Apparently technology is not my friend this week.
As I mentioned last post, my WordPress-powered site punkeroo.ca committed suicide last weekend when I tried to update the WordPress software. The front page is still accessible. I can probably still post blog entries. But the links are broken and I just can’t figure out how to modify the theme. So in the interest of time I started this site, so I can blog while trying to learn how to build a site which does exactly what I want it to do. This will take time. Maybe forever. But I maintain hope that one day punkeroo.ca will again be a habitable space with all the comforts of home.
Fortunately, in preparation for updating, my site and database were backed up to my 1tb external drive. I’m lax when it comes to backing up files. I know I should do it regularly. I know drives crater and chips fry. I know I could lose all my precious data, pictures of the kids, half written stories, and old school work. But it just never crosses my mind. So my external drive, which I have had for a couple years doesn’t have a lot on it. I backed up my laptop a few months ago to reset Windows to factory spec. Some older files from my last laptop were stored there. And of course my punkeroo data. It worked fine.
Then two days ago I decided to install Adobe CS5 on my laptop. I had it archived on the external. I plugged it in. Waited. Nothing. Tried various things. Still nothing. I gave the drive to a friend who knows about this kind of techy stuff. He pronounced it dead. I gave it to my partner for a second opinion. He put it in the freezer. Very little possibility of retrieving any data, but I guess the freezer trick is worth a try. Meanwhile, I picked up a cute little 1tb usb drive at Futureshop. I think I better start backing everything up regularly. And learn how to use the cloud. And maybe Dropbox. And whatever else there is.
Last night, while staring at my greek homework, I began to wonder why my phone would not display the greek text properly. I mean, if I could access Perseus Project from my phone then I could work on my greek anywhere, anytime. Like at the laundromat. Or in the car (as a passenger obviously). I mentioned it to my partner, and he suggested checking the tablet. It too produced a wonky display of the greek text in the browser. We looked for settings, checked his phone, and searched the net. In examining the weird display I realized that some characters, specifically letters with accents or other diacritical marks, were simply absent. I sent an email to the Perseus Project webmaster asking for ideas.
This morning I had a reply. Apparently there is some problem with Android devices and polytonic greek fonts. We spent the next couple of hours searching the net for explanations of this issue and possible fixes. Turns out Google simply can’t be bothered to expand its unicode support in the Android operating system. Academics, religious scholars, linguists, teachers, students etc. have been complaining to Google about this issue for years. We found multitudes of forums discussing the limitations of Android, work-arounds, rooting, apps, fonts, the benefits of Apple products (which fully support the extended unicode charcters for greek, hebrew, and other problematic languages), etc. Every suggested fix we found either involved rooting the device, which I will not do to my brand-new-still-under-warranty phone, or doesn’t work on any OS newer than 2.2.
Finally, just when I though all was lost, and I would have to actually purchase an IPod or IPad, we found a few posts suggesting that Android OS 4.3 may provide some support for an extended character base. Further research revealed that the 4.3 upgrade paired with Firefox for Android seemed to be working for some people. My Samsung Galaxy S4 has recently upgraded to 4.3, so I gave it a shot. Lo and behold the Perseus Project website displays perfectly! Now I can read Aristophanes’ Lysistrata anytime, anywhere. Or I could if it weren’t so bloody tiny. My Asus EEpad Transformer, however, is running Android 4.1 and is not upgradable. It’s also two years old and out of warranty, so I think I’ll be learning how to root a tablet.
Of course, with my recent run of luck, I’ll probably brick it.