Why Android Pie Won't Be Getting the Copyleft Symbol

Wikipedia Copyleft page. The icon is a blank box.

Google is a company with nearly unlimited resources. It often chooses to use its power for the greater good of the Internet. Creating amazing projects like digitizing every printed book, bringing Internet access via high-altitude balloons, and offering high-quality language translation. And sometimes it just gets bored and abandons them. Google Noto is such a […] Read More

Virgin Media don't understand Unicode

HTML code from Virgin.

More adventures with Unicode. I logged in to my Virgin Media account to see when my promotional discount would end. Here's what their billing PDF said. Let'S Ignore The Weird Capitalisation Virgin'S System Uses. What's that  doing there? Their website says: No  symbol, but also no £ sign. Ah, but let's look at […] Read More

Obsolete Technology in Unicode

Screenshot of the Unicode standard. The page shows symbols for Telephone Receivers, Pagers, and Fax Machines.

A short meander through some of the more obscure miscellany within Unicode. Languages hang around far longer than there are native speakers, and symbols get reused and repurposed (🍆). Here are some of the delightfully old-fashioned symbols hidden in your thoroughly modern smartphone. Tapes Long before solid-state drives, we used to record data on long […] Read More

Pursuit Podcast - Life, The Unicode, And Everything

A beautiful hand drawing showing the flow of the conversation

The inimitable Jess Rose interviewed me for her Pursuit Podcast - talking about the Unicode Power Symbol proposal. We talked about how to subvert bureaucracy, building a team of supporters, adding new stuff to Unicode, and recognising that you're a background character in most people's lives. Bit of a ramble, but jolly good fun. Sketchnotes […] Read More

únicode is hard

In the last couple of months, I've been seeing the ú symbol on British receipts. Why? 1963 - ASCII In the beginning* was ASCII. A standard way for computers to exchange text. ASCII was originally designed with 7 bits - that means 128 possible symbols. That ought to be enough for everyone, right? Wrong! ASCII […] Read More

How Do You Sort Chinese Numbers?

Imagine you have a series of number you wish to sort. Sorting is a well known computer science problem - generally speaking you compare one value to the next and then move the item either up or down a list. With "English" characters, that's fairly easy. When a computer sees the character 1 it's really […] Read More

How to type Emoji in Ubuntu

New tech site Gadgette has a great article on how to type Emoji on Mac and Windows - but they (understandably) didn't cover Ubuntu. So here I am to show you how. Get The Fonts If your computer doesn't have the requite font, install the latest version of Symbola. Simply open up the .zip file, […] Read More

Twitter's Weird Control Character Handling

A little curio for you all. A StackOverflow user has pointed out that certain Twitter profiles contain very odd Unicode characters. What on Earth is going on? Let's take a look at Bill Clinton's profile on Twitter. Ok, that looks pretty normal. But let's take a look at the HTML source. Huh... What are those […] Read More