Browser Newsletter 1134

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Best of the Moment

Why Microsoft Word Must Die

Charlie Stross | Charlie's Diary | 12th October 2013

Rant. "I hate Microsoft Word. I want Microsoft Word to die. I hate Microsoft Word with a burning, fiery passion. I hate Microsoft Word the way Winston Smith hated Big Brother. Our reasons are, alarmingly, not dissimilar. Microsoft Word is a tyrant of the imagination, a petty, unimaginative, inconsistent dictator that is ill-suited to any creative writer's use ... The reason I want Word to die is that until it does, it is unavoidable"

Information Is Light

Tom Stoppard | The Guardian | 11th October 2013

Speech on receiving the PEN/Pinter prize, much of it in praise of Harold Pinter. "The Birthday Party was a problem play because it was as if the author had arrived late. In fact, he seemed to have got there only when we got there, and knew no more than we did. Such was the Pinter play and if it became less of a problem it was because Pinter loosened our expectations of an art form which had been telling us stories for centuries"

The Reincarnation Machine

Adam Minter | Foreign Affairs | 7th October 2013

In praise of metal shredders. "The shredder stands as the singularly most important piece of recycling equipment ever developed. It is, among other things, the best and really only solution to managing the biggest source of consumer waste in the world today: the roughly 14 million American automobiles that are junked annually" Much of the shredded metal gets shipped to Asia, and made into new cars there

The Death Of Urdu Script

Ali Eteraz | Medium | 9th October 2013

Kudos to Microsoft for introducing an authentic Urdu font in Windows 8, derived from the ornate Perso-Arabic script called nastaliq used in Urdu manuscript. But it may be too little too late. Most platforms render Urdu in naskh, an angular script that comes from Arabic, because naskh is much easier to code. Which is painful enough; but the contrast with nastaliq is so jarring that many users have turned to Romanisation instead

Alice Munro, Our Chekhov

James Wood | New Yorker | 11th October 2013

"The announcement that this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to Alice Munro probably strikes many readers and writers as deliriously incredible. Few contemporary writers are more admired, and with good reason. Everyone gets called 'our Chekhov'. All you have to do nowadays is write a few half-decent stories and you are 'our Chekhov'. But Alice Munro really is our Chekhov — which is to say, the English language’s Chekhov"

Video of the day: Three Little Pigs

Thought for the day:

"No opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible"— W.H. Auden

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