Newsletter 143 – August 2008
——– MANTEX NEWSLETTER ——–
Number 143 – August 2008 – ISSN 1470-1863
Music, Arts, Culture, and Technology
as seen from digital hub Manchester UK
** Holiday Reading + Fun and Games + IT **
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0— ‘Txtng: The Gr8 Db8’ – new book
Ever since text messaging began, there have
been complaints that it would lead to a
breakdown in literacy. One teenager’s essay
which caused the problem began:
“My smmr hols wr CWOT. B4, we used 2go2
NY 2C my bro, his GF + thr 3 :- kids FTF.
ILNY, it’s a gr8 plc.”
“My summer holidays were a complete waste of
time. Before, we used to go to New York to
see my brother, his girlfriend and their three
screaming kids face to face. I love New York.
It’s a great place.”
David Crystal’s latest book completely
explodes the myth of ‘falling standards’.
People all over the world are packing more
meaning into a smaller space.
And the fact that they’re all doing it in a
very similar manner leads him to the conclusion
that it’s yet another linguistic tool. And
the kids are all right! Full details at –
0— Pub Quiz Question #1
What are metric royal, metric demy, and metric crown?
0—– “Writers’ + Artists’ Yearbook” – latest edition
The latest edition of this best-selling
reference book always appears in August.
It’s an encyclopedia of what writers,
journalists, and media workers need for
contacts with publishers, agents, and
anyone else in the communication industries.
The latest edition is a whopping 100 pages
bigger than usual, and it contains extra
articles on e-publishing, adaptation, and
ghostwriting – as well as how to do your tax
returns after you land that Hollywood contract.
If you want to publish your writing, locate
outlets, mug up on copyright, or see the
best-seller lists for last year – it’s all here.
And Amazon are currently offering at 35% off.
A bargain. Details at –
There’s a rival publication called “The Writer’s
Handbook” which appears at the same time. The main
difference is that the Handbook puts more emphasis
on journalism and the broadcast media. See the
difference at –
0— Pub quiz – Question #2
Which digit is your pollex?
0— Holiday Reading
Alain Fournier’s “Le Grand Meaulnes”,
(translated as “The Lost Domain”) is an
idyllic evocation of boyhood and adolescence –
a novel of teenage self-discovery.
Two schoolboys stumble upon a semi-mythical
realm set deep in the French countryside and
fall in love with a girl who they can never
re-trace. A charming, lyrical, and atmospheric
novel which conjures a fin de siecle innocence
and romanticism which would be wiped out by
the first world war.
0— Pub quiz – Question #3
Alphabetically, which chemical element is last?
0—– Omniglot – FREE Fonts
This website provides a guide to
over 150 different alphabets,
syllabaries and other writing
systems including a few you will
find nowhere else.
It also contains details of many
of the languages written with those
writing systems and links to a wide
range of language-related resources,
such as fonts, online dictionaries
and online language courses.
What is a writing system?
Alphabetic writing systems
Syllabic writing systems
Logographic writing systems
Alternative writing systems
0— Pub quiz – Question #4
What is a taipan?
0—– Can it be True?
“Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy,
it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a
wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist
and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae.
The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed
it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid
deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod
as a wlohe.”
0— Pub quiz – Question #5
Where would you find an ‘oxter’?
0— Wikipedia – in Print!
A book with 90,000 authors! Wikipedia has
given the German publisher Bertelsmann
permission to produce a collection of the
25,000 most popular articles from its database.
Cost – 20 Euros, and Bertelsmann will donate one
Euro for each copy sold to Wikipedia.
0— New eBook readers – on sale!
Waterstones has this week launched a
campaign to promote eBook readers – the
Sony Reader, which retails at almost
The idea is that eBooks may do for print
publishing what the MP3 player did for
the music business – that is put it
Amazon made its own bid in this market
by launching the Kindle – but so far
only in the USA.
