How small this world is now

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Extended US keyboard layout design which allows to enter Latin (all European, African, North American Indigenous languages, etc)., Greek, Cyrillic (Russian, Serbian, Kyrgyz, etc.), Hebrew, IPA, and which is conformant to ISO/IEC 9995-3:2010. This layout is described as a draft in the CEN workshop agreement (CWA) 16108 “Functional Multilingual Extensions to European Keyboard Layouts” (March 2010) ftp://ftp.cen.eu/CEN/Sectors/List/ICT/CWAs/CWA-16108-2010-MEEK.pdf

Contributed by:  Phil Roberts

Who could have imagined a network and a set of technologies that would bring us so close together? Music is one of many pursuits that seems to bring together people across language barriers, across cultural barriers, across insurmountable divides. Recently I came across some references to the St Petersburg Philharmonia, the oldest symphony is Russia I am told. A quick search on the web got me to their home page (http://www.philharmonia.spb.ru/).

This is absolutely fascinating and provides an example of how the Internet too can bring people together across language barriers. The St Petersburg Philharmonia has published all sorts of content about themselves in the language of the people where they live – Russian. But because they put it on the World Wide Web, and because that is distributed across the Internet around the world, I have access to it as well. I don’t know any Russian.

Now it so happens that they have an English language version of their website and that’s great for me. It also just so happens that version of their site isn’t reachable right at the moment. But all is not lost as there are tools that make it possible to generate an English language version of the site automatically. That’s not as great as a pure translation, but it gets a lot. And for someone whose native language is neither Russian nor English, they are able to get to it also.

So the Internet has made it possible for people all over the world to publish things they are interested in, in their own languages, and for people all over the world to find that, fairly easily, and to read it, fairly easily, through automatic translation. Who could have planned all that?  And I don’t have to get a keyboard like the one in the picture.

Phil Roberts
Software guy, sometime mist whisperer (@mistwhispers), still amazed by the Internet.

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