Van Hai Ly
With the capability of linking to Web sites worldwide,personal computers now a day have increasingly become more usefulto users in general, and to the Vietnamese people abroad in particular.Every morning, I could now browse through the daily news posted byvarious Vietnamese newspapers and magazines on the Internet and thensurf other Web sites for more. I could even check and reply the E-mailto friends around the world before lunch. I have never felt so closeto people who speak the same language thousands of miles away.
I have long been surfing the Net and communicating via VietnameseE-mail regularly and experienced so much excitement as well as frustration.One of which is the lack of support for the Vietnamese characterson the Internet, both reading and writing. A number of my fellow users,who are experienced surfers, also encounter similar problems.
Many other Web surfers and we have not been able to conquer theseunpleasant problems until VNI introduces its Vietnamese software productsfor Internet. One of which is WebEye. We are pleased to welcome thegood news and realize that surfing the Vietnamese Web sites does nothave to be a frustrated experience and will now be much easier andmore pleasant.
This article is to introduce WebEye, a new software product for Internetdesigned and distributed by VNI in an effort to provide better serviceto the Vietnamese community on the Net, both in the United Statesand abroad. WebEye is a software product, which supports the Vietnameselanguage on the Internet. It helps convert Vietnamese characters,found in E-mail or articles posted throughout the Vietnamese Web sites,into a readable format that is easier to read.
First of all, one of the major problems is that Web page designersoften disagree on a standard Vietnamese character set for universalcompatibility; text therefore, is often unreadable when going fromone Web page to another. Web browser must then be reconfigured fordifferent Web sites. In addition, if compatible font set has not alreadybeen loaded, it must be downloaded and installed before text can beconverted to a readable format.
Secondly, special characters used in most of the E-mail to denoteVietnamese accents, known as VIQR, are both annoying and difficultto read. As I recalled the first time surfing the Net, a friend sentme a long VIQR user's guide and literally forced me to learn and acceptVIQR method. At first, it was annoying. I'd rather write Vietnamesewithout accents than being tortured by those zigzag characters. However,the frustration gradually subsided as I began learning to accept it.Following my friend's footsteps, I too, tried to convince others tolearn VIQR!
What is VIQR? It's a set of special characters used in place of theaccents in Vietnamese language. For example, a question mark "?"is used in a question, or an asterisk "*" for letter o, etc.Besides, "+" can also be used instead of "*" for o;other accents can also be replaced by different special characters(see display below). In another word, writing is not difficult butreading is really a struggle.
I have no intention to force anyone to follow my footsteps; however,there is no other method to my knowledge to support Vietnamese languagein E-mail on the Internet. I therefore have no choice but share whatI've learned to others who have just begun surfing the Net.
Until one day, a new software product called WebEye wasintroduced.
After WebEye was installed, an Internet standard setup/install programcalled SETUPWEB.EXE was executed to install WebEye onto my computeralong with a number of VNI fonts.
Upon successful installation, WebEye can be invoked immediately bydouble-clicking on the WebEye icon.
When WebEye is running (open), a small display with an eye symbolwill appear on your screen (see pictures above). A single click willstart (open) or stop (close) WebEye. When it's close, nothing happens.But when it's open, you'll see wonders.
Since many Net surfers and I have frequently visited many of the wellknown Vietnamese Web sites around the world, their Internet addressesare, of course, well advertised. However, as a good intention of thisarticle, full information of their Web sites and addresses are providedin case any of you readers wishes to pay a visit.
First on the list is Little Saigon Net at http://www.LittleSaigon.com.It was a relatively new site when I first surfed the Net. But it hasmade some significant improvements and logged thousands of visitssince its early birth. Because home page can only log the number ofvisits, not the number of visitors; and since a surfer may pay asmany visits to a home page as he wishes, the number of visitors, therefore,does not always agree with the number of visits. I often visit thisWeb site for rich local news within the Vietnamese community condensedfrom the Little Saigon Radio.
From this page, I wander to the next page Mekong Center of Japan athttp://www.mmjp.or.jp/mekongcenter. Since the address is excessivelylengthy, I often visit its home page via another link or access itquickly by Bookmark in Netscape.
Mr. Do Thong Minh, the designer of Mekong Center Web site, with anartistic sense of humor, uses three well-known singers of three differentnationality designating different versions of its home page in threelanguages. Khanh Ly for Vietnamese, Dalena for English, and the otherfor Japanese. I regret not being able to furnish the name of the Japanesesinger since I can't read Japanese and have never bothered to tryit anyway.
