May 2004 Archives

Yiddish from the National Yiddish Book Center

I love to visit the NYBC periodically to see the slowly changing exhibits, see what is new at the book store, and just wander the wonderful stacks of Yiddish books. Last week my friend Rich called to say that he was driving through and why didn't we meet in Amherst. We had a splendid time and met Catherine Madsen, the Associate Director of the Yiddish Book Department who happily dug up a box of old wooden type (alas, my least favorite variety - that horrid high contrast thick/thin Bodoni-influenced stuff that represented the nadir of Yiddish typography) and a poster for me to photograph. I'll be back for a longer visit later this summer as I prepare for my KlezKanada lecture. I've installed a new image gallery package, qdig, so that I can show up the pictures we took. I'll add more galleries of type photos over time. For now, take a look at our May 17, 2004 visit to the National Yiddish book center.

Hebrew on the Web

I've been researching Hebrew on the web for several months. A friend of mine at Hebrew College asked me to look at several URLs and figure out what he could do to put things online that would be equally accessible under Hebrew-enabled Macs or PCs (or, for that matter, Linux, Unix, whatever). As folks who have done this for years know, this is messy. There are two general standards, the Windows way (charset=Windows-1255), and the supposedly standard way, (charset=iso-8859-8). If you are encoding your pages straight UTF-8, you also take advantage of Unicode. Last year I did some tests with my friend Jack Woehr and we discovered that if you really write Unicode, Hebrew displays fine on Mac and PC using utf-8. This year I got a quick project to get some Hebrew up on the web for "we are the future" and jumped in to see if I could find something simple. The results mostly work on PC, but there are some issues on the Mac, under OS X, using Safari.

Ari Davidow, Hebrew Typographer, Extraordinaire


For over a decade, while I lived in Oakland, CA during the 1980s and 1990s, my answering machine informed all and sundry that they had reached "Ari Davidow, Hebrew Typographer, Extraordinaire." It was a title of which I was immensely pround.

Eventually I got fed up with tools that never let me set economical Hebrew with the finesse and skill that I could apply to English. I was also busy programming and working on web tools, so I took a Sabbatical.

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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