Stan Kelly-Bootle (who posted a comment here some days ago) has a new Son of Devil’s Advocate column out – it links back to this humble weblog and threatens to do so again next month!

Stan also reprints, as usual, his “Devil’s Advocate” column 16 years ago in Unix Review magazine, where he attacks one of my pet peeves – the harmful punctuation-within-quotes convention:

And so it comes about that the author’s

If X$ is set to “x”, the string Y$ is set to “end”.

is usually mispublished as:

If X$ is set to “x,” the string Y$ is set to “end.”

This, of course, is “no big deal,” until the billion-dollar space probe reaches the wrong galaxy. (Wasn’t that a misplaced Fortran colon?…Ed.)

I can’t understand why this nonsensical and potentially harmful convention still survives…

I seize the occasion to plug, again, Stan’s magnum opus (or at least my favorite of his several opuses? opi? opae?), The Computer Contradictionary, 2nd Edition, which as usual is on my desk as I write this. Now… where’s the much-overdue 3rd Edition…? icon_wink.gif