Product 11is the professional/personal site of Jonathan Simpson. I am a programmer and hobbyist game developer.

Useful Tools



Chinesepera-Kun is a Firefox addon which provides chinese translations via pop-up windows. Just hover your mouse over chinese text to see info about characters and character combinations(aka, words). You can even export words to a vocabulary file for future reference/study.

Some shortcuts:
(configurable in addon preferences)
ALT-INS: toggle ChinesePera-Kun
ALT-DEL: show larger info window
(don't think you can configure these)
CTRL: export to dictionary file
ESC: close large info window


Starting with ver 22, Emacs has pretty good support for UTF8. For me at least, it opens and displays UTF8 encoded files with chinese characters just fine. Unfortunately, a lot of chinese text out there isn't encoded that way, such as the file generated by ChinesePera-Kun's vocabulary export. Since I am studying traditional characters, this file is encoded using BIG5. And unfortunately Emacs doesn't know what to do with it. Here's how to get Emacs to display it properly:

1) Launch Emacs and the modeline in the lower left should look like this: --:--
(The : indicates that multibyte character support is enabled)

2) Use the command M-x set-language-environment to switch the current environment for this session. For this example, provide the argument chinese-big5. The modeline should now be -B:--

3) The default input method for Chinese-BIG5 is one of several variations of pinyin. Press C-\ to toggle this input method on/off. When it is enabled, the modeline will change to 拼符B:--

4) Now that the language environment is setup to handle BIG5, if you open a BIG5 encoded textfile Emacs should be able to convert it to Emacs's internal coding system and display it properly. The fact that Emacs has its own coding system is why you need to have the language environment set before you open the file.

Note: If you don't want to change the current language environment you can instead run the following sequence of commands:
C-x RET coding RET
C-x C-f filename RET

The first command specifies the coding system to use for the immediately following command. So, you must enter C-x C-f immediately after running the first command.

A few more useful Emacs commands:
C-h L lang-env RET describe language environment
C-h I method RET describe input method
C-h C coding RET describe coding system
M-x select-input-method select new input method for current buffer
M-x set-buffer-file-coding-system sets the coding system to use for saving or rereading the visited file in the current buffer

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