OT: Quote of the day

Graydon oak at uniserve.com
Fri Oct 2 18:48:38 EDT 2009

On Fri, Oct 02, 2009 at 03:35:38PM -0700, Joseph McAllister scripsit:
> Speaking of computers, and interfaces, and ergonomics, brings me to a  
> question.
> How many of you members of this list have screens that limit you to 79  
> or 80 characters in width?
> I know on my Apple ][ and my original Macintosh Plus, that was the  
> screen width. As such, mail programs and word processing software  
> defaulted to a 79 column line wrap to prevent the ugliness of having  
> sentences disappear off the right hand side of the viewing space.
> That was 30 years ago, and I seriously doubt anyone here is still  
> constrained by such mechanical bounds.


I am typing this is in a terminal window, using a text editor (Vim) that
has its line wrap set to 72 for email.

Now, I don't *have* to do it that way, but because the terminal window
uses a 22 point font, it's not a bad approximation of what I can
actually get from a 21", 1600x1200 LCD display.

> In this age of wide screens, large screens, variable text sizes, and
> non-monospaced fonts, I'm curious as to why so many of the URLs I see
> posted are wrapped, for one thing, and not maintained after that wrap
> as a link?

Three reasons -- MTAs betwixt hence and thence may well believe in an 80
column world, everybody isn't using the same line end characters (so
those may be substituted/replaced/created by various bits of software as
the email wends its merry way through the tubes), and, probably, the
list software doesn't allow arbitrary line lengths for excellent reasons
relating to security (no sending the list a uuencoded unix kernel, that
ancient and venerable indication of disapproval.)

-- Graydon

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