At 06:31 PM 7/14/2003 -0400, [log in to unmask] wrote:
>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
In all likelihood, this is information everyone has already, but in HTML a
lower-case 'a' with an umlaut becomes "$auml;". That is, it uses the lower
128 to represent not only themselves but a significant subset of the
diactriticals. The program to interpret HTML in text is trivial in any
computer language I know; it is a given in any browser.
There is also the "Twilight Zone" episode where the survivor of the nuclear
war finally has time to read the books in his beloved library - and smashes
the lenses of his only pair of glasses. In real terms, there are warehouses
of NASA satellite data which cannot be reduced because there is no longer
hardware to read the tapes on which they are stored.
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