There’s something fascinating to me about obscure punctuation marks. I think it’s that I have great sympathy for smart people who attempt to solve problems that regular people don’t really care about.
Flavorwire recently posted a roundup of interesting real punctuation marks (an article that seems to have been cribbed from an older mental_floss post actually). Most of these are the creations of Hervé Bazin who proposed new exclamation and question mark variations to signify acclamation, certainty, doubt, love and others.
Hervé Bazin’s proposed punctuation marks for acclamation, certainty, doubt and love
On the lighter side, College Humor has recently invented eight new punctuation marks (that it thinks) we desperately need.
The mockwotation marks are my absolute favourites. I would do away with the actual quotation mark elements and just keep the wavy hands.
Similarly, I wonder if there could be a fun use for an air quotes / scare quotes punctuation mark? I would use them to distance myself from some awful turn of phrase by indicating that it’s not something I would usually say.
More punctuation fun →
Courier Prime is a free and open source monospaced typeface by Alan Dague-Greene. It’s an improved Courier, designed to be ‘less blobby’ with a bolder bold and real italics.
Since the beginning, screenplays have been written in Courier. Its uniformity allows filmmakers to make handy comparisons and estimates, such as 1 page = 1 minute of screen time.
But there’s no reason Courier has to look terrible. We set out to make the best damn Courier ever.
Playfic is a community for writing, sharing, and playing interactive fiction games (aka “text adventures”).
Behind the scenes, Playfic simply takes the game source you enter and passes it to the commandline Inform 7 compiler, and views it in the browser using the open-source Parchment interpreter that plays the games. Playfic’s just the social glue tying them together.
This seems like a great way to get started with IF!
Drew Breunig on how journalism, writing, photography and art have become “content”.
Imperial Leather SkinKind hydrate cotton extract & oat milk BODY WASH hypoallergenic
As a non-single guy who has relinquished control over the buying of bathroom products, I am regularly confused when confronted with a new selection of unfamiliar bottles. For example, I was just faced with Imperial Leather’s “SkinKind hydrate cotton extract & oat milk BODY WASH hypoallergenic”. At least here the keywords are capitalised, but I’m pretty sure it’s often the case that marketing jargon entirely replaces the keywords (Shampoo, conditioner and body wash or shower gel) that I’m seeking.
Perhaps the soap companies could spare a little space on the lids for a simple icon that quickly explains the intended use to the uninterested user.
In these quick examples below, the first icon is a shampoo and conditioner, while the second is a body wash.
Please and thank you.
From the Business Insider excerpting policy:
We excerpt others the way we hope others will excerpt us.
What does that mean? It means that if you think our stuff is worth bringing to your readers’ attention, we are honored and grateful. Please excerpt it as liberally as you want. In return, please just give us clear credit, links back, and an incentive for interested readers to visit our site. (Not all readers–some.)
This is an issue I agonise over a fair bit, and it’s interesting to learn that BI are actually somewhat more permissive in this area than I would expect them to be.
Like NaNoWriMo, but for technical book authors: PragProWriMo – the Pragmatic Programmers Writing Month.
To help you along, we’re setting up a forum and a Twitter account. Follow us on Twitter at @pragprowrimo to stay up to date. Join the forum at forums.pragprog.com/forums/190 for more detailed writing advice, answers to your writing questions, and progress reports from participants. And when you finish your 60 pages, you might even get some special recognition from us.
I’ve been reading In The Plex, recently, so naturally I’ve been thinking a lot about how to use data in interesting ways. This post appealed:
Earlier I read this post via Hacker News on testing startup ideas. It got me thinking about whether or not you could do something similar in your newsroom. I’ll call it A/B Testing for News Coverage™.
via Using A/B testing to find story ideas – andymboyle.com
In a nutshell: Write some spec articles, run AdWord campaigns for them, see which ones are most popular. You could get the value of this without running any ad campaigns though. All webmasters – especially those with newsy content – should pay attention to their analytics to learn what content has proved popular, what searches brought readers in, and be on the look out for spikes of interest in particular topics.
When I clicked through to read this blog post, I was expecting it to be a post about A/B testing fiction story ideas. Imagine a kind of choose your own adventure story where the author writes the opening of the story, then two or three different continuations. The most popular branch becomes canonical, and the author continues the story from there.
I doubt that’s an idea that’d appeal to many authors, but some variation of this could be a fun experiment.
The 2012 Obama campaign is now on Tumblr, and I have a big problem with them:
It’s nice to meet you.
There are lots of reasons we’re excited to be launching the Obama 2012 campaign’s new Tumblr today. But mostly it’s because we’re looking at this as an opportunity to create something that’s not just ours, but yours, too.
We’d like this Tumblr to be a huge collaborative storytelling effort—a place for people across the country to share what’s going on in our respective corners of it and how we’re getting involved in this campaign to keep making it better.
My problem is not political, it’s a grammar niggle.
The Obama campaign does not have ‘a Tumblr’. Tumblr is the company and the blogging platform they run. Tumblr is the sum total of all the Tumblr blogs. They have a tumblelog, or a Tumblr blog, or just a blog.
Likewise one doesn’t have ‘a Twitter’. You use Twitter, you are on Twitter, you have a Twitter page or a Twitter feed or a Twitter profile, but Twitter is the company and the service.
See also: The correct use of ‘blog’ and ‘blog post’, wherein I correct Mr. Stephen Fry.
I can’t see obscure punctuation like the ‘snark’ finding a place any time soon. People seem to have enough problems with the punctuation we already have. Besides, sarcasm symbol would instantly reduce the humour in the sarcasm – it’s a bit like explaining a joke.
Another mark, now obscure, is the point d’ironie, sometimes known as a “snark.” A back-to-front question mark, it was deployed by the 16th-century printer Henry Denham to signal rhetorical questions, and in 1899 the French poet Alcanter de Brahm suggested reviving it. More recently, the difficulty of detecting irony and sarcasm in electronic communication has prompted fresh calls for a revival of the point d’ironie. But the chances are slim that it will make a comeback.
Is This the Future of Punctuation!? – online.wsj.com
Every year I toy with the idea of participating in NaNoWriMo. I don’t consider myself a good writer, but I have lots of ideas for stories and characters. I think I would enjoy the cathartic aspect of just trying to churn out a novel NaNoWriMo style:
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
Dribbble is a community site for very talented graphic designers. It’s not their role to debate these details. I would love to see a Dribbble for writing. A place where I can post the latest Intercom broadcast, email, even a sentence from the interface and get feedback. “You can strip the word currently there.“, “The important word here is buried in the middle of the sentence!“. “The message makes sense, but what I am supposed to do next?“.
(via The Language of Interfaces – contrast.ie)
A clever idea. I could see this being useful outside of UX circles. Perhaps for crafting the perfect marketing tweet or optimising a paragraph for SEO? I could even see some ways to make this profitable…