Date:         Sat, 5 May 2001 02:42:36 -0400
Sender:       The Internet TourBus - A virtual tour of cyberspace
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Comments:     Originally-From: Patrick Douglas Crispen

From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
Subject:      TOURBUS -- 5 MAY 01 -- PC'S GUIDE TO ASCII TEXT
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                TOURBUS Volume 6, Number 77 -- 5 May 2001
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   PC's Guide to ASCII Text
Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from the beautiful city of
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, future site of Kubla Khan's stately pleasure-dome
(pending approval by the state legislature).  :)
TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors.  PLEASE
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On with the show ...
PC's Guide to ASCII Text
With the end of my college career looming large in the not-so-distant
future -- I should, weather and authorities permitting, receive my
master's degree in educational technology from Pepperdine at the end
of July -- it is time for your fearless bus driver to start looking
for a REAL job.  In fact, if I can't con David Thornburg into giving
me a job at the Thornburg Center (, I'll probably
turn to the Internet for my job search.
It should come as no surprise to you that there are tens of squillions
of different job-hunting Web sites out there.  So many, in fact, that
it is easy to become overwhelmed by all of the choices.  So what is
the solution?  Well, our friends at Forbes magazine recently conducted
a review of a BUNCH of different job-hunting sites.  The results
appeared in Forbes' annual "Best of the Web" issue.
If you are searching for a job online, check out:
     Job-Hunting: Executives
     Interested in being a suit-wearing, briefcase-carrying member of
     management?  This section is for you!  Forbes reviewed 11
     different executive job-hunting sites, picking one favorite and
     five honorable mentions.
     Job-Hunting: General
     If you're stuck somewhere between not wanting to carry a
     briefcase and not wanting to wear a paper hat and a name tag,
     this section is for you.  Forbes reviewed 14 general job-hunting
     sites, again picking one favorite and five honorable mentions.
     Job-Hunting: Recruiters
     L. Peter is famous for noticing that "in a hierarchically
     structured administration, people tend to be promoted up to their
     'level of incompetence.'"  People at the very top of this scale
     can even hire people to do job searches for them.  This section
     tells you all about that.  :P
This should get you started.  One of the stumbling blocks that you're
going to encounter, though, is that many job-hunting sites, especially
general job-hunting sites, require that you to post your resume in
something called "ASCII format."  Of course, this begs the obvious
Well, to put it simply, ASCII is just another way of saying "a text
file."  According to our friends at Webopedia
(, ASCII is an
     [a]cronym for the American Standard Code for Information
     Interchange.  Pronounced ask-ee, ASCII is a code for representing
     English characters as numbers, with each letter assigned a number
     from 0 to 127.  For example, the ASCII code for uppercase M is
     77.  Most computers use ASCII codes to represent text, which
     makes it possible to transfer data from one computer to another
     [from ]
The reason why most job-hunting sites ask you to post your resume in
ASCII format is that practically every computer on the planet -- from
Apple Macintoshes to IBM PCs to Cray supercomputers -- can read ASCII
text files.  If there is a universal file format, ASCII is it.
Fortunately, every PC and Mac since I don't know when has shipped with
a free, built-in text editor.  The PC's text editor is called Notepad.
Go to Start --> Programs --> Accessories to find it, or just double-
click on C:\WINDOWS\NOTEPAD.EXE.  The Mac's text editor is called
Simple Text.  If you are like most Mac users you should have about ten
squillion copies of Simple Text clogging up your Mac's hard drive.
You only need ONE copy, though; delete the rest.
To create an ASCII text file using your computer's built-in text
editor, fire up the editor, type whatever you want to type, and then
save the file as text only (in other words, in the "save as type" box
choose "text documents.")  That should give your file a .txt extension
(as in resume.txt, givemeajob.txt, or iknowwhereyoulive.txt.)  That's
it.  :)
Now for the bad news.  Neither Notepad nor Simple Text have spell- or
grammar-checking, two things you DESPERATELY need if you're going to
create an ASCII text-based resume.  Misspelled words may be cute in one
of my TOURBUS posts but they can be absolutely disastrous in a resume.
How can you ensure good spelling and good grammar in an ASCII text
file?  Simple!  Bypass Notepad and Simple Text and use a word
processor like Microsoft Word or WordPerfect instead.  After all, both
Word and WordPerfect have built-in spelling and grammar checkers.  The
secret is that when you save your document, go to File --> Save As and
choose "Text Only with Line Breaks" in the "Save as type" box.  "Text
Only with Line Breaks" is just another way of saying "ASCII Text File."
If you use a word processor to create an ASCII text file, there are six
ASCII formatting rules to keep in mind:
     1. Make sure your ENTIRE document is written in a monospace font
        like Courier or Courier New.  What is a monospace font?  It is
        a font where the lowercase letter "i" is the same width as a
        lowercase letter "w."  In other words, it is a font that looks
        an awful lot like what you would get from a typewriter.  I am
        particularly partial to 10 point Courier New font.
     2. Set your right margin at 70 characters.  This will ensure that
        your text will fit on practically every display imaginable
        (this 70 character margin setting is something that I use on
        ALL of my TOURBUS posts.)  The best way I have found to set my
        margin at 70 characters is to type the number series
        1234567890 over and over again on the first line of my
        document (actually I type it once and then copy-and-paste it
        seven more times), manually drag the right margin of my
        document over so that only 70 characters appear on the first
        line, and then delete ALL of the numbers that I just typed.
        It's messy, but it works every time.
     3. Put a hard return at the end of EVERY line of text in your
        document.  In other words, hit enter at the end of EVERY line
        of text.
     4. Don't use ANY tabs.  If you want to indent something, you have
        to space it out by hand (just like you would with a
     5. Don't use ANY special formatting like bold, italic, underline,
        or bullets.  NONE of these are available in ASCII.  All you
        can use is plain old text and some creative spacing.
     6. The only way you can center something in an ASCII text file is
        to space it out by hand (again, just like a typewriter.)
By the way, I've seen a LOT of people try to center text in ASCII text
files and fail miserably.  That's a shame, because it couldn't be
easier ... so long as you follow four simple steps:
a. Duplicate what you want to center so that it appears on two
different lines in your document.  For example:
The South's Gonna Do It Again!
The South's Gonna Do It Again!
b. Highlight the first line of text and let your word processor center
it like it normally would.
c. Space over the second line of text so that it is exactly beneath
the first line of text.
d. Delete the first line of text.
And, as Charlie Daniels is found of reminding us,
                    The South's Gonna Do It Again!
I hope this helps.  Since ASCII is the language of e-mail, and since
TOURBUS is an e-mail newsletter, these six rules have helped me create
THOUSANDS of (mostly) perfectly formatted ASCII text files in
Microsoft Word over the past six years.  And these rules should help
you too if you ever have to post your resume or any other document on
the Internet in ASCII format.
Remember, though, to make sure that you save your file as "Text Only
with Line Breaks (*.txt)" or all of your work will be for naught.  :)
That's it for this week.  Have a safe and happy weekend, and we'll talk
again soon.
   PC's Guide to ASCII Text
PLIGHT (adjective)  Showing consideration for others or being tactful.
Usage: "Bubba, don't hand the preacher yer half-eaten Moon Pie ...
that just ain't plight."
[Special thanks to "Rhonda" for today's wurd]
You can find all of the old Southern Words of the day at 
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