonably sure that ASCII will either survive or can be easily
from archived data.
Keep in mind also that I am thinking of absolute worst-case
was a famous cartoon which showed a hapless survivor in a
setting, carrying a scorched and battered portable television and looking
vainly for a place to plug the AC cord...
Steven C. Barr