Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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209 words on

The issue of text encoding keeps following us around these days. If you’re only using the English parts of the web or computers you may remain blissfully unaware of that. But even if you’re wanting things as simple as umlauts the problems start appearing quickly. Two examples I recently ran into follow. The first is from Services menu entries provided by RealPlayer:

RealPlayer service in Services menu

And the second was in the BatteryInfo Dashboard widget which I recently tried out:

BatteryInfo widget

And those problems puzzle me. How comes that Real hire people who don’t know how to write a properly encoded .strings file for the Mac? Shouldn’t these technical details be handled correctly by default? And while I’d be more lenient for the widget which is made by amateurs, I still wonder how they didn’t catch that problem. There are just a dozen of strings in the widget and testing each of them once would take two disjoint minutes, suggesting that they weren’t tested at all. Sure, the little widget does support many languages and JavaScript seems to use UTF-8 encoding for characters rather than UTF-16, but what are all those localisations worth if they aren’t tested? I guess they won’t teach the widget’s creators that even tiny localisations are a lot of work…

September 17, 2005, 20:24

Tagged as software.


Comment by Paul Mison: User icon

Er, for some reason the link to the tshirts by everyone’s favourite Icelanders is coming out as “Sigur Rós - Shirts”. Presumably because you’re declaring these pages as ISO 8859-1 but the feed from delicious is UTF8.

Um, sorry.

September 19, 2005, 15:31

Comment by ssp: User icon

Yup, that’s true. It’s the reason why I first hesitated to include the delicious script for which you can’t (easily) change the encoding.

I guess I could just serve these pages as UTF-8 though but that’ll require another excursion to the dreaded htaccess manuals.

I changed the encoding I give within the HTML and that the server gives away… but some parts of MT still use the old encoding and I’m not really sure where and how to set that up.

September 19, 2005, 16:18

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Received data seems to be invalid. The wanted file does probably not exist or the guys at last.fm changed something.