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Humanist Archives: Nov. 18, 2018, 6:55 a.m. Humanist 32.201 - Format of postings & limitations of devices

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 201.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
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    [1]    From: Willard McCarty 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.198: Format of postings & limitations of devices (23)

    [2]    From: Jeffrey Savoye 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.198: Format of postings & limitations of devices (47)


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: 2018-11-17 08:43:40+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.198: Format of postings & limitations of devices

My thanks to Henry for pointing out that my troubles are shared. From a 
technical perspective, my problem is that I am trying to bend a device to 
ways of use that its internal architecture and interface were never meant 
to accommodate. In the absence of my laptop, I am wanting the iPad to 
supply a common memory space and to allow a mouse. The former has 
clumsy work-a rounds — iCloud and the like — but the clumsiness of 
using cloudy storage to pass files from one app to another slows 
everything I am doing way down. And the finger is a very blunt instrument.

Perhaps I simply don’t understand how to use this lovely device.

The larger point, I suppose, is that skill with tools and the incorporated 
understanding that acquisition of skills confers are rather under-appreciated. 
Handwaving is a poor substitute for the skilled hand, eye and mind!

Yours,
WM

Sent from my iPad





--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: 2018-11-17 12:56:05+00:00
        From: Jeffrey Savoye 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.198: Format of postings & limitations of devices

My preferred working platform is a traditional desktop machine, with a 
full-sized keyboard and a fairly wide screen. I do not own a cellphone 
or ipad, and cannot understand the current obsession with trying to get 
everything to fit into a small, handheld device the size of a deck of 
cards. (To me, it is like trying to watch Lawrence of Arabia on a wrist 
watch, which would rather miss the point of the movie.)

My own website project primarily features a lot of text, most of which 
is taken from printed sources. In the original print editions, the text 
is frequently supplemented by illustrations, nicely integrated with the 
text on the constant and predictable printed page. On a website, trying 
to adjust material to fit an ever-changing amount of potential devices 
with their attendant features and limitations is a daunting task. What 
was already a challenge becomes a near impossibility with handheld 
mobile devices. I have expended considerable effort to conform to these 
limitations, without entirely compromising the overall presentation, but 
there is really only so much one can do when one is presenting a large 
block of text. There is a point, however, where I simply throw up my 
hands and say enough! If you want to use a tiny device, you will have to 
accept the limitations yourself.

Another problem, I fear, is that students are ever more likely to fall 
into the trap of assuming that if something does not exist on the 
internet, then it does not exist or isn't worth seeking out. I am lucky 
that my subject is sufficiently old that much of the material by and 
about it are out of copyright, and I have been fortunate in being able 
to make special arrangements to provide full texts of a number of 
significant newer works that are protected by copyright. Increasingly, 
however, I find that making new arrangements is exceedingly difficult, 
as publishers now see the phantom chance of large amounts of income from 
providing e-texts for a fee of material that was once considered too 
obscure or out of date to be worth the trouble. When such arrangements 
can be made, they now want short-term agreements, for a renewable price, 
even though I make no money on providing what I offer on the web, and do 
not claim exclusive use and am perfectly willing to let them do whatever 
they like in addition to my use. The placement of much of this material 
behind fragmented, exclusive and expensive paywalls in another problem, 
particularly for those of us who do not enjoy affiliation with 
institutions that can cover or offset this cost.

Jeffrey A. Savoye
The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore
https://www.eapoe.org






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Editor: Willard McCarty (King's College London, U.K.; Western Sydney University, Australia)
Software designer: Malgosia Askanas (Mind-Crafts)

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