The (Mostly) Complete Unicode Spiral


Zoomed out view of a dense spiral.

I present to you, dear reader, a spiral containing every1 Unicode 14 character in the GNU Unifont. Starting at the centre with the control characters, spiralling clockwise through the remnants of ASCII, and out across the entirety of the Basic Multi Lingual Plane. Then beyond into the esoteric mysteries of the Higher Planes2. Zoom in…

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Why doesn't Disney+ support accents in profile names?


An apostrophe in Donald O'Duck causes the profile name to display an error.

Because I'm genetically pre-disposed to watch every piece of Star Wars content ever created, I signed up for a free trial of Disney's newest streaming service. As part of onboarding, it asked me to create a profile name. This is typically done so that multi-user households can have separate profiles and preferences. Mum doesn't have…

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EBCDIC is incompatible with GDPR


Dutch text and a diagram.

Welcome to acronym city! The Court of Appeal of Brussels has made an interesting ruling. A customer complained that their bank was spelling the customer's name incorrectly. The bank didn't have support for diacritical marks. Things like á, è, ô, ü, ç etc. Those accents are common in many languages. So it was a little…

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🔥.me.ss! You can't register emoji domains in South Sudan


Dear Terence, We have contacted the registry and they said they don't allow 2 successive dashes.

It's useful to share negative results. Not every experiment has an amazing or successful outcome. tl;dr you can't register Punycode .ss domains. This also means Internet users in South Sudan can't register domains using their own writing system. Background The Republic of South Sudan became independent and joined the United Nations back in 2011. A…

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⩵ != ==


Lots of mechanical fingers typing on a complicated keyboard.

One of the frustrating things about computers is their limited input options. A "standard" PC keyboard only has about 100 keys. Sure, some have some bonus buttons for controlling the machine, but it is becoming clear that there simply aren't enough buttons to efficiently program computers. Most programming languages have the concept of relational operators.…

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How not to sort a list of countries


A list of flags. Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, UK, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland.

Being from the United Kingdom is hard sometimes. When scrolling through a list of countries, we might be found down the bottom as "UK" or near the top as "Great Britain". Occasionally someone files us under "England" - thus ignoring Wales, Scotland, NI etc. Once in a while, it'll be "The UK". Truly, no one…

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Should ₹ be part of the Latin font subset?


Some background reading. Skip if you're familiar with fonts. A font file contains a list of characters (usually letters, numbers, and punctuation) and glyphs (the drawn representation of that character). It is, of course, a lot more complicated than that. Each character has a codepoint which is represented in hexadecimal. For example, U+0057 is the…

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iOS 14 gets support for the Unicode Power Symbol!


Power symbols displayed on the screen.

It has been four years since Unicode officially accepted our Power Symbols proposal into the standard. Now I’m delighted to announce that users on iOS 14 are finally able to use the full set of Power Symbols. ⏻ ⏼ ⭘ ⏽ ⏾ They’re available to use in the browser, in emails, and messages. Here’s how…

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Buying a single character domain - and 3 character FQDN - for £15


Glowing computer text showing dot com dot info etc.

Short domains are useful for security testing. If you only have a limited number of characters, you need to be able to reference code on a remote server in as few characters as possible. A few years ago, I tried to find a Minimum Viable XSS. The conclusion that I (and others) came to is…

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Hashtag Steganography


Steganography (/ˌstɛɡəˈnɒɡrəfi/ is the practice of concealing a file, message, image, or video within another file, message, image, or video. I recently saw someone tweeting the hashtag #ManchesُterDerby Do you see an odd character in the middle? It's an Arabic Damma (U+064F) - a vowel character. Although it comes after the "s" in Manchester, it…

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