Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Hanzi Smatter was mentioned in the latest episode of HanselMinutes with Scott Hanselman and Carl Franklin. For those who do not have the patience to sit through over twenty minutes of geek talk, the clip starts at time mark 26:30.

audio: clip 517 KB mp3 or entire show22.5 MB mp3

I use Macromedia Fireworks (now Adobe Fireworks) for most of the graphics work, and Sony Vegas 6.0 for audio and video editing work.

The character in Computer Zen's logo is , typically "zen" is referring to .


  1. Just got linked to your blog and ... wow. I studied Japanese at university and I'm studying Modern Chinese right now so I can understand the pained embarrassment at seeing hanzi / kanji misused in the West.

  2. I appreciate you linking to the website, since my computer doesn't have the appropriate font (and won't let me install it without OS discs I can't find).

    To me, the first character looks like two people bowing to each other beneath a tree, while the second looks like a monk striking a bell (possibly a large prayer bell).

  3. Here's the explanation of why I use 善 rather than 禅. even though it's more like "Computer Shen." ;)

  4. I'm a little confused on the matter, coming from the Chinese end. While I realize that 善 can be pronounced as "zen" in Japanese(the On-reading, at least), I'm a little unsure where Mr. Hanselman got his definition of "nice, good and positive" from? I was under the impression that 善 described someone/a deed that was humanitarian, philanthropic or charitable.

  5. I think you are confused with 義.

  6. Actually, I would opine that 善 is somewhere between "good" and "charitable." Maybe something like "upstanding" would work well. Witness common words like 改善 (improvement; making something better - the first kanji has a sense of renewal) and 善良 (goodness). Charity/philanthropy is generally 慈善 - Andrew Carnegie, for example, is referred to in my Readers' E>J dictionary as a 慈善家.

    "ii" or "yoi" in Japanese is not typically written in kanji in casual usage, but it can be written either 良い (with a neutral sense), 善い (morally good), or 好い (pleasing). Of those, the first is by FAR the most common, and it's typically used for a mild sense of formality (and is thus nearly always given the older pronunciation "yoi" and not "ii").