Therapy dogs take 2

Our newest librarian Shelley Harper did some research and found a therapy dog group that came into the library for a number of sessions, at no charge to us. Students and staff alike enjoyed it.

Go Team Therapy Dogs: Sit Means Sit

The dogs all wore vests and were well-trained, and most of them knew each other. So there was very little conflict, even among dogs of greatly different sizes. Only problem was between a German shepherd whose reserved personality seemed ill-suited to the task, and a young, over-energetic golden-doodle that the GS wanted nothing to do with. But there were no accidents, no worries, maybe one bark. The golden retrievers were eagerly rolling on their backs and demanding belly rubs.

Shelley also got the college photographer to come over and take some snaps, one of which was posted on the college front page photo spread. Yay Shelley for stress busting and good library PR!

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Will C#, .NET and MS Visual Studio save the day?

Problem: take a file from one source in UTF16 encoding, perform some string operations, and write the new file in UTF8 encoding for use in a different system. Real problem: diacritics that turn into garbage in the 2nd system, repeatedly. Prior to UTF16 encoded files, this was not an issue.

Emoticon-tears

How one might feel when fighting with character encoding

As I struggle with trying to convert a UTF16 file to UTF8 encoding, I find that Python, even Python 3 with its supposed improved Unicode support, is not working for me. The Linux tricks for converting file encoding doesn’t work either. HexEdit only allows me to see if a BOM (Byte Order Marker) is present at the beginning of the file.

I have been informed that the answer to my problems is C# (C Sharp), as part of the .NET (“dot net”) framework. Microsoft Visual Studio is a tool for programming in various languages for .NET. Microsoft, as in MS Excel, uses UTF16 encoding natively, which is whence my original problem likely comes from. Python uses UTF8.

The Community Edition 2013 is available for free, and so is Microsoft Virtual Academy. MVA is, so far, a lot like a MOOC with no time limits. I’ve printed “Hello World” to the console and done some if-else statements. Not at the point where I can do anything useful yet; I’ll keep plugging along. One advantage of using MVS is that you can create Windows apps that are usable by layfolks, rather than the gritty hobby feel of Linux and Python. Which is not to say that I’ll abandon Linux and Python, but this is another weapon in the warchest against Unicode hasselry.