Who let that glaring typo through in this Huawei P30 Pro high street ad?

One of my gifts/curses is that I often spot typos and mistakes that most people would miss, even if the problem is there for only a few seconds. For example, I recently spotted a glaring error in an ad for Huawei on a digital bus stop advert.

Its not it's
No, not it’s. Its.

It was only up for a few seconds before being replaced by another ad, but nevertheless, my proofreading klaxon went off the second I saw “it’s” (contraction of “it is”) being used in the first line of the quote instead of the possessive “its”.

Naturally, of course, I wanted to know whom to blame. Was it T3 or the copywriters at Huawei’s agency. Now, it may be some eagle-eyed T3 sub spotted the problem in the ad, or someone pointed it out to the magazine and they went back to change the original copy. But I like to think they wouldn’t have let something so basic through in the first place.

At the very least, that’s not how the review reads now:

T3 Huawei P30 Pro ad
Its not it’s

So, let’s assume it’s Huawei’s agency. Is this a reflection of the reduced emphasis on subbing with digital copy (although my online subbing services are available…), with digital ads somehow being processed differently to print ads? Maybe, but to be honest, I’ve now seen enough print ads with glaring typos to know that print isn’t immune to the issue.

However, this is the first time I’ve seen a B2C high street ad with such a problem, particularly in the focus copy. I hope it’s not a sign of the shape of things to come.

The May-June issue of GeoConnexion International is three magazines for the price of one!

The latest edition of GeoConnexion International is now available. This issue’s themes include flood management, the importance of partnerships in the geospatial industry and UAV best practice. We also have a Q&A with Eos Positioning’s CTO Jean-Yves Lauture.

Excitingly, this issue is the first to include Hexagon Reporter, as well as GeoConnexion UK, so it’s three magazines for the price of one!

All that and more here.

Articles wanted for the July/August issue of GeoConnexion International

GeoConnexion

The July/August issue of GeoConnexion International is going to have the following themes and deadlines.  If you’re interested in submitting an article, email me so we can discuss topic and angle. You don’t have to write an article that matches more than one theme!

Technology

Mobile GIS; Handheld Devices; Apps

Applications

Defence/Military; Aerospace; Energy; Oil; Gas; Mining; Geology

Editor’s choice

Government

First draft deadline

30 April 2019

Final draft deadline

30 May 2019

Articles wanted for GeoConnexion International May/June

GeoConnexion

The May/June issue of GeoConnexion International is going to have the following themes and deadlines.  If you’re interested in submitting an article, email me so we can discuss topic and angle. You don’t have to write an article that matches more than one theme!

Technology

Surveying; GNSS; LiDAR; UAVs

Applications

Environment; Agriculture, Forestry; Fishing; Marine; Oceanology; Bathymetry; Navigation

Editor’s choice

Machine learning/AI; Automation

First draft deadline

4 March 2019

Final draft deadline

3 April 2019

Matteo Sedazzari ‘s Tales of Aggro is now available

Matteo Sedazzari ‘s Tales of Aggro is a right rollocking read – a series of short stories for which I did the proofreading last year and Irvine Welsh himself has recommended:

‘A real slice of life told in the vernacular of the streets’ – Irvine Welsh

Meet Oscar De Paul, Eddie the Casual, Dino, Quicksilver, Jamie Joe and Honest Ron, collectively known around the streets of West London as The Magnificent Six. This gang of working-class lovable rogues have claimed Shepherds Bush and White City as their playground and are not going to let anyone spoil the fun. Fashion conscious, music obsessed and shooting from the lip, these lads are legends in their minds and eager to stamp their identities on the often-indifferent streets.

Meet Rockin’ Wilf, uncle to Eddie, Teddy Boy, natural born thief and victim of 1970’s police corruption. Meet Stephanie, a wannabe pop star who is determined to knock spots off the Spice Girls, with her girl group.

Above all though, meet West London and hear the stories of ordinary people getting up to extraordinary adventures.

It’s all about a group of kids growing up in West London in the 70s and 80s, but continues through to the present day. The ‘aggro’ itself isn’t always want you think it is and the ending’s actually quite touching. Give Tales of Aggro a try!

Tales of Aggro: behind the scenes

From a personal perspective, it was a nice job to do and a change of pace – plus, being a SE London boy of the 80s, it was fun to read what the West Londoners were up to at the time, particularly around the Beeb! It’s also not often that I have to create a style guide from scratch, rather than inheriting one, so it meant I could get my Oxford Style Guide out again.

