Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tips for exploring the Arabic Internet


Not knowing Arabic makes investigation of El Naschie difficult. Most of the really good, damning stuff is in Arabic. Machine translations are atrocious. But there are little unexpected complications that come up as well.


One of the most irritating is that many text editors and word processors are flummoxed when you paste in Arabic. This may be either because Arabic characters are not supported, or because right-to-left mode is not supported. In the first case you'll see nonsense characters or question marks when you paste in Arabic. You can avoid this problem if your text editor supports UTF-8 encoding. In the second case, although the Arabic characters do appear, they are rearranged into the wrong order instantly upon pasting. Truly infuriating! You can avoid this by using a word processor that allows you to switch back and forth between left-to-right and right-to-left mode. Make sure it's set to R2L before pasting in Arabic text.

I use Vista Ultimate x64 and Office 2007. Arabic support had to be enabled not only within Word (Office button... Word options... Language settings), but also within the operating system (Control panel... Windows update... Windows Ultimate Extras). But now it does indeed have buttons I press to set R2L vs L2R mode, and Word and I are happy in both Arabic and English. This guy has tips that may be helpful in your particular case.

If you don't want to mess with OS and word processor configurations (and I don't blame you) you may be able to get by with BPad, a nice simple bi-directional text editor that supports UTF-8. It's free, even.

Anyone got tips for exploring the Arabic Internet? Put them in the comments.
Translate English to Arabic


محمد النشائي El Naschie Watch محمد النشائي El Naschie News محمد النشائي
محمد النشائي All El Naschie All The Time محمد النشائي

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