Normally, when browsing from Little Saigon Net to Mekong Center, Ihave to change the fonts from VNI-Times to A_vn_phuongmai of VISCII.But since WebEye is being used, fonts change is no longer required.I can still read Vietnamese on Mekong Center without changing fonts.
As I have guessed, WebEye converts square characters in Mekong Centerhome page to a readable format. Take blinking "TIN MOI" forexample, only a square was visible at the character "O", butit is now legibly displayed with full readable accents.
The next site is VietSpace of Kicon at http://www.kicon.com. ThisWeb site is relatively new with more up-to-date and interesting articlesthan Mekong Center and Little Saigon Net. The Ky 21 magazine is themost frequently visited page, but no longer interested since I'vebecome a subscriber. Nguoi Viet newspaper is also available in VietSpacewith frequently updated news. Kicon software company has recentlybegun broadcasting VNCR (Vietnam California Radio) programs on theInternet, providing out-of-state Web surfers and abroad the audiosupport for listening.
Another unique feature in WebEye is the scaling option. It allowsviewers to set the scale to oversized text to fit on one page foreasy viewing. I've used this option to shrink some of the oversizedarticles on Nguoi Viet magazine to 90% and it fits perfectly on onepage.
Another news service complete with detail oriental horoscope and poetryis Song Than weekly newspaper on VietInfo home page at http://www.vietinfo.com.It's also the home for VAP-News, as known as Viet Nam Associated Press,founded by the late editor-in-chief Chu Ba Anh. Although he is nolonger with us, his reputation is well respected and his debut VAP-Newson the Internet is thriving.
The oldest Vietnamese magazine on the Internet is VIET Magazine (itbears an English name but written entirely in Vietnamese) at http://www.viet.net/viet.mag.Since it is based on VPS fonts, I must change to VPS-Times font inorder to read. But with WebEye installed, I no longer need to changefonts when browsing this page.
In a recent interview with songwriter Trinh Nam Son by VIET Magazineposted on its home page, a letter in his name was replaced by a square,a common problem with non-supported fonts. With WebEye however, legiblecharacters were fully displayed. WebEye does indeed help myeyes.
Since most of the E-mail messages were written in VIQR format (becauseno other product was available), it is annoying to read a messagemixed with special characters like garbage dump from a PC recyclebin. WebEye changes all that. It helps convert all of these specialcharacters into a readable format with legible Vietnamese accents.It's a hundred-fold superior compared to VIQR format.
Because VNI-Times is a true-type font, which is sometimes not fullycompatible with electronic mail, I have selected VNI-Internet Mail(Fixed Font), using General References option in Netscape, to be mybase font for all E-mail messages. I worked out better than expected.
Net surfers have previously exchanged ideas or argued in a much gentlerfashion at this Web site; but recently escalated into a more hostileatmosphere during heated discussions (via E-mail that is!) over politics(communist vs. nationalist ideology). I do not advocate a visit herebut if you are more of a politics buff, you may find it interestingto stay for a "chat", or even make a few "enemies".
Surfing the Net is, of course, an adventure full of the unexpected.Many aspects of browsing through the Internet can be the non-stopdiscussions; but on a second thought, perhaps self-exploring on yourown journey would make surfing the Net much more fun.
After having WebEye downloaded and installed, I've returned to VNIhome page several times to learn more about other useful softwaretools such as Ong Do Calendar and WebNote, a sister software productof WebEye available as a trial basis. I would return later with moredetails about these wonderful software products from VNI in anotherreport.
Print can be selected by clicking on Print option in File menu ofNetscape main menu. Netscape normally uses current font for all printing;but with WebEye in open (running) mode, VNI-Times font is used instead.The result is a high quality printout with crisp, clear letters.
Vietnamese characters from E-mail can also be printed normally usingWebEye as they are printed on newspapers and magazines. Upon seeingthe printouts by WebEye, I realized that it was time to abandon thezigzag characters and squares of VIQR for good.
14091 Goldenwest St.
Westminster, CA. 92683, USA
Phone: (714) 891-7656
Order form can be obtained via VNI Web page. As most of the otherhome pages, you can fill in the information online and forward itto VNI electronically (Order Form is written in English so you don'tneed to have WebEye to read!).