July 2010 Archives

Korean Setup Info (Even Mac!)


For whatever reason, I've found it difficult to find detailed, up-to-date information on how to type Korean on Windows and for years, almost nothing on the Macintosh. But in this year's Computing with Accents Site cleanup, I had a little better luck. See links below - or you can visit the Korean page.




Computer Setup Info from Yes Japan


If you are wondering how to work with Japanese outside of Japan, you may want to see the instructions from YesJapan. They are detailed, have lots of screen capture illustrations and are caught up to Windows 7 and the recent Mac OS X options.


STIX Math Font Formally Released


One of the more pleasant surprises in computer technolofy is when a long-standing project under development comes to fruition as a usable product. Such is the case with the STIX Fonts, a set of OTF fonts released under the SIL Open Font License, which is an open source license.

The focus of the STIX fonts are math and technical symbols, and there are plenty of those in the font set (at the appropriate Unicode points of course). However the fonts also include a variety of Latin, Greek and Cyrillic characters and even some phonetic characters (which is nice for linguistic publications referencing logic and set notation). The typographic design is based on Times New Roman, a common font used in many technical publications. STIX is also designed to be used in MathML.

There are other math freeware fonts, but the STIX family is notable for 1) including a variety of predesigned fonts for bold, italic and multiple font sizes and 2) being sponsored a consortium of scientific societies including the American Institute of Physics, American Chemical Society, American Mathematical Society, IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), American Physical Society and Elsevier.

Version 1.0 includes basic support, but future versions are scheduled to include additional support for Microsoft Word and LaTex.


iPad & Unicode: B-


I'm not first to announce that iPad is not as Unicode savvy as it could be, but hopefully I can give some clear instructions.

I will state up front that I 100% (emoji for "love") my iPad, but Unicode support is one area that could use some improvement.

Reading: B+

The good news is that you can read a lot of scripts if the text comes in via Safari or Mail. The ability to read a script depends on having a font with glyphs for that block and Apple does try to hit many of the modern scripts. So coverage is decent, extending to most phonetic , Braille, math as well scripts such as Lao, Tibetan, Cherokee Armenian, Georgian, Hebrew, Arabic, CJK, Cyrillic, Greek and so forth.

However, there are gaps such as Ethopic, the Canadian United Aboriginal symbols, most Southeast Asian scripts outside of Thai and Lao, and many Indic scripts except for Devanagari/Gujarati/Gurmukhi. There is basic display of Tamil, Oriya and some South Indic scripts, but I am not sure if the vowel marks are placed correctly (it appears not). There are also missing "extended" characters in the Latin, Cyrillic and Greek blocks - not great for some scholarly work. And if you were hoping to catch up on your Phonecian, Coptic or Ogam reading, you may need to go elsewhere (or ask for a PDF).

That would be fine to begin, but it has been difficult for users to add extra fonts without extensive jailbreaking. I haven't tried it, and don't recommend it unless you are doing it with a test iPad.

Typing with Virtual Keyboard: D

I do appreciate that the virtual keyboard is larger on the iPad than the iPhone, but the default way to type an accent is to hold down a vowel key (or appropriate consonant) and wait for a set of accented letters to pop up. I've not been thrilled with the iPhone version of this, and still am not thrilled with the iPad version of it...but it is there.

Still you can't input a Welsh ŵ this way, and that is an annoyance if you happen to work with Welsh. You also can't input ă, ḍ, ş and a host of other characters used outside of mainstream European languages. Bummer

In theory you can switch the virtual keyboard to a non-English setting, but there are surprisingly few options - far less than even the iPhone. You can't even enter Korean or Greek characters. Ouch!

Typing with a Physical Keyboard: C+

One thing that you can now do with an iPad is to plug it in to a keyboard dock, and this solves a few problems. First you get access to a real keyboard with an Option key. So those pesky accents can be types with familiar option codes. It also lets you stand the iPad next to your laptop so you can test Unicode sites will composing a blog entry.

The dock also allows you to access a few more keyboard configurations including the U.S. Extended keyboard (hello ŵ,ḍ,ă,ş). And here's how:

Keyboard Setup

Basic Setup/Virtual Keyboard

  1. On your iPad, click the Settings icon.
  2. In the left column, click General.
  3. Click Keyboard on the right, then International Keyboards in the next window. A list of activated keyboards opens.
  4. Click Add New Keyboard to see all the options. Click on a language name to add it.

  5. Exit Settings.
  6. When you launch the international keyboard in an app, you should see a globe icon similar to the one below. Click on it to open a list of available keyboards and select an appropriate one.
    globe icon

Instructions with images are available from PadGadget.

Options for Keyboard Dock

If you want to activate the U.S. Extended, U.S. International option (PC), Dvorak, other extended option, do the following:

  1. Plug in the iPad into the dock (you can now type in Safari, Mail, Pages).

  2. Follow steps #1-3 above to see a list of activated keyboards.
  3. Click English to see layout options. The second Hardware Keyboard Layout includes options such as Dvorak, U.S. International-PC and U.S. Extended.
  4. Exit Settings.

Depending on which layout you select, you have access to different/additional option codes. You can also activate a Phonetic (i.e. QWERTY) layout for Russian which is also handy.

That does take care of a lot of my needs, but not all of them by any means. I still need to enter phonetic symbols and math symbols. I would like either a character palette, or even better, a way to build and upload additional keyboard files, like you can in OS X. I'd also like to be able to safely install new fonts, and I know I'm not the only one.


About The Blog

I am a Penn State technology specialist with a degree in linguistics and have maintained the Penn State Computing with Accents page since 2000.

See Elizabeth Pyatt's Homepage (ejp10@psu.edu) for a profile.


The standard commenting utility has been disabled due to hungry spam. If you have a comment, please feel free to drop me a line at (ejp10@psu.edu).

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