Why Prefer Textfiles?

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Why Prefer Textfiles?
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by Jakash3
January 21, 2010

Textfiles are a universal way to share knowledge and
document anything that an intelligent entity wishes to
express, which can be saved and viewable for generations.

Textfiles are files that contain human readable characters
in the ASCII encoding (Unicode is rising and replacing
this). The ASCII characters are characters 32 to 126
(decimal). The font of textfiles is usually Courier New,
Lucida Console, Terminal, or System fonts; these fonts are
chosen because of widespread availability on most systems,
including the old ones. It has to be a font that everyone
has and read. It is also traditional as this font(s) has
stuck with textfiles and text editors for decades.

For generations in the computer world, many
users have written, read, and distributed textfiles.
The content of textfiles varies greatly; you can write
about anything you want. Some examples include (in abc
order): Adventures, Anarchy, Art, BBS, Computers, 
Conspiricies, Drugs, Food, Games, Hacking, Humor,
Internet, Law, Mass Media, Music, News, Occult,
Phreaking, Piracy, Politics, Programming, School,
Role Playing, Science, Sex, UFO's, and Viruses.

Another advantage to textfiles is that it does not
take any special software to read textfiles. In fact you
can read textfiles through a system command line. 
And textfiles open up rather quickly with the simplest
text editor instead of using some bulky, ram-eating 
word processor (that applies unfavored defaults such as
automatically formatting the text read from a file, thus
ruining the character count and ascii art that may be
found in that text file) to load every time you open a
textfile.

One of the biggest advantages is that text files take up
less space on a disk and in the real world too!
In the real world, many people are still in the old 
tradition of using paper, ink, lead (pencils),
paper clips, pencil sharpeners, erasers, white out,
printers, and other office equipment. This waste of
resources is no longer needed since we have computers
which can hold thousands of times more text and
memory than what we can store (and the time it take to 
write it) it on paper and other physical things that take
up space and waste natural resources. So why do we still
do it?

My main point is that textfiles are simple, fast, and
accessible to everyone which is the best way to spread
text based information when it comes to storing them as
files.

If you don't have a text editor, then do one of the
following:

A) Download a text editor
B) Read the text editor through a command shell
C) Make a text editing program
D) Do nothing

A great place to find textfiles is at:
http://textfiles.com/directory.html

One thought on “Why Prefer Textfiles?

  1. Textfiles are pure, while PDF actually stands for Portable Demonic File. Is it a coincidence that so many potentially enjoyable and useful ebooks are initially scanned, poorly, and then dis-coded into a form that won’t let one extract anything more than one page at a time because it “expected a name object”? I think not. And that fact that Adobe doesn’t actually ever define or explain such an object in the hellish nightmare called “Support” with its uncountable number of files, all in PDF form btw, strikes me as a bit too convenient. Not to mention the fact that it’s almost impossible to maintain a train of thought while reading said demonic files because they don’t fit the screen well, or the pages advance with the grace of an epileptic break-dancing crack addict.
    At least that’s how it seems to me. It’s also possible that I’m just another victim of unrealistically high expectations.

    I liked your blog, or at least the bit of it I read.

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