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Comment Re: yay more emojis (Score 3, Interesting) 200

I honestly have yet to figure out what the fuck the point in most of these emojis is. In the past everybody just used a combination of existing ascii symbols to show the mood of your message, and I am still trying to figure out what the new emojis solve that that system didn't solve.

You need to understand a bit about where and why emoji's started showing up in the first place. And to do that, we go back to pre-millennium Japan.

Japanese is, to put it bluntly, an insanely crazy written language. Modern Japanese uses no less than four different scripts/alphabets, and in any given sentence different types of words may need to be in different alphabets!. They are:

  • - Kanji: logographic elements taken from Chinese. These are symbols that stand for a word, phrase, or idea on their own. There are several thousand in modern use in Japan
  • - Hiragana: a set of 46 symbols indicating syllables. These are typically used for native Japanese words that don't have a Kanji equivalent.
  • - Katakana: a set of 48 symbols also indicating syllables. Indeed, many of these syllables are identical to those available in Hiragana, but with completely different symbols. These are used for loan-words, scientific terms, names of plants and animals, and for emphasis.
  • - Romaji: as if all that isn't bad enough, some words (loanwords and trademarks) are written in the standard Latin script we use in English ([A-Za-z]).

And if all that wasn't bad enough, there is also hentaigana, which are obsolete kana sometimes used to give things like restaurants and such an old-timey feel (something akin to 'Ye Olde...' in English). And because the different scripts in Japanese are used for different types of words, you frequently have to switch between one and the others in a single sentence. In short, written Japanese is f'd up.

This is where Emoji came from. Imagine a late 1990's cell phone with the 12 standard buttons, and having to send text messages to someone in Japanese. How do you use those 12 buttons to select from thousands of Kanji symbols? How do you switch between Katakana and Hiragana and Romanji? I'll admit I'm not a Japanese speaker (I've studied the symbology, but not the language itself), but I'd think even typing "Hey, let's meet up with Akira at the McDonalds" would take a week on a standard flip-phone keypad. Thus emoji was invented to provide visual shortcuts for writing things that would otherwise be a major PITA to type in Japanese.

So basically, because written Japanese is so incredibly f'd up with four simultaneous scripts in modern usage...the Japanese decided to get around it by adding another script system.

Early iOS releases implemented Emoji to satisfy the Japanese market, but in can you don't recall that far back, it was originally only available if you set your system language to Japanese. In those early days, someone figured out how to write an app to enable the emoji keyboard in other languages, and eventually due to demand (which I'm assuming was mostly 12 to 14 year-olds) Apple eventually opened it up to everyone. At which point, hundreds of millions of people with sane written languages that use compact alphabets decided they were cute, and that they had to use them as much as possible.

Like yourself, I'm a bit of a curmudgeon about the whole Emoji thing. I can understand why the Japanese needed to invent it, as their writing system is horrendous. I don't tend to directly use it myself, preferring to use old-style emoticons in personal correspondence; however, at this point most e-mail and chat systems will "upgrade" typed emoticons to emoji.

So there you go. A brief history of emoji.

Yaz

Comment As a beta tester for AppleLink PE... (Score 2) 135

which eventually became AOL, we were routinely sent CDs with patches on them. Eventually we got the CDs that would patch our beta releases to become public release apps. As beta testers the service was charged at half price. Almost a year into the public release, I got a phone call from Steve, the boss at Quantum, letting me know that the one thing they forgot to patch in the upgrade CDs was the switch to full price. So would you please cut us a check for everything you paid us already for the past year.? Um, no... by the way how many users did this affect? We're not sure. Dozens? Well yeah. Hundreds? Yeah. Thousands? Look, that's not the important part. I believe I offered to pay double the monthly bill until I was caught up. Never heard back, next release placed us at full charges. I bailed once it was AOL, and it was back to Delphi and The WELL.

Comment Depends. (Score 2) 331

I've been a developer on some pretty damn big projects. The kind of projects used by Fortune 500 companies -- everything from end-user facing applications all the down to low-level infrastructure projects.

If there's one thing I've noticed about all of these large projects over the years, it's that there is rarely ever only one programming language in use. Web apps will use Javascript on the front end and one or more language son the back-end. Large scale C/C++ apps will have a variety of scripts surrounding them. Every project needs an installer, some form of scripting for the build processes, deployment, automated QA, and (frequently) database management. There may even be a mobile app attached to the project. I've had to switch between C/C++, Bash scripting, Java (with JNI), SQL, and REXX, all in the same project.

The point being, if you work on a large enough project, and aren't a junior developer, you're probably switching between a bunch of different languages already. Those languages are probably fairly stable (i.e: you probably won't see too often where you change a massive project from Java to C#), although I've certainly introduced new languages and processes to big projects to make "dumb" processes smarter. The ability to do that, however, often comes when you get to a point in your career where you can specify and/or contribute to significant architectural changes.

I've also been fortunate enough to work at a few places where you can spend 10% of your time working on personal interest projects. If you're fortunate enough to be in such an organization, this is a great time to try out new languages that interest you. If not, find (or start) a project in the interesting language of your choice, and work on it in your own time. If you make it Open Source, and put it on GitHub or the like, you can include it as experience on a resume.

Yaz

Comment Re:Slow police response (Score 1) 1718

There are lose-lose situations. But someone who is actually worried about self defense isn't whipping their gun out as soon as they hear a shot. They are going to take cover and assess who the shooter is before drawing a weapon.

Which in this specific case wouldn't have been of any help, which was my point. From across a dark club with dance floor lighting filled with panicking people, you're not going to be able to assess squat. Indeed, reports now have it that two security guards on site did indeed have guns on them, and it helped them not one whit. And the shooter in this case doesn't have the same consideration for the safety of others that you do; the scenario is already lopsided in their favour by the facts that a) they already intend on killing as many people as possible, and b) they may not have the intention to get out of the situation alive to being with.

Yaz

Comment Re:Slow police response (Score 1) 1718

Sorry to break it to you, but sometimes there are lose-lose situations.

Sorry to break it to YOU, but abject helplessness is an idiotic survival strategy. If you can't return fire, you're done for. If you can return fire, your chances of stopping the attack go from nil to non-nil.

Evidence from this very incident proves you wrong. Nobody fired back, and yet many people survived, many with no injuries at all. That's certainly not a mathematical definition of 'nil'.

Yaz

Comment Re:Slow police response (Score 2, Insightful) 1718

Gosh, you're right. Cowering on the floor and hoping that the attacker will leave you alone is a much better plan. What was I thinking?

-jcr

Sorry to break it to you, but sometimes there are lose-lose situations. In this situation, your idea is about as useful as deciding that tossing grenades into the crowd is a better idea than "cowering on the floor".

Real life isn't a cowboy movie. The good guys don't shoot from the hip, their shots don't always land true, their bullets don't disappear into the ether with no repercussions. And they don't always live to go home afterwards, or live their lives with a clear conscience about what they did. Sometimes hiding is the best thing you can do to survive.

Someone who thinks they're going to be a hero by starting blasting away in a crowded place to down the bad guy is no hero. Ninty-Nine times out of one-hundred, they're simply an added danger to themselves and the people around them.

Yaz

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