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Old 07-09-2018, 09:39 PM   #1
Hitch
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Book File Brain Teasers, part 9,842...

Hey, guys:

Here's a new one. Now, this is a "Word" file, not an ePUB or whatever, but we all know enough to know how stuff goes from A-->Zed, right?

I've received a Word file, which the client swears is a source file, typed by her. I suspect that this is bollocks, and here's why--the file is full of broken paragraphs. Now, that can happen from scans, from "save as Word" functions from any number of programs; we've all seen it. But here's the thing:

Virtually all of the broken paragraphs come before EITHER a lower-case a, or an upper-case I. ALL of them. There's one exception, out of several hundred broken paragraphs.

This woman can't SPELL HTML, must less use regex. Right? I mean, my brain immediately went to regex, but...not in a million years.

Anyone have ANY ideas as to what the hell could have precipitated this? ANY ideas, no matter how crazy? I mean, there's no rush; I finally went through the source file manually and tagged all the bps, but, it frustrates me that I can't do any sort of forensic reconstruction on it (trust me, I've asked and asked), so I thought I'd ask you, lads and ladies. Anyone here ever seen this precise result? The Is have it? (couldn't resist).

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Old 07-09-2018, 11:34 PM   #2
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@Hitch, Long time ago I saw instances of upper-case 'I' always breaking to a new paragraph. I can't be certain but I think it only happened if the 'I' followed punctuation i.e. .,!? then whitespace, but maybe not dialogue quotes then whitespace.

The source was newspaper and magazine articles, circa late 1980's early 90's, scanned for reading on Palm Pilots - PQA? We fixed them with sed, awk, etc

Squarks that's about 30 years ago!

BR

Last edited by BetterRed; 07-09-2018 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:25 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by BetterRed View Post
@Hitch, Long time ago I saw instances of upper-case 'I' always breaking to a new paragraph. I can't be certain but I think it only happened if the 'I' followed punctuation i.e. .,!? then whitespace, but maybe not dialogue quotes then whitespace.

The source was newspaper and magazine articles, circa late 1980's early 90's, scanned for reading on Palm Pilots - PQA? We fixed them with sed, awk, etc

Squarks that's about 30 years ago!

BR
Long before I had a computer.
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Old 07-10-2018, 01:48 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by BetterRed View Post
@Hitch, Long time ago I saw instances of upper-case 'I' always breaking to a new paragraph. I can't be certain but I think it only happened if the 'I' followed punctuation i.e. .,!? then whitespace, but maybe not dialogue quotes then whitespace.

The source was newspaper and magazine articles, circa late 1980's early 90's, scanned for reading on Palm Pilots - PQA? We fixed them with sed, awk, etc

Squarks that's about 30 years ago!

BR
Yes, see...that's GOTTA be it, right? Scanned documents. I cannot get this woman to admit it, but the bizarre part is, that result--the I and the a--that's GOTTA be the end result of a series of unsuccessful regexes, is my thinking. (And yeah, brother, that's how long ago that was, indeed!)

Spoiler:
The editor who worked with this woman WARNED me about her.
Right? But I figured, a simple layout, not the same thing as arguing with an editor...ARRRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!! WHEN WILL I LEARN????


Quote:
Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
Long before I had a computer.
Hmmmmm...not me. We built our first desktop in the early 80's. Wow. That feels like ages ago. Hell, that's because it WAS ages ago!

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Old 07-10-2018, 02:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitch View Post
Yes, see...that's GOTTA be it, right? Scanned documents. I cannot get this woman to admit it, but the bizarre part is, that result--the I and the a--that's GOTTA be the end result of a series of unsuccessful regexes, is my thinking. (And yeah, brother, that's how long ago that was, indeed!)

Spoiler:
The editor who worked with this woman WARNED me about her.
Right? But I figured, a simple layout, not the same thing as arguing with an editor...ARRRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!! WHEN WILL I LEARN????

As I recall the problem was apparent in what the scanner spat out, which was Postscript.

Spoiler:
One of my ex-USSR military smart-cookies wrote a program that shovelled the Postscript into Multimate so the typists could proof and correct.


BR
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BetterRed View Post
As I recall the problem was apparent in what the scanner spat out, which was Postscript.

Spoiler:
One of my ex-USSR military smart-cookies wrote a program that shovelled the Postscript into Multimate so the typists could proof and correct.


BR
Wow. Nice!!!!

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Old 07-11-2018, 03:33 AM   #7
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If you think this Wordfile wasnt created manually but created from a scaninng software, did you had a look at the metadata?
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Old 07-11-2018, 10:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maui View Post
If you think this Wordfile wasnt created manually but created from a scaninng software, did you had a look at the metadata?
I don't see anything worth noticing in the meta. Allegedly, the client is the author. That's about it. I used inspect, etc., and I don't see anything--but I knew that she'd edited the file substantially before I received it. Any traces of Abbyy, etc., are probably wiped out.

But it's still hinky. I don't care how much she protests--it's beyond the reasonable edge of probability that EVERY broken para comes at an "a" or an "I." That can't be natural causes. It simply can't. She claims that she had hired two other people to format it, and then SHE tried (don't get me started); one of those first two or perhaps both must have tried to S&R it, in Word, not HTML. (Or, maybe, exported it to HTML, then regexed it, then imported it back to Word, but...nyah, if they do that routinely, they'd have found these and regexed them out.)

(sigh).

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Old 07-11-2018, 09:45 PM   #9
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Is it a coincidence that 'a' and 'I' are the only two single-letter words in English?
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Old 07-11-2018, 10:01 PM   #10
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Is it a coincidence that 'a' and 'I' are the only two single-letter words in English?
I suspect it's related to the difficulties in regexing around the end of a line, with the upper-case I, but the a...I have to think about.

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Old 07-12-2018, 04:06 AM   #11
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This woman can't SPELL HTML, much less use regex. Right?
There's a regex-based LibreOffice/OpenOffice add-on: Pepito Cleaner.
Maybe your client used LibreOffice/OpenOffice like a typewriter and then tried to clean up the document with Pepito Cleaner.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:23 AM   #12
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There's a regex-based LibreOffice/OpenOffice add-on: Pepito Cleaner.
Maybe your client used LibreOffice/OpenOffice like a typewriter and then tried to clean up the document with Pepito Cleaner.
Doits!

You are so smart. Unfortunately, I'd guess, based on my last 59 (not kidding) conversations with her that she has never even heard of LO/OO.

But thank you, and BTW, I'm going to keep that in mind.

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