### Handwriting for math etc

May 28th, 2018
I don't have very tidy handwriting, and for most things this is fine: there's enough redundancy in language that it will be clear from context what is a `t` and what is a `+`. When writing calculations, however, there's often a lot less redundancy and so it's more worth it to make sure distinctions aren't being lost. One way to handle this would be to have clean handwriting overall, but what I do instead is use glyphs that are more robust and remain distinct even if written poorly. [1]

Here are what I do with some tricky glyphs:

`i` `j` `t` `+` `l` `1` `I` `2` `z` `7` `;`

It's nice if these are clear to other people, but the main goal is for them not to be confused with each other. Things to help this:

• `i` includes a right hook
• `j` is normal
• `t` includes a right hook
• `+` is normal
• `l` is loopy/cursive
• `1` is a straight line
• `I` has top and bottom lines
• `2` is normal
• `z` has a cross
• `7` has a cross
This lets me write thing like:

`(zt + 2ij)/7Il`

and still be able to read back what I wrote. This is also something I need when transcribing whiteboard coding interviews at work: [2]

`for (int j = i; j < t + z; j++)`

You might notice that I don't use this for the `i` or `t` in `int`. It's just for variables.

[1] I don't think this is original to me, but it's also something I picked up gradually as I realized that certain forms were more reliable.

[2] Yes, candidates write code on whiteboards, we transcribe it on paper, and then we type it into a computer for others to review. Someday candidates will write on laptops, I guess, but it was weird that we were doing it in 2010, and we're still doing it in 2018, so who knows.

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