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Re: user sees \xxx but is thwarted from searching for them

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: user sees \xxx but is thwarted from searching for them
Date: 16 Apr 2002 13:36:45 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.2.50

address@hidden (Eli Zaretskii) writes:

> On 16 Apr 2002, Dan Jacobson wrote:
> > Anyway, the user sees a \.  The user wants to hunt for a \.  The user
> > must have a Ph.D. to hunt for a \. 
> Not really.  `M-: (skip-chars-forward "\000-\177") RET' will do.  
> Wrapping this into a simple user command is left as an exercise for the 
> interested reader.

That's exactly what Dan means by "must have a Ph.D.".  It is easy, but
non-obvious.  It's something a highly specialized and skilled person
will be able to come up with, while a normal human won't.  That's why
the specialists are paid serious money, not because they are better at
grinding through tedious work that anybody else could do, but because
they know how to do the job fast, appropriate and properly.

There will always be enough of a job left for the specialists in

BTW, one common quirk of mine is that when I am saving or sending or
whatever else a file, and Emacs decides it is not able to find a
suitable encoding system for it, there is _no_ easy way to find out
just what characters prohibit encoding in, say, Latin-1.  I usually
end up deleting and replacing all accented letters in the text
manually and hoping that I will eventually have hit upon the culprit
from a different code page.

We have regular expressions like [::ascii::] or so, perhaps something
like [::encodable-in-the-current-default-encoding::]
[::not-encodable-in-latin2::] (look for better names) would be a
first shot at making things easier to wrap into user accessible

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum
Email: address@hidden

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