Pursuit Podcast - Life, The Unicode, And Everything

by @edent | # # #
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… Continue reading →

únicode is hard

by @edent | # # | 15 comments | Read ~29,099 times.

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… Continue reading →

Where do these arrows point?

by @edent | # # # # # | 7 comments | Read ~244 times.

This is a blog post about user interfaces. I was wandering along the beach one day, when I noticed some clever chap had drawn some arrows in the sand. Can you guess where they led? The more astute of you will have realised that these are not human drawn arrows. They are, of course, footprints… Continue reading →

How Do You Sort Chinese Numbers?

by @edent | # # # # | 1 comment | Read ~749 times.

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… Continue reading →

Why can't you send email to a Chinese address?

by @edent | # # # # | 4 comments | Read ~2,999 times.

We all know what an email address looks like and how to validate them, right? A few years ago I got the Chinese domain name 莎士比亚.org. You can browse to it, link to it, and send email to it. Or can you? When I tried two years ago, none of the major email providers supported… Continue reading →

How to type Emoji in Ubuntu

by @edent | # # # # # | 6 comments | Read ~4,403 times.

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,… Continue reading →

Twitter's Weird Control Character Handling

by @edent | # # # # | 2 comments | Read ~6,262 times.

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… Continue reading →

Searching For A Smile

by @edent | # # # # | 1 comment | Read ~231 times.

What happens if you search the web for the Unicode character "☺"? On the one hand, it's a symbol just like the letter A or the punctuation mark "!" - on the other, it contains semantic meaning. A smiling, happy face. I decided to look at a few popular search engines to see what they'd… Continue reading →

Facebook Mangles Unicode URLs

by @edent | # # # # # | Read ~657 times.

Facebook rewrite URLs with Unicode in the path - this is not best practice and could be dangerous. It is possible to create a URL like http://bit.ly/😀 - the Unicode characters are valid in the path. The URL Encoded representation is : bit.ly/%F0%9F%98%80 Facebook mangles these URLs in such a way that it might be… Continue reading →

Evading Profanity Filters Using Bi-Directional Text

by @edent | # # | 1 comment | Read ~3,532 times.

There are some very sensitive souls on the Internet who object to seeing swear words. To that end, a huge industry has sprung up around "Profanity Filters" - services which claim to be able to detect naughty words and automatically redact them. The approach of dumbly looking for strings of text leads to a range… Continue reading →