« Another Review! | Main | I wish I had a C-based lock-free hash table... »


Some half-crazed moron at Microsoft, in an attempt to be helpful, made an idiotic decision.

Of what do I speak? Microsoft Entourage ( attempts to be both convenient and pretty by replacing apostrophes (') with curly quotes (’). Ordinarily, I wouldn’t complain. I like curly-quotes as much as the next guy, and I regularly use a vim plugin called UniCycle to achieve the same effect. HOWEVER, Entourage knows that it only wants to send text email in the ISO-8859-1 (aka “Latin1”) character set, which does not contain a curly-quote. This presents the age-old conundrum: “wanna curly quote, can’t have a curly quote”. So Entourage must choose a different character from the ISO-8859-1 character set to use instead of the curly quote. The obvious choice would be the apostrophe ('); people are used to it, and after all it is a quote! But what does Entourage choose? A superscript 1, like this: ¹

What goon came up with this? A superscript 1, in most fonts (except at very small sizes) looks nothing like a quotation mark. It looks like the number one! Which is exactly what it is! Yes, it’s in the Latin1 character set (0xB9) but, let’s be honest here, how many fonts do you suppose have a superscript one character but NOT an apostrophe? Or a curly quote? Besides looking stupid, Microsoft isn’t actually improving their compatibility!

But, I suppose, what did I expect from such an “innovative” company?

P.S. I have no idea why superscript 1 gets to be its own character in the Latin1/ISO-8859-1 character set. Seems silly to me, but then, so does ¤.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (2)


Kyle and Emily ---- awesome wedding pictures

Plus I don't have any strong Microsoft opinions ---well may be a few but nothing major

For the record, this persists in Entourage 2008. It sends multipart messages, and the HTML portion uses the proper character entity refs — but the text/plain portion has the mind-boggling behavior you describe. (And left and right double quote marks become ² and ³!)

One can set it to send text-only messages, in which case it doesn't mangle quotation marks and apostrophes, but in Microsoft's infinite wisdom, the line formatting is horrible and the overall impression is basically worse.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 21, 2007 12:35 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Another Review!.

The next post in this blog is I wish I had a C-based lock-free hash table....

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.34