Timeo Danaos… Or: Why I’m Wary of Google Docs

During the last couple of weeks I had to use Google Docs quite heavily in order to work on a large, collaborative document. Without any doubt, Google Docs is a convenient platform for collaborative work, offering collaborative real-time, browser-based, WYSIWYG editing for various types of documents. However, the experience was not a good one, as the 150-page document clearly tested the limits of Google Docs. Loading the document was slow; navigating even more so. I wasted a lot of time trying to export the document as PDF file; sometimes it worked, but most of the time, I could only download an empty file, regardless of whether I used Safari or Google’s own Chrome browser. For editing, however, Chrome eventually turned out to be required, and I was forced to use it, even though I have serious issues with Chrome.

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VARD 2.5 Released

Another short project note: Last week, Alistair Baron released a new version (2.5) of VARD. VARD is one of the most popular programs for normalizing or modernizing historical texts prior to linguistic analysis.

The VARD Web site has more information.

tranScriptorium

This is just a brief project note:

tranScriptorium is an EU-funded (FP 7 STReP) project, which aims to “develop innovative, efficient and cost-effective solutions for the indexing, search and full transcription of historical handwritten document images, using modern, holistic Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology” (from the Web site).

The tranScriptorium project is scheduled to run from January 1, 2013 until December 31, 2015. The project consortium consists of the Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain), the University of Innsbruck (Austria), the National Center for Scientific Research “Demokritos” (Greece), University College London (UK), the Institute for Dutch Lexicology (Netherlands), and the University London Computer Centre (UK). Targeted languages are Spanish, German, English, and Dutch; the project Web site does not state if tranScriptorium focuses on a specific period or a particular type of document.

Workshop on Computational Historical Linguistics at NoDaLiDa 2013

It’s been a couple of weeks now that I attended the NoDaLiDa 2013 workshop on Computational Historical Linguistics, where I gave an invited talk.  The workshop—and Oslo in general—was a very pleasant experience.  The organizers (chaired by Þórhallur Eyþórsson from the University of Iceland) had booked a great hotel room for me, no, a suite actually, larger than my apartment in Mainz :-) Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for the main conference because I had to continue to Paris, but at least I could attend the conference dinner, which took place at the Oslo Opera House.  Very nice!

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