• 2004-07-14
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ˌser.ənˈdɪp.ɪ.ti  has recently added a collection of free online dictionaries to its menu section on the left-hand side of this page. So why is the Académie française’s famous dictionary absent from the list? Because its online version is nothing short of a disgrace, an ergonomic nightmare, pitifully designed and unworthy of any reputable institution. If your browser’s display isn’t hand-configured to use the ISO-8859-1 or -15 charset don’t be surprised if little black rectangles, diamonds or question marks appear instead of the accented characters: The authors neglected to declare the Content-Type variable in the page header (and there’s no DOCTYPE either; in fact, there’s no header at all). A bunch of teenagers would have done a better job.

(Oh, and if you see unidentifiable characters at the beginning of the last paragraph you might want to install a free unicode font that correctly renders the international phonetic alphabet.)

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