Brain Damage on Demand






The Boustrophedon Text Reader


Boustrophedon is a reading- / writing- style that alternates direction every line, and is written with mirrored letters on the 'backward' lines. With a little practice, reading (and writing) can go much faster, as the eye (or hand) does not have to whip back to the margin when the end of a line is reached. One simply goes down a line and continues in the opposite direction.

When the end of a paragraph is reached, the next paragraph should retain the horizontal position of the last one and, if space allows, continues in the same direction. If space can be used more effectively, the next paragraph would continue in the opposite direction.

This program formats the text-files to be read in this manner.

A Brief History

Boustrophedon is a Greek word meaning "like an ox while plowing" and was actually used in Greece and surrounding countries between 600 and 800 B.C. (Turns out I I'm not the inventor, as I first thought, since they beat me to it by almost 3000 years!) This makes a lot of sense considering the evidence showing they were a very ambidextrous culture. But it would seem that even they were not the first to use this writing style. The Hittites were also known to write like this, and they were around as much as 1000 years earlier.

Version 0.161
  • Added three mark-up tags for tweaking of output
      Page break; useful for chapters
      <boust-lnbk> and <boust-revlnbk>
      Line break and linebreak with a direction change. Last
      character before the tag lines up horizontally with the
      first character after the tag. NOTE: Obviously if there
      is no room for the next word on the line in the specified
      direction, it won't work properly.
      Space; useful for adding "justification" when needed.
    • Added page numbering to printed output
    • Added PostScript page number "labels" for picky viewers
    • Fixed bug that would misalign certain paragraphs
    • Fixed bug that would mess up the first word of some paragraphs
Version 0.144
  • Re-implemented paragraph detection to fix an obscure bug. Consiquently improved it.
  • Changed page size and margin to inches
  • Added a few keybindings
Version 0.141
  • Added "Rongorongo" as an option. (With this enabled, reversed lines use a rotated font instead of a mirrored font).
Version 0.14
  • Added command-line printing capability to a file or stdout
  • Added stdin as an option for an input 'file'
  • Added smart precalculation of ps font size based on how many characters per line.
  • Fixed ps margin-alignment error new to 0.137
  • Fixed a page number error, caused by printing more than once
Version 0.137
  • Extra long words are now hyphenated instead of hanging the program.
  • The Quit prompt now pops up above the mouse (instead of some random place).
Version 0.136
  • Pages can now be viewed out of order.
Version 0.135
  • Multiple-Pages in PostScript
  • print-options menu
  • couple minor bug-fixed
Version 0.13
  • Now with (limited) PostScript output!
Version 0.12
  • Can now set colors for alternating lines. {shrug}
Version 0.1 Released

Version 0.1 released! Totally re-written in Tcl/Tk!

    New features include:
  • Resizable window
  • No more segmentation faults
  • Written in Tcl/Tk so ports should be easy
  • Works in X without quirky bugs
  • Stand-alone program (no multiple scripts)
  • Makefile is easier to customize

Visit the Download Page to get it. Or don't.





These pages, tho lacking coherance, structure & spellcheck -- being the ramblings of the deranged --
are copyrighted material and may not be reproduced without prior permission from the author.
Copyright © 1998-2007, Simmon Keith Barney, All Right Reserved.
Cxi tiu pagxaro, kvankam sen senco, sen strukturo kaj sen literumkontrolado -- estante la babiloj de perturbulo --
estas kopirajtigita kaj ne povas esti kopiita sen permeso de la auxtoro.
Kopirajto © 1998-2007, Simmon Keith Barney, Cxiuj Rajtoj Rezervitaj.