Fears that you might be tied into a
single proprietary eBook format have
been allayed. The Reader can cope
with PDF, RTF, TXT and Word files.
In addition to books, you can also
stick your nose into JPEG images,
and even listen to MP3s on the device.
Waterstones are offering 100 classic books
for f.r.e.e as an introductory offer.
0— Pub quiz – Question #6
What is the best hand in a game of poker?
0— Holiday Reading
Alejo Carpentier’s “The Lost Steps” (1953) is
a story told twice. A disillusioned north-American
musicologist flees his empty existence in
New York City. He takes a journey with his
mistress to one of the few remaining areas
of the world not yet touched by civilization –
the upper reaches of a great South American river.
The novel describes his search, his adventures,
the revival of his creative powers, and the
remarkable decision he makes in a village that
seems to be truly outside history. Wonderful
evocations of Latin America from the founder
of ‘Magical Realism’.
0— Pub Quiz – Question #7
Which is the first war with photographic records?
0— On screen puzzle
Drive yourself mad with this
infuriating puzzle called Open Doors
(hint: going backwards helps)
0— News for Pencil Nerds
This is a stylish blog which
discusses everything you could
want to know, and more about –
0— Pub quiz – Question #8
What is a caryatid?
0— Gadget News – Latest
Those people waiting to buy an Asus eee PC
should have their hands on one by now.
These are the ultra-portable, lightweight,
200 UKP notebooks which are run on the
Linux operating system and packed with
Open Source software.
But they’ve become so popular that Asus
have brought out new models. The latest
has a slightly larger screen, more memory,
and a bigger hard disk.
You can find out where they’re available,
read user reviews, and track progress at
this excellent price comparison site:
Meanwhile, those contemplating the
purchase of a USB mobile broadband
dongle might like to know that the
one we’ve been using comes out tops
in a recent PC Pro test:
0— Pub quiz – Question #9
Who buried the treasure on Treasure Island?
0—– Crossword Clues [online help]
Looking for crossword clues or
other word play? Check out the
site at One Across. It offers
several tools for the word-fiddler.
0— Nerd’s paradise – Shoelace Site
Would you like to know the 24 ways to lace
your shoes? And the 15 ways to tie up the
If that’s not enough, you can browse the
formulas for calculating shoelace length,
study the lacing comparison charts, vote
in knot-tying proficiency experiences, and
learn techniques for emergency aglet repair.
No, I’m not joking. It’s all at –
0— Pub quiz – Question #10
Which country’s flag includes an eagle and a snake?
0— Holiday Reading
Jean Rhys’ “Wide Sargasso Sea” (1966) is a
rare case of a prequel which is as interesting,
well written, and as original as the work to
which it refers. This is the story of what
happened before ‘Jane Eyre’ begins. It’s about
Mr Rochester’s first wife, and how he came to
bring her from the West Indies.
The novel offers a vivid evocation of the
Caribbean; a psychologically convincing
portrait of a woman’s identity under threat
from the twin forces of male dominance and
forced deracination; and a wonderfully
lyrical narrative, full of poetic imagery
and brooding force.
0— Pub quiz – ANSWERS
#1 What are metric royal, metric demy, and metric crown?
ANSWER: Sizes of paper
#2 Which digit is your pollex?
ANSWER: Your thumb
#3 Alphabetically, which chemical element is last?
#4 What is a taipan?
ANSWER: A snake
#5 Where would you find an ‘oxter’?
ANSWER: Your armpit.
#6 What is the best hand in a game of poker?
ANSWER: A Royal flush
#7 Which is the first war with photographic records?
ANSWER: Crimean War
#8 What is a caryatid?
ANSWER: A female architectural pillar
#9 Who buried the treasure on Treasure Island?
ANSWER: Captain Flint
#10 Which country’s flag includes an eagle and a snake?
0— Coming soon
‘Virginia Woolf – Essays’
‘How Novels Work’
‘Subject to Change’
‘Web Site Optimisation’
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