I just installed John Gruber’s “smarty pants” plugin to Movable Type. The oddly named but quite interesting little hack is designed to take straight ASCII text and convert it to typographically “proper” characters. For example, the quotes around smarty pants and proper are now auto-magically converted to curly quotes. And — get this — those dashes (which are entered in the blog post as consecutive dashes) are now converted to em-dashes.
No, this won’t solve world hunger. But if you’re interested in why this is even slightly interesting, be sure to read John’s humorous and informative documentation. Seriously — I learned quite a bit about proper punctuation and laughed throghout.
Come to think of it, that probably says more about me than it does about John. But let’s keep that to ourselves.