The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'standards'


An excerpt from Fonts and Encodings, by Yannis Haralambous, sheds light on what happens when the kingdom of the world's last god-emperor meets technical standardisation processes:

North Korea is said to have abolished the ideographic characters, yet the first North Korean encoding, KPS 9566-97 of 1997, contained 4,653 ideographic characters as well as 2,679 hangul characters and 927 other characters. This encoding was inspired by the South Korean one but presents certain incompatibilities. In addition, positions 0x0448 to 0x044D fulfill an important state purpose: they contain the names of honorable party president Kim Il-sung and his son and successor Kim Jong-il . . . a funny way to achieve immortality.
The Wikipedia page on the North Korean character set standard is here.

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Owen Williams proposes that hardware reviews should add a rating for "openness", or how unrestrictive and flexible the technology used is. At one end, you'd get things that use cryptography to keep the user on a short leash, and that you can do very little with, such as the DivX video player and major-label online music-rental services; at the other end, you get completely hackable devices, like commodity PC hardware. For example, MP3 players which act like USB/FireWire disks (like the iPod or MP3 keyrings) would get a higher Openness score than ones which require special software to "check in" files (like the Dell Jukebox). (I imagine that devices like the Archos Jukebox would get the highest rating, because they not only act as standard USB disks, but allow you to install your own firmware and hack the hardware to your heart's content; which is how things should be.) (via bOING bOING)

architectures of control drm hardware openness rights standards tech 0


Charlie Stross has a rant up titled "Ten reasons why I do not read HTML email".

While I don't take as hard a line on it as Mr. Stross, I pretty much agree with the sentiment; HTML email is wasteful, a nonstandard kludge mandated by the Microsoft/Netscape marketing departments and rarely if ever does it do anything text can't do. I also use Mutt as my mail client; reading my mail involves logging into a UNIX machine I have a shell account on and running mutt; this means I'm not tied to reading my mail where I keep my (hypothetical) copy of Outlook/Eudora/Apple Mail and don't have to depend on webmail systems (which are, at best, a compromise; they're good if you're backpacking through Outer Mongolia or something but not something you'd want to use from day to day).

The problem, however, is that a lot of non-spam email is HTML-only these days; especially with Hotmail (which is surprisingly popular with people who aren't UNIX geeks; and I'm not going to be so haughty as to only correspond with fellow techies and penguinheads) now sending HTML only by default. So after spending some time trying to ask non-technical users to switch to plain text because I'm one of the last few remaining mortals to not use a web browser to read their mail, I configured my mutt client to automatically convert HTML to plain text, by piping it through lynx -dump. Since lynx doesn't do images or Javascript, this avoids "web bugs" and various spammers' tricks.

I still don't read mail with JPEGs/Microsoft Word documents/&c. though. And when Microsoft Trusted DRM-Mail or whatever comes in, I won't read that.

annoyances charlie stross email html standards webmail 13

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