Matteo was great to work with, too, so I hope his latest book is at least as successful as his first, A Craft Cigarette – Tales of a Teenage Mod.

InDesign and hanging text

Lego Durham Cathedral

Over our Christmas holidays, we went to the very lovely Durham and the even lovelier Durham Cathedral. One of the surprising highlights of the cathedral, as well as the grave of the Venerable Bede himself, is the miniature version of the cathedral made from Lego that you can find in the gift shop at the back.

Unfortunately, there was something about the model’s explanatory text that caught my eye:

It’s that dangling “St” on the second line. Grrr.

Now, I don’t know if this was laid out in InDesign, but the scent of the Adobe Paragraph Composer does seem to linger over it. Now, one of my bugbears with that program is that it doesn’t have great ‘keep with’ controls. Yes, you can at least keep lines together and avoid widows and orphans, but you’d think Adobe’s expertise with type would mean it could offer more than Microsoft does with Word – look how many different kinds of white space there are in InDesign, for example:

InDesign’s “Insert White Space” function offers 12 different kinds of space

I do love both “Balanced Ragged Lines” and the Adobe Paragraph Composer, although given the effect soft returns has on them, I usually use “No Break” to avoid confusing them. “No Break” also avoids the similar problems caused by copying and pasting non-breaking spaces into pull quotes, headlines and other differently formatted text, within both InDesign and content management systems. Use “No Break” and when you “Paste Without Formatting”, the “No Break” is removed, and the text can wrap as appropriate for the new measure; use a non-breaking space or a soft return and nine times out of ten, you’ll then have to remove it manually in the destination.

InDesign’s useful ‘No Break’ function is only available through the Character palette, so I add a keyboard shortcut for it to make it easier to access

Avoiding runts

But these functions don’t prevent short words such as “St” and “I” from hanging at the end of lines or paragraphs from having “runts”. The latter can be fixed using GREP functions in stylesheets but that’s not exactly a simple fix nor one that the average freelance is empowered to use.

So it would be great if Adobe paid a little more attention to the “meat and two veg” aspects of text in InDesign, rather than just the flashier aspects of design-intensive text in short publications, brochures and adverts. It would save subs a huge amount of time if there were a simple way to automatically avoid that kind of unsightly text-handling, such as including it in Paragraph Composer by default or making it an option in paragraph formatting.

Until then, I’ll just have to keep an eye out for hanging text and runts, and keep “No Break” to hand.

Always consider your modifiers

Guardian headline "How to talk about sex with your children"
The Guardian subs may have been in a hurry

In any sentence, it’s always worth considering what is being modified by what. Here, I think we can all agree, it would have been better at the very least to recast that headline as: “How to talk with your children about sex”.

I’ve finally switched my site to WordPress

WordPress

When I started blogging, all the way back in 2005, I made a slight technological false start and started using Mac OS X Server’s built-in blogging system. That’s what I had, so I thought it a good thing to test.

It wasn’t good.

Plus running my blog off my home computer probably wasn’t the best idea anyway, given 2005’s broadband bandwidth and speed.

I quickly decided to move to a hosted service and to use Movable Type instead. At the time, that was a much better choice, since Movable Type had many technological advantages over its competitors, including its plug-ins, security, minimal use of server resources and built-in caching. WordPress? No thanks.

Changing times

Twelve years later and my choice wasn’t looking so smart. Movable Type had fallen behind, switched between open and closed source a couple of times, and was now largely focused on the Japanese corporate market. Meanwhile, WordPress had become the de facto standard for blogging. It was time to switch.

Migrating my wife’s company’s web site took about an afternoon, it was that easy. Migrating my 10,000-post media blog was far more of an endeavour, requiring custom coding, rewriting of both Movable Type and WordPress import/export plug-ins to deal with custom field types, and considerable performance fine-tuning. I reckon it took about a month, maybe two, to get everything purring along nicely.

This blog and my own web site, however, took a little longer. That’s mainly because I didn’t have the time to do it, rather than because of any intrinsic complexities. However, I finally began the project in earnest a couple of weeks ago and yesterday, I was at last able to deploy the initial release of the new-look site.

It’s still a slight work in progress and I’ve not yet migrated over my entire portfolio of articles from the previous system. Nevertheless, I think it’s pretty much there and looks a lot more modern than the previous version; it’s also far more suitable for mobile browsing than the Movable Type theme, which was created before responsive sites had even been conceived.

Fingers crossed, it’ll also spur me into blogging a bit more often, as I realise it’s now been about three years since I last posted something here!