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Comment Re:Already = 65K characters (Score 1) 164

UTF-16 is an encoding which explains how to map bytes to code-points (what you call characters), like UTF-8. UTF-16 encodes data in chunks of 16 bits, while UTF-8 encodes the data in chunks of 8 bits. UCS-2 was an encoding where only the 2^16 first code-points could be encoded, in the same way that ASCII is an encoding where only the first 2^7 code-points can be expressed, and ISO-latin only encodes the 2^8 first code-points. UCS-2 was an attempt to encode the "most common case" as you describe it. The problem is, in order to achieve this, Chinese and Japanese characters were crammed together (look up Han Unification) and were basically not usable. We are talking about around 1.5 billion people here. The fix was to add back the characters that had been removed, and go above the FFFF line.

As to why we need trading cards and smiley in Unicode, the reason is pretty simple: compatibility. The goal is to be able to convert all existing text data into Unicode, this is why DOS area block drawing are defined as codepoints. Emoji were added to add compatibility to the Japanese systems so that companies like Apple could enter that market with the iPhone, without this, iPhone users would not have been able to exchange messages with other users.

Remember that at one point in time, ASCII was the extended character set with unnecessary symbols like curly braces, this is why C++ compilers still have trigraph support

Comment Re:I = International (Score 3, Informative) 127

It is not really once code per country, ISBN started with a code per language zone, and switched to countries when they realised it could not scale, so codes 978-0 and 978-1 are for english (this includes the mysterious lands of united kingdom and australia), code 978-2 is for french, and so does 979-10, 978-3 is for german, the followin 978- prefixes are assigned to various countries. Note that the code is not assigned to the language of the book, but the dominant language of the country / publisher. So a swiss publisher can have a 978-2 book in english.

If prices of ISBN codes were really a problem, people could just publish in France, where ISBNs are free. Anyways nowadays ISBN are just a particular class of GTIN/EAN so I suspect one could just buy an EAN (UPC) code.

Comment Re:Bloat (Score 1) 156

If we hit the reset button, can we also fix ASCII? it is by no mean the minimal set most english speakers think it is.

Why do we need a character to represent to 'v' one after the other? You could write 'w' with to 'v' and handle the ligature where it should be handled, at display time. There are so few words in English with the sequence vv that it makes no sense to have the special case coded in the encoding.

Also could we handle the dots on the characters 'i' and 'j' like the diacriticals they are? there should be first the the dotless 'i' and 'j' and the some character to add the dots, like all other diacriticals. Also move out the currency symbols ($ and £), they can be represented as text (USD and GBP), no point in have silly symbols in there. Also remove BELL (11), having a symbol for a bell (2407) might be bloated, but having one for the sound of a bell is absurd.

By the way, why do we need different code points for upper and lower case? They are just variants of each other anyways

Unicode is certainly messy, but plain ASCII is not much better: the most precious 127 code points of utf-8 are basically wasted to display 32 characters and a bit of punctuation, that is pretty bloated for me, we are just used to it

Comment Re:Going to have a hard time topping modern remake (Score 1) 173

I was a fan of Elite on the C64, I tried Oolite, and it is indeed an excellent port of Elite. I also found it to be no fun at all: requiring time I don't have anymore and lacking the richness I'm used to find in games nowadays. The other game I loved on the C64 was paradroid, there is also an open source port (free Droid), same problem. My expectations and sense of fun have changed in 20 years.

Comment Re:How does an expensive SMS make them money? (Score 1) 111

You would still have to prove that they are responsible for the hack. The fact that their legitimate (if silly) business benefits from some hacked code does not prove they are responsible for the hack.

Or turn the problem around: if one provider of telecom services is ever condemned without any other proof than the fact they benefit from a hack, the bad guy just change their business model to extortion.

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